Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020

Robert Bell (a.k.a. Khalis Bayvan) - Sept. 9; co-founder and saxophonist of New Jersey pop-funk band Kool & the Gang; co-wrote all of the band's hits, including "Celebration" (No. 1, 1980), "Joanna" (No. 2, 1983), "Cherish" (No. 2, 1985),  "Jungle Boogie" (No. 4, 1973), "Too Hot" (No. 5, 1979), "Hollywood Swinging" (No. 6, 1974), "Ladies Night" (No. 8, 1979), "Fresh" (No. 9, 1984), "Get Down on It" (No. 10, 1981), "Misled" (No. 10, 1984), "Victory" (No. 10, 1986), "Stone Love" (No. 10, 1987), "Tonight" (No. 13, 1984), "Take My Heart" (No. 17, 1981), "Emergency" (No. 18, 1985), "Big Fun" (No. 21, 1982), "Funky Stuff" (No. 29, 1973), "Spirit of the Boogie"/"Summer Madness" (No. 35, 1975), "Higher Plane" (No. 37, 1974) and "Open Sesame, Pt. 1" (No. 55, 1976)"; the latter song appears on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which won Album of the Year in 1978, earning Kool & the Gang their only Grammy (they were nominated three times); cause undisclosed; was 68. 

Black the Ripper (nee Dean West) - Apr. 4; London-born rapper advocated for the legalization of marijuana on many songs, such as "Married to Marijuana" (2012), "Tangie" (2014, watch below), "Weed Is My Best Friend" (2016) and "In Dank We Trust" (2017); his death in Montserrat is currently being investigated; was 32.

Hamilton Bohannon - Apr. 24; legendary funk/disco performer and producer; had hits with "Foot Stoppin' Music" (No. 98, 1975) and "Let's Start the Dance" (No. 101, 1978, listen below); got his start at Motown as a teenager; cause undisclosed; was 78.

• Andrew Brough - Feb. 4; guitarist (wearing glasses in the clip below) in the New Zealand rock band Straitjacket Fits; the cause and his age are unknown.

Lynford "Hux" Brown - June 18; Toots & the Maytals' longtime Jamaican-born guitarist also performed with Tommy McCall & the Supersonics and played lead on Paul Simon's "Mother and Child Reunion"; cause undisclosed; was 75.

• Buddy Cage - Feb. 4; pedal steel guitarist in the New Riders of the Purple Sage; he replaced Jerry Garcia in 1971; appears on 10 New Riders albums from 1972-1981; also played with Brewer & Shipley and Great Speckled Bird; reformed the New Riders with David Nelson in 2005; suffered from myeloma, a type of blood cancer; was 7.

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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.