As sure as each day fades into night and each night reveals a new day, sooner or later, we will all be faced with our own mortality. As we grow older and move from one stage of our life to the next, majority of us have fond memories of people that made an impact on our day-to-day lives, parents, relatives, friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, role models, etc. on a personal level. Then we have those memorable icons who kept us entertained through the media that we looked forward to seeing on our favorite TV shows, at the movies, on the radio, in the funny pages (comic books), in concert or on stage. As time passes and we all age, we begin loosing many of our childhood heroes and people we cared about or made us feel secure in our own special place.
The focus on this particular post will be on MUSIC ARTISTS of all genres. I will attempt to present to you many of my personal favorites that the world has lost during this calendar year. As you might expect, this post will be ongoing and updated as we unfortunately will lose more wonderful music artists through the end of 2012. I know there will be some that I leave out, maybe because I’m unaware of their passing, or because they were not known in America, or, in the case of a few, I personally did not like them or care for their music.
* There may also be a couple of other “non-artists” that were involved in some capacity with music that I have included here also such as band members, producers, writers, hosts (Don Cornelius), etc.
Enjoy the trip down memory lane and hopefully some of the artists listed will leave a soft spot in your heart or a tear in your eye.
I’ll include one of their classics that they are best remembered for (as well as a personal favorite).
Deaths are listed in reverse chronological order from most recent (December) backward to the beginning of the year, January, 2012.
Updated once again as the curtain closes on 2012, with several more entries of those who passed during the past twelve months, those who entertained us through music and song…. that left us with memories of our youth, our past, the good times, the bad times, the happy, the sad
Fontella Bass – Age 72
July 3, 1940 – December 26, 2012 (from St. Louis, Missouri)
Ray Collins – Age 76
(Mothers of Invention)
November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012 (from Pomona, California)
Mike Scaccia – Age 47
(Lead Guitar – Ministry)
June 14, 1965 – December 23, 2012 (from Babylon, New York)
Lee Dorman – Age 70
(Bass Guitar – Iron Butterfly, Captain Beyond)
September 15, 1942 – December 21, 2012 (from St. Louis, Missouri)
Jimmy McCracklin – Age 91
August 13, 1921 – December 20, 2012 (from St. Louis, Missouri)
Inez Andrews – Age 83
(Gospel Soloist / The Caravans)
April 14, 1929 – December 19, 2012 (from Birmingham, Alabama)
Pecker Dunne – Age 79
April 1, 1933 – December 19, 2012 (from Castlebar, Ireland)
Ravi Shankar – Age 92
April 7, 1920 – December 11, 2012 (from India)
Jenni Rivera – Age 43
July 2, 1969 – December 9, 2012 (from Long Beach, California)
Ed Cassidy – Age 89
(Drummer/Founder – Rising Sons, Spirit)
May 4, 1923 – December 6, 2012 (from Bakersfield, California)
Huw Lloyd-Langton – Age 61
(Guitarist – Hawkwind, Widowmaker)
February 6, 1951 – December 6, 2012 (from London, England)
Dave Brubeck – Age 91
December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012 (from Concord, California)
Dee Harvey – Age 47
1965 – December 1, 2012 (from Memphis, Tennessee)
Frank Barsalona – Age 74
(Legendary Talent Agent/Pioneering Rock Promoter)
March 31, 1938 – November 22, 2012 (from Staten Island, New York)
Peter Bennett – Age 77
(Legendary Music Promoter)
May 10, 1935 – November 22, 2012 (from The Bronx, New York)
Michael Dunford – Age 68
(Guitarist – Renaissance)
July 8, 1944 – November 20, 2012 (from Surrey, England)
Billy Scott – Age 70
(Billy Scott & the Prophets)
October 5, 1942 – November 17, 2012 (from Huntington, West Virginia)
Major Harris – Age 65
(The Delfonics, solo career)
February 9, 1947 – November 9, 2012 (from Richmond, Virginia)
Terry Callier – Age 67
May 24, 1945 – October 27, 2012 (from Chicago, Illinois)
Pundits referred to his music as “jazz-folk” in the 1970’s. Callier was an unusual and singularly inspired singer-songwriter whose music defied such easy categorization. He was largely ignored by the U.S. record buying public, despite being well-respected among musicians and critics.
Hal David – Age 91
May 25, 1921 – September 1, 2012 (from Brooklyn, New York)
Hal David wrote words for, most notably, Burt Bacharach. Together, the two provided hits to Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Tom Jones, The Carpenters and others. Songs include, “The Look of Love,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” “(There’s) Always Something There To Remind Me” and “Do You Know The Way To San Jose.”
Joe South – Age 72
February 28, 1940 – September 5, 2012 (from Atlanta, Georgia)
An American songwriter, singer, guitarist and record producer. Best known for his songwriting, South won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1970 for “Games People Play” and was again nominated for the award in 1972 for “Rose Garden”.
Dorothy McGuire – Age 84
February 13, 1928 – September 7, 2012 (from Middletown, Ohio)
The McGuire Sisters were a singing trio in American popular music. The group was composed of three sisters: Christine McGuire (born July 30, 1926); Dorothy McGuire (February 13, 1928 – September 7, 2012); and Phyllis McGuire (born February 14, 1931). Among their most popular songs are “Sincerely” and “Sugartime”, both number one hits.
Rollin “Oscar” Sullivan – Age 93
(Lonzo and Oscar)
January 9, 1919 – September 7, 2012 (from Edmonton, Kentucky)
Andy Williams – Age 84
(December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012 (from Wall Lake, Iowa)
A legendary American popular music singer. He recorded 44 albums in his career, 15 of which have been gold-certified and three of which have been platinum-certified.He was also nominated for six Grammy Awards. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a television variety show, from 1962 to 1971, and numerous TV specials. The Andy Williams Show garnered three Emmy awards. The Moon River Theatre in Branson, Missouri, is named after the song he is most known for singing—Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini’s “Moon River”. He sold over 100 million records worldwide including 10.5 million certified units in the United States.
Jimmy Jones – Age 75
June 2, 1937 – August 2, 2012 (from Birmingham, Alabama)
Marvin Hamlisch – Age 68
June 2, 1944 – August 6, 2012 (from New York City, New York)
An American composer and conductor. Hamlisch was one of only twelve people to win Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He is also one of only two people (along with Richard Rodgers) to have won those four prizes and a Pulitzer Prize.
Carl Davis – Age 77
September 19, 1934 – August 9, 2012 (from Chicago, Illinois)
An American record producer and music executive, who was particularly active in Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s. He was responsible for hit R&B records by Gene Chandler, Major Lance, Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites, Barbara Acklin, Tyrone Davis and others.
Scott McKenzie – Age 73
January 10, 1939 – August 18, 2012 (from Jacksonville, Florida)
An American singer and songwriter. He was best known for his 1967 hit single and generational anthem, “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”.
Max Bygraves – Age 89
October 16, 1922 – August 31, 2012 (from London, England)
An English comedian, singer, actor and variety performer. He appeared on his own television shows, sometimes performing comedy sketches between songs. He made twenty Royal Variety Performance appearances and presented numerous programmes, including Family Fortunes.
Bob Babbitt – Age 74
(Bass Guitar/ The Funk Brothers, MFSB)
November 26, 1937 – July 16, 2012 (from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
He was a bassist in Motown Records’ studio band, the Funk Brothers, from 1966 through 1972, and also a member of MFSB for Philadelphia International Records. He played on hundreds of hits, including Steve Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” Edwin Starr’s “War” and Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
Jon Lord – Age 71
June 9, 1941 – July 16, 2012 (from Leicester, England)
An English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men. In 1968 Lord co-founded Deep Purple, a hard rock band of which he was regarded as the leader until 1970.
Kitty Wells – Age 92
“Queen of Country Music”
August 30, 1919 – July 16, 2012 (from Nashville, Tennessee)
Her 1952 hit recording, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”, made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts, and turned her into the first female country star. Her Top 10 hits continued until the mid-1960s, inspiring a long list of female country singers who came to prominence in the 1960s. Wells ranks as the sixth most successful female vocalist in the history of Billboard’s country charts. In 1976, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1991, she became the third country music artist and the eighth woman to receive the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Wells’ accomplishments earned her the nickname Queen of Country Music.
Herb Reed – Age 83
August 7, 1928 – June 4, 2012 (from Kansas City, Missouri)
An American musician, vocalist and founding member of The Platters, who were known for their hits during the 1950s and 1960s. Reed, who was the last surviving original member of the group, which he co-founded with four other musicians in 1953, is credited with creating The Platters’ name.
Bob Welch – Age 66
August 31, 1945 – June 7, 2012 (from Los Angeles, CA)
An American musician, who was member of Fleetwood Mac from 1971 to 1974. He had a successful solo career in the late 1970s. His singles included “Hot Love, Cold World,” “Ebony Eyes,” “Precious Love,” and his signature song, “Sentimental Lady
Graeme Bell – Age 97
September 7, 1914 – June 13, 2012 (from Victoria, Australia)
An Australian Dixieland and classical jazz pianist, composer and band leader
Marjorie “Marjie” Hymans – Age 91
August 9, 1920 – June 14, 2012 (from New York City, New York)
An American jazz vibraphonist, pianist, and arranger. She began her career as a vibraphonist in the 1940s, playing with Woody Herman (from 1944 to 1945), the Hip Chicks (1945), Mary Lou Williams (1946), Charlie Ventura (1946), George Shearing (from 1949 to 1950), and led her own groups, including a trio, which stayed together from 1945 to 1948, performing on 52nd Street in Manhattan
Doc Watson – Age 89
(Guitarist / ‘Roots Music’ Legend)
March 3, 1923 – May 29, 2012 (from Deep Gap, North Carolina)
Blind from nearly birth, Watson went on to become a legendary guitar picker, both fingerstyle and flatpicking. He won seven Grammy awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. When you think of traditional American music — folk, bluegrass, blues, country and gospel — think Doc.
Robin Gibb – Age 62
The Bee Gees
December 22, 1949 – May 20, 2012 (from Douglas, Isle of Man)
Of Brothers Gibb fame, Robin sang lead on many of the early Bee Gees hits, including “Massachusetts,” “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You” and “I Started a Joke.” He has writing credits on “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “Night Fever” and “Tragedy.”
Donna Summer – Age 63
December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012 (from Boston, Massachusetts)
She became a disco queen, with racy hits such as “Love To Love You Baby,” “I Feel Love,” “Hot Stuff” and “Bad Girls,” eventually became a born-again Christian. But while her music was often controversial for its lyrical content, it was just as groundbreaking in the musical sphere, bringing electronic-based music to the people.
Donald “Duck” Dunn – Age 70
(Booker T & The MGs)
(Bass guitarist / session musician / record producer / songwriter)
November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012 (from Memphis, Tennessee)
Teaming up with guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist “Duck” Dunn joined the house band at Stax Records, which became Booker T. and the MGs. Session work was extensive, including Otis Redding’s “Sitting On the Dock of the Bay” and Wilson Pickett’s “In the Midnight Hour.”
Adam “MCA” Yauch – Age 47
August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012 (from Brooklyn, New York)
Levon Helm – Age 71
May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012 (from Elaine, Arkansas)
Helm was a multi-instrumentalist known for singing and drumming with the Band on such hits as “The Night They Drove Ol’ Dixie Down” and “Up On Cripple Creek.” He was a benevolent musician who won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Americana Album with Electric Dirt.
Dick Clark “America’s Oldest Teenager” – Age 82
(Legendary Producer, TV/Radio Personality, American Bandstand, American Music Awards, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, as well as other TV series & game shows)
November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012 (from Mount Vernon, New York)
Dick Clark became a cultural icon as he switched from radio to TV and hosted American Bandstand, which ran from 1957 to 1987. Started his own production company while hosting Often referred to as “America’s Oldest Teenager,” Clark also counted down New Year’s Eve every year on New Year’s Eve!
Earl Scruggs – Age 88
(Bluegrass Music Legend, Banjo)
January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012 (from Flint Hill, North Carolina)
Banjo players the world over mourned the passing of this bluegrass music giant. He joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1945 and popularized his three-finger picking style.
Ronnie Montrose – Age 64
November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012 (from San Francisco, California)
An American rock guitarist, who led the bands Montrose (1973-77 & 1987) and Gamma (1979-83 & 2000) and also performed and did session work with a variety of musicians, including Van Morrison (1971–72), Herbie Hancock (1971), Beaver & Krause (1971), Boz Scaggs (1971), Edgar Winter (1972 & 1996), Gary Wright (1975), The Beau Brummels (1975), Dan Hartman (1976), Tony Williams (1978), The Neville Brothers (1987), Marc Bonilla (1991 & 1993), Sammy Hagar (1997), and Johnny Winter. The first Montrose album was often cited as “America’s answer to Led Zeppelin” and Ronnie Montrose was often referred to as one of the most influential guitarists in American hard rock.
Davy Jones – Age 66
December 20, 1945 – February 29, 2012 (from Manchester, Lancashire, England)
An English singer-songwriter, musician, actor and businessman best known as a member of the band The Monkees, and for starring in the TV series of the same name. Jones is considered one of the great teen idols of his era.
Whitney Houston – Age 48
August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012 (from Newark, New Jersey)
The only artist to chart seven consecutive #1 Billboard Hot 100 hits, Whitney Houston was a force of nature who lost her battle with her inner demons. She starred in the hugely popular film The Bodyguard in 1992, which also featured the best-selling single by a female artist, “I Will Always Love You.”
Don Cornelius – Age 75
(Soul Train creator, producer & host)
September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012 (from Chicago, Illinois)
Don Cornelius brought “Love, Peace and Soul” into the homes of average teenagers who watched his music program Soul Train religiously for its promotion of R&B and soul music performers such as James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, among the many.
Etta James – Age 73
January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012 (from Los Angeles, California)
Discovered by Johnny Otis when just a teenager, James was inducted into several Hall of Fames — Rock and Roll, Blues, Grammy — and was known for such hits as “Roll With Me, Henry,” “At Last” and “Tell Mama.”
Johnny Otis – Age 90
“The Godfather of Rhythm & Blues”
December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012 (from Vallejo, California)
Commonly referred to as “The Godfather of Rhythm & Blues,” Otis was a singer, drummer, pianist, producer, songwriter whose credits included playing the memorable vibraphone part on Johnny Ace’s “Pledging My Love.” He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Jimmy Castor – Age 71
(Jimmy Castor Bunch)
June 23, 1940 – January 16, 2012 (from Manhattan, New York)
Larry Reinhardt – Age 63
(Guitarist / Iron Butterfly & Captain Beyond)
July 7, 1948 – January 2, 2012 (from Florida)
An American rock guitarist who played with Iron Butterfly and Captain Beyond. At one time Reinhardt was known by the nicknames “El Rhino” and “Ryno”.
Fred Milano – Age 72
August 26, 1939 – January 1, 2012 (from the Bronx, New York)
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