In Memoriam


It’s the start of a New Year and Susan Omand takes the opportunity to reflect on some of those we lost in 2015...

I’ve written In Memoriam articles at the start of a new year for several years now but this is the first year that I have been able to look back on some of those names in the arts, theatre and music that we lost. Names that may not seem familiar on first reading but, when you consider their work, you realise what an impact they had in their own specific field and on the lives of others. This is by no means an exhaustive list though. There are always far too many sadly, so here are just a few that I found interesting or memorable.

In Memoriam...


Little Jimmy Dickens, 94, American country music singer ("May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose")

Curtis Lee, 75, American singer ("Pretty Little Angel Eyes")

Ray McFall, 88, British nightclub owner (The Cavern Club)

Darrell Winfield, 85, Marlboro Man

Trevor Ward-Davies, 70, British bassist (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich)

Dallas Taylor, 66, American drummer (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

Demis Roussos, 68, Egyptian-born Greek singer ("Forever and Ever")

Stephen R. Johnson, 63, American television and music video director ("Sledgehammer")

Danny McCulloch, 69, English bassist (The Animals)

Rod McKuen, 81, American poet, singer and songwriter ("Seasons in the Sun”)


Walter Liedtke, 69, American art curator of European paintings (The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Joe B. Mauldin, 74, American bassist (The Crickets)

Kenji Ekuan, 85, Japanese industrial designer (Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser)

Thom Wilson, American punk rock producer

Steve Strange, 55, British musician (Visage)

Lesley Gore, 68, American singer ("It's My Party", "Judy's Turn to Cry", "You Don't Own Me”)

Chris Rainbow, 68, Scottish rock musician (The Alan Parsons Project)


Jim McCann, 70, Irish musician (The Dubliners)

Ray Arnett, 97, American choreographer and stage director (worked with Liberace)

Mike Porcaro, 59, American bassist (Toto)

Andy Fraser, 62, British musician (John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, Free) and songwriter ("All Right Now", "Every Kinda People")

Jackie Trent, 74, English singer-songwriter and actress, co-wrote the Neighbours theme.

Roy Douglas, 107, British composer who worked with Vaughan Williams and Walton.

John Sheppard, 93, British car designer responsible for the original Mini

Las Vegas


Cynthia Lennon, 75, first wife of John, mother of Julian

Bob Burns, 64, American drummer (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Stan Freberg, 88, American comedian who sang the Banana Boat song Day-O

Percy Sledge, 74, American R&B singer ("When a Man Loves a Woman")

Betty Willis, 91, American graphic designer who did the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign

Keith Harris, 67, British ventriloquist (I hate that duck)

Ben E. King, 76, American soul and R&B singer ("Stand by Me")


Craig Gruber, 63, American rock musician (Rainbow, Bible Black, Raven Lord)

Errol Brown, 71, Jamaican-born British singer (Hot Chocolate)

B.B. King, 89, American Hall of Fame blues guitarist, singer and songwriter

Johnny Keating, 87, British musician ("Theme from Z-Cars")

Julie Harris, 94, Award winning British costume designer (A Hard Day's Night, Live and Let Die)


Hermann Zapf, 96, German typeface designer (fonts like Optima, Palatino, Zapfino)

James Last, 86, German composer and big band leader

James Horner, 61, American composer (Titanic, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13)

Chris Squire, 67, English bass guitarist (Yes)

Bruce Rowland, 74, British rock drummer (Fairport Convention)

Val Doonican


Val Doonican, 88, Irish singer and television presenter, fan of rocking chairs and jumpers

Ernie Maresca, 76, American songwriter ("Runaround Sue", "The Wanderer")

Michael Masser, 74, American songwriter ("Saving All My Love for You", “Touch Me in the Morning”, “The Greatest Love of All”, “Do You Know Where You're Going To")

Eric Wrixon, 68, Northern Irish keyboardist (Them, Thin Lizzy)

Ray Jessel, 85, Welsh scriptwriter and songwriter (“Baker Street”)

Wayne Carson, 72, American songwriter ("Always on My Mind")

Lynn Anderson, 67, American country singer ("Rose Garden")


Cilla Black, 72, British singer ("Anyone Who Had a Heart", "You're My World", "Step Inside Love")

Joy Beverley, 91, British singer (Beverley Sisters)


Daniel Thompson, 94, Canadian-born American inventor, creator of the automatic bagel maker and the folding ping pong table. (OK yes, I know it doesn’t really fit the brief but come on! He invented a bagel maker AND a ping pong table – what kind of brain does that?)

Rico Rodriguez, 80, Cuban-born British trombonist (The Specials)

Bryn Merrick, 56, Welsh bassist (The Damned)

Gary Richrath, 65, American guitarist and songwriter (REO Speedwagon)

Brian Sewell, 84, British art critic.

Alan Moore, 101, Australian war artist.


Brian Friel, 86, Irish dramatist (Dancing at Lughnasa)

Jim Diamond, 64, Scottish singer-songwriter ("I Should Have Known Better")

Andrew Sayers, 58, British-born Australian curator, Director of the National Portrait Gallery (1998–2010)

Cory Wells, 74, American singer (Three Dog Night)


George Barris, 89, the creator of the iconic Batmobile

Phil Taylor, 61, English drummer (Motörhead)

David VanLanding, 51, American rock singer (Michael Schenker Group, Crimson Glory)

Michael C. Gross, 70, American graphic designer responsible for the Ghostbusters logo


William Guest, 74, American R&B singer (Gladys Knight & the Pips)

Kurt Masur,88, German conductor and director of the NY Phil.

Scott Weiland, 48, American musician (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, The Wondergirls)

John Bradbury, 62, drummer with The Specials and inspiration for the Two Tone sound

Ian ‘Lemmy’Kilminster, 70, Motörhead frontman.

Images - Wikipedia and BBC

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