Pop, Hip-Hop and Rock Star Deaths in 2023


RIP: (from left) Gary Wright, Jimmy Buffett and Steve Harwell


Russell Batiste Jr. - New Orleans-born drummer, played with the Meters, Papa Grows Funk and Vida Blue; heart attack; 57

Nashawn Breedlove - actor/rapper in 8 Mile with Eminem; 46

Jimmy Buffett - Mississippi-born leader of the Jimmy Buffett & the Coal Reefer Band, known for hits like "Margaritaville" (No. 8, 1977), "Come Monday" (No. 30, 1974) and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" (No. 32, 1978) and the rabid Parrothead fan base; skin cancer lymphoma; 76

Len Chandler - Ohio-born folk/protest singer; 88

Richard Davis - Chicago-born jazz bassist who played with Eric Dolphy. George Benson. Pharaoh Sanders, Stan Getz and more; 93

Irish Grinstead - founding membee of Las Vegas-based R&B girl group 702; 43

Steve Harwell - California-born lead singer of Smash Mouth who had hits with "Walking on the Sun" (1997), "All Star" and "Then the Morning Comes" (both 1999); liver failure; 56

Terry Kirkman - Kansas-born founding member and vovalist with The Assocation; he wrote and sang on  "Cherish" (No. 1, 1966); heart failure; 83

Fred Lewis - percussionist with R&B band Lakeside; 72

Charlie Robison - Texas-born C&W singer-songwriter; cardia arrest; 59

Jack Sonni – American-born guitarist with British rock band Dire Straits; 68

Kent Stax - drummer with D.C. hardcore band Scream; 61 

Matt Stewart - trumpeter with New Jersey-based ska-punk band Streetlife Manifesto; 41

Gary Wright - New Jersey- born singer-keyboardist who had success with Spooky Tooth and a solo career with hits like "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive" (both No. 2 in 1976 and "Really Want to Know You" (No. 16, 1981); dementia and Parkinson's; 80


RIP Robbie Robertson (AP photo)


August 08 (Ray Jacobs) - Los Angeles-born singer and songwriter; 31

Bruddah Waltah (Walter Aipolani) - Hawaiian singer/songwriter and guitarist, known as "the father of Hawaiian reggae"; liver cancer; 68

James Casey - Washington, DC-born saxophonist with the Trey Anastasio Band; colon cancer; 40 

DJ Casper (William Perry Jr.) - Chicago DJ known for the "Cha Cha Slide" dance; cancer; 58

Chico Del Vec - founding member of Brooklyn-based hip-hop group, Junior M.A.F.I.A.

Bobby Eli - guitarist with Philly Soul group MFSB and lyricist of R&B hits like Major Lance's "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (No. 5, 1975); 77

 John Gosling - keyboardist with the Kinks in the '70s; 75

Ray Hildebrand - Texas-born co-founder of '60s pop duo, Paul & Paula, with Jill Jackson; had No. 1 hit with "Hey Paula" in 1963; 82

David LaFlamme - co-founder (with his wife Linda) and violinist of San Francisco rock band It's a Beautiful Day; had a hit with "White Bird" in 1969; Parkinson's; 82

Lil Sodi (Madsodi Simpson) - L.A. rapper; car accident

Magoo (Melvin Barcliff) - Virginia-born rapper who teamed up with Timbaland (Timothy Mosley) in the group Timbaland & Magoo; 50

Bernie Marsden - guitarist with British hard-rock band Whitesnake; co-wrote "Here I Go Again" (No. 1, 1987) and other songs with singer David Coverdale; meningitis; 72

Brian McBride - founding member of Austin-based ambient music duo Stars of the Lid with Adam Wiltzie; 53

Ron S. Peno - frontman for Australian rock band Died Pretty; cancer; 68

Robbie Robertson - Canadian-born Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee as co-founder of The Band; wrote "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek," "Rag Mama Rag," "Chest Fever," "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and many other songs; 80

Sixto Rodriguez -  Detroit-based singer-songwriter; featured in the Oscar-winning 2012 doc, Searching for Sugarman; 81

Sakevi Yokoyama - frontman of Japanese hardcore band GISM; 60

Gary Young - New York-born original drummer with rock band Pavement; 70

Young Capone (Rodriguez Smith) - Atlanta rapper; 35


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.