Thursday, December 29, 2016

Songs By Singers/Musicians Who Died In 2016

If you haven't stopped to think about it, let me tell ya – it's been a rough year for the music industry! Some all-time greats have left the stage for good. (By which, I mean they've died.) It seems like every month another major star has fallen from the sky. This post is my tribute to those we lost, most of them extremely well-known, though a few who aren't as famous have contributed to music in ways that many if not all music lovers can appreciate. Sure, there's a lot of songs here, but it's because we've lost a lot of good ones. Ready...set...mourn!  ~  JH

1)  George Michael  ~  “Careless Whisper”  (A quintessential ‘80s song by a true superstar of the decade.)

2)  Keith Emerson & Greg Lake  (Emerson, Lake, & Palmer)  ~  “C’est La Vie”  (This classic rock band lost not one but two of its namesakes this year.)

3)  Rick Parfitt  (Status Quo)  ~  “Whatever You Want”  (Rick’s the guitarist/vocalist with the moppish blonde hair here.)

4)  Joe Ligon  (Mighty Clouds Of Joy)  ~  “I’ve Been In The Storm Too Long”  (Joe’s the lead singer here.)

5)  Holly Dunn  ~  “Daddy’s Hands”  (Back in the late-1980s, when I listened to country music on a regular basis, Holly Dunn was one of my favorites. So sad to see her go!)

6)  Leonard Cohen  ~  “Hallelujah”  (Hands-down, one of the best songwriters of all time singing his signature song. Cohen was never that great of a singer, but the many songs he penned are timeless.)

7)  Fran Jeffries  ~  “Alfie / Sunny”  (Honestly, I’d never heard of her before – but wow, what a voice!)

8)  Mark Gray  ~  “Diamond In The Dust / Back When Love Was Enough”  (Apparently, this guy was more well-known as a songwriter, penning a pair of #1 hits for Alabama [“Take Me Down” and “The Closer You Get”].)

9)  Sharon Jones  (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings)  ~  “Stranger To My Happiness” (A huge talent whose work I was already very familiar with, Jones was already fighting cancer here, yet still making beautiful throwback R&B music.)

10)  Claude “Curly” Putman  ~  “He Stopped Loving Her Today”  (This mega-hit for George Jones was cowritten by Putman with Bobby Braddock. It’s nearly impossible to think of Jones’ career in the same light without this signature song, which is saying a lot.)

11)  Al Caiola  ~  “Misty / Bonanza”  (A truly great guitarist. Why exactly have I never heard of him before now?)

12)  Colonel Abrams  ~  “Trapped”  (A big hit for this House/dance artist in the ‘80s. Never heard of him – or the song – before, but I like it.)

13)  Mentor Williams  ~  “Drift Away”  (This classic soft-rock song by Dobie Gray was written by Williams. Dobie’s been dead for five years, but Mentor passed on this year.)

14)  Pete Burns  (Dead Or Alive)  ~  “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”  (Big ‘80s hit by an iconic New Wave band. Burns was the lead singer – he’s the androgynous, crazy-haired one here.)

15)  Mose Allison  ~  “Your Mind Is On Vacation”  (Another artist I’ve never heard of, but a good one, no doubt.)

16)  Kay Starr  ~  “It’s A Good Day / Wheel Of Fortune”  (We seem to have a recurring theme in this post – two songs per video in four of these so far. Well, double your pleasure, double your sorrow at the loss of such talent, I suppose. Kay was quite a crooner!)

17)  Bobby Vee  ~  “Take Good Care Of My Baby”  (One of those rare 1960s “teen idols” whose music has actually stood the test of time.)

18)  Joan Marie Johnson  (Dixie Cups)  ~  “Chapel Of Love”  (I think she’s the Dixie Cup in the middle, but I reserve the right to be wrong.)

19)  Rod Temperton  ~  “Thriller”  (While you may not EVER associate this guy’s name with Michael Jackson’s classic tune, Temperton is the guy who actually wrote it.)

20)  Don Ciccone  ~  “The Non-Affair Affair”  (Never heard of him? You might have heard of one of the three groups he was a part of – The Critters? Tommy James & The Shondells? Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons? Yeah, those guys.)

21)  David Bowie  ~  “Lazarus”  (This song is eerily prescient. Well, I guess he knew he was dying at the time. But WE didn’t. Hauntingly beautiful tune by an icon who will definitely be missed.)

22)  Kashif Saleem  ~  “Lover, Turn Me On”  (Never heard of this guy, either, but he sings well and it’s a nice tune. Too bad he’s no longer with us.)

23)  Glenn Frey  ~  “You Belong To The City”  (If the name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe you haven’t been paying attention. Or maybe you simply don’t know the names of the lead singers from the Eagles, of which Frey was one. This is one of his solo hits, and a good one it is, too.)

24)  Prince Be  (P.M. Dawn)  ~  “Set Adrift On Memory Bliss”  (How do I tell you which one he is without being insulting? Oh well, it is what it is. Prince Be is the more heavyset one of the two [actual] brothers.)

25)  Viola Beach  ~  “Boys That Sing”  (Sad story: This entire band died in a car crash back in February of this year. Looks like they had quite a future ahead of them. Until they didn’t.)

26)  Paul Kantner  (Jefferson Airplane)  ~  “Somebody To Love”  (Kantner’s the blue-tank-top-wearing guitarist/backup vocalist singing with the lavishly mustachioed David Crosby on the left side of the stage.)

27)  Phife Dawg  (A Tribe Called Quest)  ~  “Jazz (We’ve Got) Buggin’ Out”  (Phife Dawg’s the guy in the backwards hat who raps the second verse here.)

28)  Maurice White  (Earth, Wind, & Fire)  ~  “September”  (White’s the lead singer here. A great voice in a band full of them.)

29)  Denise Matthews (AKA Vanity)  (Vanity 6)  ~  “Nasty Girl”  (Denise is the super-tall lead singer in this song.)

30)  Leon Russell  ~  “A Song For You”  (A one-of-a-kind talent, hard to categorize into just one genre. Rock? Sure. Blues? Absolutely. Country? Yep. Folk? That, too. Good? No. Great.)

31)  Joey Feek  (Joey + Rory)  ~  “When I’m Gone”  (Considering they released this song a couple of years before Joey was diagnosed with cervical cancer, this is also eerily prescient. And profoundly sad. Lest we forget profoundly sad.)

32)  Christina Grimmie  ~  “Advice”  (Christina may be the only person on this list who was murdered, a horrible distinction to be sure. Such a talented young lady, taken away from us far too soon by a crazed “fan.”) 

33)  Ralph Stanley  ~  “O Death”  (If you like bluegrass, you probably know this guy very well. Even if you don’t like bluegrass, you should know this guy. He was one of the best at what he did.)

34)  Frank Sinatra, Jr. ft. Quincy Jones & The Space Philharmonic  ~  “Fly Me To The Moon”  (Crooning ran in the family, apparently. Maybe not quite up to the level that his father was, but Frank Jr. was a considerable talent in his own right.)

35)  Merle Haggard  ~  “Okie From Muskogee”  (They don’t get much better than Merle Haggard. He was and is one of the all-time greats in any genre, much less country music.)

36)  Debbie Reynolds  ~  "Tammy"  (The most recent addition to our sad list, this song was a big hit for Ms. Reynolds, known as much for her acting as for her singing.)

37)  Prince (& 3RDEYEGIRL)  ~  “She’s Always In My Hair”  (Ah, Prince. Another legendary artist gone too soon. In the same dreadful year as all these others. *sigh*)

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