In Memoriam: Deon Estus

Deon EstusSad news to report today: Deon Estus, best known for his work with Wham!, has passed away. He was 65 years old. The news was shared on his official Twitter account.

“It is with real sadness I post that Deon Estus passed away This Morning,” the post stated. “Deon was mostly known as the third member of Wham! Deon was passionate about music and loved interacting with his loyal fans.”

Estus was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. There he began playing bass and studied with Motown legend James Jamerson. He joined the band Brainstorm as a teen and recorded two albums with them before moving to Europe in the early 1980s. The bassist’s solid work led to a healthy career as a studio musician – so much so that he turned down playing on Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love because he was already too busy.

It was in London that he was asked to join Wham! featuring George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. He recorded on both of the band’s albums including the smash hits “Wake Me Up” and “Careless Whisper”. Once the band broke up, he continued to work with Michael on his solo career and record the hit record Faith, featuring another chart-topper with the title track.

In 1989, Estus released his own solo album, Slab. Michael produced tracks for it and even sang background vocals on the track “Heaven Help Me”.

Aside from his affiliation with Wham! And George Michael, the bassist recorded and performed with Sir Elton John, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner, Aaron Neville, and more.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Deon Estus.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts

  1. Vinny S

    I always thought his bass lines made those Wham tunes what they were. Great lines. RIP. ??

  2. Sean Geist

    OMG!! This one really hurts :( I’ve been exalting the praise for the gentleman for years. Most of the time, I got the polarized response, “who?” That made me only more exuberant in my describing him as one of the best pop bassists of the last several decades. There was a radio cut of one of the Wham! Tunes that actually included a bass solo. It was killing. For me, he was the logical connection to what Jamerson wanted, to inspire pop bassists to really swing while outlining the underlining chord. He never lost the rhythmic or harmonic center. #RIP