Marshall Grant, 83, on Aug. 7.
The man behind the Man in Black in some ways, Grant was Johnny Cash’s road manager and bass player for decades and was key in the early development of Cash’s musical style.
Wade Mainer, 104, on Sept. 12.
He brought an added tunefulness to the banjo by inventing a two-finger picking style and was crucial in linking old-time country to bluegrass.
Bert Jansch, 67, on Oct. 5.
From his ‘60s folk revivalism to his 2000s collaborations with the likes of Devendra Banhart, the acoustic guitarist was an inspiration to countless and was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Pop Through the Years
Jean Dinning, 86, on Feb. 22.
It was intended as a joke, a parody of a brief teen-death-song craze – but “Teen Angel,” which Dinning co-wrote in 1959 and got her brother Mark Dinning to sing, became a surprise smash with lasting power: Sha Na Na performed it at Woodstock, and it was revived in the 1973 film American Graffiti.
Rob Grill, 67, on July 11.
The Grass Roots may have been nameless and faceless popsters, but as their lead singer, Grill lent a strong voice to a dozen or so gold singles, including the Top 10 smash “Midnight Confessions.”
Dan Peek, 60, on July 24.
As one-third of America, he gave us such soft-rock staples as “Lonely People” and “Today’s the Day” before moving on to contemporary Christian music.
Roger Williams, 87, on Oct. 8.
A major figure in easy-listening piano balladry, Williams scored with light fare like the falling-arpeggios-laden “Autumn Leaves” and the title theme from Born Free.
Paul Leka, 68, on Oct. 12.
Best known as the writer of the sports-arena staple “Na Na, Hey Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye,” Leka also penned another one-hit-wonder No. 1 — the Lemon Pipers’ “Green Tambourine” — and produced several Harry Chapin albums.
Andrea True, 68, on Nov. 7.
Born Andrea Truden, the actress and pop singer worked in the adult-film industry before breaking through with the alluring 1976 disco smash “More, More, More,” which was later sampled by the band Len on its Top 10 hit “Steal My Sunshine.”
Scorers and Other Performers
John Barry, 77, on Jan. 30.
Orchestral swells and other big, kicky moments punctuated the 11 scores Barry created for James Bond films, including Diamonds Are Forever; he also scored The Knack … and How to Get It, Born Free, Out of Africa and Dances with Wolves on his way to five Oscars and four Grammys.
George Shearing, 91, on Feb. 14.
The jazz standard “Lullaby of Birdland” was penned by Shearing, a blind pianist of worldwide renown who was further immortalized in a passage in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road describing his band’s live performance.
David Mason, 85, on April 29.
With a piccolo trumpet, the classical musician elevated the Beatles’ “Penny Lane” from McCartney confection to pop perfection; along with appearing on other Fab Four recordings, he was featured in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia for years.
Fred Steiner, 88, on June 23.
The prolific Steiner composed dozens of famous themes for TV and film, including the Perry Mason and Bullwinkle Show themes and the score for The Color Purple.
Producers and Other Nonperformers
Don Kirshner, 77, on Jan. 17.
Known as the Man with the Golden Ear for his ability to spot a hit song in a haystack, Kirshner, a successful publisher of Brill Building songcraft, supplied the Monkees with many of their early songs and woodenly hosted (as rendered immortally by Paul Shaffer on Saturday Night Live during the Blues Brothers days) the mid-’70s Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
Stan Ross, 82, on March 11.
A producer and engineer with scores of hits to his credit, Ross co-founded the Gold Star recording studio, near the corner of Hollywood and Vine, where Phil Spector installed his famed Wall of Sound; the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album was among the many important recordings made there.
Roger Nichols, 66, on April 9.
Not many studio soldiers could have handled working with the exacting Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, but Nichols was more than up to the task, earning a half-dozen Grammys for his engineering of Steely Dan’s masterly later albums.
Randy Wood, 94, on April 9.
As the founder of Dot Records, Wood distributed white covers of 1950s R&B songs, like Pat Boone’s airless take on Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” that gave exposure to the black artists who initially recorded while stealing some of their thunder.
Joseph Brooks, 73, on May 22.
A songwriter and producer, he lit up your life; he gave you hope to carry on; he committed suicide after being accused of deviant misuse of the casting couch.
John Carter, 65, on May 10.
The lyricist of the psych-rock classic “Incense and Peppermints,” Carter had a long career in scouting and developing talent and played a key A&R role in reviving Tina Turner’s career with her Private Dancer album.
Martin Rushent, 62, on June 4.
Bringing advanced synthesizers and technologies to the studio, Rushent crafted a massive, pioneering hit for the Human League in “Don’t You Want Me”; he also produced records for the Buzzcocks and numerous other British bands.
Robert Whitaker, 71, on Sept. 20.
The celebrated photographer is notorious for shooting the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today album cover, which featured them as butchers amid chunks of dismembered dolls; it was quickly recalled and has since become a collector’s item.
Barry Feinstein, 80, on Oct. 20.
The longtime chronicler of rock shot hundreds of album-cover photos, most notable among them Janis Joplin’s Pearl, Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass.