Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020

Patricia "Bonnie" Pointer - June 8; one of the founding Oakland-born Pointer Sisters with Anita, June and Ruth; left the group for a solo career after their first two albums; had a No. 11 hit with the disco song "Heaven Must Have Sent You" in 1979 (watch below) and released four albums from 1978- 2011; suffered a cardiac arrest; was 69.

Pop Smoke (nee Bashar Jackson) - Feb. 19; up-and-coming Brooklyn-born rapper had a No. 48 R&B hit with "Welcome to the Party" in 2019; murdered in a home invasion Hollywood Hills, CA; was 20.

Joe Porcaro - July 6; Los Angeles-based drummer performed with everyone from Rosemary Clooney to Toto; his three sons Jeff, Mike and Steve founded Toto; cause undisclosed; was 90.

Francis "Rocco" Prestia Jr. - Sept. 29; California-born original bassist with Tower of Power; suffered from liver disease; was 69. Watch "What Is Hip" below.

Charley Pride - Dec. 12; pioneering black country singer released 46 studio albums from 1966-2017 and had 31 No. 1 country singles; only a few crossed over to the Top 100, including "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" (No. 21, 1971, watch below); suffered from Covid-19; was 86.

Steve Priest - June 4; founding bassist in British glam-rock band Sweet; had hits with "LIttle Willie" (No. 3, 1972), "The Ballroom Blitz" (No. 5, 1975, watch below), "Fox on the Run" (No. 5, 1975), "Love Is Like Oxygen" (No. 20, 1978) and "Action" (No. 20, 1975), and released nine albums from 1971-1982; Steve Priest's Sweet was formed in 2002 and continued until his death; cause undisclosed; was 72.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.