2022 in review: acts that we lost this year

(Above: The Killer, ironically, passed on in October.)

2022 was, by all accounts, a difficult year once again in terms of popular culture. For the last several years we’ve been seeing more and more of the acts that we grew up with aging and passing on.

During more “normal” workload years for me – when I had time to write more updates on this blog, I’d be sure to spotlight acts that stood out and relate a story about a song. I fell so far behind this year that it would be almost impossible to play “catch-up” now. So – and maybe this will be an annual thing, who knows? – here’s a summary of the portions of the soundtracks of our lives who we lost in 2022.

(Note – This list is by no means complete, and dates may conflict based on when deaths are reported.)

January

1/7 – R. Dean Taylor, who had a major hit with “Indiana Wants Me,” age 82.

1/11 – Rosa Lee Hawkins, singer with The Dixie Cups, age 76.

1/12 – Veronica Bennett Spector, who we all knew as “Ronnie,” the namesake of the Ronettes. She was 78. “Be My Baby” may well remain one of, if not the, greatest pop record ever recorded.

1/13 – Fred Parris, founder of The Five Satins, age 85.

1/13 – Sonny Turner, singer for The Platters, age 83.

1/20 – Marvin Lee Aday, who we knew as Meat Loaf, age 74.

1/22 – Don Wilson, guitarist for The Ventures, age 88.

1/26 – Sister Janet Mead, who set “The Lord’s Prayer” to music in 1974 and had a hit with it, age 83.

February

2/9 – Ian McDonald, founding member of King Crimson, age 75.

2/14 – Sandy Nelson, drummer who had several hit instrumentals, age 83.

2/17 – David Tyson, singer for The Manhattans, age 62.

2/19 – Gary Brooker, pianist for Procol Harum and the guy who played that iconic intro to “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” age 76.

2/22 – Mark Lanegan, singer for Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, age 57.

March

3/1 – Conrad Janis, who was not only a jazz musician but played the owner of the music store on Mork and Mindy, age 94.

3/1 – Richard Platt, co-founder of Blue Magic, age xx

3/5 – Jeff Powell, bassist for Foghat, age 60

3/6 – Mike Cross, guitarist for Sponge, age 57.

3/11 – Timmy Thomas, whose “Why Can’t We Live Together” sounds familiar to a younger generation as “Hotline Bling,” age 77.

3/25 – Taylor Hawkins, drummer for the Foo Fighters, age 50.

3/25 – Bobby Hendricks, singer with The Drifters, age 82.

April

4/1 – C.W. McCall, whose “Convoy” cashed in on the CB craze, age 93.

4/4 – Joe Messina, guitarist for the Funk Brothers, age 93.

4/5 – Bobby Rydell, teen idol and Hugo in Bye Bye Birdie, age 79.

4/12 – Charles McCormick, singer for Bloodstone, age 75.

4/15 – Art Rupe, producer for Specialty Records, age 104.

4/16 – James Johnson, guitarist for Slim Harpo, age 82.

4/18 – Sid Mark, longtime host of the Sounds of Sinatra radio program, age 88

4/18 – Jerry Doucette, whose “Mama Let Him Play” was constantly requested at 97X when I was there, age 70.

4/25 – Andrew Woolfolk, saxophonist for Earth, Wind and Fire, age 71.

4/25 – Susan Jacks, singer of The Poppy Family, age 73.

4/26 – Randy Rand, bassist for Autograph, age 62.

4/30 – Naomi Judd of The Judds, age 76.

May

5/1 – Rick Parnell, the real drummer for Spinal Tap and other sessions, age 70.

5/7 – Mickey Gilley, country singer and bar owner, age 86.

5/12 – Ben Moore, who was really the second Bobby Purify, age 80.

5/13 – Rosmarie Von Trapp – as in THAT Von Trapp Family – age 93.

5/17 – Vangelis, Oscar winner for the theme from Chariots of Fire, age 79. Of course, I always think of a different usage for the music.

5/26 – Alan White, drummer for Yes, age 72.

5/26 – Andy Fletcher, keyboard for Depeche Mode, age 60.

5/29 – Ronnie Hawkins, rockabilly star, age 87.

5/30 – Paul Vance, producer/songwriter, age 92. I don’t know whether to commemorate “Run Joey Run” by David Geddes or “Tracy” by the Cuff Links. Let’s go with the latter and have one fewer tragedy.

June

6/6 – Jim Seals, half of Seals and Crofts, age 80.

6/14 – Joel Whitburn, whose books of pop chart data can be found in every radio station in America and litter my office, age 82. I can safely say that without Joel’s work for decades, my radio shows would have been far less interesting and my dissertation incomplete.

July

7/5 – Manny Charlton, guitarist for Nazareth, age 80.

7/7 – Adam Wade, singer, age 87.

7/7 – Don Graham, record promoter and founder of Tower Records, age 87.

7/11 – Monty Norman, who wrote the James Bond theme music, age 94.

7/14 – William Hart, singer for the Del-Fonics, age 77.

7/16 – Cliff Johnson, singer for Chicago-based band Off Broadway, age 70.

7/23 – Bob Rafelson, film director who created The Monkees for television, age 89.

7/24 – Bob Heathcote, bassist for Suicidal Tendencies, age 58.

7/29 – Jimmy Sohns, singer for Chicago’s The Shadows of Knight, age 75. You surely know “Gloria” – even if it wasn’t theirs first, it is now.

7/31 – Mo Ostin, executive for Warner Brothers Records, age 95.

August

8/4 – Sam Gooden, original member of Chicago soul group The Impressions, age 87.

8/5 – Judith Durham, lead singer of The Seekers, age 79.

8/8 – Darryl Hunt, musician and songwriter for The Pogues, age 72.

8/8 – Lamont Dozier, songwriter whose name you know from Motown singles along with another Dozier and a Holland, age 81.

8/8 – Olivia Newton-John, Australian songstress and Sandra Dee in the film version of Grease, age 73. It’s nearly impossible to think of the 1970s and not have her name come up.

8/11 – Bill Pitman, session guitarist with The Wrecking Crew, age 102.

8/22 – Jerry Allison, drummer for The Crickets and composer of many other songs, age 82.

September

9/8 – Sonny West, who wrote hits for Buddy Holly, age 85.

9/12 – Ramsey Lewis, jazz pianist and my radio co-worker in Chicago, age 87. I wrote about him here.

9/22 – Ray Edenton, session guitarist for the Everly Brothers and Marty Robbins, among others, age 95.

9/22 – John Hartman, drummer for The Doobie Brothers, age 72.

9/28 – Coolio, rap star, age 59.

October

10/4 – Loretta Lynn, country singer and coal miner’s daughter, age 90.

10/6 – Ivy Jo Hunter, Motown songwriter, age 82.

10/6 – Jody Miller, country singer, age 80.

10/10 – Anita Kerr, whose voice graced WLS/Chicago jingles for a decade, age 94.

10/15 – Joyce Sims, R&B singer/songwriter, age 63.

10/21 – Robert Gordy, music publisher and younger brother of Berry, age 91.

10/24 – Gregg Philbin, bassist for REO Speedwagon, age 75.

10/28 – Jerry Lee Lewis, absolute rock and roll legend, age 87. I was fortunate enough to see him perform once, at a bar near Chicago’s Wrigley Field after a ballgame in 1997. I wandered in, saw the Killer on stage, and noticed almost no one else was in attendance. “Does anyone KNOW this is going on?,” I wondered. He was fantastic.

November

11/5 – Mimi Parker, singer and drummer for Low, age 54.

11/7 – Jeff Cook, founding member of Alabama, age 73

11/8 – Dan McCafferty, singer/songwriter for Nazareth, age 76.

11/8 – Garry Roberts, guitarist for The Boomtown Rats, age 72.

11/11 – Keith Levene, guitarist for The Clash, age 65.

11/12 – Gene Cipriano, woodwind player for The Wrecking Crew, age 94.

11/25 – Irene Cara, pop singer, age 63.

11/30 – Christine McVie, singer for Fleetwood Mac and a few great solo efforts, age 79.

11/30 – Ron Beatty, singer and guitarist for Grand Rapids, MI-based group The Eschelons, age 78.

December

12/4 – Bob McGrath, original cast member of Sesame Street, age 90.

12/5 – Jim Stewart, the ST in Stax Records, age 92.

12/6 – Jet Black, drummer for The Stranglers, age 84.

12/10 – J.J. Barnes, R&B singer, age 79.

12/11 – Angelo Badalamenti, Italian composer who wrote the theme for Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet, age 85.

12/15 – Dino Danelli, drummer for The Rascals, age 78. It was his idea to cover “Good Lovin’.”

12/16 – Bertha Barbee-McNeal, singer for The Velvelettes, age 82.

12/17 – Charlie Gracie, pop singer, age 86.

12/18 – Martin Duffy, keyboardist for Primal Scream, age 55.

12/19 – Terry Hall, singer for The Specials, age 63.

12/20 – Iain Templeton, drummer for The La’s, age not released.

12/20 – Randy Begg, drummer for Wednesday, age 71.

12/21 – Harvey Jett, guitarist for Black Oak Arkansas, age 73.

12/22 – Thom Bell, architect of the Philadelphia Sound, age 79. You may not recognize his name, but you know his work with the Delfonics, The Stylistics, The Spinners, Dionne Warwick, even Elton John.

12/29 – Ian Tyson, half of Ian and Sylvia, age 89.

12/29 – Stanley Mills, music publisher who gave us “The Chicken Dance” among other titles, age 91.

12/31 – Jeremiah Green, drummer for Modest Mouse, age 45.

12/31 – Anita Pointer, singer with the Pointer Sisters, age 74.

There were plenty of other losses in 2022, ranging from the original construction of my left ankle (put back together in January) to the death of my father (in March) to the destruction of my first radio home (over the summer, and I still owe an article on that.) Here’s hoping that 2023 will be safer and saner.

—-

Despite the neglect I paid this blog in terms of content, it saw an amount of traffic that, to be honest, surprised me. Almost fifteen thousand visitors representing 109 different countries stopped by here in 2022. If you were one of them, I thank you, and promise you more content coming in 2023. There are still plenty of stories that I have yet to share about radio, pop culture, and the songs that we all seem to keep coming back to time and time again.

I’d love to hear from you as well. I’ve caught up on pending comments, so the “request lines” are open once again.

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