Tag Archives: obituaries

So, that was 2017…

It seemed like my blog from 2016 basically became and endless obituary column. Of course, this year has had its share of famous and influential musicians shuffle away, as well. I ended up making less posts this year simply because I didn’t want to keep things on a low note (as it were).

So, I’ll now just wrap up the year acknowledging many faces that have disappeared from the music scene in the past twelve months.

At the start of the year, the drummers from two of my favourite bands passed away – Can’s Jaki Liebezeit and the Allman Brothers’ Butch Trucks. But, later in the year, we lost Can’s Holger Czukay (pictured above) as well as the Allman Brothers’ Gregg Allman.

AC/DC took a hit with the passing of Malcom Young and Soundgarden lost Chris Cornell. The death of Tom Petty also seemed to come out of the blue. One of the musicians who I saw several times back in the late ’70 and early ’80s also passed – guitarist J. Geils.

A couple of the original rock and rollers also left us – Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. The world of jazz also lost a trio of fabulous guitarists – John Abercrombie, Larry Coryell and Allan Holdsworth.

Here is a list of just some of the musicians and composers who we lost this past year…

John Abercrombie

Gregg Allman

David Axelrod

Walter Becker

Chuck Berry

Charles Bradley

Paul Buckmaster

Glen Campbell

Ralph Carney

David Cassidy

Chris Cornell

Larry Coryell

James Cotton

Holger Czukay

Fats Domino

Gord Downie

J. Geils

Johnny Hallyday

Grant Hart

Pierre Henry

Allan Holdsworth

Al Jarreau

Aloys Kontarsky

Jaki Liebezeit

Phil Miller

Sunny Murray

Maggie Roche

Roswell Rudd

Keely Smith

Mel Tillis

Butch Trucks

Peter “Overend” Watts

John Wetton

Of course, this list just scratches the surface. For a much more detailed (and depressing) list, check out:

Musicians Who Died in 2017





Goodbye 2016 (we will not miss you)

I have been dreading having to write a wrap-up piece about the year 2016. The last post that I made was in November when Leonard Cohen died. Since then, it seems to have been difficult to write anything. It has never been my intention to have my blog look like an obituary column but, it quite often feels like that.

In recent years, I have been reminding people that the musicians whose music we have enjoyed since the ’60s and ’70s are now mainly in their 60s and 70s. That means that the inevitable signs of mortality will surely take hold. This has certainly been the case in 2016.

The year seemed to start off on a high note with a brilliant new release (Blackstar) by David Bowie. However, this event seemed to quickly get overshadowed when Bowie died a couple of days after its release.

The death of Bowie seemed to resonate hard and deep within both the music industry and among his long-time fans. As someone who had been a fan for 45 years, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. This seemed to be a shared experience as many people that I talked to or exchanged messages with appeared to be doing their best to hold back a wellspring of tears. Many tried but did not succeed. The last time that I can honestly recall such a reaction was when John Lennon was brutally gunned down.

But, that was just the start of a year that appeared to be voracious in its appetite to take away so many musicians and music related personalities away from us. It didn’t matter which genre of music was your favourite, the losses touched all aspects of music from rock, pop, R&B, jazz, classical and avant-garde.

Bowie, Cohen and Prince were among the biggest or most influential names for most of the year and then word of the death of George Michael slipped in on Christmas day.

I’ve owned records by many of the people who have passed this year. I’ve seen some of them in concert. I’ve even had the pleasure to meet a couple of them. The sad fact is that as time marches on, more of these people will make the headlines as they continue to leave us. So, let’s enjoy their music while they are still here and continue to honour their memory after they are gone.

Music can make us happy. Music can make us sad. Music can make us think. Music can make us feel how great it is to be alive. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you like, it just matters that it means something to you. Be grateful for that. It is rare.

Here is a very brief list of some of the musicians and music-related people we lost in 2016:

Signe Anderson (Jefferson Airplane)

Gato Barbieri

Paul Bley

Pierre Boulez

David Bowie

Leonard Cohen

Tony Conrad

Keith Emerson

Glenn Frey (Eagles)

Dale Griffin (Mott the Hoople)

Merle Haggard

Sharon Jones

Paul Kantner (Jefferson Airplane)

Greg Lake

Neville Marriner

George Martin

George Michael

Scotty Moore

Alphonse Mouzon

Pauline Oliveros

Rick Parfitt (Status Quo)


Leon Russell

Dave Swarbrick (Fairport Convention)

Rudy Van Gelder

Alan Vega (Suicide)

Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire)

For a much more detailed (and depressing) list of the people that we lost this year, please visit Musicians Who Died in 2016.