2016 has seen it’s share of tragedies with Musicians. I know each year there are a lot of musician’s that pass away, but for some reason this year seems to have taken quite a few from us. Now that the year is almost over, I have updated the list to include musicians that have passed away in the last few months. I started this back in April/May. Hopefully that will be it for 2016. Let’s hope 2017 doesn’t bring more of the same.
In memory of all the artist we have lost so far this year, here is a playlist so we can remember the gift of music that they left us that will live on forever.
David Bowie – January 10th, 2016: David Bowie just released his album, Black Star, two days earlier on January 8th (his birthday). He had so many great songs and it was really hard to choose. I chose “Modern Love” as that was the year I really started obsessing about music. The year was 1983 and his popularity was on the rise again. It was that song that made me know who he was and made me go look at what he had done in the past. Since that time, I have been a fan.
Glenn Frey – January 18th, 2016: Just 8 days after Bowie, we then lost Glenn Frey. Glenn was one of the founding members of the Eagles. I did get the pleasure of seeing them live back in the mid-90’s and it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen. The whole group sounded great together and it was a magical night for me. I never thought I would ever get to see them live as they broke up before I was old enough to see a concert. I will never forget that show. I chose “Take It Easy” as that was their first single if I am not mistaken.
Paul Kantner – January 28th, 2016: Paul Kantner was one of the founding members of Jefferson Airplane. He also was part of Jefferson Starship. I chose one of the many songs he wrote for the band, “We Can Be Together”.
Maurice White – February 4th, 2016: Maurice White was one of the founding members of Earth, Wind & Fire. He was their main songwriter and co-lead singer with Philip Bailey. I chose “Shining Star” to play as that was their first big hit.
George Martin – March 8th, 2016: George Martin was considered the “fifth” Beatle. Although he wasn’t in the band, he was the producer of pretty much everything they did. As a result, he gets a spot on this list. I chose “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” since George won a Grammy in 1967 for this album as the producer. The video is actually from the Beatles Rock Band video game, but still great.
Keith Emerson – March 11th, 2016: Keith was one of the founding members and the keyboardist of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The only song that popped into my head for Emerson, Lake & Palmer was “Lucky Man” so that is what I chose for the playlist.
Phife Dawg – March 22nd, 2016: Phife Dawg was one of the MC’s of the 90’s hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. As I don’t know a lot of their, it wasn’t hard for me to pick. I picked the song I do know by them, “Electric Relaxation” off Midnight Marauders.
Merle Haggard – April 6th, 2016: One of Country musics greatest Outlaws. This is what country music is missing today. They need an edge like Merle Haggard had. They don’t make them like him anymore. I chose the classic “Okie from Muskogee”.
Prince – April 21st, 2016: This death seemed to touch so many people across the country. Prince was one of those artist that transcended any genre. He was a hell of a guitarist, singer and songwriter. One of the greatest movie soundtracks ever was “Purple Rain”. If those songs were released today, they would still be hit as they have held up so well over time. They are exceptional, timeless songs. I chose “Let’s Go Crazy” as it has such an awesome guitar solo and I always crank this song whenever I hear it.
Nick Menza – May 21st, 2016: Nick Menza was the former drummer for Megadeth and was now part of the band Ohm. He actually died of heart failure while he was performing with his band. I chose “Sweating Bullets” as it usually the first song I think of when I get a hankering to listen to Megadeth.
Christina Grimmie – June 10th, 2016: This was to me was the saddest and most tragic of them all since she was murdered after one of her shows. She was so young, at only 22, and had so much to offer that we will never see what she could have been. I remember watching her on the Voice and thought she was going to win it, but she came in third. My daughter was a fan of hers and did what I do when an artist I like dies, she went and started listening to all her favorite songs. I chose to repeat the song from my post on her death, “Liar Liar”.
Attrell Cordes – June 17th, 2016: Better known as Prince B, Attrell was the lead singer of the band P.M. Dawn. He was only 46 and died of kidney failure. P.M. Dawn had a couple of hits that I just loved, “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” and my favorite – “I’d Die Without You” which I will post to honor him.
Buckwheat Zydeco – September 24th, 2016: Stanley Dural, Jr., better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, passed away from a long battle with cancer. He made the accordion cool when no one thought it was possible. His style of music was called Zydeco and was a blend of Blues, Rock, and native Creole music from Louisiana. He was a legend in his field, but he left us some great music. The song I was introduced to him on was “Hey Good Lookin”. He did that song with Dwight Yoakam and David Hildago.
Pete Burns – October 23rd, 2016: The lead singer of Dead or Alive, Pete Burns, dies at age 57 of cardiac arrest. Pete passed yesterday, Sunday, October 23rd. The band Dead or Alive was most famous for the 80’s hit “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”. The song made it to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1984 and was one of the more fun Pop/Dance songs that came out in the 80’s. It was in heavy rotation on MTV where the band’s look help propel them to success. They had another hit in 1986 that made it to #15 called “Brand New Lover”. The band didn’t do much more in the states, but they will live in music history as everyone knows that song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).
Bobby Vee – October 24th, 2016: Robert Thomas Velline, better known as Bobby Vee the teen idol from the 60’s passed away from complications with Alzheimer’s Disease. Per Wikipedia, he had 38 songs in the Top 100 and 5 gold singles including “The Night Has Thousand Eyes”.
Leonard Cohen – November 7th, 2016: The man behind one of the greatest songs ever written, “Hallelujah” has passed. He was a poet, singer, songwriter and novelists. There wasn’t much he couldn’t do. He passed away at the young age of 82. Leonard Cohen had just completed his latest album “You Want It Darker” which came out just a couple weeks before he died. Like David Bowie, it feels like he wanted to complete one more album before he passed.
Leon Russell – November 13th, 2016: He was such a great songwriter (he is even in the Rock & Roll Songwriting Hall of Fame) and a musician. With songs like “A Song For You”, “Lady Blue”, “Delta Lady” and “It’s A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall”, he was great at his craft. Claude Russell Bridges was born in Oklahoma back in 1942 and died last night at the young age of 74. He has worked with so many big names including Elton John (the did an album together called ‘The Union’), the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and even Bob Dylan. He has left us with an extensive catalogue to enjoy until the end of time. My In Memoriam playlist is going to get a little longer.
Greg Lake – December 7th, 2016: Greg Lake was one of the founding members of King Crimson and of course from Emerson, Lake & Palmer. He died after a long battle with cancer. He and Keith Emerson both died this year. Greg was a legendary keyboard player in the Progressive Rock genre and will be sadly missed.
George Michael – December 25th, 2016: George Michael has passed away at only 53 years of age. From what I read, he died peacefully, but no cause of death was given. He wasn’t much older than I am, which is scary. I grew up in the 80’s listening to his music and whether it was his solo work or his work with Wham, he had a huge impact in the 80’s and was an MTV mainstay during those years. In his memory, I will pick “Last Christmas” since today is Christmas and “Faith” which is one of my favorites. Rest in Peace George!!
I hope that is all that will be on this list for this year. I don’t want to have to add to it. I am thankful we have music to remember all these talented musicians and that their memory won’t be forgotten any time soon.