In Memoriam|

Photo of Tony MacMahon, who also passed away | Jeffery Deon Estus (July 4, 1956 – October 11, 2021) was an American musician and singer, best known as the bass player of Wham! and as the bassist on George Michael’s first two solo projects. Estus’ single “Heaven Help Me”, with additional vocals by George Michael, reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1989.

Estus was born in Detroit and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1974. He sang second tenor in the choir at Northwestern under the direction of Brazel Dennard. His bass (guitar) teacher was the late James Jamerson of Motown’s the Funk Brothers.

Estus joined the R&B band Brainstorm as a teenager, recording two albums with them and scoring a hit with “Popcorn”. During the early 1980s, he moved to Europe and lived in Belgium and Ireland, before settling in London. He turned down the chance to play bass on Marvin Gaye’s 1982 comeback album, Midnight Love, because he was so busy recording and he said that he was not aware that it would be the last album released during Gaye’s lifetime. After his bass talents were recognized, he was invited to join the UK pop group, Wham!. He went on to tour China with Wham! and later backed Wham! frontman George Michael on his Faith tour. He also participated in the late-1980s collective Boogie Box High, which was spearheaded by Michael’s cousin, Andros Georgiou, and featured Michael along with other high-profile musicians; Estus appears on the group’s only album, Outrageous, released in 1989. Estus later performed with Michael at Rock in Rio and continued to play bass as part of his backing band until Michael’s death.

In 1989, Estus released a solo album entitled Spell, produced by Colin Campsie and George McFarlane, with several tracks produced by Michael. Released before the album, the single “Me or the Rumours” reached No. 15 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts in 1988. In 1989, the album’s title track hit No. 11 on the Adult Contemporary charts. However, the album’s biggest hit was the No. 5 Billboard Hot 100 single “Heaven Help Me,” for which Michael supplied backing vocals. It also peaked at No. 3 on both the Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B charts. The album itself ultimately reached No. 89 on the Billboard 200 and No. 44 on the Top R&B Albums charts.

He also played with Tina Turner, Frank Zappa, George Clinton, Annie Lennox, Edgar Winter, Aaron Neville, and Elton John.

Estus died on October 11, 2021 at the age of 65.

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Eventually producing his own album entitled “Spell,” Deon’s single “Heaven Help Me,” co-written with George Michael, reached the elusive top 5 on the International Billboard charts, and his second single, “Spell” climbed to number 8. Now residing again in the United States, this prolific writer, performer, and consummate professional is in high demand. Considered one of the top 5 bass players in the world, Deon is lending his diverse talents to such projects as scoring films, working in the studio assisting premiere artists, as well as forming his own label. Many consider music the only true universal language. Deon Estus spoke it fluently.

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Other Notable Musicians’ Deaths…

No more deaths from COVID!!! Isn’t that astounding? Don’t we wish… Please get vaccinated. Stop being a coward. The shot only hurts for a couple of seconds. Truly may save your life. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost this past week, please check out

October 2021

11: Misko Barbara, 49, Ukrainian singer (Dead Rooster) and actor; Deon Estus, 65, American bassist and vocalist (Wham!, George Michael); Paddy Moloney, 83, Irish musician (The Chieftains) and producer; Guntis Skrastinš, 67, Latvian actor and singer.

10: Luis de Pablo, 91, Spanish composer (Generación del 51).

9: Shawn McLemore, 54, American gospel singer; Jim Pembroke, 75, English-born Finnish rock musician (Wigwam); Dee Pop, 65, American drummer (Bush Tetras, The Gun Club).

8: Rabah Driassa, 87, Algerian painter and singer; Petru Guelfucci, 66, French singer; Tony MacMahon, 82, Irish button accordion player and radio and television broadcaster, subject of Slán leis an gCeol; Everett Morton, 71, Kittitian-born British drummer (The Beat); Piraisoodan, 65, Indian lyricist (En Rasavin Manasile, Thayagam, Krishna Krishna); Jem Targal, 74, American bassist (Third Power) and singer-songwriter.

5: Pat Fish, 64, English musician (The Jazz Butcher); Hobo Jim, 68, American folk singer- songwriter, cancer.

Photo: Tony MacMahon at home with his accordian (Photo by Tony)

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