2016 has been a tough year for the music industry, and many noteworthy people have died, including legends such as David Bowie, George Michael, and Merle Haggard. Below is a list of some of the music superstars that passed away this year.
David Bowie, legendary singer-songwriter and actor, passed away on January 10 at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with cancer. He died two days after the release of his album, Blackstar, and two days after his birthday. Bowie was a rock icon who’s work spanned over five decades and was considered an influence by other artists, such as, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kanye West just to name a few.
Glenn Frey, co-founder of the Eagles and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, died on January 18 at the age of 67. Frey won six GRAMMY Awards, five American Music Awards, and had 24 Top 40 singles, including such hits as “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.”
Maurice White, co-founder of Earth, Wind & Fire passed away in his sleep on February 4. He was 74. Earth, Wind, and Fire sold more than 90 million albums around the world and the band won six GRAMMYs and four American Music Awards. Additionally, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and White was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Merle Haggard was a country music legend. Helping to create the Bakersfield sound, Haggard was often called “the Poet of the Common Man.” Haggard had over 38 number-one hits on the country charts, including “Okie from Muskogee,” “Fightin’ Side of Me,” and received a Kennedy Center Honor, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and a BMI Icon Award. He died of double pneumonia on his 79th birthday, on April 6.
Music icon, “Prince” Rogers Nelson passed away on April 21 at the age of 57 of an accidental opioid overdose. The seven-time GRAMMY winner, Prince sold over 100 million records world-wide, and won an American Music Award, a Golden Globe Award, an Academy Award for the film Purple Rain, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Leon Russell, passed away on November 13 in Nashville at the age of 74. A top studio musician and songwriter, Russell worked with famous artists such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, and Elton John, and released his own music as well. Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Canadian singer-songwriter and poet, Leonard Cohen, died on November 7 at 82 years old. Cohen was inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and is best known for hits “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” and “Bird on a Wire.”.
George Michael was a GRAMMY-winning singer and songwriter who rose to fame as a member of the pop group Wham! and later went on to sell more than 100 million albums worldwide. He died at home on Christmas day at the age of 53.
So what is to be learned from the loss of so many great musicians? Make sure to see your favorite music artist in concert because you never know what the future holds.