Musicians who died in 2016
10th Jan, English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, painter, and actor
David Bowie died from liver cancer at his New York home two days after releasing the album Blackstar on his 69th birthday. His first UK Top 40 single was the 1969 'Space Oddity' which became a UK No.1 in 1975, plus Bowie scored over 50 other UK Top 40 hits including five No.1's. Bowie has also scored two US No.1 singles, the 1975 'Fame' and 1983 'Let's Dance'. Plus two albums with Tin Machine in 1991 and 1992. His music and stagecraft significantly influencing popular music and during his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at 140 million worldwide, made him one of the world's best-selling music artists.
17th Jan, Dale Griffin, drummer for rock group
Mott The Hoople died aged 67. He was a founder member of the group, best known for classic tracks 'Roll Away The Stone' and 'All The Young Dudes'. The band, who made eight albums during their five-and-a-half year existence, reformed to mark their 40th anniversary in 2009 - but Griffin was too ill to take part.
Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died at the age of 67 in New York City from complications arising from rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and pneumonia. Frey co-founded the Eagles in 1971 with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. After the breakup of the Eagles in 1980, Frey embarked on a successful solo career and went on to score the Top 40 hits 'The One You Love', 'Smuggler's Blues', 'The Heat Is On', and 'You Belong to the City'.
26th Jan, English singer-songwriter Colin Vearncombe, who with Black had the 1987 UK No.8 single 'Wonderful Life', died at the age of 53. Vearncombe was involved in a road traffic accident, on Jan 10th 2016 near Cork Airport in Ireland, and placed in a medically induced coma after sustaining serious head injuries. He died from his injuries at the intensive care unit of Cork University Hospital at the age of 53.
28th Jan, American guitarist, singer and songwriter, Paul Kantner died in San Francisco at the age of 74 due to multiple organ failure and septic shock after he suffered a heart attack days earlier. He was known for co-founding Jefferson Airplane, the leading psychedelic rock band of the counterculture era, and its more commercial spin-off band Jefferson Starship.
4th Feb, American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader Maurice White died. With Earth Wind and Fire, he had the 1975 US No.1 single 'Shining Star', and the 1981 UK No.3 single 'Let's Groove'. White won seven Grammys, and was nominated for a total of twenty Grammys and also worked with Deniece Williams, The Emotions, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.
13th Feb, All four members of English indie rock group Viola Beach, along with their manager Craig Tarry, died in a car crash in Sodertalje, Sweden. Witnesses said they saw the car fall through a gap on the E4 motorway bridge, which was open to let a boat pass. The band had played at the Where's the Music? festival in Norrkoping the previous day. The band had been scheduled to support Blossoms on a tour of the UK and Ireland during February and March 2016.
22nd Feb, American country music singer and songwriter Sonny James, best known for his 1957 hit, 'Young Love' died in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 87. Dubbed the Southern Gentleman, James had 72 country and pop chart hits from 1953 to 1983, including 23 No.1 Country hits.
8th March, English record producer, arranger, composer, conductor, audio engineer and musician; Sir George Martin died aged 90. He worked as EMI records in-house record producer and became known as the so-called fifth
Beatle. Martin produced all but one of The Beatles albums giving him 30 No.1 hit singles in the UK and 23 No.1 hits in the US. He also produced many other acts including: Matt Monro, Cilla Black, Gerry & The Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, The Fourmost, Jeff Beck, Ultravox, Kenny Rogers, UFO, Cheap Trick, Elton John and Celine Dion. Martin received a Knighthood in 1996.
11th March, English musician Keith Emerson died in Santa Monica, California, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he had become "depressed, nervous and anxious" because nerve damage in his hands had hampered his playing. Emerson found his first commercial success with the Nice, in the late 1960s and was a founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), one of the early progressive rock supergroups.
22nd March, American rapper Phife Dawg died in Contra Costa County, California, due to complications relating to diabetes at the age of 45. He was a member of the group A Tribe Called Quest and was also known as the "Five Foot Assassin" and "The Five Footer", because he stood at 5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m).
29th March, Andy Newman from Thunderclap Newman died aged 73. Thunderclap Newman, whose 1969 No.1 hit 'Something in the Air' became one of the indestructible staples of British 1960s pop. Primarily a keyboard player his school friends nicknamed him Thunderclap in honour of his playing technique. The band that would become Thunderclap Newman was formed in late 1968 at the instigation of the The Who's Pete Townshend.
6th April, American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler, Merle Haggard died of complications from pneumonia at his home in Palo Cedro, California. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound. Haggard scored over 10 US Country No.1 albums during his career.
7th April, American singer, songwriter, and guitarist Jimmie Van Zant died in a hospice in Florida after several years of treatment for liver cancer. He began playing guitar and piano as a child, mentored by his cousin Ronnie Van Zant, but largely gave up music until the 1977 plane crash in which Ronnie, the founder and lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was killed. He then took up a career playing Southern rock music.
Prince was found dead at his home in Minnesota at the age of 57, after Police were summoned to his Paisley Park estate and found his body in a lift. The acclaimed and influential musician became a global superstar in the 1980s, with albums such as 1999, Purple Rain and Sign O' the Times. The American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
21st April, American rock, blues and country singer-guitarist Lonnie Mack died of natural causes in hospital near his log-cabin home, seventy miles east of Nashville, Tennessee. In the early 1960s, he was a "pioneer" in virtuoso rock guitar soloing whose recordings were pivotal to the emergence of the electric guitar as a lead voice in rock music. For this, it has been said that he launched the era of "modern rock guitar". He scored the hit single instrumentals, 'Memphis' and 'Wham!'
24th April, American soul singer Billy Paul died at his home in the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, New Jersey, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. He was best known for his 1972 hit 'Me and Mrs Jones', which won a Grammy award and reached No.1 in the US.
17th May, American Texas country and folk singer, songwriter Guy Clark died in Nashville following a lengthy battle with lymphoma. He wrote songs for Johnny Cash, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Jeff Walker, Jimmy Buffett, Lyle Lovett and many other artists.
3rd June, English folk musician and singer-songwriter Dave Swarbrick died aged 75. His work for the group Fairport Convention from 1969 has been credited with leading them to produce their seminal album Liege & Lief (1969) that initiated the electric folk movement.
14th June, Irish rock guitarist, Henry McCullough died after never fully recovering from a severe heart attack he had suffered four years earlier. He recorded with
Paul McCartney and Wings, featuring on the hit James Bond theme, 'Live and Let Die' and 'My Love', the solo which he made up on the spot in front of a live orchestra. He was also a member of Spooky Tooth and The Grease Band.
23rd June, American bluegrass artist Ralph Stanley who was known for his distinctive singing and banjo playing, died aged 89. With his brother Carter, he helped popularise the bluegrass genre. Stanley won new fans when his work featured in the Coen brothers film O Brother, Where Art Thou?
28th June, Scotty Moore,
Elvis Presley's long-time guitarist died at his home in Nashville, aged 84. Moore had been in poor health in recent months. He formed the Starlite Wrangers with bassist Bill Black and in 1954, Sun Records impresario Sam Phillips paired Moore with a teenaged Elvis Presley. Together, along with Black, they recorded Presley's first single, 'That's All Right (Mama).' The recording session was only meant to be an audition; instead, the trio made music history.
16th July, American vocalist, punk icon and visual artist Alan Vega died aged 78. Primarily known for his work with the electronic protopunk duo Suicide. The duo released their influential self-titled debut in 1977, one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
14th Aug, American keyboard and synthesizer player James Woolley died at the age of 49. Woolley was known for his playing with industrial metal group Nine Inch Nails as well as Rob Halford's one-time band 2wo, which also included John 5 of Marilyn Manson.
20th Aug, Former 3 Doors Down guitarist Matt Roberts died at the age of 38 from a prescription drug overdose. The American rock band rose to international fame with their first single, 'Kryptonite', which charted in the top three on the Billboard chart. The released their debut album, The Better Life, in 2000 which became the 11th-best-selling album of the year and was certified 6x platinum in the United States.
8th Sept, Jamaican singer, songwriter and producer, Prince Buster died in a hospital in Miami, Florida, after suffering heart problems. The first Jamaican to have a top 20 hit in the UK, Prince Buster defined the sound of ska in the 1960s before going on to inspire the Two Tone movement of the late '70s.
19th Aug, American record producer and fraudster Lou Pearlman died aged 62 from cardiac arrest. He was the manager of successful 1990s boy bands such as Backstreet Boys and NSYNC. In 2006, he was accused of running one of the largest and longest-running Ponzi schemes in history, leaving more than $300 million in debts. After being apprehended, he pled guilty to conspiracy, money laundering, and making false statements during a bankruptcy proceeding. In 2008, Pearlman was convicted and sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
6th Oct, The death of English songwriter, record producer, and musician Rod Temperton was announced. He initially made his mark as the keyboardist and main songwriter for the R&B funk/disco band Heatwave. Temperton was recruited by Quincy Jones to write songs for Michael Jackson, including
Thriller, Off the Wall, and Rock with You.
23rd Oct, English singer-songwriter and television personality Pete Burns died following a sudden cardiac arrest. He was a member of the Mystery Girls (with Pete Wylie and Julian Cope), and then Dead Or Alive who scored the 1985 UK No.1 single 'You Spin Me Round, Like A Record'.
24th Oct, American singer Bobby Vee died age 73. Vee had 38 chart hits, ten of which reached the Top 20. Vee's recording of 'Take Good Care of My Baby' in the summer of 1961 went to No.1 in the US and No.3 in the UK. Vee's career began in the midst of tragedy. On February 3, 1959, "The Day the Music Died," when Buddy Holly,
Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper, were killed in an airplane. Vee then 15 years old, and a hastily assembled band of Fargo schoolboys calling themselves the Shadows volunteered for and were given the unenviable job of filling in for Holly and his band at their next gig. Their performance was a success, setting in motion a chain of events that led to Vee's career as a popular singer.
1st Nov, Bap Kennedy, singer, songwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland, died in Belfast in hospice care from pancreatic and bowel cancer. He is noted for his collaborations with Steve Earle, Van Morrison, Shane MacGowan and Mark Knopfler, as well as for writing the song 'Moonlight Kiss' which was on the soundtrack for the film Serendipity. Kennedy was also in the rock band Energy Orchard.
7th Nov, Canadian singer, songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen died at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles. Cohen pursued a career as a poet and novelist during the 1950s and early 1960s, and did not launch a music career until 1967, at the age of 33. His first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), was followed by three more albums of folk music: Songs from a Room (1969), Songs of Love and Hate (1971) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974). "Hallelujah" is a song written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (1984). His song 'Hallelujah' found greater popular acclaim through a recording by John Cale, which inspired a recording by
18th Nov, Sharon Jones, the singer who spearheaded a soul revival movement with her band the Dap-Kings, died in a New York hospital after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 60. Despite her powerhouse voice, Jones failed to make a breakthrough for decades until a recording session led to a Dap-Kings album in 2002. The band later won a Grammy nomination and performed at Glastonbury.
13th Nov, Leon Russell died in Nashville, he was 74. He led Joe Cockerís band Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and appeared at George Harrisonís 1971
Concert For Bangladesh. Many of his songs became hits for others, among them 'Superstar' (written with Bonnie Bramlett) for the Carpenters, 'Delta Lady' for Joe Cocker and 'This Masquerade' for George Benson. More than 100 acts have recorded 'A Song for You,' which Russell said he wrote in 10 minutes.
20th Nov, Craig Gill, drummer of the Inspiral Carpets, died at the age of 44. Gill was one of the founding members of the group who scored the hits 'Joe', 'This Is How It Feels', 'She Comes In The Fall', 'Dragging Me Down' and 'Saturn 5'. Gill, who was a DJ at The Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, England, was also a music historian and ran music-themed tours around Greater Manchester.
28th Nov, New Zealand born Ray Columbus, singer and songwriter, television host, music manager and entertainer died aged 74. He was the lead singer of Ray Columbus & the Invaders, who scored the 1964 hit was 'She's A Mod', a No.1 hit in Australia, the first song from a New Zealand group to reach the top of the charts in another country. During the 60's, Columbus toured with The Rolling Stones, Roy Orbison and The Newbeats.
3rd Dec, Wayne Duncan, bassist with Australian rock band Daddy Cool died following a stroke. Their debut 1971 single 'Eagle Rock' stayed at No.1 on the Australian singles chart for ten weeks. Their debut July 1971 LP Daddy Who? Daddy Cool also reached No.1 and became the first Australian album to sell more than 100,000 copies.
7th Dec, Greg Lake, who fronted both King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, died aged 69 after a battle with cancer. One of the founding fathers of progressive rock, the band combined heavy rock riffs with a classical influence. They scored hit albums with Pictures at an Exhibition, Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery and Lake had his solo hit 'I Believe in Father Christmas'. Jimi Hendrix considered joining ELP in their earliest incarnation, and if this had happened, the band would've been known as HELP.
24th Dec, Status Quo guitarist Rick Parfitt died in hospital in Marbella, Spain aged 68. He died from a severe infection after going to hospital, following complications to a shoulder injury. His partnership with Francis Rossi became the core of Status Quo, one of Britain's most enduring bands. Status Quo had over 60 chart hits in the UK, more than any other rock band, including "Pictures of Matchstick Men" in 1967, "Whatever You Want" in 1979 and "In the Army Now" in 2010. Twenty-two of these reached the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. In July 1985 the band opened
Live Aid at Wembley Stadium with "Rockin' All Over the World".
25th Dec, English singer, songwriter,
George Michael died aged 53. Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT. Police say there were no suspicious circumstances. The singer who launched his career with Wham in the 1980s and later continued his success as a solo performer, is said to have "passed away peacefully at home". Michael sold more than 80 million records worldwide. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
30th Dec, Allan Williams the first manager of
The Beatles died at the age of 86. Williams worked with The Beatles from 1960 to 1961, getting the band gigs in Britain, and in Hamburg. Williams personally drove the van to take the Beatles to Hamburg in 1960, which didn't have seats; The Beatles had to sit on their amplifiers in the back of the van.
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