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Music Legends lost in 2020

Mon 14th Dec 2020

Legends of music live on forever in the hearts of their fans and in their melodies. Whenever their songs play, their spirits inspire people from around the globe. Gone but never forgotten, here are just some of the music legends that have passed away in 2020.

Midnight Oil bassist, Wayne Stevens

Photo: Robert Hambling/Supplied
Photo: Robert Hambling/Supplied

Born in 1958. Known by the stage name Bones Hillman, the New Zealand native who played as bass guitarist for the Australian alternative rock band, Midnight Oil. Their song Counting the Beat was founded on Hillman's deep bass, became a hit in Australia and New Zealand in early 1981. Passed away at age 62 after battling cancer. 

Australian singer, Helen Maxine Reddy

Photo: Tony Russell/Redferns
Photo: Tony Russell/Redferns

Born in 1941. Known as the "Queen of '70s pop". Her song 'I Am Woman' became an anthem for second-wave feminism and had significant impact on popular culture. Passed away at age 78.

An early member of AC/DC, Paul Matters

Pictured middle back right. Photo: Facebook
Pictured middle back right. Photo: Facebook

Born in 1956. Bass player for Australian rock band AC/DC in 1975. Matters joined the band for a short period after recording their debut album, High Voltage. Passed away at age 64.

Perth guitarist of Rose Tattoo, John Meyer

Photo: Rose Tattoo Facebook
Photo: Rose Tattoo Facebook

Born in 1950. The award-winning guitarist was inducted into the WA Hall of Fame in 2003. Meyer made his name with bands Rose Tattoo, Swanee and Chain. Passed away at age 70.

Australian musical theatre and producer, Michael Falzon

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Born in 1972. Falzon was the star of the original Australian production of We Will Rock You. He starred in several Australian and international musical theatre productions, including The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore with Opera Queensland in his early career, as well as War of the Worlds, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Passed away at age 48 after cancer battle.

Australian singer and songwriter, Max Merritt

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Born in 1941. Merritt's best-known hit, Slippin Away, reached No.2 on the 1976 Australian singles chart. He has been acknowledged as one of the best local performers of the 60s and 70s, and he had a significant influence on soul music, R&B and rock in New Zealand and Australia. Passed away at age 79 after being diagnosed with a rare  autoimmune disease.

Australian guitarist, Ronnie Peel

Born in 1946. Known as Rockwell T James. He played bass in the All Stars Band. During 1976-1979, he recorded and released six singles and album A Shot of Rhythm and Blues. His most successful single was Roxanne, co-written by Peel with Garth Porter and Tony Mitchell from Sherbet. Passed away at age 74.

American Singing and Song-writing Superstar, Kenny Rogers

Photo: News Corp
Photo: News Corp

Born in 1938. Country and Pop legend, responsible for hits such as The Gambler, Lucille and Islands in the Stream with Dolly Parton. Inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Passed away at age 81 of natural causes.

American legendary guitarist, Eddie Van Halen

Photo: News Corp
Photo: News Corp

Born in 1955. Co-founder and guitarist for Van Halen, the internationally renowned rock band known for hits like Jump, Panama and I'll Wait. Inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Passed away at age 65 after battling throat cancer.

Jersey Boy, Tommy DeVito

Pictured far right. Photo: News Corp
Pictured far right. Photo: News Corp

Born in 1928. Founding member, vocalist and guitarist for band Four Seasons, responsible for hits like Walk Like A Man, Who Loves You, Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry and December, 1963. The musical Jersey Boys is a based on the formation, success and break-up of the band. Passed away at age 92 after contracting COVID-19.

American country singer, Doug Supernaw 

Born in 1960. Known for his hit 1993 single I Don't Call Him Daddy. The Academy of Country Music Awards nominated Supernaw for top male vocalist and the song of the year in 1993. Passed away at age of 60 after battling cancer.

American singer and songwriter, William Harrison.

Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns
Photo: Fin Costello/Redferns

Born in 1938. Known as Bill Withers, his most memorable songs, including Harlem and Grandma's Hands entered the US Top 40. His first single Ain't No Sunshine reached No.3 and become one of the landmark songs in his career. Rolling Stone called his second album, Still Bill, a 'stone-soul masterpiece'. Passed away at age 81 of heart complications.

English singer and songwriter, Tony Lewis

Born in 1957. Lewis was the lead singer and bassist of the pop-rock band The Outfield, known for hit single Your Love. He released his first album Out of the Darkness in 2018 with Madison Records. Passed away at age 62.

American Reggae and Pop Singer, Johnny Nash

Born in 1940. Best known for his hit, I Can See Clearly Now. Was one of the first non-Jamaican musicians to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica. Passed away at age 80 of natural causes.

Co-Founder of Fleetwood Mac, Peter Green

Photo: News Corp
Photo: News Corp

Born in 1946. Original guitarist and co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, writing the band's only number one hit, Albatross. Inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Passed away at age 73 of natural causes.

American country singer, guitarist and baseball player, Charley Pride

Photo: CBS
Photo: CBS

Born in 1934. He was the best selling performer for record label RCA Records since Elvis Presley. The peak of his recording career, from 1966 to 1987, saw some of his most famous songs, including Kiss an Angel Good Mornin', All I Have to Offer You Is Me, Crystal Chandeliers, The Snakes Crawl at Night and many more. Inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and member of the Grand Ole Opry. Passed away at age 86 from complications related to COVID-19.

Musician, actor and community radio broadcaster, Rob E Thomas

Photo: Eastside Radio
Photo: Eastside Radio

Born in 1945. Known as Bobbie Thomas, he recorded the hit song Lavender Blue. Also appeared in a stage production of Les Miserables before becoming an announcer for Eastside Radio. Passed away at age 75 after battling brain cancer. 

 

Thank you to Caitlin Duan for your contribution.

Sources:

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  • https://www.nme.com/en_au/news/music/john-meyer-former-guitarist-of-rose-tattoo-has-died-2743922
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