Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020

Jerry Slick - Mar. 17; Grace Slick's first husband, a drummer who founded the Great Society in 1966 with Grace and his brother Darby, who wrote "Someone to Love" (watch below; it was renamed "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airiplane, who had a No. 5 hit with it in 1967); Jerry and Grace were married from 1961-1971; he was also a documentary filmmaker and owned Slick Film; suffered from cancer; was 80.

Millie Small - May 5; Jamaican-born singer had hits with "My Boy Lollipop" (No. 2, 1964, watch below) and a few other novelty songs; suffered a stroke; was 72.

Michael Peter Smith - Aug. 3; Chicago-based singer-songwriter known for such songs as "The Dutchman" and "Spoon River," both performed by Steve Goodman; suffered from colon cancer; was 78.

Willie "Wild" Sparks - May 23; drummer with Graham Central Station who had hits with "Can You Handle It?" (No. 49, 1974, watch below)) and "Release Yourself" (1974); cause undisclosed; age unknown.

Gordon Stone - July 10; Vermont-based picker played banjo and pedal steel guitar on Phish's A Picture of Nectar (1992) and performed in the Gordon Stone Trio; cause undisclosed; was 70.

Ira Sullivan - Sept. 21; jazz trumpeter and saxophonist who played with Art Blakey, Red Rodney, Roland Kirk, Eddie Harris, Red Garland and others and released 19 albums from 1958-2010; suffered from pancreatic cancer; was 89. Watch him perform "Green Dolphin Street" below.



Eric Taylor - Mar. 9; Austin-based singer-songwriter; was 70. 

Little Al Thomas - Feb. 19; Lousiana-born Chicago blues singer/guitarist headed the Crazy House Band; was 89. WAtch "You're Breaking My Heart" below.

Ty (nee Benedict Chijioke) - May 7; London-born rapper had a U.K. hit with "Oh You Want More?" (No. 64, 2004, watch below); suffered from pneumonia and the coronavirus; was 47.

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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.