Many notable figures and trailblazers passed away in 2021 and the following year, 2022, which still hasn’t run out. The names of those who have already passed away represent a wide range of musical styles and abilities, including jazz, pop, soul, hip-hop, and rap. They also include producers, guitarists, and rap artists. The most well-known musicians who passed away within the years 2021 and 2022 so far are listed below, in no particular order.
Following the passing of one of its most revered characters, the hip-hop community was inconsolable. Real name Earl Simmons, DMX achieved fame as a rapper with hits like Party Up (Up in Here) and Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, as well as on the big screen as the star of the action movies Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave. But his admirers and contemporaries rallied to his side over the past ten years because of his widely reported battles with substance usage. DMX passed away at 50 from a drug overdose-related heart arrest.
14. Bunny Wailer
Bunny Wailer, a three-time Grammy Award-winning drummer, singer, and composer from Jamaica, passed away at the age of 73 as a result of complications following a stroke he had in 2020. Wailer, one of the most prominent figures in reggae music, and Bob Marley were the other founding members of The Wailers. The band gained international recognition with songs like Simmer Down and Buffalo Soldier. In 1974, Wailer decided to pursue a solo career and departed the group. He received Jamaica’s Order of Merit in 2017.
13. Mary Wilson
The singing group The Supremes was created in a Detroit housing project by vocalist Mary Wilson when she was just 15 years old. With 12 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, it swiftly became the most commercially successful act of US label Motown Records and the most famous American vocal group of their time.
Only The Beatles were more well-known worldwide in the middle of the 1960s. Wilson remained with The Supremes through their disbandment in 1977. She subsequently started a solo career and put out two studio albums. Wilson passed away at age 76 in her Las Vegas home.
12. Shock G
In addition to being a hip-hop pioneer, Shock G is well known for providing his first break to future rap icon Tupac Shakur. The duo earned hits with The Humpty Dance and Doowutchyalike as leader of the band Digital Underground, whose audacity and experimentalism would influence groups like Outkast.
Shock G hired Tupac to perform as a backup dancer on Digital Underground tours and later produced and appeared in Tupac’s breakthrough 1993 single, I Get Around. At 56, Shock G passed away, apparently from a heroin overdose.
11. Anita Lane
Anita Lane, a singer from Australia, first gained international recognition in the 1980s when she joined Mick Harvey, Nick Cave, and their band, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. In the middle of the 1980s, Blane and Cave’s romance ended. However, Lane and Cave kept working together on various tracks. After that, Lane launched her solo career, releasing Sex O’Clock in 2001 and her debut album Dirty Pearl in 1993. She passed away at the age of 61, according to a Mute spokesman, although no cause of death was revealed.
10. Dusty Hill
The million-selling Texas blues rock duo ZZ Top’s long-bearded bassist passed away at 72. No specific cause of death was given. The band’s hits featured Hill’s rumbling groove, including Tush in 1975 and the 1980s singles Sharp Dressed Man, Legs, and Gimme All Your Lovin’. He joined his comrades on stage when Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards welcomed ZZ Top to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
9. Johnny Ventura
The musician passed away at home in his native Dominican Republic after having a heart attack. He was 81. With its flaming horns and dance-driven Afro-Caribbean rhythms, Ventura greatly popularised merengue music in Latin America and the US.
His most prosperous phase was in the 1960s when he created hits like Patacon Pisao and Merenguero Hasta La Tumbadora, which later became the genre’s standards. Ventura also had success in politics, serving from 1994 to 2002 as vice mayor of Santo Domingo, the capital city of the Dominican Republic.
8. Alec John Such
Bon Jovi’s bassist and founding member Alec John Such passed away. He was 70. John Such, the New Jersey rock band’s bassist from 1983 until 1994, passed away on June 5, according to Jon Bon Jovi. Hugh McDonald took over as bassist in 1994 when John Such left the group. Later, he returned to the group in time for their 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. There were no specifics on John Such’s passing at the time.
7. Alan White
Alan White, a longstanding drummer for the progressive rock pioneers Yes and a collaborator with George Harrison and John Lennon on projects, passed away on May 26. He was 72. According to a post made by his family on his Facebook page, White passed away at his home in the Seattle region following a brief illness. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted White as a member of Yes in 2017 after he joined the group in 1972.
6. Andy Fletcher
Depeche Mode’s founding keyboardist Andy Fletcher passed away on May 26 at 60, his fellow musicians announced on social media. Fletcher was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The band later revealed that the aortic dissection was listed as the cause of Fletcher’s death in the medical examiner’s report. Depeche Mode made their debut in 1981 with the release of their album “Speak & Spell” and hit the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart with songs like “People Are People” and “Personal Jesus.”
5. Mickey Gilley
According to a statement from Mickey Gilley Enterprises, the country music icon Mickey Gilley passed away on May 7 in Branson, Missouri. His namesake honky-tonk served as the inspiration for the John Travolta film “Urban Cowboy.” He was 86. Gilley, the cousin of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Jerry Lee Lewis, spent 17 weeks at the top of the country music charts with classics including “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time” and “Lonely Nights.”
4. Jewell Caples
Jewell Caples, the “First Lady” of Death Row Records and the artist behind the popular 1994 version of Shirley Brown’s “Woman to Woman,” passed away on May 6. 53 years old. Timothy Beal, her manager, confirmed her demise.
3. Naomi Judd
Naomi Judd, the mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd and a member of the Grammy-winning duet The Judds, passed away at age 76. In a statement, her daughters informed The Associated Press of her passing on April 30.
2. Jeff Carson
Before becoming a police officer, country music singer-songwriter Jeff Carson had hits with “Not On Your Love” and “The Car.” His representative reported his death on March 26. He was 58. Before retiring from music to enter the police force in Franklin, Tennessee, Carson’s career included 14 singles that reached the Billboard chart. He remained in the force after his retirement.
1. Ronnie Spector
According to a family statement, pop singer Ronnie Spector, who rose to popularity with the 1960s girl group The Ronettes, passed away on January 12 after a brief fight with illness. Spector was “in the arms of her husband, Jonathan,” surrounded by her family.
Spector initially struggled to succeed as a solo artist after leaving the Ronettes. Still, in the 1980s, he found mainstream success with his duet with Eddie Money, “Take Me Home Tonight,” and in 1999, he released the critically acclaimed “She Talks to Rainbows” EP.