In Memoriam
In Memoriam

Joe Arroyo (b. 1955)
Salsa star/composer
Discovered by Fruko y Sus Tesos leader Julio Ernesto Estrada and known for his high tenor and hit songs "La Noche" and "Rebelión," Joe Arroyo rose to prominence in the '70s to become the face of Colombia's faster, more aggressive brand of salsa. His band, La Verdad, mixed traditional salsa elements with cumbia and Candombe rhythms to achieve a unique sound. He died July 26 in Barranquilla, Colombia. He was 55.

Nick Ashford (b. 1941)
Working alongside his wife and longtime writing partner Valerie Simpson, legendary singer/songwriter Nick Ashford penned some of the most indelible songs in pop music history including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "I'm Every Woman," "You're All I Need to Get By" and "Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)." Born in Fairfield, S.C., and raised in Willow Run, Mich., Ashford moved to New York in the early '60s, where he met Simpson at Harlem's Rock Baptist Church. The two began writing songs together, with former Ikette Joshie "Jo" Armstead, for Scepter/Wand. Their success there, with songs like Maxine Brown's "One Step at a Time," Ronnie Milsap's "Never Had It So Good" and "Let's Go Get Stoned" (which Ray Charles took to No. 1 on the R&B charts in 1966) led to a deal with Motown. Ashford & Simpson joined Motown as staff writers/producers and ran off a string of hits working with Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. They produced and composed nearly all of the songs for three of Diana Ross' solo albums, including her 1970 debut, and in 1977, the two scored their own hit, "Send It." More hits followed, including 1984's "Solid." Ashford & Simpson were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002. Ashford died Aug. 22 in New York. He was 70.

Ron Baird (b. 1950)
Booking agent
After getting his start working at a small rock agency in Missoula, Mont., Ron Baird joined the Jim Halsey Co. in 1975, where he booked such acts as Roy Clark, Donna Fargo, Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard and the Oak Ridge Boys. In 1991, he launched Creative Artists Agency's Nashville office, which started as a one-man operation in Baird's garage and is now a 55-person team. In his 13 years with CAA, Baird became one of country music's most successful booking agents, handling tours for acts like Clint Black, Billy Dean, Jennifer Hanson, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Olivia Newton-John. Baird retired in 2004, after wrapping Shania Twain's 2003-04 tour, at the time the highest-grossing tour by a female country artist ($90 million). Baird died Feb. 3 in Nashville. He was 60.

John Barry (b. 1933)
Best-known for creating the music for the James Bond movies, celebrated British composer John Barry won five Academy Awards for his work on such films as "Dances With Wolves," "Out of Africa" and "Born Free." He was also a four-time Grammy Award winner. Barry died Jan. 30 in New York. He was 77.

Captain Beefheart (b. 1941)
Experimental rock musician
Born Don Van Vliet but better-known by his stage name, Captain Beefheart built a career by shunning commercial success with his complex brand of experimental rock. With its dissonant take on blues rock combined with surreal lyrics, Beefheart's 1969 album Trout Mask Replica cemented his place in rock history, helping to become a major influence on future generations of musicians. In 1980 he retired from music and turned full time to art. Captain Beefheart died Dec. 17, 2010, in Arcata, Calif. He was 69.

Facundo Cabral (b. 1937)
Argentine folk singer
Rising to fame during the tumultuous '70s, Argentine folk singer Facundo Cabral created deep bonds with audiences across Latin America as part of a generation of musicians who mixed political protest with literary lyrics. Cabral picked up the guitar as a teenager and became internationally known in 1970 with his song "No Soy de Aqui Ni Alla" ("I'm Not From Here or There"), which was recorded hundreds of times in numerous languages. When Argentina fell under military rule in 1976, Cabral, identified as a protest singer, fled to Mexico, where he continued writing, recording and performing. Cabral was shot to death on July 9 in Guatemala, Mexico. He was 74.

Clarence Clemons (b. 1942)
Clarence Clemons played saxophone alongside Bruce Springsteen as a member of the E Street Band for 40 years. He helped define the group's sound on classics like "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road," while he most recently contributed to Lady Gaga's songs "The Edge of Glory" and "Hair." Clemons died June 18 in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 69.

John Cossette (b. 1957)
Producer of Grammy Awards telecast
Following in the footsteps of his father Pierre, John Cossette served as producer of the Grammy Awards telecast for nearly two decades. He produced a number of other awards shows, while also putting on myriad music benefits and venturing into musical theater with "Million Dollar Quartet" in 2009. Cossette died April 26. He was 54.

Jim Dickson (b. 1931)
Record producer/manager
After meeting and recording David Crosby, producer Jim Dickson helped orchestrate the formation of the Byrds and would go on to act as the band's manager/producer. He played a crucial role in setting up a meeting with Allen Stanton, which led to the group recording its hit cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man." Dickson died April 19 in Costa Mesa, Calif. He was 80.

Don Devito (b. 1939)
Grammy Award-winning producer, Columbia Records A&R
A legendary A&R man and Grammy Award-winning producer, Don DeVito was known for his extensive knowledge of music and the music industry as well as his diplomacy. Born in Brooklyn, DeVito got his start as a guitarist touring with Al Kooper and the Royal Teens. In 1967, he entered the CBS Executive Training Program, and soon began working in promotions and artist relations for CBS Records. A 40-year career with CBS/Columbia followed, where DeVito worked with such acts as Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Janis Joplin and Simon & Garfunkel, eventually becoming national VP of A&R. He produced the chart-topping Dylan albums Blood on the Tracks and Desire and was nominated for five Grammys, winning in 1989 for his work on the tribute album Folkways-A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie & Leadbelly. He retired from Sony Music in 2007. DeVito died Nov. 25 in New York. He was 72.

Frank DiLeo (b. 1947)
Former manager of Michael Jackson
As VP of national promotions at Epic Records and then as manager, Frank DiLeo helped guide Michael Jackson to becoming the King of Pop. After beginning his music industry career in 1968 as a sales representative and promotions executive with CBS Records, DiLeo joined Epic in 1979, where he played a key role in the careers of Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, Ozzy Osbourne and others, while also helping make Jackson's Thriller one of the best-selling albums of all time. Following Thriller's success, DiLeo became Jackson's manager, a position he held through the '80s. DiLeo remained active in the industry, serving as co-president of Savage Records (1991-93) and heading his own firm, DiLeo Entertainment Group. DiLeo died Aug. 24 in Boardman, Ohio. He was 63.

David "Honeyboy" Edwards (b. 1915)
Delta blues guitarist
Guitarist David "Honeyboy" Edwards began his career at age 14 when he left home to travel with bluesman Big Joe Williams. He played with Delta greats like Charley Patton and Little Walter Jacobs. A recipient of the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award, Edwards recorded his first hit, "Drop Down Mama," for Chess Records in 1953. Edwards died Aug. 29 in Chicago. He was 96.

Carl Gardner (b. 1928)
Lead singer of the Coasters
As frontman of the Coasters, which he co-founded in 1955, Carl Gardner can be heard on a handful of Leiber & Stoller classics like "Searchin'," "Yakety Yak," "Charlie Brown," "Along Came Jones" and "Poison Ivy." A native of Tyler, Texas, Gardner was initially a member of a group known as the Robins before forming the Coasters with Bobby Nunn. Gardner died June 12 in Fort Pierce, Fla. He was 83.

Mickey Goldsen (b. 1912)
Founder of Criterion Music
A music publishing legend, Mickey Goldsen ran Capitol Records' publishing unit in the late '40s, before purchasing shares to become sole owner and ultimately transforming it into Criterion Music in 1950. He served as Criterion's CEO for all 61 of the company's years and oversaw the publication of hits like Nancy Sinatra's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" and Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes," while the pop hits of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett further helped build Criterion. Goldsen died Oct. 19 in Encino, Calif. He was 99.

Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" Hale (b.1969)
Best-known for his work with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" D. Hale got his start performing alongside Snoop and Warren G in the group 213, but it was his appearance on Dr. Dre's breakout 1994 album, The Chronic, that cemented his legacy. Through the years, Hale appeared on such hits as Warren G's "Regulate," Dr. Dre's "The Next Episode," Ludacris' "Area Codes," Eminem's "Shake That" and 50 Cent's "21 Questions." He also released three solo albums. Hale died March 15 in Long Beach, Calif. He was 41.

Steve Jobs (b. 1955)
Co-founder/chairman/CEO of Apple
As co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs built a multibillion-dollar empire that profoundly affected the music and entertainment businesses and was a driving force behind some of the entertainment industry's biggest deals. He had a controlling stake in LucasFilm and Pixar Films, and was the driver behind the first handheld digital media player to go mainstream-the iPod-as well as its companion marketplace, iTunes. A brilliant strategist with an unerring sense of what consumers wanted, as well as an avid music fan, Jobs' involvement in the music industry was a labor of love: In 2005 when labels wanted to raise prices on iTunes, he went straight to the music-buying public to reframe the debate, accusing the labels of "getting a little greedy." Jobs was always involved, persuading the Beatles to make their catalog available on iTunes; negotiating the U2 iPod with Bono, Jimmy Iovine and Paul McGuinness at his kitchen table; and inviting acts he liked to perform at Apple's social media events. Jobs died Oct. 5 in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 56.

Raymond Jones (b. 1958)
After joining the band Chic when he was 19, Raymond Jones went on to play keyboards on the band's hits "Good Times" and "Le Freak," appear on Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" and Diana Ross' "Upside Down" and write Jeffery Osborne's 1983 hit, "Stay With Me Tonight." He also composed music for several Spike Lee films, including "Do the Right Thing," and served as musical director for "The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show." Jones died July 1 in Atlanta. He was 52.

Don Kirshner (b. 1934)
Nicknamed "the Man With the Golden Ear" and "Starmaker Supreme," Don Kirshner got his start writing songs with college pal Bobby Darin. In the late '50s, he co-founded Aldon Music (with partner Al Nevins), a publishing company whose roster of hit songwriters featured Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, Howard Greenfield and many others associated with the Brill Building. After selling Aldon to Columbia Pictures in 1963, he transitioned into TV and worked as a music supervisor for "The Monkees" and "The Archies" and starred as host of "Don Kirshner's Rock Concert." He also started several labels during his career, including Kirshner Records, which launched the band Kansas in the '70s. Kirshner died Jan. 17 in Boca Raton, Fla. He was 76.

Jerry Leiber (b. 1933)
Perhaps rock'n'roll's first Shakespeare, lyricist Jerry Leiber took everyday expressions and turned them into rock poetry, while songwriting partner Mike Stoller spun melodies out of street music. Penning such classics as "Hound Dog," "Jailhouse Rock" and "Stand by Me," Leiber & Stoller helped transform the blues into rock'n'roll. The two began their own label, Spark Records, after not receiving payment for composing "Hound Dog" for Big Mama Thornton, but they were soon lured to Atlantic Records, where they wrote for the Drifters and the Coasters. During this time, Leiber & Stoller also wrote for Elvis Presley, who recorded two dozen of their songs. After leaving Atlantic, they set up shop at the Brill Building, and continued writing hits like Peggy Lee's "Is That All There Is" in 1969. Leiber died Aug. 22 in Los Angeles. He was 78.

Teena Marie (b. 1956)
R&B singer/songwriter
Known for her pitch-perfect vocal delivery and emotionally rich songwriting, R&B singer and Rick James protégé Mary Christine Brockert, who performed as Teena Marie, broke racial barriers in the late '70s and early '80s as one of few white acts to thrive in the genre. Known as "the Ivory Queen of Soul," her 1982 contract dispute with Motown established the Brockert Initiative, which made it illegal for labels to keep artists under contract without releasing any new material by them. She continued recording up until her death. Teena Marie died Dec. 26, 2010, in Santa Monica, Calif. She was 54.

Norio Ohga (b. 1930)
Former president of Sony
After giving up a career as an opera singer to join the fledgling Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony in the '50s, Norio Ohga eventually rose to president, a post he held from 1982 to 1995. In that role, Ohga oversaw Sony's 1989 acquisition of Columbia Pictures (now Sony Pictures) and its entry into the videogame business with the revolutionary PlayStation. Ohga is also credited with spearheading Sony's development of the CD and its push into music, which included the purchase of CBS Records. A graduate of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and the Berlin University of the Arts, Ohga also served as president of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. He stepped down as Sony's president in 1995, but served as chairman and representative director until 2000, and as senior adviser until the time of his death. Ohga died April 23 in Tokyo. He was 81.

Pinetop Perkins (b. 1913)
Blues musician
A blues pianist with an aggressive style and a distinctive voice, Pinetop Perkins played with everyone from B.B. King to Ike Turner to Sonny Boy Williams but didn't start recording under his own name until he was in his 70s. In 2010 he became the oldest Grammy Award winner when he received the best traditional blues album statuette for Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Perkins was believed to be the oldest Delta bluesman still playing at the time of his death. He died March 21 in Austin. He was 97.

Steve Popovich (b. 1942)
Former head of Cleveland International Records
After getting his start working at Columbia Records' Cleveland warehouse in 1962, Steve Popovich climbed the ranks at CBS Records to become VP of promotions and then VP of A&R at Epic, which signed Boston, Cheap Trick and Ted Nugent, among others, during his tenure. In 1977, he co-founded Cleveland International Records, which released albums by Ronnie Spector and Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell. Popovich died June 8 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. He was 68.

Willie Robertson
Music business insurance pioneer
As co-founder of Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers in 1977, Willie Robertson is credited (along with partners Bob Taylor and Ian France) with almost single-handedly creating the global multimillion-dollar entertainer insurance industry. Born in Dorking, England, Robertson (through RTIB) helped insure artists for equipment loss and damage as well as show cancellations, and his client list-which included Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Pink Floyd and Elton John-was one of a kind. In addition to RTIB, Robertson also co-founded the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy charity in 1976, and remained on its fund-raising committee until his death. Robertson died July 9 in London. He was 67.

Sylvia Robinson (b. 1936)
Singer/songwriter/producer, co-founder of Sugar Hill Records
The "Godmother of Hip-Hop," Sylvia Robinson first found success as a recording artist in the '50s as half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia-scoring hits like "Love Is Strange"-and later in the '70s as a solo artist ("Pillow Talk"). She co-founded Sugar Hill Records with her husband, Joe, and with the Sugar Hill Gang, released the first commercial rap record, "Rapper's Delight," in 1979. Sugar Hill became the dominant label in hip-hop's early years, cementing Robinson's legacy. Robinson died Sept. 29 in Secaucus, N.J. She was 75.

Pete Rugolo (b. 1915)
At one time chief arranger of the Stan Kenton Orchestra and, later, music director of Capitol Records, Pete Rugolo was a Grammy- and Emmy Award-winning arranger/composer who produced Harry Belafonte's early pop work, signed the Miles Davis Nonet and was instrumental in securing the release of the Davis classic Birth of the Cool. Rugolo also recorded his own music and wrote arrangements for artists like Nat "King" Cole, Dinah Washington and Mel Tormé, as well as TV themes including "The Fugitive" and "The Thin Man." He died Oct. 18 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 95.

Gil Scott-Heron (b. 1949)
A self-described "bluesologist," Gil Scott-Heron fused soul, jazz, percussion and politically charged poetry into a potent mix that made him a powerful voice of black protest culture of the '70s and laid the foundation for early hip-hop. Born in Chicago in 1949 and perhaps best-known for his 1970 song "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" (from debut album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox), Scott-Heron recorded more than a dozen albums throughout his career, including 2010's I'm New Here, his first release in 16 years. He also wrote several books, including "The Vulture," a murder mystery published in 1970 when he was 19. Scott-Heron died May 27 in New York. He was 62.

Phoebe Snow (b. 1950)
Born Phoebe Laub, bluesy singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow skyrocketed to fame in 1974 thanks to her chart-topping hit "Poetry Man," from her self-titled debut. Critically acclaimed, she was nominated for a Grammy Award for best new artist in 1975, but soon faded from the spotlight as she shifted focus to caring for her disabled daughter, only occasionally releasing albums through the years. Snow died April 26 in Edison, N.J. She was 60.

Amy Winehouse (b. 1983)
Born in the Southgate section of London, singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse rose to fame on the strength of her fusion of rock, pop, soul and jazz. She began writing music in her early teens and inked a record contract with Island/Universal and a publishing deal with EMI at the age of 18. Winehouse released two albums during her brief career, Frank (2003) and Back to Black (2006)-the latter selling more than 2.3 million units (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and winning five Grammy Awards in 2008, including song of the year for "Rehab." While her public battle with drugs and alcohol captivated the press and fans, Winehouse, working with producers Salaam Remi and Mark Ronson, crafted a distinctive sound and helped usher in a new wave of British singers that included Adele and Florence Welch of Florence & the Machine. Winehouse died July 23 in London. She was 27.

Randy Wood (b. 1917)
Founder of Dot Records
The racial-barrier-breaking producer and founder of Dot Records, Randy Wood launched both Fats Domino's and Pat Boone's recordings of "Ain't That a Shame" to the top of the charts in 1955. The label also produced Boone's recordings of songs by Little Richard and Ivory Joe Hunter, exposing black R&B to a white audience. Wood died April 9 in San Diego. He was 94.

Liz Anderson (b. 1930)
Country singer/songwriter; co-founder, National Songwriters Assn. International

Milton Babbitt (b. 1916)
Composer; music theorist; electronic music pioneer; co-director, Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center

Michael Bassin (b. 1955)
Sales executive, Alternative Distribution Alliance

Frederick Brown (b. 1955)
Entertainment attorney, Warner Bros. Records, MGM Films

Delois Barrett Campbell (b. 1926)
Gospel singer, Barrett Sisters

Sidney Cooper (b. 1918)
Big band and studio musician; member of the Tonight Show Orchestra during the Johnny Carson era

Tommy Crain (b. 1951)
Guitarist, Charlie Daniels Band

Harold Davison (b. 1922)
Manager; promoter; impresario

Leonard Dillon (b. 1942)
Reggae artist; founder of the Ethiopians

Jessy Dixon (b. 1938)
Gospel singer/songwriter

Rich Fitzgerald (b. 1947)
Veteran manager and label executive; former head of promotion at RSO

Bob Flanigan (b. 1926)
Singer, the Four Freshmen

Manuel Galbán (b. 1931)
Grammy Award-winning Cuban guitarist

Antonio Ambriz Garza (b. 1937)
Tejano music manager

Esther Gordy (b. 1920)
Barry Gordy's older sister, known as "Mother of Motown"; founder of Motown Historical Museum in Detroit

Marshall Grant (b. 1928)
Bassist, Johnny Cash

dobie gray (b. 1940)
Singer/songwriter ("Drift Away")

Rob Grill (b. 1943)
Singer, the Grass Roots

Charles Hamm (b. 1925)
Author; established American popular music history as a literary genre

Tal Herzberg (b. 1970)
Record producer; production partner of Geffen Records chairman Ron Fair

Don Hill (b. 1945)
Owner, New York club Don Hill's

ferlin husky (b. 1925)
Singer/songwriter, inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 2010

Thomas Illius (b. 1928)
Longtime agent, William Morris Endeavor

Phil Kennemore (b. 1953)
Bassist, Y&T

Davy Kirkwood (b. 1947)
Audio engineer

Lloyd Knibb (b. 1931)
Drummer, original member of the Skatalites

Dennis Maitland (b. 1931)
Sound mixer ("And Justice for All," "The Prince of Tides")

Gene McDaniels (b. 1935)
Multi-genre singer/songwriter ("Hundred Pounds of Clay," "Tower of Strength")

Gary Moore (b. 1952)
Guitarist, Thin Lizzy

Darryl Morden (b. 1958)
Music journalist, the Hollywood Reporter

Paul Motian (b. 1931)
Jazz drummer/composer, Bill Evans Trio

Maximino "Max" Muñoz (b. 1938)
Events promoter for regional Mexican music

dwight "heavy d" myers (b. 1967)
Rapper/actor/producer, best-known for his work with Heavy D & the Boyz; former president Uptown Records

Roger Nichols (b. 1944)
Seven-time Grammy Award-winning recording engineer, record producer

Zim Ngqawana (b. 1959)
South African jazz musician

Roy Orbison's widow, manager of Roy Orbison estate

Dan Peek (b. 1950)
Co-founder of the band America; Christian artist

Jay Perloff (b. 1958)
Veteran industry sales executive

Gerry Rafferty (b. 1947)
Singer/songwriter ("Baker Street")

Gene Shefrin (b. 1921)
Publicist, founder of Shefrin Co.

Gerard Smith (b. 1974)
Bassist, TV on the Radio

Jerry Ragovoy (b. 1930)
Songwriter, producer

Edmundo Ros (b. 1910)
Musician/singer, bandleader of Edmundo Ros & His Rumba Band

Cory Smoot (b. 1977)
Guitarist, Gwar

Mike Spoerndle (b. 1952)
Founder of New Haven, Conn., club Toad's Place

Mike Starr (b. 1966)
Bassist, Alice in Chains

Poly Styrene (b. 1957)
Singer/songwriter, X-Ray Spex

Carlos Tabakof (b. 1965)
Veteran music marketing executive; most recently executive director of Feria Musica Brasil

Marv Tarplin (b. 1941)
Guitarist/songwriter, Motown

Faye Treadwell (b. 1926)
Manager, the Drifters

johanan vigoda (b. 1928)
Longtime entertainment attorney, known for representing Stevie Wonder

Edgar Villchur (b. 1917)
Hi-fi innovator, inventor of the acoustic suspension loudspeaker

John Walker (b. 1943)
Singer/songwriter, guitarist, founder of the Walker Brothers

Margaret Whiting (b. 1924)
Singer ("Baby, It's Cold Outside"), TV and nightclub performer

Doc Williams (b. 1914)
Country singer; founder of Wheeling Records

Roger Williams (b. 1924)
Only pianist to top the Billboard pop chart ("Autumn Leaves")

Johnnie Wright (b. 1914)
Country singer, Johnnie Wright & the Harmony Girls

Written by Jeff Benjamin, Jon Blistein, RJ Cubarrubia, Maggie Doherty, Benjamin Meadows-Ingram, Chris Payne and Maria Sherman.

Back to Year In Music Hub