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.

Dalton Browne - Oct. 17; Jamaican guitarist who played with Freddie McGregor and others, suffered a heart attack; age not disclosed.

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.

Johnny Bush - Oct. 16; Houston-born country singer-songwriter known best for "Whiskey River" (watch below), recorded by Bush in 1972 and later popularized by Willie Nelson; had 25 country hits and released 26 solo albums from 1968-2017; suffered pneumonia; was 85.


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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.