Over the past twelve months, the music industry has flourished with an overwhelming amount of talent, both currently existing and upcoming. But as we welcome great new artists into our libraries, we must also remember the iconic predecessors who have passed in 2012 and celebrate their accomplishments. Without their hard work, dedication, and passion towards music, the industry as we know it may not be the same. Take a moment with us here at MXDWN to remember all who have died this past year.
Etta James (January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012)
Etta James lost her battle against leukemia five days short of her 74th birthday. This incredible legendary singer made several accomplishments in the genres of jazz, blues, soul, gospel and even rock and roll. Her successful career is noted by a remarkable amount of awards including six Grammys, 17 Blues Music Awards, and being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1993), Blues Hall of Fame (2001), and Grammy Hall of Fame (1999 and 2008). No amount of trophies can sum up the amazing talent that Etta James contributed to the world of music.
Dick Clark (November 30, 1929 – April 18, 2012)
This New Year’s Eve we remember beloved Dick Clark, an amazing show host and entertainer who passed after a massive heart attack. His signature voice can also be recognized on old-time shows American Bandstand and the game show, Pyramid.
Adam Yauch aka MCA (August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012)
MCA died at 47-years-old after dealing with cancer for three years. He co-founded the Beastie Boys releasing several albums, the latest giving hope that his cancer had subsided. Thankfully before his passing, MCA was able to witness his successful band being inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Whitney Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012)
Whitney Houston’s death was a tragedy in the music industry. Her powerful voice produced six studio albums and one holiday album. Her famous singles include “I Will Always Love You” and “How Will I Know.” Along with her signing career, Houston took her talents to the movie screen and starred in several films including The Bodyguard and The Preacher’s Wife.
Mitch Lucker (October 20, 1984 – November 1, 2012)
Suicide Silence singer Mitch Lucker was a band member for about a decade before his untimely death resulting of a motorcycle accident that occurred while intoxicated. Fans gathered for a vigil in support of his surviving family including wife Jolie and 5-year-old daughter Kenadee.
Ravi Shankar (April 7, 1920 – December 11, 2012)
Renowned sitar instrumentalist, referred to as Pandit, passed away at the age of 92. In his lifetime, his ways influenced late Beatles star George Harrison and earned him three Grammy awards as well as the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest honor.
Dave Brubeck (December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012)
Just one day shy of his 92nd birthday, Brubeck suffered a heart attack and passed before he could attend a planned birthday celebration. This pianist and composer left behind a great legacy especially with the hit “Take Time” by the one and only Dave Brubeck Quartet, who also experimented with varied time signatures and other complexities.
Jon Lord (June 9 1941 – July 16 2012)
Deep Purple founder and keyboardist suffered from a pulmonary embolism which resulted from his pancreatic cancer. The 71-year-old rocker retired a decade before his passing and is credited for co-writing several hit songs, including “Smoke On The Water” and “Hard Lovin’ Man.”
Don Cornelius (September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012)
Soul Train creator and host of 22 years was found in his home after what appeared to be a self-inflicted gun shot. His creation allowed television watchers to enjoy music in an entirely new fashion. He was inducted to the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2005.
Major Harris III (February 9, 1947 – November 9, 201)
Soul singer Major Harris was a member of the Delfonics during the early 70s after spending time with renowned groups such as Nat Turner’s Rebellion. While pursuing a solo career, Harris successfully produced several albums and made his way to the Billboard Top 100 chart with “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” produced in 1975.
Johnny Otis (December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012)
The music world lost 90-year-old “godfather of rhythm and blues,” Johnny Otis, early this year. His career was well-alive during the big band era, producing hits such as “Harlem Nocturne” (1945) and “Willie and the Hand Jive” (1958). Not only did he share his talents with the world, but exposed legendary artists Etta James, Hank Ballard, and even his own son Shuggy Otis. To Johnny, “music isn’t just the notes, it’s the culture — the way grandma cooked, the way grandpa told stories, the way kids walked and talked.”
Andy Williams (December 3, 1927 – September 25, 2012)
“Moon River” artist Andy Williams passed away at 84-years-old following a twelve-month long battle against cancer of the bladder. The host of The Andy Williams Show (1962-1971) also shared his signature voice on the microphone as he hosted several other awards ceremonies, among them being The Grammys. His memory can also be revered by making a donation in his name for the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network.
Terry Callier (May 24, 1945 – October 27, 2012)
This 67-year-old artist impressed the music industry by blending familiar jazz tones with folk music, resulting in a blossoming career particularly from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. His more famous and recognizable discography includes The New Folk Sound of Terry Callier, Occasional Rain and What Color Is Love (1968) and Hidden Conversations (2009).
Donna Summer (December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012)
Grammy award-winner Donna Summer passed away at 63 years of age from lung cancer. Her musical career thrived during the disco era with her hits “Love to Love You Baby,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls” and more. Summer was nominated this past year to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and will officially be made a member in the class of 2013 this upcoming April.
Davy Jones (December 30, 1945 – February 29, 2012)
The Monkees front man Davy Jones died of a heart attack at the age of 66. The band was created exclusively for the hit television show The Monkees, which Jones stumbled upon in his acting career. Even after the show ended in 1971, the band continued to tour. Jones’ last tour was in celebration of the band’s 45th anniversary and took place in 2011.
Mike Kelley (October 27, 1954 – January 31, 2012)
Hailing from Michigan, this artist thrived in the music world by combining his creativity with the talents of others. He promoted social issues in a healthy manner. His collaboration projects involved other contemporary artists such as Paul McCarthy and John Miller. The creator of punk-band Destroy All Monsters, Kelley’s visions distinguished them by their exquisite performance art.
Bob Welch (August 31, 1945 – June 7, 2012)
Bob Welch’s name is best associated with Fleetwood Mac, but he also enhanced his reputation with his solo albums as well as founding the trio Paris. Welch thrived mainly in the 70s putting out six albums with Fleetwood Mac, two albums with Paris, and 12 solo albums. He suffered from medical issues in his later years leading him to commit suicide to lighten the burden from his beloved wife and family.
Michael Davis (June 5, 1943 – February 17, 2012)
Motor City 5 (MC5) member Michael Davis suffered from liver disease before his passing. He was the bass player on the first three original MC5 albums and was officially a member of the band until the early 70s. His musical career also includes playing with Destroy All Monsters, created by Mike Kelley. From that point on, his visual artistic side flourished and he was able to create a plethora of paintings and other projects in the early 2000s.
Tony Sly (November 4, 1970 – July 31, 2012)
The lead singer and original member of No Use For A Name passed earlier this summer due to health complications regarding a herniated disc in his cervical spine. Although a tragic loss, friends and loved ones of Sly held no reservation in announcing his peaceful departure from this world.
Jim Marshall (July 29, 1923 – April 5, 2012)
Musicians would be unable to share their talents with the world without wonderful technicians such as Jim Marshall. The founder of Marshall Amps passed away at the age of 88, having suffered cancer and several strokes in his lifetime. He is considered to be one of the forefathers of rock music equipment along with Leo Fender, Les Paul, and Seth Lover.
Donald “Duck” Dunn (November 24, 1941 – May 13, 2012)
Memphis, TN native Donald “Duck” Dunn is remembered for his talents as a bassist and especially the work conducted with Booker T. & The MGs and the Blues Brothers. He performed with other legends such as Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and more. Dunn performed until his final days when he surprisingly died in his sleep while on a tour in Tokyo. Other notable achievements include a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Grammy ten years later.
Robin Gibb (December 22, 1949 – May 20, 2012)
The Bee Gees co-founder and singer lost his battle to colorectal cancer at the age of 62 back in May. His career began when he created the band with his two brothers, Maurice and Barry. Their pop music career landed them over 200 million copies of their records sold and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame c/o 1977.
The musical legacy that has been left by each of these talented artists will remain as treasures for years to come. They have set the standard for all current and upcoming artist and have built a strong culture. By cultivating their careers and striving for success, they have established a strong history and created an inspirational foundation motivating future artists to be just like them.