The rock community has seen several significant losses in 2021. We take a look at the musicians, actors, producers and others who have died below.
The year started with the death of Merseybeat pioneer Gerry Marsden on Jan. 3. Gerry and the Pacemakers were widely considered the Beatles’ top local rivals in the early days. Another artist from the era, Phil Spector, was renowned for his “Wall of Sound” production. His death marked the end of one of music’s most controversial careers: He made some of the best pop music ever, but he ended up in prison for murder.
Other 2021 deaths include keyboardist Mick Bolton, who played with Mott the Hoople and others; producer Steve Brown, whose credits include the Cult, Freddie Mercury and Wham!; Megaforce Records founder and the woman often credited for Metallica’s success, Marsha Zazula; Lou Reed keyboardist Michael Fonfara; Vanilla Fudge bassist Tim Bogert; and New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, who had been diagnosed with cancer two years earlier.
In the latter half of the year, several legends of the industry were lost, including ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill, Don Everly, the last remaining Everly Brother, Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, whose death occurred just before the band returned to touring, reggae pioneer Lee “Scratch” Perry, veteran photographer Mick Rock and founding Monkees member, Michael Nesmith.
The losses weren’t contained to just the music business. 2021 also brought Hollywood-related deaths, including Police Academy star Marion Ramsey, one-time James Bond girl and Charlie’s Angels star Tanya Roberts, whose death was prematurely reported, actress Tawny Kitaen, who appeared in multiple rock music videos, former Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” anchor Norm Mcadonald, Blue Velvet star Dean Stockwell and others.
You can read more about 2021 deaths below.
In Memoriam: 2021 Deaths
Remembering the musicians, actors, producers and others who have died in 2021.