Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020

Leslie West surrouded by Felix Pappalardi (left) and Corky Laing (right).

Leslie West (nee Weinstein)

Bands: Mountain; West, Bruce and Laing; the Vagrants

Position: guitar

Died: December 23

Cause: heart attack 

Age: 75

Distinctions: New York-born rocker formed Mountain with Cream producer Felix Pappalardi on bass and Corky Laing on drums in 1969; one of their first gigs was the Woodstock festival; they're best known for the cowbell hit "Mississippi Queen" (No. 21, 1970, watch below); Mountain's first two albums made the Top 20, then the group broke up in 1972; Mountain would have many reunions over the years, including at the 40th Woodstock anniversary in Bethel, New York in 2009 when West and Jenni Maurer were married on stage; Leslie West suffered from diabetes and had part of his right leg amputated in 2011, but he continued to play. West passed away in Florida.

Ian Whitcomb - Apr. 19; British rocker had a No. 8 hit with "You Turn Me On" in 1965 (watch below); suffered a stroke in 2012 and died from complications; was 78.

Chet "JR" White - Oct. 18; California-born bassist/producer with of the defunct rock band Girls; cause undisclosed; was 40.

Reverend John Wilkins - Oct. 6; Memphis-born gospel/blues singer/guitarist played on O.V. Wright’s "You're Gonna Make Me Cry" (No. 86, 1965); his debut album You Can't Hurry God was released in 2010; suffered from Covid-19; was 76.

Bruce Williamson - Sept. 6; the Los Angeles born singer perfomed with the Temptations from 2006-2015 and appeared on the albums Back to Front in 2007 and Still Here in 2010; suffered from Covid-19; was 49.


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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.