Last year, I did a post memorializing all the musicians that we lost in that year. I thought I would do that again for 2017 as it was another year where we lost some music legends and icons in their respective fields. The list is really long and I guess each year it will get longer as all the bands I grew up with are getting older and it is bound to happen. Though we have lost them, the live on in our hearts and in their music they left behind. I guess we might as well get started. Do realize this list isn’t every musician that passed away, it is really those that I have listened to over the years or were legends and icons in music. So if I leave someone off, it is nothing personal but please add their name in the comments.
January 28 – Geoff Nicholls – keyboardist for heavy metal giants Black Sabbath. He was 68 and passed away from lung cancer. He was with the band in the 80’s and 90’s starting with the 1980 album Heaven Hell and ending with 1995’s Forbidden.
January 31 – John Wetton – John was singer-songwriter and the bassist for the bands Asia and King Crimson just to name a few. John was with Asia during their heyday in the 80’s performing and lead vocals on songs such “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell”. He was 67 when he passed away from colon cancer.
February 12 – Al Jarreau – Al was 76 years old when he passed away after being hospitalized for exhaustion. He was probably most famous for doing the theme song to the TV show for Moonlighting. He was so much more than that though. With around 17 albums he was Jazz legend.
February 18 – Clyde Stubblefield – Clyde was 73 when he passed away from kidney failure. He is best know for two things…1) drummer for the amazing James Brown band and 2) he is one of the most sampled musicians in hip hop thanks to the James Brown song “Funky Drummer”.
March 3 – Tommy Page – At only 46, Tommy died from Suicide. He is most famous for his song “I’ll Be Your Everything” and and was a 90’s teen idol, even appearing on an episode of Full House.
March 11 – Joni Sledge – Joni was one of the sisters in Sister Sledge. She passed away at the young age of only 60. Sister Sledge was most famous for their hit song “We Are Family”.
March 18 – Chuck Berry – Chuck passed away at the ripe old age of 90. He is one of the early innovators or rock & roll and has influenced so many over his career. He is such a legend that even in the movie Back to the Future references Chuck. With hits such as “Johnny B Goode” and “Maybellene”, his legacy will live on forever. He released one last album right around the time he died simply titled ‘Chuck’. There weren’t many like and won’t be anyone like him to come.
March 22 – Sib Hashian – Sib passed away at 67 doing what he loved to do which was perform. He is most famous for being the drummer for the band Boston. He performed on their debut album as well as Don’t Look Back.
April 5 – Paul O’Neil – Paul died at 61 years old and is most famous for his work as producer and songwriter with the band Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He also produced numerous albums for the band Savatage. For me, the best thing he did was write the song “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo”.
April 11 – J. Geils – J. Geils passed away at 71 and obviously is most famous for the band that bares his name ‘The J. Geils Band”. He was such a great guitar player and gave the band such a strong blues rock sound, that was until they went more new wave in the 80’s. Everyone knows those songs “Centerfold” and “Freeze Frame”, but it is the early albums that the band is a solid rock & roll band.
May 18 – Chris Cornell – Chris passed away at only 52 and his death was ruled a suicide. One of the greatest voices to come out of the Grunge scene in the 90’s, his work with Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of The Dog are unforgettable. His solo work was equally as impressive and I thought his last solo album was one of his best. His impact was felt by a lot of people by all the positive comments about the man after his passing. He was well-liked in an industry that doesn’t always have nice people.
May 27 – Gregg Allman – The legendary Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band passed away at the tender age of 69. He had been suffering from liver cancer and it sadly took his life. His influence on Rock and Southern rock is immense. His songwriting was incredible and he penned hits such as “Whipping Post”, “Melissa” and “Midnight Rider”. He will remembered forever as his impact was so large.
June 27 – Dave Rosser – Dave Rosser was the guitarist from the acclaimed band the Afghan Whigs. Dave is another who had been battling cancer prior to his death. Dave was only 50 years old and at such a young age, who knows what more we could have gotten out of him.
July 14 – Dave Z – Dave Z died in a tragic tour bus accident while he was touring as the bass player with his current band Adrenaline Mob. Dave Z also performed with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, SOTO and the band I first saw him in Z02. Z02 also had a great TV show about the band where they played rock stars by night and children party band by day. This was definitely a tragic loss for a very talented young man.
July 20 – Chester Bennington – One of the saddest losses of the year was Chester Bennington. Another suicide on the list and this one was 2 months after the suicide of his friend Chris Cornell and it was on Chris’ birthday. Chester was the lead singer of Linkin Park and that band will never be the same without him. He was so talented and the band had just released a new album and they were touring in support of the album. He was only 41 years old.
August 8 – Glen Campbell – Country legend and the “Rhinestone Cowboy” himself, Glen Campbell passed away from a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Such a cruel disease that took music away from him in the later years, but thankfully we have so much of his music left behind. He was such an iconic Country singer and will be remembered forever.
August 20 – Jerry Lewis – Now Jerry is known mostly for being an actor/comedian and host of the Muscular Dystrophy telethons, but he was also a singer. He was 91 years old when he passed and he was beloved by many (especially the French). I thought I would put up the fun song he does with Dean Martin “That’s Amore”.
September 3 – Walter Becker – Walter was the guitarist and co-founder for the band Steely Dan. He was 67. The band had such hits as “Reelin’ in the Years” and “Riki Don’t Lose That Number”.
September 3 – Dave Hlubek – Dave was lead guitarist and founding member with the Southern Rock Band Molly Hatchet. He died from a heart attack at only 66 years old. The band is most famous probably for the hit “Flirtin’ With Disaster” so I will leave you with that song.
September 8 – Troy Gentry – Troy was one part of one of the most successful country duos, Montgomery Gentry. Troy died at 50 from a helicopter crash. Montgomery Gentry had such hits as “Something to Be Proud of”.
September 8 – Don Williams – Another country legend has passed. At the age of 78, Don Williams had been around the country scene for more years than I can remember. This Country Music Hall of Famer had such hits as “I Believe in You” and “Tulsa Time”.
September 14 – Grant Hart – Grant Hart was the drummer for the punk band Husker Du and later became the guitarist and singer for Nova Mob as well as a solo artist. This versatile musician and songwriter left his mark on the world and for that we are grateful.
October 2 – Tom Petty – Wow! What can you say about Tom Petty. One of the finest singer/songwriters to ever grace us with his presence. If there is anything that would definite American Rock, it would by Tom. He is one of my favorite singers and the Heartbreakers just painted pictures throughout my life. I remember hearing them on the radio and then the early days of MTV they were everywhere. He gave us such hits as “Refuge”. “Free Fallin'”, “You Got Lucky” and “Even the Losers” and so much more. I can’t really say enough good things about Tom Petty, so I will let his music do that talking. Tom Petty…R.I.P.
October 24 – Fats Domino – Another music legend. That term gets used a lot, but with Fats, it is true. One of the pioneers of Rock he gave is 30 top 40 hits and over 65 million singles sold only second to maybe Elvis. Who doesn’t know the Song “Blueberry Hill”?? Really, who doesn’t as I don’t think anyone can say they don’t. If they don’t, they have lived under a rock for their entire life or are under 20 years old maybe.
November 9 – Chuck Mosley – The original vocalist for the band Faith No More. Chuck was only 57 when he lost his life to his long battling of addiction. He was a part of their first two album ‘We Care A Lot’ and ‘Introduce Yourself’. This funked up rock was the antithesis to the Hair Band music of its time.
November 18 – Malcolm Young – The AC/DC co-founder and the heart and soul of the band lost hist life at only 64 to dementia. He had left the band a few years earlier due to this cruel disease, but his memory will go on forever. He is regarded as one of the best rhythm guitarist in rock and that says something about him for this is a very overlooked instrument in the band. As the lead guitarist usually gets all the glory.
November 19 – Mel Tillis – Country music has taking a beating this year with a lot of its icons have passed. Mel Tillis was 85 and was also in the Country Music Hall of Fame. With songs like “Coca Cola Cowboy”, “Southern Rains” and “Send Me Down to Tucson”, he was a staple on the country scene for the 60s, 70s & 80’s even into the 90s.
November 21 – David Cassidy – David Cassidy was a teenage heartthrob form the 70’s most famous for his role as David Partridge on the Partridge Family. He was 67 and suffered from organ failure probably due to his years of addiction. Most recently, he had been diagnosed with Dementia and had retired from touring as a result. Through his numerous solo albums and some Partridge Family albums, he left his mark on Pop music in the 70’s and for that he will always be remembered.
December 12th – Pat DiNizio – Pat was the lead singer for the band The Smithereens. The band was big back in the late 80’s and early 90’s and are probably most notable for the song “Girl Like You” from their album ’11’. Pat had been having health issues these last few years and
December 13th – Warrel Dane – Warrel was the lead singer for the bands Nevermore and Sanctuary. He passed away of a heart attack while in Brazil. He was working on his second solo album and has released over 15 albums in his career. He trained as an opera singer for five years and is know for his amazing range.
Wow, there were a lot this year just like there was in 2016. I hope 2018 has a reduced number even though I doubt it as all the bands/musicians I grew up listening to are starting to reach that age where death is not all that uncommon…which of course means I am getting old too. To all this musicians who impacted me in some way! Say hi to the Big Man for me and Rest In Peace!!