2016 Was A Rough Year for Musicians: A look back
Ugh, it has been a year. A horrible, no good, bad news bears kind of year. There were a lot, a lot, of very talented, beloved musicians who died this year. Notably, the biggest were David Bowie, Prince, Glenn Frey, Meryl Haggard, and just a few days ago, George Michael. It’s been a tough year.
Check out the full list of celebrity musicians that died in the past year ago. 2016 sucked, so 2017 can only be better, right? Right?!
List adapted from Associated Press of Very Important People that died in 2016.
Pierre Boulez, 90. Former principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic who was proficient in conducting, composition and teaching as one of the leading figures in modern classical music.
Otis Clay, 73. Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist known as much for his big heart and charitable work in Chicago as for his singing internationally.
David Bowie, 69. Other-worldly musician who broke pop and rock boundaries with his creative musicianship, striking visuals and a genre-spanning persona he christened Ziggy Stardust.
Rene Angelil, 73. Celine Dion’s husband and manager, who launched her career from a French-speaking Canadian ingénue into one of the world’s most successful singers.
Glenn Frey, 67. Rock ‘n’ roll rebel who co-founded the Eagles and with Don Henley formed one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with classics like “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”
Paul Kantner, 74. Founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers as the eventual leader of successor group Jefferson Starship.
Signe Toly Anderson, 74. Vocalist and original member of the Jefferson Airplane who left the band after its first record and was replaced by Grace Slick.
Terry Wogan, 77. His gentle humor and Irish demeanor made him a star of British television and radio for decades.
Maurice White, 74. Earth, Wind & Fire founder whose horn-driven band sold more than 90 million albums. Feb. 3.
Sonny James, 87. Country singer who recorded romantic ballads like “Young Love” and turned pop songs into country hits. Feb. 22.
Joey Feek, 40. With her husband, Rory, she formed the award-winning country duo Joey + Rory.
George Martin, 90. The Beatles’ affable producer who quietly lead the band’s swift, historic transformation from rowdy club act to musical and cultural revolutionaries.
Peter Maxwell Davies, 81. Experimental, socially radical composer who served as Queen Elizabeth II’s official master of music.
Frank Sinatra Jr., 72. He carried on his father’s legacy with his own music career; his kidnapping as a young man added a bizarre chapter to his father’s legendary life.
Phife Dawg, 45. Lyricist whose witty wordplay was a cornerstone of the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest.
Garry Shandling, 66. Actor and comedian who masterminded a brand of fake docudrama with “The Larry Sanders Show.”
Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, 83. Latin Jazz saxophonist who composed the Grammy-winning music for the steamy Marlon Brando film “Last Tango in Paris” and recorded dozens of albums over a career spanning more than seven decades.
Merle Haggard, 79. Country giant who rose from a bleak beginning of poverty and prison to international fame through his songs about outlaws, underdogs and an enduring sense of national pride in such hits as “Okie From Muskogee” and “Sing Me Back Home.”
David Gest, 62. Music producer, reality TV star and former husband of Liza Minnelli.
Prince, 57. One of the most inventive and influential musicians of modern times with hits like, “Purple Rain, ” “Little Red Corvette,” ‘‘Let’s Go Crazy” and “When Doves Cry.”
Billy Paul, 80. Jazz and soul singer best known for the No. 1 hit ballad and “Philadelphia Soul” classic “Me and Mrs. Jones.”
Remo Belli, 88. Musician who lay the groundwork for the synthetic drumhead in time to help a generation of rock-and-rollers shape their sound and then saw it become standard on kits across genres.
Afeni Shakur, 69. Former Black Panther who was an inspiration for her son, rap icon Tupac Shakur, and fostered his legacy for decades after he was slain.
Guy Clark, 74. Texas singer-songwriter who helped train a generation of songwriters and wrote hits like “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperados Waiting for a Train.”
Wayne Jackson, 74. Trumpet player on rock ‘n’ roll, soul, R&B and pop mainstays along with Memphis Horns partner and tenor saxophonist Andrew Love.
Bernie Worrell, 72. “Wizard of Woo” whose amazing array of keyboard sounds helped define the Parliament-Funkadelic musical empire and influenced performers of many genres.
Alan Vega, 78. Punk pioneer who helped form the duo Suicide, widely regarded as a originator of punk and electronic music.
Marni Nixon, 86. Hollywood voice double whose singing was heard in place of the leading actresses’ in such movie musicals as “West Side Story,” ‘‘The King and I” and “My Fair Lady.”
Pete Fountain, 86. Clarinetist whose Dixieland jazz virtuosity and wit endeared him to his native New Orleans and earned him national television fame.
Bobby Hutcherson, 75. Bricklayer’s son who became one of the most inventive jazz vibraphonists to pick up a pair of mallets.
Toots Thielemans, 94. Belgian harmonica player whose career included playing with jazz greats like Miles Davis and whose solos have figured on numerous film scores.
Juan Gabriel, 66. Mexican songwriter and singer who was an icon in the Latin music world.
Charmian Carr, 73. Actress best known for sweetly portraying the eldest von Trapp daughter in “The Sound of Music.” Sept. 17.
Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., 68. Musician who rose from a cotton-picking family in southwest Louisiana to introduce zydeco music to the world through his band Buckwheat Zydeco.
Jean Shepard, 82. “The grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry” who had a long recording career in country music. S
Joan Marie Johnson, 72. A founding member of the New Orleans girl group The Dixie Cups, who had a No. 1 hit in 1964 with “Chapel of Love.” Oct. 3.
Bobby Vee, 73. Boyish, grinning 1960s singer whose career was born when he took a stage as a teenager to fill in after the 1959 plane crash that killed rock ‘n’ roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Oct. 24.
Norman R. Brokaw, 89. Talent agent who represented Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and other top Hollywood stars. Oct. 29.
Jean-Jacques Perrey, 87. French composer and pioneer of electronic pop music who was best known for co-writing “Baroque Hoedown,” used as the music for the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney theme parks.
Leonard Cohen, 82. Baritone-voiced Canadian singer-songwriter who produced such amazing songs as “Hallelujah,” ‘‘Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire.”
Leon Russell, 74. He performed, sang and produced some of rock ‘n’ roll’s top records. Nov. 13.
Holly Dunn, 59. Country singer who had a hit in 1986 with “Daddy’s Hands,” about her minister father. Nov. 14.
Mose Allison, 89. Pianist and singer whose witty, Southern-accented lyrics delivered over a backdrop of boogie-woogie blues and jazz piano influenced musicians across a wide spectrum.
Mentor Williams, 70. Award-winning songwriter behind the 1970s hit “Drift Away,” which became a soulful rock ‘n’ roll anthem aired on radio stations for generations.
Sharon Jones, 60. Powerhouse who pioneered a soul revival despite not finding stardom until middle age.
Esma Redzepova, 73. One of the most powerful voices in the world of Gypsy music.
Joe Ligon, 80. Singer and dynamic frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy.
Rick Parfitt, 68. Longtime guitarist and founding member of British band Status Quo.
George Michael, 53. Musician who shot to stardom at an early age in the teen duo WHAM! and had a very successful solo career.