Rock Musicians That 2024 Took From Us – RIP

Rock Musicians That 2024 Took From Us – RIP | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via TODAY Youtube

2024 isn’t even halfway, but it has already begun to cast a long shadow over the music world. Several iconic figures have passed away, leaving a void in the hearts of rock fans everywhere.

One of the first major losses was James Kottak, the former drummer for the legendary Scorpions. Kottak’s powerful drumming propelled the band through countless hits during his tenure from 1999 to 2015.

Another giant of the genre, Wayne Kramer, also succumbed to the inevitable. The pioneering guitarist of the MC5, a band known for their electrifying live shows and proto-punk sound, left behind a legacy of raw energy and social commentary. Although never inducted, their influence on rock music is undeniable.

This list is a heartbreaking reminder of the impermanence of life, but also a celebration of the incredible music these artists gifted the world. As 2024 marches on, we’ll continue to pay tribute to those who’ve left us, while cherishing the music they left behind.

James Kottak

James Kottak, a drummer who rose to fame with the Scorpions, passed away on January 9th, 2024 at the age of 61. Though best known for his tenure with the Scorpions from 1999 to 2015, Kottak’s drumming talents graced numerous bands throughout his career. He lent his powerful beats to Montrose, Kingdom Come, the McAuley Schenker Group, Warrant, and Ashba.

While the cause of death remains unknown, it was reported that Kottak’s struggles with alcoholism ultimately led to his departure from the Scorpions after contributing to albums like Eye II Eye and Return to Forever.

Wayne Kramer

Wayne Kramer, the legendary guitarist behind the proto-punk band MC5, passed away on February 2nd, 2024 at the age of 75. After social media posts initially announced his passing, a follow-up revealed he had been battling pancreatic cancer.

MC5, known for their electrifying live shows and social commentary, had a short but impactful career. Despite facing political backlash and radio bans, they released influential albums like Kick Out the Jams (1969) featuring their signature song of the same name, followed by Back in the USA (1971) and High Time (1972). The band ultimately disbanded in 1972 due to internal conflicts.

Mojo Nixon

Alt-rock legend Mojo Nixon passed away unexpectedly on February 7th, 2024, at the age of 66. While co-hosting the Outlaw Country Cruise, Nixon suffered a fatal cardiac event.

Known for his high-energy performances and offbeat lyrics, Nixon achieved peak popularity in the 80s with hits like “Elvis Is Everywhere”, “Don Henley Must Die”, and the outrageous “Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-Headed Love Child”. 

His career extended beyond music, with acting credits in films like Great Balls of Fire and even a surprising cameo in Super Mario Bros. In a fitting tribute, his family described him as living life “full-tilt” and exiting on his own terms, “closing the bar, taking no prisoners” after a night of performing.

Bobby Tench

Veteran singer-guitarist Bobby Tench passed away on February 19th, 2024, at the age of 79.  While most recognized for his stint with the Jeff Beck Group, Tench’s career spanned decades and numerous bands.

He initially found his footing with The Gass before landing a major opportunity replacing Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group. Tench’s vocals and guitar work graced the albums “Rough and Ready” and “The Jeff Beck Group”. This opened doors for Tench, leading to collaborations with a wide range of musical talents including Ginger Baker, Van Morrison, and Freddie King.

Vitalij Kuprij

Vitalij Kuprij, a talented Ukrainian-American pianist and keyboardist who was a fixture in Trans-Siberian Orchestra, passed away on February 20th at the age of 49. The news was shared by his friend and musical collaborator, Lars Eric Mattsson.

Kuprij was a dedicated member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, having performed with them for a total of 17 winter tours. Fans will remember him from their popular holiday stage shows based on the band’s Christmas albums. He rejoined the band in 2021 after previously being part of the lineup from 2009 to 2019. Beyond Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Kuprij also lent his skills to other bands throughout his career, including Artension, Ring of Fire, and the Vivaldi Metal Project.

Bob Heil

Audio engineer Bob Heil, inventor of the iconic Talk Box effect unit, passed away on February 28th, 2024 at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer. The Talk Box, known for creating robotic-sounding vocals, gained popularity after being used by guitarist Peter Frampton on his 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive!.

Musicians who used Heil’s Talk Box paid tribute. Peter Frampton called it “a very important present” and expressed his gratitude. Joe Walsh, for whom the Talk Box was originally developed, remembered Bob as a tireless problem solver and a friend.

Jim Beard

The music world lost a talented keyboardist and composer on March 2nd. Jim Beard, known for his work with Steely Dan and jazz giants like Wayne Shorter and Pat Metheny, passed away at 63 from complications due to a sudden illness.

Beard’s impressive career spanned decades. He joined Steely Dan’s touring band in 2008 and remained a key member until January 2024. Beyond Steely Dan, Beard boasted a rich discography. He composed over 100 pieces featured on recordings by renowned artists and published collections, even earning a Grammy Award in 2007.

Brit Turner

The country-rock world is mourning the loss of Brit Turner, drummer for Blackberry Smoke, after the band announced his passing on social media on March 3rd. Turner was 57 years old.

Turner’s death comes after a courageous battle with Glioblastoma, a fast-growing brain cancer diagnosed in Fall 2022. He underwent surgery that November, following a serious heart attack earlier that summer. Co-founding Blackberry Smoke in Atlanta in 2000, Turner was a driving force for the band. His bandmates remembered him as their “True North”, a guiding light who shaped their sound and legacy.

Karl Wallinger

Karl Wallinger, singer-songwriter for World Party and The Waterboys, has died on March 10th at the age of 66. While the cause of death hasn’t been made public, tributes poured in for the influential musician.

Wallinger’s career began with The Waterboys in the 80s, where he played keyboards alongside frontman Mike Scott on their hit single “The Whole of the Moon”. He then went on to form World Party, achieving critical acclaim and college radio success with songs like “Ship of Fools” and “She’s the One” (later covered by Robbie Williams). A brain aneurysm in 2001 forced Wallinger to take a break from music, but he returned in 2006, leaving behind a rich musical legacy.

Eric Carmen

Iconic vocalist Eric Carmen passed away in March 2024 at the age of 74. Carmen rose to fame in the 1970s as the frontman for The Raspberries, a band heavily influenced by The Beatles.  With Carmen’s impressive piano skills at the forefront, The Raspberries churned out hits like their signature song “Go All the Way”, along with “I Wanna Be With You”, “Let’s Pretend”, and “Overnight Sensation”.

Following the band’s dissolution, Carmen embarked on a successful solo career. He soared to new heights with the emotional ballad “All By Myself” and the empowering anthem “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again”. A brief slowdown was followed by a triumphant return to the pop charts with “I Want to Hear It From Your Lips”, the unforgettable “Hungry Eyes” from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, and the infectious “Make Me Lose Control”.