Rock and Pop Star Deaths in 2020

Spencer Davis - Oct. 19; guitarist who co-founded the Spencer Davis Group in Birmingham, UK with Steve Winwood in 1963; had Top 10 hits with "Gimme Some Lovin'" (No. 7, 1966, watch below)) and "I'm a Man" (No. 10, 1967); released seven studio albums from 1965-1997; suffered from pneumonia; was 81.

Tommy DeVito - Sept. 21; founding member and guitarist of the Four Seasons who had fifteen Top 10 hits from 1962-1975 (watch the medley below); was played by Vincent Piazza in the movie version of Jersey Boys; suffered from Covid-19; was 92.

Manu Dibango - Mar. 24; saxophonist from Cameroon had a No, 35 hit with the African-funk song, "Soul Makossa," in 1972 (listen below); suffered from Covid-19; was 86.

• Joe Diffie - Mar. 29; the country singer from Tulsa released 12 albums from 1990-2019 and had No. 1 country hits with "Home" (1990), "If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)" (1991), "Third Rock from the Sun" (1994), "Pickup Man" (1994, watch below) and "Bigger Than the Beatles" (1995); suffered from Covid-19; was 61.

DJ Spinbad (nee Chris Sullivan) - Nov. 10; DJ at New York's Z100 radio station; cause undisclosed; was 46.

Ronny Drayton - Feb. 7; New York-born jazz/rock/R&B guitarist played with James "Blood" Ulmer, Nona Hendryx, Edwin Birdsong, MeShelle Ndegeocello and others; suffered from non-Hodgkins lymphoma; was 66.

Carl Dufrene Jr. - Aug. 17; Louisiana-born bassist played with North Mississippi Allstars, Tab Benoit and Anders Osborne; cause undisclosed; was 53.

Judy Dyble - July 12; sang with British folk-rock band Fairport Convention from 1967-1968; also performed with Trader Horne; cause undisclosed; was 71.



Justin Townes Earle - Aug. 23; Nashville-born singer-songwriter and son of Steve Earle (he was partially named for Townes Van Zandt) released nine albums from 2007-2019; police say he suffered a probable drug overside; was 38. Watch him sing "Ain't Waitin'" below.

Cleveland Eaton - July 5; Alabama-born jazz bassist played with Count Basie Orchestra and Ramsey Lewis Trio and recorded five solo albums; cause undisclosed; was 80.

Paul English - Feb. 12; drummer in Willie Nelson's band from 1965-2010; subject of Nelson song, "Me and Paul"; suffered from pneumonia; was 87.

Ecstasy (nee John Fletcher) - Dec. 23; co-founder of the Brooklyn-based hip-hop trio Whodini (he's wore the blck Zorro hat); had hits with "Friends" (No. 84, 1987) and "Freaks Come Out at Night" (No. 104, 1985, watch below); cause undisclosed; was 56. 


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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.