Musicians who died in 2018

Visit Us

From The Queen of Soul to surf rock, hip hop to rock, standards to metal… notable musicians and icons have gone on to that great gig in the sky. Here’s a round-up of musicians who have died in 2018.

Updated January 2019.

musicians who died in 2018 Aretha FranklinAretha Franklin, 76
Singer, songwriter, pianist — died 8/16/18 of pancreatic cancer
In the 1950s, a young Aretha Franklin began singing in the Detroit church of her father, reverend C.L. Franklin, ultimately making her first gospel recordings in the church in 1956. After meeting Sam Cooke at the age of 18, Franklin made her way to New York City, deciding to pursue a career in pop music. She signed with Columbia Records in 1960, and in the five years she released records with them, she scored various hits, including “Runnin’ Out of Fools,” “One Step Ahead,” and “(No, No) I’m Losing You.” But it was her run of songs after signing with Atlantic Records (1967-1979) that solidified her rank among music’s elites and earned her the title, “The Queen of Soul.” Her late-’60s hits included “I Never Loved a Man,” “Chain of Fools,” “Baby I Love You,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Think,” “The House That Jack Built,” and “Respect,” the Otis Redding song that hit #1 on both the R&B and pop charts and became her signature. Franklin’s career continued to produce hit music through the ’70s and ’80s, including duets with Luther Vandross (“Get It Right”) and George Michael (“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”), and even into the ’90s and ’00s as she slowed her releases but still produced Gold records and hits, including 2004’s Grammy-winning “Wonderful.” In all, Franklin won 18 Grammy Awards (and was nominated for another 26) and had 112 singles that made it to the Billboard charts, the most for a female artist in history. Franklin was also the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987), and she also won the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012. She continued to perform into the late 2000s, with her last performance being November 2017.

musicians who died in 2018 roy clarkRoy Clark, 85
Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumental country musician — died 11/15/18 due to complications from pneumonia
At an early age, Roy Clark discovered banjo and guitar, and as a teenager, he won two National Banjo Championships. Despite his musical chops, and his particular love of the guitar, Clark’s role as a television entertainer bolstered his musical career and solidified him as a country music icon. Starting with a stint on Jimmy Dean’s Town and Country Hour, Clark moved on to playing characters on the Beverly Hillbillies and guest hosting The Tonight Show in the early ’60s. But it was his multi-decade run as co-host of Hee Haw that Clark was best known for, which featured comedy skits and lots of “pickin’ and grinnin'” with Clark and co-host Buck Owens. But Clark did have a prolific music career, issuing dozens of releases between 1963-2000 and scoring hits with “Tips of My Fingers,” “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” “I Never Picked Cotton,” “Thank God and Greyhound,” and “If I Had It to Do All Over Again.” Clark chalked up numerous Country Music Awards for Comedian of the Year (’70), Entertainer of the Year (’72, ’73), and Instrumentalist of the Year (’75, ’76, ’77, ’78, ’80). Clark also won a Grammy Award for Best Country Instrumental Performance in 1982, became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1987, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

musicians who died in 2018 Geoff EmerickGeoff Emerick, 72
Recording engineer — died 11/2/18 of a heart attack
Geoff Emerick joined the staff at EMI studios in London as as assistant engineer in 1962, and on his second day on the job, he watched the Beatles record “Love Me Do” with their new drummer, Ringo Starr. After graduating to an engineer position at the age of 20, Emerick landed a job working with George Martin on a string of Beatles’ albums, including Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles (White Album), and Abbey Road. Emerick also produced albums for Badfinger, Paul McCartney, Gino Vanelli, and Elvis Costello (among others), and Emerick ‘s vast catalog is filled with engineering credits spanning six decades with America, Cheap Trick, UFO, Little River Band, Nazareth, and a host of other notable artists. [Geoff Emerick and Magic Cristian.JPG: Sparky2012derivative work: Clusternote (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.]

musicians who died in 2018 aviciiAvicii (Tim Bergling), 28
DJ, songwriter, and record producer — died 4/20/18 by self-inflicted cuts
DJ Avicii took his name from a Buddhist term that means “the lowest level of Buddhist hell,” in which those who have committed gross misdeeds while alive can be reborn. He apparently chose the name because his real name, Tim Bergling, had already been taken on MySpace when the young producer was first creating music in 2007. His early efforts producing music and posting tracks earned him recognition in the growing EDM culture, leading to his being signed in 2010 to EMI Music Publishing. 2011’s “Levels” was his breakthrough single, and his 2012 collaboration with Pierre David Guetta (“Sunshine”) earned him a Grammy nomination. Not afraid to experiment with unconventional genres and collaborators, Pure, Avicii’s 2013 release, features collaborations with Aloe Blacc, Adam Lambert, and Nile Rodgers, and 2014’s Stories saw the young producer working with the likes of Zac Brown and Wyclef Jean. 2014 also saw the release of “A Sky Full of Stars,” a collaboration with Coldplay’s Chris Martin. In 2016, Avicii announced he was retiring from live performances, citing health issues — he had acute pancreatitis in 2012 and his appendix and gall bladder removed in 2014. Early in 2018, he announced he was working on a third album, but died suddenly in Oman. It was later revealed by his family that Avicii had a difficult time dealing with “meaning, life, and happiness,” and that his death was a result of blood loss due to self-inflicted cuts made by a broken bottle. [Photo by The Perfect World Foundation (CC BY 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons.]

musicians who died in 2018 marty balinMarty Balin, 76
Singer, guitarist, songwriter, founding member of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship — died 9/27/19 of undisclosed causes
Born in Ohio, Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald) attended high school in San Francisco and launched his singing career in 1962. In 1965, he met Paul Kantner in a bar which led to the formation of Jefferson Airplane. Originally a folk band, the group’s sophomore effort, Surrealistic Pillow (1967), established the band as pioneers in the nascent psychedelic rock movement. As the band’s popularity grew, and growing tired of the scene that enveloped it, Balin split from the Airplane in ’71 to pursue other musical endeavors. In 1975, he re-grouped with Kantner to form Jefferson Starship, singing on four Top 20 hits: “Miracles,” “With Your Love,” “Count on Me,” and “Runaway.” He left Jefferson Starship in 1978, but joined Kantner and Jack Casady once again in 1985 to form the KBC Band. He recorded 12 solo albums between 1981 and 2016, with 1981’s Balin spawning the hits “Hearts” and “Atlanta Lady.” While touring in 2016, he underwent open heart surgery after complaining of chest pains, which lead to health complications, but his cause of death has not been disclosed.

musicians who died in 2018 XXXTentacionXXXTentacion, 20
Rapper, singer, songwriter — died 6/18/18 of gunshot wounds
Born Jahseh Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy in Plantation, FL, XXXTentacion’s music career obstensibly started in a youth correction facility, where he was serving time for possession of a firearm. While Onfroy did sing in church and school choir, he repeatedly found trouble as a teen due to his habit of getting into physical altercations, and while incarcerated, he met rapper Stokeley Clevon Goulbourne (AKA Ski Mask the Slump God). Influenced by nu-metal, hard rock, and rap, Onfroy and Goulbourne spurred one another to release tracks, and in 2013, Onfroy began calling himself XXXTentacion and uploaded “Vice City” on SoundCloud. More releases followed, including two EPs, 2014’s The Fall and 2016’s Willy Wonka Was a Child Murderer, and though XXXTentacion’s career was gaining momentum, multiple arrests in 2016 — including charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant victim — delayed the release of his debut album, Bad Vibes Forever. On May 16, 2017, the mixtape Revenge was released, XXXTentacion’s first major-label effort, followed by 17, his major-label debut album, in August 2017. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. On June 18, 2018, sitting in his car outside of a motorcycle dealership, Onfroy was shot multiple times by two men and was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the hospital. After his death, his track, “Sad!” broke Taylor Swift’s one-day streaming record, racking up 10.4 million streams, as reported by Billboard. Photo by State of Florida (Florida Dept. of Corrections) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

musicians who died in 2018 Vinnie PaulVinnie Paul, 54
Drummer for Pantera, Damageplan, Hellyeah — died 6/22/18 of cardiomyopathy and coronary artery disease
Vinnie Paul (born Vincent Paul Abbott) started the glam-metal band Pantera with his brother Darrell in 1981. When vocalist Phil Anselmo joined the band, the style of music shifted to Pantera’s signature groove metal as it released it’s four career-defining albums between 1990-1996: Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, and The Great Southern Trendkill. After Pantera’s breakup in 2003, Vinnie and “Dimebag” Darrell formed Damageplan, which ended soon after when a deranged fan shot Darrell to death while the band was performing. After an 18 month hiatus, Vinnie joined the band Hellyeah, which released five albums between 2007-2016. [Photo originally uploaded by Mjfelker at English Wikipedia. (CC BY-SA 2.5, GFDL, or CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons).]

musicians who died in 2018 rick hallRick Hall, 85
Producer, songwriter, musician, and music publisher — died 1/2/18 after battling prostate cancer
Known as the “Father of Muscle Shoals Music,” Rick Hall endured a youth marked by poverty and emotional hardship, with his mother leaving his family when he was four, and his father and young bride both dying in 1957 in a two-week span. A guitarist and mandolin player, Hall found himself playing in country bands before staking a claim as a songwriter and producer in the quiet town of Florence, AL. In the ’50s, Hall’s early songs were recorded by George Jones (“Achin’, Breakin’ Heart”), Brenda Lee (“She’ll Never Know”), and Roy Orbison (“Sweet and Innocent”). In the early ’60s, it was his work as a producer on Arthur Alexander’s gold record, “You Better Move On,” that allowed Hall to invest and build his legendary FAME (Florence Alabama Music Enterprises) recording studio on Avalon Avenue in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. For anyone who always wondered what Lynyrd Skynyrd meant by “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers” in the song “Sweet Home Alabama,” the Swampers (aka Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) were Hall’s house band at FAME Studios, who ultimately left and opened Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in 1969. Coincidentally, Hall’s first FAME house band did the same thing years earlier, opening a studio in Nashville, TN. Even with the exodus of studio players, FAME Studios thrived, notably because Hall embraced black artists and the burgeoning R&B movement, working with the likes of Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding. But artists like Duane Allman, Donnie and Marie Osmond, Paul Anka, and Tom Jones were also staples of FAME Studios, as Hall’s songwriting and publishing staff became a country music hit machine that maintained relevance into the 2010’s with artists like The Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw recording albums there. Hall was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1985 and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2014. [Photo by Carol M. Highsmith (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 dennis edwardsDennis Edwards, 74
R&B singer, best known as the lead of The Temptations — died 2/1/18 while being hospitalized for meningitis
Born in Alabama, Dennis Edwards showed an affinity for singing at the age of two and became the choir director of the church for which his father was the pastor in Detroit, MI. He studied at the Detroit Conservatory of Music, and briefly started his own jazz/R&B group, Dennis Edwards and the Fireballs, before signing to Motown Records and taking the frontman position in The Contours. The Contours toured with The Temptations in the late ’60s, which caught the attention of the group as they began considering replacing singer David Ruffin, who was becoming unreliable. Between 1968 and 1989, Edwards fronted the band (on and off), and is featured on a number of the groups hits, including “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today),” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Edwards did have some success as a solo artist in the late ’80s, and in the ’90s and beyond, Edwards performed with “The Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards,” which was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame in 2015. [Photo by Bernie Ilson, Inc. (Public domain) via Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 dolores oriordanDolores O’Riordan, 46
Singer, songwriter with The Cranberries — died 1/15/18 of unreported causes
When Dolores O’Riordan auditioned to replace the singer for the Cranberry Saw Us in Limerick, Ireland, she came with lyrical and melodic ideas for the song “Linger,” and wisely the band hired her there and then. That song, along with “Dreams,” is featured on (the renamed) The Cranberries’ 1993 debut, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? An international hit, the album went double platinum, bolstered by the band’s touring with The The and Suede and “Linger” gaining momentum as an MTV staple. The Cranberries followed up with an even more popular sophomore effort, 1994’s No Need to Argue, which featured the harder-edged hit, “Zombie.” O’Riordan, who struggled with anorexia and anxiety as The Cranberries were at the height of their renown, had her sights on a solo career as The Cranberries lost steam at the turn of the century, and she released two solo albums, Are You Listening (2007) and No Baggage (2009). The mother of three, O’Riordan was diagnosed as bipolar in 2014 after admissions of trying to overdose on pills, head-butting a police officer, and canceling a tour due to back problems. She made it through, and in 2016, she released Science Agrees as part of a New York-based synth-pop trio D.A.R.K. But at the time of her death, O’Riordan was in London, preparing to record a new album with The Cranberries amidst talk of a tour, while also trying to wrap up a second D.A.R.K. album. She was found dead in her hotel room, and while no cause of death has been released, police say they are not treating it as suspicious. [Photo by Nat Ch Villa (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 eddie willisEddie Willis, 82
Guitarist best known for his work with Motown’s “Funk Brothers” — died 8/20/18 from complications of polio
Born in Mississippi, Eddie Willis moved to Detroit in the early ’50s and made his way into the Motown studios just after graduating high school. A self-taught player, Willis’ contributions are all over the Motown recordings from the ’60s into the ’70s, including “Please Mr. Postman,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “You Keep Me Hanging On,” “My Cherie Amour,” and “I Was Made to Love Her,” among many others. After Motown relocated to Los Angeles, Willis continued recording around Detroit and toured with the Four Tops.

musicians who died in 2018 mac millerMac Miller, 26
Rapper, singer — died 9/7/18 of a drug overdose of fentanyl, alcohol, and cocaine
A prolific songwriter, Mac Miller (born Malcolm McCormick) first used the alias Easy Mac on his 2007 mixtape, But My Mackin’ Ain’t Easy. Gaining momentum with another mixtape and an EP, his Rostrum Records debut album, Blue Slide Park, hit the charts at #1. His success and critical acclaim continued through a string of releases, though an addiction to “purple drank” might have served as an omen to his eventual lethal overdose.

musicians who died in 2018 Yvonne StaplesYvonne Staples, 80
Singer with The Staple Singers — died 4/10/18 of colon cancer
Made up of guitarist Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his children, Cleotha, Pervis, and Mavis, the Staple Singers first began performing in Chicago-area churches in 1948. Yvonne Staples replaced her brother when he was drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War, debuting on record for the Stax release, The Staple Swingers, in 1971. The group is best known for hits in the ’70s, including “Respect Yourself,” “I’ll Take You There,” “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me),” and “Let’s Do It Again.”

musicians who died in 2018 Ray ThomasRay Thomas, 76
Vocals, flute, oboe, piccolo, harmonica and saxophone, founding member of The Moody Blues — died 1/4/18 of prostate cancer
Born in England in an emergency maternity unit during World War II, Ray Thomas’ earliest band effort, El Riot and the Rebels, found itself opening for the Beatles in 1963. Not long after, with the recruitment of a few notable players in the area, Moody Blues debuted in Birmingham, England in 1964. Contributing bass, flute, harmonica, and vocals to the group’s first 13 releases before taking a hiatus for health reasons, he rejoined the band after an eight year absence for 1991’s Keys of the Kingdom. He also released two solo albums in the ’70s — during a period when Moody Blues had split up — which he re-released with additional material in 2010. [Photo by Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 923-9509 (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.]

Ed King, 68
Guitarist with Strawberry Alarm Clock and Lynyrd Skynyrd — died 8/22/18 after battling lung cancer
Ed King was a founding member of the psychedelic ’60s band Strawberry Alarm Clock (“Incense and Peppermints”) who later joined Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1972, originally replacing bassist Leon Wilkeson, then becoming the band’s third guitarist. King performed on Skynyrd’s first three albums, notably co-writing “Sweet Home Alabama” before leaving the band in 1975.

John “Jabo” Starks, 80
Drummer (most notably with James Brown) — died 5/1/18 at his home
Starks played on many of Brown’s biggest hits, either as the sole drummer or in tandem with Clyde Stubblefield, including on “The Payback,” “Sex Machine,” “Super Bad,” and “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing.”

musicians who died in 2018 Joe JacksonJoe Jackson, 89
Music manager, patriarch of the Jackson family — died 6/26/18 of pancreatic cancer
The eldest of five children, Joseph Walter Jackson began working with his three oldest sons, Jackie, Tito, and Jermaine, before incorporating Marlon and Michael into the group that became the Jackson 5. The Jackson 5 released its first single, “Big Boy,” in 1968, which ultimately led to the band’s signing with Motown in 1969. Jackson oversaw all the group’s recording efforts in the late ’60s and early ’70s, including “I Want You Back,” “ABC,” and “I’ll Be There.” Jackson’s reputation was tarnished in the ’80s by allegations of infidelity and his children’s public admissions of being punished by whippings and spanking with a belt if they didn’t perform to Jackson’s expectations. Michael, who first admitted the abuse in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, later forgave his father, who ultimately received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame (2014) and The Rhythm & Blues Humanitarian Award in 2015. Photo by Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons.

musicians who died in 2018 edwin hawkinsEdwin Hawkins, 74
Gospel singer — died 1/15/18 of pancreatic cancer
Best known for the crossover and entirely surprising hit, “Oh Happy Day,” Edwin Hawkins was steeped in gospel and church music, joining his church choir in Oakland, CA when he was five and graduating to being the pianist in his family’s gospel group when he was seven. In 1967, Hawkins co-founded the Northern California State Youth Choir, and in 1968, they recorded and released Let Us Go Into The House of the Lord, which featured “Oh Happy Day.” By the spring of 1969, thanks to play on FM stations in California and around the country, the song went on to sell a staggering seven million copies and won a 1970 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance (the group was at this point called The Edwin Hawkins Singers). While Hawkins never matched the widespread popularity of that first single, he did continue to record and scored another three Grammy Awards: Best Soul Gospel Performance for “Every Man Wants to Be Free” (1971), Best Soul Gospel Performance, Contemporary for “Wonderful!” (1977), and Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album (1993).

musicians who died in 2018 eddie clarkeEddie Clarke, 67
Guitarist with Motorhead and Fastway — died 1/10/18
After playing guitar in numerous bands trying to get a record contract, “Fast” Eddie Clarke had given up on the music industry in the mid-’70s. But when drummer Phil Taylor suggested he audition for Motörhead, who was looking to expand to a two-guitar outfit, Clarke picked up his axe and gave it a go. Larry Wallis, who was playing guitar with the band at the time, quit on the spot, and Motörhead continued as a trio. That configuration — Lemmy Kilmister, Taylor, and Clarke — has gone down in history as the “classic” Motörhead line-up, recording Motörhead (1977), Overkill (1979), Bomber (1979), Ace of Spades (1980), No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (1981), and Iron Fist (1982). After a disastrous effort with The Plasmatics (Stand By Your Man EP), Clarke left Motörhead — though he claims he was ousted — and formed Fastway. Clarke also released two solo efforts, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over (1994) and Make My Day: Back To Blues (2014).

musicians who died in 2018 mark e. smithMark E. Smith, 60
Singer, songwriter with The Fall — died 1/24/18 after battling lung and kidney cancer
Taking their name from a book by Albert Camus, Mark E. Smith is the only constant member of Manchester, England’s cult post-punk band, The Fall. Formed in 1976, the band had 60 musicians come and go, released 32 studio albums, and lasted 42 years, right up to Smith’s death. Inspired by the likes of Captain Beefheart and The Sex Pistols, The Fall’s music changed, predominantly due to the ever-changing line-up of musicians. While widely influential, Smith was notoriously difficult to work with, and apparently wasn’t easy to be married to, either, as he was married and divorced three times (all three of his wives were involved with the band in some capacity). A heavy drinker, smoker, and periodic drug user, Smith performed numerous times in a wheelchair, including multiple shows in 2017 leading up to his death. [Photo by samsaundersleeds (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 john morrisJohn Morris, 95
Film/TV/Broadway composer, conductor, and concert pianist — died 1/25/18 following complications from a respiratory infection
John Morris’ list of composition credits is long and includes numerous stage productions and movie soundtracks. In the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, Morris helped compose dance numbers and incidental music for a number of shows, producing his own musical, A Time for Singing in 1966. His more prominent work came via the silver screen, particularly his work with Mel Brooks, for which Morris composed songs and music for 20 of Brooks’ massive filmography. Highlights include his arrangement for “Springtime for Hitler,” Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. [Photo by Cerys Handschumacher (CC BY-SA 4.0) from Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 pat torpeyPat Torpey, 58
Drummer, known best for his work with Mr. Big — died 2/7/18 from complications from Parkinson’s disease
From the start, Pat Torpey constantly caught the eye (ear) of performers who were billed with him, which kept him climbing the ladder up to his gig with the ridiculously talented musicians in Mr. Big. From his early work on American Bandstand, Torpey played with John Parr in 1985 (“St. Elmo’s Fire”), which led to a gig with Belinda Carlisle. Carlisle opened for Robert Plant on her first tour, and when Plant’s drummer was injured, Plant tapped him to join his tour. Around the same time, he had been asked to join The Knack, after the band’s drummer had left, but his most enduring contributions are with the recorded (and live) discography with Mr. Big. Formed in the late ’80s, Mr. Big featured Paul Gilbert on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, Eric Martin on vocals, and Torpey’s powerful, intricate drumming. The band scored hits early on, though the shifting musical landscape limited the band’s appeal in the US. The band’s success in Japan never waned, and Mr. Big continued to perform and release albums here and abroad, including 2017’s Defying Gravity.

musicians who died in 2018 john perry barlowJohn Perry Barlow, 70
Lyricist (Grateful Dead) — died 2/7/18 in his sleep
Poet, essayist, and founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, John Perry Barlow was known as a Technolibertarian focused on minimizing government regulation, censorship, and anything in the way of a “free” World Wide Web. He also was good friends with The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, whom he met when he was 15, and is credited with introducing Weir and his band to Timothy Leary in the early ’70s. Barlow co-wrote a number of songs with Weir for Weir’s solo projects, and is credited on nearly 30 Dead songs between 1971-1995, including “I Need A Miracle,” “Estimated Prophet,” “Throwing Stones,” and “The Music Never Stopped.” [Photo by Mohamed Nanabhay from Qatar (CC BY 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons]

musicians who died in 2018 weslia whitfieldWeslia Whitfield

Andre in a hat

About Andre Calilhanna

Andre Calilhanna is a drummer, vocalist, writer, editor, and all around music fan. He's also a golf "enthusiast," pianist-in-progress, and a below-average guitarist (thanks for asking). Contact him at

12 thoughts on “Musicians who died in 2018

  1. From the Lovebug Starski post… “He released a single, “Positive Life,” in 1981, and released a full-length LP, House Rocker, in 1896.“
    Did you mean 1986?

  2. Wow a few of them came as a surprise. You know when it comes to the first one to coin or use the phrase hip hop credit is given to Starski Love here, Keith Cowboy from Grand Master Flash and the furious five at the end of the song freedom. But truth be told, Wonder Mike of the Sugar Hill gang said it on record before both of them in the beginning verse of Rappers Delight.

    1. Wonder Mike? Not sure if you know but he stole that song from Grandmaster Caz. Not to mention that hip hop in the streets and clubs had rappers who said it before.

  3. Clyde Stubblefield died in 2017 and is included in last year’s post. Thanks for the note about Jabo Starks. I’ll add him (and the others noted in the comments) ASAP.

    1. Because the list will unfortunately be so long that if I were to wait until the end of the year, it would take an enormous amount of time to compile it all. This way we get to appreciate the iconic musicians who have passed in a more timely manner, and by the end of 2018, as I add to the list throughout the year, we’ll have a pretty exhaustive list. Even in increments, I can’t keep up, as evidenced by the commenters who’ve indicated notable omissions (who I will add ASAP).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *