Joy of Cannabis
THe Joy of Cannabis

Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020


Van Halen circa 1982 (from left to right): Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen

Band: Van Halen

Position: guitarist/songwriter

Died: October 6

Cause: throat cancer

Age: 65

Distinctions: The Dutch-born, California-raised musician co-founded Van Halen in 1972; one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time known for his tapping technique; inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, Van Halen had a No. 1 hit with "Jump" in 1984 (watch below), plus eight other Top 20 singles (all of which the guitarist co-wrote); the band released a dozen albums from 1978-2012, four of which charted at No. 1; Van Halen's 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge earned them their only Grammy award for Best Hard Rock Performance; Eddie Van Halen also played on Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Listen to "Eruption"/"You Really Got Me" below.



Howard Wales - Dec. 7: Milwaukee-born keyboard player and sometime Jerry Garcia collaboator; the two are featured on the album Hooteroll?; suffered a cerebral hemorrhage; was 79.

Jerry Jeff Walker (nee Ronald Crosby) - Oct. 23; New York-born Texas transplant singer-songwriter best known for "Mr. Bojangles" (No, 77, 1968; watch below) and "L.A. Freeway" (No. 98, 1972); released 38 albums from 1967-2018; suffered from cancer; was 78.

Peter Walsh - June 7; the guitarist joined Seatrain for their last album Watch in 1973; also played with Lou Reed and Shades of Joy; cause undisclosed; was 69.

Pete Way - Aug. 14; founding member and bassist with British rock band UFO; they had UK hits with "Doctor Doctor" (No. 35, 1979) and "Youngblood" (No. 36, 1980); later played with Ozzy Osborne and the Michael Schenker Group; died of complications from an accident; was 69.

Andrew Weatherall - Feb. 17; London DJ, producer and remixer known for his work with Primal Scream, Happy Mondays, My Bloody Valentine, Beth Orton, the Orbs and more; he also released five solo albums; suffered a pulmonary embolism; was 56. 

Steve Weber - Feb. 7; co-founder of New York folk group the Holy Modal Rounders with Peter Stampfel who released nine albums from 1964-1999; "If You Want to Bird" (watch below) from their 1968 album The Moray Eels Eat the Holy Modal Rounders appears on the Easy Rider soundtrack; they also performed with the Fugs; cause undisclosed; he was 76.


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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.