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Musicians who died in 2022

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2022 may not have been the bounce-back year we had all hoped for, and sadly, we saw too many beloved musicians — icons and up-and-comers alike — pass on to the great after-party in the sky.

As always, I did my best to make this a comprehensive list, but there are inevitably many musicians who died in 2022 who are not included. This is an oversight, not a editorial choice! Please take a moment to share remembrances of anyone who doesn’t appear here in the comment section as a tribute to those we’ve lost in 2022.

Loretta Lynn musicians who died in 2022Loretta Lynn, 90
Country music singer and songwriter — died in her sleep of natural causes, 10/4/22

Loretta Lynn was a coal-miner’s daughter whose rise to prominence in country music came after she raised a family of four — after getting married at the age of 15. Her debut single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” started a chain of events that led her to Nashville, where she signed to Decca Records and burst out of the gate in 1962. A maverick and anolmaly as a strong-minded woman in country music, Lynn chalked up a string of 13 Top-10 hits in the late sixties — including “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’,” “Fist City,” “Woman of the World,” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” — which ultimately became the title of her 1976 autobiography and a 1980 film. In the early ‘70s, Lynn teamed up with Conway Twitty and the duo scored five consecutive #1 hits, an additional seven Top 10 hits, and were named Vocal Duo of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1972, ’73, ’74, and ’75. As Lynn’s dominance of the charts began to wane in the ‘80s, she continued to perform and record, including a collaboration with Jack White in 2004 (Van Lear Rose) and a flurry of studio releases between 2016 and 2021. Photo by Walden S. Fabry, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

jerry lee lewis musicians who died in 2022Jerry Lee Lewis, 87
Pianist, vocalist, songwriter — died of undisclosed causes, though he suffered from various ailments, including acute bronchitis, 10/28/22

With a career built in the late ‘50s, Jerry Lee Lewis was one part bible-school drop-out, one part boogie pianist, and two-parts rebel with a feverish belief in himself. His wild stage presence was born from his frustration with not being able to dance around with a guitar. In support of his first single, he jumped up mid-song, kicked his piano stool over, and stood up and played. Sam Phillips, record producer and owner of Sun Records, believed “the Killer” was the real thing and invested heavily in Lewis. It paid off — “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” was followed by “Great Balls of Fire” and “Breathless” as Lewis’ star rose high. That came to a sudden halt after he secretly married his 13-year-old cousin, which caused the banning of his records and a collapse in paying gigs. Lewis kept rocking, though, and built his career back up in the ‘70s and ‘80s, with his last release coming in 2014. Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October 2022. Photo by Maurice Seymour, Chicago (eBay) [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons.

Christine McVie musicians who died in 2022Christine McVie, 79
Keyboardist, vocalist, songwriter, Fleetwood Mac — died following a short illness, 11/30/22

Before there was the Buckingham/Nicks version of Fleetwood Mac, there was the blues-infused version of the band, and Christine McVie was an integral part of both. In fact, she may have saved the band from breaking up years before they became the biggest-selling band on the planet. Born Christine Ann Perfect, McVie was a visual artist who fell into playing the blues, joining Chicken Shack in 1967. Chicken Shack and Fleetwood Mac floated in the same circles, and after marrying Mac bassist John McVie, she joined the group after Peter Green left. She played on six Fleetwood Mac albums before Buckingham and Nicks joined, and incredibly, that’s where the story begins for many Fleetwood Mac fans. McVie’s vocals, keyboards, and songwriting are as big a part of the band’s success as any other member — she penned classics like “Don’t Stop,” “Over My Head,” “Think About Me,” and a host of other hit songs in her 50 years with the band. McVie also released four solo records, including a collaboration with Lindsey Buckingham (and John McVie and Mick Fleetwood) in 2017.

Ronnie Spector musicians who died in 2022Ronnie Spector, 78
Vocalist, lead singer of The Ronettes — died after a brief battle with cancer, 1/12/22

Born in New York to a Black and Cherokee mother and an Irish-American father, Veronica Bennett fronted the Ronettes, a vocal trio that included her sister Estelle and cousin Nedra Talley. After connecting with producer Phil Spector, the Ronettes released their landmark album, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica in 1964, which includes the now historic “Be My Baby” along with the hits “Baby, I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain.” Bennett married Spector in 1968, a year after the Ronettes broke up, changing her name to Ronnie Spector. Their tumultuous marriage ended in 1974 (she once quipped that Spector “was a brilliant producer, but a lousy husband”), and the tumult continued to her solo career as Spector fought to prevent her from earning royalties or performing the Ronettes material. Spector has released four solo albums since 1980, the last being 2016’s English Heart., Publicity headshot, general use, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Taylor Hawkins musicians who died in 2022Taylor Hawkins, 50
Drummer, Foo Fighters — no cause of death given, though a toxicology test indicated that Hawkins had ten substances in his system, including opioids, benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, and THC, 3/25/22

Judging from the outpouring of sympathies, incredible all-star lineups, and massive attendance at his multiple tribute concerts, Oliver Taylor Hawkins might have been the most well-liked musician on the planet. Charged with the intimidating task of being the drummer in Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters, Hawkins joined the band just as it embarked on tour in 1997 and appeared on every recording since, starting with 1999’s There Is Nothing Left to Lose. Stolen by Grohl out from under Alanis Morissette’s touring band, Hawkins seemed to enjoy every second of his tenure with the Foo Fighters, his beaming smile often accompanying Grohl in interviews and promotional appearances. Hawkins also had multiple other musical projects afloat, including NHC, a band he formed in 2021 with Jane’s Addiction members Dave Navarro and Chris Chaney (the latter of whom played with Hawkins in Morissette’s band). Photo by Raphael Pour-Hashemi, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Olivia Newton John musicians who died in 2022Olivia Newton John, 73
Pop and country music vocalist — died after a prolonged fight with breast cancer, 8/8/22

Born in England, Olivia Newton-John moved to Melbourne, Australia when she was five. By the age of 15, she was in an all-girl band before signing to Decca records and really launching her singing career. In 1973, she won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the title track of her albbum, Let Me Be There. Newton-John won another three Grammys in her career, including two in 1974 for the single “I Honestly Love You.” Her 1978 performance in Grease, the highest-grossing American movie musical of the 20th century, launched Newton-John into even more prominence, with her duets with John Travolta — “You’re the One That I Want” and “Summer Nights” — both hitting the Top 5 in the US and abroad. In all, Newton-John posted record sales that topped 100 million albums, with close to 40 songs making the Billboard Hot 100 over her five-decade career. First diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992, Newton-John established the Olivia Newton-John Foundation Fund, a charity sponsoring research into plant medicine for cancer. In 2020, she was honored as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to charity, cancer research, and entertainment.

coolio musicians who died in 2022Coolio, 59
Rapper — died of cardiac arrest, 9/28/22

Born Artis Leon Ivey Jr., Coolio (adapted from a nickname, “Coolio Iglesias,” that was given to him when he was first dabbling in rap in high school) was nominated for six Grammy Awards in his career, winning one for Best Rap Solo Performance for his best-known track, “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Known for his good-time party attitude — at a time when Gangsta Rap was prominent — the moody atmosphere of Stevie Wonders’ “Pastime Paradise” that was the base of the song, along with the dark themes about ghetto life, prompted Tommy Boy (Coolio’s record company) to keep the track off any of Coolio’s albums, so the track ended up on the Dangerous Minds soundtrack. The wild success of the song prompted a change of heart, and it became the title track of Coolio’s second studio release. Coolio released eight studio albums between 1994 and 2009, and won an American Music Award and three MTV Music Awards in addition to his Grammy.

Meat Loaf musicians who died in 2022Meat Loaf, 74
Singer, songwriter, actor — died from complications of COVID-19 (according to TMZ), 1/20/22

Born Michael Lee Aday, Meat Loaf made a name playing Eddie in 1975’s Rocky Horror Picture Show — one of 65 movies he appeared in — but blew his career wide open with his 1977 debut, Bat Out Of Hell. Featuring songs written by Jim Steinman and produced by Todd Rundgren, the album remains one of the top 10 best-selling albums of all-time. On the strength of its romantic bravado and shoot-for-the-moon camp — and the songs “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” — Meat Loaf didn’t approximate the same level of success until 1993’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which included the hit “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).” Meat Loaf collaborated with Steinman (who passed in 2021), on other material over his 12 studio albums, including 2016’s Braver Than We Are, his final release. Photo by Super Festivals, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Andrew Fletcher musicians who died in 2022Andy Fletcher, 60
Keyboardist, a founder of Depeche Mode — died after suffering an aortic dissection, 5/26/22

Built on the sound of the underground electronic club scene in the UK, Depeche Mode was formed by Andy Fletcher, Vince Clarke, and Martin Gore in 1976. When vocalist Dave Gahan joined in 1980, the band changed its name to Depeche Mode and continued buidling its status in the London club scene. But it was 1984’s Some Great Reward that catapulted the band onto the charts, with the singles “Master And Servant” and “People Are People,” and the band continued to issue studio albums up to its induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. In all, Depeche Mode released 15 studio albums with sales topping 100 million albums worldwide. Photo by Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gasteiz, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Alan White musicians who died in 2022Alan White, 72
Drummer, Yes — died after a brief illness, 5/26/22

Known predominantly for his long tenure as the drummer for Yes, Alan White was briefly a member of John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band (along with Eric Clapton) and recorded on some of Lennon’s solo material (including the song “Instant Karma”) as well as on George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. In 1972, he was offered the drum throne in Yes after Bill Bruford left to form King Crimson, just as the band was set to tour in support of Close To the Edge. Since his studio debut with the band on Tales from Topographic Oceans, White has recorded drums and percussion on over 40 studio and live Yes albums and he and Chris Squire (bass), were the only consistent members of the band between 1972 and 2015, when Squire passed away. Yes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 with a reported 13.5 million albums sold in the US — 30 million worldwide. Photo by Luque, Paraguay, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Naomi Judd musicians who died in 2022Naomi Judd, 76
Singer, songwriter, The Judds — died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, 4/30/22

In 1964, as she was making plans to attend college, 17-year-old Naomi Judd found herself pregnant and opted to raise a family instead. 15 years later, as a single mom scraping by, Judd moved her family (herself and daughters Wynonna and Ashley) to Nashville to give music a shot. Working as a nurse, she managed an audition for her duo act with Wynonna at RCA Records and scored a contract that same day. Their first single, “Had a Dream (for the Heart)” hit Number 20 on the country charts, and The Judds’ second album, 1984’s Why Not Me, topped the country charts and solidified the duo’s standing as country royalty. The Judds issued six studio albums, posted 14 Number 1 songs, and won five Grammy Awards over their career. In 1990, Naomi had to stop her music career due to a life-threatening case of Hepatitis C, though she beat the odds, outliving her prognosis of five years and performing with Wynonna for a reunion on New Years Eve of 1999, which was released as a live album in 2000. Photo by State Farm, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Pharoah Sanders musicians who died in 2022Pharoah Sanders, 81
Jazz saxophone (tenor and soprano) — died of undisclosed causes, 9/24/22
Born Ferrell Sanders, Pharoah Sanders started as a blues player (and clarinet player) but turned to jazz and the tenor saxophone after heading to the Bay Area to study music and art. He ultimately landed in New York City, where he caught the attention of John Coltrane. In 1964, as Coltrane was exploring free jazz, Sanders played with Coltrane’s ensemble until Coltrane’s death in 1967, though Sanders was never officially a member of the band. He collaborated with Alice Coltrane just after her husband’s death and continued as a bandleader, exploring free jazz, standards, and a range of styles, releasing over 40 albums as a bandleader between 1965 and 2021, including several on the Impulse! label in the late ‘60s — 1966’s Tauhid, 1969’s Karma, and 1971’s Black Unity and Thembi among them. He worked with countless luminaries over his career, including McCoy Tyner, Randy Weston, and Joey DeFrancesco, winning a Grammy Award with Tyner on 1987’s Blues for Coltrane. Photo by Wojciech Soporek, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ian McDonald musicians who died in 2022Ian McDonald, 75
Saxophone, flute, vibraphone, guitar, vocals, songwriter, King Crimson/Foreigner — died of colon cancer, 2/9/22

Ian McDonald released a solo album in 1999, three decades after first hitting the London music scene, but his being a founding member of both King Crimson and Foreigner established his legacy among his peers. Part of the ensemble that ultimately formed to become King Crimson in 1968, McDonald played on the band’s debut, In The Court of the Crimson King, and is credited as playing flute, keyboards, Mellotron, reeds, vibraphone, and woodwind (and vocals). He wasn’t enamored with the direction King Crimson was taking, though, and left the band after its first tour. Before helping form Foreigner in 1976, he continued doing session work, including on T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, which featured the hit “Bang A Gong.” He was with Foreigner through its first three albums, which feature hits ranging from “Dirty White Boy” to “Hot Blooded” to “Long, Long Way From Home” — the latter features McDonald as a co-writer. Photo by Richard Bourgerie (derivative work: Harold), CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Gary Brooker musicians who died in 2022Gary Brooker, 76
Singer, Procol Harum — died of cancer, 2/19/22

Born in East London, Gary Brooker played piano, cornet, and trombone as a child before starting a band with guitarist and friend Robin Trower, called the Paramounts, in 1962. Four years later, Brooker founded Procol Harum with his friend Keith Reid, issuing the song “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Trower was asked to join the band, but Brooker’s vocals and piano were the focus of the band’s sound and musical direction. After the band dissolved, Brooker issued a solo album, No More Fear of Flying, in 1979 and played in a number of projects, including playing with Eric Clapton’s band, Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band, Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, George Harrison, and the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in 1996. Photo by Stefan Brending.

Lamont Dozier musicians who died in 2022Lamont Dozier, 81
Songwriter, singer, producer — died of undisclosed causes, 8/8/22

The list of Motown songs that Lamont Dozier helped write reads like a best-of from Motown’s heyday, including “Heat Wave” (Martha and the Vandellas); “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Baby Love,” and “Stop! In The Name Of Love” (The Supremes); and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Marvin Gaye). Along with his collaborators, Brian and Eddie Holland — known collectively as Holland-Dozier-Holland — Dozier had a hand in writing 15 songs that hit Number 1 on the R&B or pop charts, and the trio had 80 singles that hit the Top 40. The trio left Motown in 1967 and started their own labels — Invictus and Hot Wax — but the magic the kept the Motown hits going for the label and the songwriters couldn’t be replicated. Dozier released 13 solo albums between 1974 and 2018, hitting the Top 20 with “Trying to Hold On to My Woman” in 1974. Photo by Andre Csillag/Shutterstock.

Anita Kerr musicians who died in 2022Anita Kerr, 94
Vocalist, arranger, composer, band leader, and producer — died of undisclosed causes, 10/10/22

Renowned for their tight harmonies and lush vocal arrangements, The Anita Kerr Singers were a staple in the Nashville scene in the ‘50s and ‘60s. High-demand producers, including Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, used the vocal quintet on literally thousands of recordings, with Anita Kerr providing arrangements for countless, and often uncredited, backing tracks. The Anita Kerr Singers can be heard on Bobby Helms’s “Jingle Bell Rock,” Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry,” and Burl Ives’ “A Little Bitty Tear” as well as R&B hits like Carla Thomas’ “Gee Whiz,” Esther Phillips’ “Release Me,” and Bobby Bland’s “Share Your Love With Me.” The Anita Kerr Singers also issued 13 albums between 1962 and 2007, including 1965’s We Dig Mancini, which beat out the Beatles’ Help! for the Grammy for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Photo by Punt / Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL via Wikimedia Commons.

Jerry Allison musicians who died in 2022Jerry Allison, 82
Drummer, songwriter, The Crickets (Buddy Holly) — died from cancer, 8/22/22

An original member of Buddy Holly’s backing band, the Crickets, Jerry Allison was also a co-writer of two of Holly’s hits in the late ‘50s. As the story goes, soon after Holly and Allison saw The Searchers, a film featuring John Wayne, the duo penned “That’ll Be The Day” based on one of Wayne’s notable lines. After a failed attempt at recording it as a country tune, Holly and company cut a rock and roll version in 1957 that hung in Billboard’s Top 30 for three months. Later that year, Allison encouraged Holly to rename a track they were working on from “Cindy Lou” to “Peggy Sue” because he was hoping to score points with his on-and-off girlfriend (who later became his wife). The Crickets’ tenure with Buddy Holly was brief, due to the tragic death of the icon in 1959, but the Crickets endured with guitarist Sonny Curtis and went on to back other artists, including Bobby Vee and the Everly Brothers, and issue their own albums, including 1988’s T Shirt, produced by longtime fan, Paul McCartney. Photo by Coral Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dan McCaffertyDan McCafferty, 76
Singer, Nazareth — died of issues related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 11/8/22

Manny Charlton musicians who died in 2022Manny Charlton, 80
Guitarist, Nazareth — died of undisclosed causes, 7/5/22

William Daniel McCafferty and Manny Charlton formed the Shadettes in the 1960s, changing the band’s name to Nazareth in 1970 after hearing the lyric in the Band’s song “The Weight.” The band issued a couple of rock/country albums in the early ‘70s, but it was 1973’s hard-rocking Razamanaz that gained Nazareth notice and broke into the UK Top 10 with the hit singles “Broken Down Angel” and “Bad Bad Boy.” 1975’s Hair of the Dog established Nazareth as international rock figures. Fueled by the title track and the ballad “Love Hurts,” the album sold more than one million copies in the US. The band continued to crank out material, issuing its 25th studio album in 2022, though Charlton had left the band by the time 2008’s The News was recorded, and McCafferty had to exit after recording 2014’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone because of health issues.

Mo Ostin musicians who died in 2022Mo Ostin, 95
Record executive, Warner Brothers, Reprise, and others — died of natural causes, 7/31/22

Falling into the music business in the late ‘40s, Mo Ostin, born Morris Meyer Ostrofsky, started working for Clef records in the mid-‘50s. By the end of the decade, he was working for Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records, convincing Sinatra that they’d need to sign some rock and roll acts if the label were to survive. In 1964, he signed the Kinks, and as Reprise was then sold to Warner Brothers, Ostin had creative control at the label for three decades. The list of acts he signed or worked with is impossibly star-studded and impressive, including Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Madonna, Green Day … the list goes on. Ostin was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images.

Patrick Haggerty musicians who died in 2022Patrick Haggerty, 78
Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, first openly gay country singer, founded Lavender Country — died of a stroke, 9/30/22
Photo by Missvain, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Keith Levene musicians who died in 2022Keith Levene, 65
Guitarist, a founding member of the Clash and Public Image Ltd. —
died of liver cancer, 11/11/22

Photo by Michael Johnson, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jeff Cook musicians who died in 2022Jeff Cook, 73
Guitarist, vocalist, a founding member of Alabama —
died from complications of Parkinson’s disease, 11/7/22

Joe Tarsia musicians who died in 2022Joe Tarsia, 88
Founder of Sigma Sound Studios, audio engineer, and architect of the “Sound of Philadelphia” — died of undisclosed causes, 11/1/22
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Irene Cara musicians who died in 2022Irene Cara, 63
Singer, actor, dancer, scored hits with the songs “Fame” and “Flashdance… What A Feelin’” — died of undisclosed causes, 11/25/22

Dave Smith musicians who died in 2022Dave Smith, 72
Developer of the Prophet family of synthesizers; the Godfather of MIDI —
died from complications of a heart attack, 5/31/22

Jim Seals musicians who died in 2022Jim Seals, 79
Guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, half of the duo Seals and Crofts —
died of complications from chronic illnesses, 6/6/22

Photo: Warner Brothers Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Julee Cruise musicians who died in 2022Julee Cruise, 65
Singer, songwriter, best known for her collaborations with David Lynch and Angelo Badalementi, performed with B-52s — died by suicide, struggled with lupus, depression, and alcohol and drug addiction, 6/9/22
Photo by Bertrand from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Angelo Badalementi musicians who died in 2022Angelo Badalementi, 85
Film composer, best known for his work with David Lynch —
died of natural causes, 12/11/22

Ronnie Hawkins musicians who died in 2022Ronnie Hawkins, 87
Rockabilly singer and songwriter — died of undisclosed causes (underwent bypass surgery in 2002 and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003), 5/29/22

Vangelis musicians who died in 2022Vangelis, 79
Composer, best known for Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner
died of congestive heart failure, 5/17/22

Photo by Kapetan Nikolios, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL via Wikimedia Commons.

Mickey Gilley musicians who died in 2022Mickey Gilley, 86
Country music singer and songwriter, his club Inspired the movie Urban Cowboy
died of bone cancer, 5/7/22

Ric Parnell musicians who died in 2022Ric Parnell, 70
Drummer, Spinal Tap, Atomic Rooster —
died of a blood clot in his lungs that led to organ failure, 5/1/22

Bibby Rydell musicians who died in 2022Bobby Rydell, 79
Singer, teen idol —
died of complications from pneumonia, 4/5/22

Photo by James Kriegsmann, New York., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Aaron Carter musicians who died in 2022Aaron Carter, 34
Singer, rapper, one-time teen sensation —
died of undisclosed causes, 11/5/22

Mimi Parker musicians who died in 2022Mimi Parker, 55
Vocalist, drummer, Low —
died of ovarian cancer, 11/5/22

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Jody Miller musicians who died in 2022Jody Miller, 80
Singer, won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the song “Queen of the House” in 1966 — died of Parkinson’s disease, 10/6/22

Joanna Simon musicians who died in 2022Joanna Simon, 85
Mezzo-soprano opera singer (sister of Carly Simon) —
died of thyroid cancer, 10/19/22

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Lucy Simon musicians who died in 2022Lucy Simon, 82
Singer and composer for Broadway and popular music (sister of Carly Simon) —
died of metastatic breast cancer, 10/20/22

Ramsey Lewis musicians who died in 2022Ramsey Lewis, 87
Jazz pianist, composer, scored five gold records over a 60-year career —
died of natural causes, 9/12/22

Michael Henderson musicians who died in 2022Michael Henderson, 71
Funk bassist, vocalist —
died after a battle with cancer, 7/19/22

Photo by JPRoche, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

William hart Michael Henderson William Hart, 77
Singer, songwriter, the Delfonics —
died after complications during surgery, 7/14/22

Photo by Julius “Juice” Freeman, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Radu Lupu Michael Henderson Radu Lupu, 76
Renowned classical pianist —
died of multiple prolonged illnesses, 4/17/22

Photo by Reinhold Möller, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Jeremiah Green musicians who died in 2022Jeremiah Green, 45
Drummer, Modest Mouse —
died after a brief battle with cancer, 12/31/22

Photo by Daniel Hartwig from Stoughton, United States, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael Lang, 77
Concert promoter, one of the creators of 1969’s Woodstock music festival — died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 1/8/22

Mark Lanegan, 57
Vocalist, songwriter, Screaming Trees frontman, half of The Gutter Twins, one-time member of Queens of the Stone Age — died of undisclosed causes, 2/22/22

Bill Pitman, 102
Wrecking Crew guitarist, performed on records by Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, the Ronettes, and hundreds of others — died from complications of a fall, 8/11/22

Takeoff, 28
Rapper, member of Lawrenceville, Georgia hip hop trio Migos — Shot and Killed in Houston, 11/1/22

Gal Costa, 77
Brazilian pop vocalist, one of the main figures of the tropicalia music scene in the ‘60s — died of undisclosed causes, 11/9/22

Ned Rorem, 99
Composer, diarist, won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1976 for “Air Music” — died of natural causes, 11/18/22

Elizabeth Stewart, 83
Folk singer, pianist, and composer, champion of the Travellers, an ethnic group in Scotland — died of undisclosed causes, 10/13/22

Toshi Ichiyanagi, 89
Pianist, composer, general artistic director of the Kanagawa Arts Foundation in Japan — died of undisclosed causes, 10/7/22

Robert Gordon, 75
Vocalist, producer, stoked a rockabilly revival in New York City in the ‘80s — died of acute myeloid leukemia, 10/18/22

Ahmed Alshaiba, 32
Yemen-born New York musician, self-taught Oud (Lute) player who gained a massive viewership on YouTube — died in a car accident, 9/28/22

Geoff Nuttall, 56
Violinist, St. Lawrence Strong Quartet — died of pancreatic cancer, 10/19/22

Mary McCaslin, 75
Folk singer, guitarist, songwriter — died after suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare brain disorder, 10/2/22

Anton Fier, 66
Drummer, producer, composer, bandleader, The Feelies, Pere Ubu — died by assisted suicide, 9/14/22

Ray Edenton, 95
Country music guitarist and session player — died of undisclosed causes, 9/21/22

Jorja Fleezanis, 70
Violinist and concertmaster — died of a cardiovascular event, 9/9/22

Lars Vogt, 51
Classical pianist and conductor — died after a battle with cancer, 9/5/22

Archie Roach, 66
Singer, songwriter, Australian Aboriginal activist — died after struggling with lung cancer and emphysema, 7/30/22

Jaimie Branch, 39
Jazz trumpeter and composer — died of undisclosed causes, 8/22/22

Joey DeFrancesco, 51
Jazz organist, trumpeter, saxophonist, singer — died of a heart attack, 8/25/22

Creed Taylor, 93
Jazz record producer — died after suffering a stroke, 8/22/22

Abdul Wadud, 75
Classical and jazz cellist — died of complications of multiple illnesses, 8/10/22

Judith Durham, 79
Singer, songwriter, lead singer of the Australian folk group, the Seekers — died of bronchiectasis (lung disease), 8/5/22

Mick Moloney, 77
Irish folk musician, vocalsist, banjo player, mandolin player, guitarist — died of undisclosed causes, 7/27/22

Monty Norman, 94
Keyboardist, guitarist, wrote 007’s theme — died after a short illness, 7/11/22

Pablo Milanés, 79
Cuban guitarist, pianist, vocalist, composer — died of myelodysplastic syndrome (blood disorder), 11/22/22

Louise Tobin, 104
Jazz vocalist and musician — died of undisclosed causes, 11/26/22

Ingram Marshall, 80
Minimalist classical composer — died of complications due to Parkinson’s disease, 5/31/22

Grachan Moncur III, 85
Jazz trombonist — died of cardiac arrest, 6/3/22

Bill Walker, 95
Country music composer, arranger, and producer — died suddenly of undisclosed causes, 5/26/22

KK, 53
Indian playback singer of Bollywood Hits — died of cardiac arrest shortly after a performance, 5/31/22

Simon Preston, 83
Organist, conductor, and composer — died of undisclosed causes, 5/13/22

Alexander Toradze, 69
Classical pianist — died of heart failure, 5/11/22

Teresa Berganza, 89
Mezzo-soprano opera singer — died of natural causes, 5/13/22

Judy Henske, 85
Jazz, folk, and blues singer and songwriter, dubbed “the Queen of the Beatniks” — died of natural causes, 4/27/22

Bob Neuwirth, 82
Singer, songwriter, record producer, Bob Dylan’s road manager — died of heart failure, 5/18/22

Lil Keed, 24
Atlanta rapper and songwriter, born Raqhid Jevon Render — died of natural causes, 5/13/22

Klaus Schulze, 74
Keyboardist, guitarist, bassist, drummer, vocalist, Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, and The Cosmic Jokers — died after a long illness, 4/26/22

José Luis Cortés, 70
Cuban bandleader, flautist — died after a hemorrhagic encephalic accident, 4/18/22

Chris Bailey, 65
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer — died of natural causes, 4/9/22

Harrison Birtwistle, 87
Contemporary classical composer — died after suffering a stroke, 4/18/22

Nicholas Angelich, 51
Classical concert pianist — died of degenerative lung failure, 4/18/22

DJ Kay Slay, 55
DJ, hip hop music promoter — died from complications of COVID-19, 4/17/22

Art Rupe, 104
Music executive, record producer, founded R&B/Gospel label Specialty Records — died of undisclosed causes, 4/15/22

Paul Siebel, 84
Singer, guitarist, songwriter — died of pulmonary fibrosis, 4/5/22

Joseph Kalichstein, 76
Classical pianist — died of pancreatic cancer, 5/31/22

Mira Calix, 52
Electronic and classical composer/musician — died after a long battle with cancer, 5/25/22

Roland White, 83
Bluegrass and country-rock mandolin player, guitarist, vocalist — died after a heart attack, 4/1/22

Bill Fries, 93
Country music singer/songwriter, wrote and performed “Convoy” — died of cancer, 4/1/22

Donald “Tabby” Shaw, 67
Vocalist of the roots/reggae trio Mighty Diamonds — died after a drive-by shooting, 3/29/22

Fitzroy “Bunny” Simpson, 70
Vocalist of the roots/reggae trio Mighty Diamonds — died after a long battle with diabetes, 4/1/22

Andrew Paul Woolfolk II, 71
Saxophone, Earth, Wind & Fire — died after a long illness, 4/24/22

Hargus Robbins, 84
Country music session keyboard player, played on tracks for Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Bob Dylan, and a host of others — died of undisclosed causes (he suffered from a bacterial infection in his bloodstream, heart disease, and a kidney ailment), 1/30/22

Tito Matos, 53
Puerto Rican percussionist, played the requinto drum — died of a heart attack, 1/18/22

Beegie Adair, 84
Jazz pianist, bandleader — died of undisclosed causes, 1/23/22

Dan Einstein, 61
Record producer, founded Oh Boy Records with John Prine — died after a a prolonged illness, 1/15/22

Elza Soares, 91
Brazilian samba singer — died of natural causes, 1/20/22

Badal Roy, 82
Jazz and world music tabla player, percussionist, and recording artist — died of COVID-19, 1/18/22

Everett Lee, 105
Symphonic conductor, opera music director, violinist, the first African American to conduct a Broadway musical — died of natural causes, 1/12/22

Fred Parris, 85
Doo-wop singer — died after a brief illness, 1/13/22

Ralph Emery, 88
Country music DJ, the “Dick Clark of Country Music” — died of natural causes, 1/15/22

Dallas Frazier, 82
Country music singer, songwriter — died from complications from a stroke, 1/14/22

Rosa Lee Hawkins, 76
Singer in the Dixie Cups, pop girl-group, known for “Chapel of Love” and other hits — died from complications during surgery, 12/11/22

Maria Ewing, 71
Mezzo-soprano and soprano opera singer — died of cancer, 1/9/22

Bill Staines, 74
Folk singer and guitarist — died of prostate cancer, 12/5/22

Dale Clevenger, 81
Principal Horn of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1966–2013 — died of complications of Waldenstrom’s disease, a form of lymphoma, 1/5/22

James Mtume, 76
Jazz and R&B musician, songwriter, and record producer — died of cancer, 1/9/22

Marilyn Bergman, 93
Half of songwriting duo (with her husband Alan) that wrote music and lyrics for television, film, and stage productions — died of respiratory failure, 1/8/22

Stephen Lawrence, 82
Songwriter, composer, Sesame Street and “Free To Be You And Me” — died of multiple organ failure, 12/30/22

Don Wilson, 88
Guitarist, co-founder of The Ventures — died of natural causes, 1/22/22

Leslie Parnas, 90
Classical cellist — died of congestive heart failure, 2/1/22

Beverly Ross, 87
Songwriter and musician, co-wrote “Lollipop” — died of complications from dementia, 1/15/22

Betty Davis, 77
Funk singer, songwriter — died of cancer, 2/9/22

Norma Waterson, 82
Singer, songwriter, one of the original members of The Watersons — died of pneumonia, 1/30/22

Syl Johnson, 85
Blues singer, guitarist, harmonica player — died of congestive heart failure, 1/6/22

George Crumb, 92
Avant-garde classical composer — died of undisclosed causes, 2/6/22

Sam Lay, 86
Blues drummer and vocalist, Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf, Butterfield Blues Band — died of natural causes, 1/29/22

Jon Zazula, 69
Founded Megaforce Records — died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 2/1/22

Sandy Nelson, 83
Rock and jazz drummer in the ’50-’60s — died of a stroke, 2/14/22

William Kraft, 98
Classical composer, conductor, timpanist, and percussionist — died of congestive heart failure, 2/12/22

Timmy Thomas, 77
R&B singer, keyboardist, songwriter, and record producer, known for the hit, “Why Can’t We Live Together” — died of cancer, 3/11/22

Ron Miles, 58
Jazz trumpeter, cornetist, and composer — died of polycythemia vera, a rare blood disorder, 3/8/22

Carlos Barbosa-Lima, 77
Brazilian classical and jazz guitarist — died of a heart attack, 2/23/22

Joni James, 91
Pop singer in the ’50s-’60s — died of natural causes, 2/20/22

Bobbie Nelson, 91
Singer, Willie Nelson’s sister and pianist — died of undisclosed causes, 3/10/22

Andre Calilhanna is a decent writer, drummer, and vocalist, as well as a terrible pianist and guitarist. He’s also a book editor and blog manager of the Disc Makers and BookBaby blog. Contact him at

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About Andre Calilhanna

Andre Calilhanna is a drummer, vocalist, writer, editor, and manager of the Disc Makers and BookBaby blogs. He's also a golf "enthusiast," pianist-in-progress, and a below-average guitarist (thanks for asking). Contact him at

10 thoughts on “Musicians who died in 2022

    1. Hi Andy — thanks for the note. As I mentioned, anyone not included was an oversight, not an editorial choice. Hard to keep up with everyone. RIP Wilko Johnson (75), guitarist, singer, and songwriter with Dr. Feelgood. Known for his distinctive fingerstyle guitar playing.

  1. Terry Hall – 63
    Lead singer with The Specials, a post-punk ska band that started the 2-Tone record label in 1979. The label helped to launch bands such as The Beat (The English Beat in North America), Madness, and The Selecter, and was at the forefront of the anti-racism movement.
    After 2 top-selling albums and the success of their most well-known single, Ghost Town, Terry Hall left The Specials along with Neville Staple and Lynval Golding to form Fun Boy Three. Their hits included The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum) and Our Lips Are Sealed (a song Terry wrote with Go-Go, Jane Wiedlin).
    After many other musical ventures, The Specials reformed with Terry on lead vocals in 2008, then in 2018 the band released its first album of all original material since the 80s. The album, Encore, shot straight to the top of the UK charts. This was followed in 2021 by Protest Songs – 1924–2012.
    The Specials were still calling out injustice as they had way back in 1979.
    Terry suffered terribly as a child and went on to be a beacon of hope for may. He will be missed.

  2. No mention of Terry Hall, who helped stoke the ska-punk revival, as lead singer of The Specials? Maybe deadlines had something to do with it, but it’s weird, as you did include Monty Norman, composer of the James Bond Theme — a song that the Specials often did play live.

    I’ll point out one other notable omission: singer-saxophonist Nik Turner, of Hawkwind, “the godfathers of space rock.” He and Keith Levene died within 24 hours of each other, which provoked a fair bit of comment in itself at the time.

    1. Thanks, Ralph. You’ll note Terry was mentioned by another commenter — and thank you for the inclusion of Nik Turner. Apologies for missing him the first time around.

      1. Oh, sure, no worries. This year has seen quite a few icons passing, more so than most, it seems.

        But I do see the other comment, which also puts a finger on what made the Specials so potent — they always had their finger on the pulse of what was happening.

        A great example came later in their career, with their inspired reworking of Prince Buster’s “Ten Commandments,” from the woman’s point of view — unlike most reunions, where they just wheel out all the hits, and call it a day. I thought that move was inspired, particularly in having activist Saffiyah Khan performing it with them.

        Of course, that’s just one example among many, but Terry was front and center through all these things, and a massive influence on me, lyrically, so it’s great to look back and see the mark he made. Thanks for your response.

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