Let’s just hope the rest of this year doesn’t continue like it began. However, if music celebrities keep dying at the current rate, 2016 will be the worst year for artists deaths in modern history.
When a musician dies it’s always sad. No matter what they were like in their personal lives, their music probably helped at least one person get through a hard time. Because of this, we often feel very close to our favorite musicians and we are shocked and saddened at the news of their passing. Even when we hear about the recent singer deaths of older musicians, it feels strange because you think of them as forever being the age that they were when you first heard their music.
Shawty Lo (21 Sep 2016): Rapper Shawty Lo (real name Carlos Walker, from D4L) died on early Wednesday (September 21st) morning from a car crash with two trees in Atlanta. He was reportedly ejected from his 2016 Audi. He was 40. What made Lo’s death so tragic was that his father died just recently (September 6th) to a sudden heart attack.
Sugarloaf (16 Sep 2016): Sugarloaf’s singer Jerry Corbetta died on September 16th as a result of Pick’s disease, according to ultimateclassicrock.com. He was 68. The Pick’s disease is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, which lowly destroys the nerve cells in the brain.
Force MD’s (16 Sep 2016): Also Trisco Pearson from the 80s group Force MD’s (formerly known as Force MC’s) died on September 16 to Stage 4 cancer. The group was known for their mid-80s hit ‘Tender Love’ and ‘Love Is a House’ via Tommy Boy Records.
Clifford Curry (07 Sep 2016): “The King of Beach Music”, Clifford Curry is dead at the age of 79. He is best known for his single ‘She Shot A Hole In My Soul’, released in 1967. Curry began singing as a teenager with groups like The Five Pennies, The Echoes, Hollyhocks, and the Bubba Suggs Band, before embarking on a solo career in the mid-1960s.
A Lighter Shade of Brown (07 Sep 2016): Rapper DTTX (aka Bobby Ramirez), from A Lighter Shade of Brown, died in early September from complications from heatstroke in July 2016.
Bob Bissonnette (04 Sep 2016): Hockey player, turned singer, Roberto Bissonnette (who billed under Bob Bissonnette), recently died in a helicopter crash with his pilot, Frederick Décoste. Bissonnette was 35. According to witness Patti Gallie, who saw the accident, she said she saw the helicopter hit a power line and then crashed into the waters over the Restigouche River.
3 Doors Down (20 Aug 2016): Former 3 Doors Down’s guitarist Matt Roberts has died yesterday (August 20th) from an apparent overdose just outside Milwaukee at a charity event, according to tmz.com. Roberts co-wrote one of 3 Doors Down’s biggest hit song ‘Kryptonite’, but the band in 2012 for health issues. He was 38 years old.
Architects (20 Aug 2016): metalcore Architects’ founding guitarist Tom Searle lost his life at the age of 28 to melanoma skin cancer. Tom’s twin brother Dan Searle wrote, “We want to carry on, that is important to say, and we will strive to do so, but we will not release any music unless we truly believe that it is something that Tom would have been proud of. Whether or not we can achieve that is something that we will have to discover in time.” Note: Not to be confused with punk band The Architects, who we saw opened up for Agent Orange last Oct 2014.
NIN (14 Aug 2016): keyboard player James Woolley died at the age of 49. Woolley was with NIN when they recorded one of their biggest hit album The Downward Spiral. The cause of death has not been release, but NIN’s Trent Reznor talked to Rolling Stone about his death: “Terrible news regarding James. I hadn’t crossed paths with him for some time, but always thought of him fondly. He was a fun character to be around, a solid musician and a genuinely good guy. Those of us from that era of the band have been sharing ‘James’ stories … lots of laughs and love and sadness. Wishing his family the very best.”
The Carnegies (14 Aug 2016): Taylor Tolle, the singer and guitarist of The Carnegies, was killed (with his passenger Anjuli Kerlin) in a single-car crash on Interstate 90 in eastern South Dakota, according to startribune.com. Authorities have not explained why Tolle’s car rolled over, but it seemed like they were in a hurry to get to Sturgis, South Dakota, and wanted to “to make it there by sundown” according to Kerlin’s comment on Facebook.
The Limeliters (11 Aug 2016): We had just learned that folk singer Glenn Yarbrough passed away at his home in Nashville on Thursday (August 11th) at the age of 86. Yarbrough was the founding member of one of the most successful folk group of the early ‘60s, The Limeliters.Fans of Breaking Bad may recall hearing The Limeliters’ ‘Take My True Love by the Hand’ on one of the most memorable episode ‘Ozymandias’. According to Rolling Stone, Yarbrough’s health was in decline starting in May 2016.
Locomotiv GT (19 Jul 2016 / 06 Aug 2016): Two members of the Hungarian rock band Locomotiv GT (abbreviated to LGT) died recently: drummer József Laux on August 6th at the age of 73 and bassist/vocalist Tamás Somló died in July 19th at the age of 68 to cancer.
Suicide (16 Jul 2016): Singer Alan Vega of the duo Suicide died in his sleep on July 16th at the age of 78. His death was announced by his friend Henry Rollins.
Parliament-Funkadelic (24 June 2016): Parliament-Funkadelic’s keyboardist Bernie Worrell passed away at the age of 72 on June 24th.
ZZ Top (18 June 2016): ZZ Top’s manager Bill Ham died at the age of 79 on June 18th.
The Voice (18 June 2016): The Mexican The Voice star Alejandro Jano Fuentes was murdered at the age of 45 on June 18th. This is disturbing, considering that The Voice’s star Christina Grimmie was also murdered some weeks ago.
P.M. Dawn (17 June 2016): Prince Be (Attrell Cordes), half of P.M. Dawn, has died from kidney disease at the age of 46, according to tmz.com.
Christina Grimmie (10 June 2016): The Voice star and YouTube sensation 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie was murdered last night, during an autograph signing at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida. Grimmie’s brother Mark Grimmie (from the band Before You Exit) immediately tackled the unidentified gunman, who then shot and killed himself during the struggle. We previously caught Grimmie as opener to Selena Gomez in 2013. Although young at the time (19 years old) we wrote that she knew “know how to perform and work the crowd, particularly getting the audience to help her with ‘Absolutely Final Goodbye.’”
Fairport Convention (03 June 2016): Dave Swarbrick of the English folk rock band Fairport Convention died at the age of 75 due to emphysema, according to theguardian.com. Universally known as Swarb, he played the fiddle in Fairport Convention. Swarbrick left Fairport in 1981 and in 1983, moved to Northamptonshire, and formed a new acoustic folk band, Whippersnapper.
Surfer Blood (30 May 2016): Surfer Blood’s guitarist Thomas Fekete was forced to leave the band in 2009 when he learned of his terminal cancer. Fekete passed away at the young age of 27, according to spin.com.
Megadeth (21 May 2016): Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza passed away at the age of 51 to heart failure, while drumming with his band Ohm at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles (as reported by Megadeth guitarist’s Dave Mustaine). Menza drummed on four of Megadeth’s albums: Rust in Peace (1990), Countdown to Extinction (1992), Youthanasia (1994) and Cryptic Writings (1997).
The Beastie Boys (19 May 2016): You might remember how we talked about the untimely death of MCA (Adam Yauch) of The Beastie Boys in 2012 … now we’ve just learned that original band member John Berry (when they were known as The Young Aborigines) died of “frontotemporal dementia”. Berry left the original hardcore punk group. Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz joined MCA and Mike D, and the now-trio re-invented themselves as a rap group we know as the Beastie Boys.
LiLiPUT (17 May 2016): Marlene Marder of the all-girls Swiss punk band LiLiPUT at the age of 61. The group formed in Zurich in 1978 under the name Kleenex, with a line-up of Regula Sing (vocals), Marlene Marder (Marlene Marti, guitar), Klaudia Schiff (Klaudia Schifferle, bass, vocals), and Lislot Ha (Lieselotte Hafner, drums). After threat of legal action from the tissue company Kleenex, the band changed their name to LiLiPUT in 1979.
Prince (21 Apr 2016): Simply shocking. There were signs of illness when Prince had to make an emergency landing in Moline, Illinois, and taken to the hospital. He downplayed his illness by appearing on stage at Paisley Park’s dance party on Saturday… ensuring fans that he was well. He is quoted as saying, “Wait a few days before you waste any prayers.”
Merle Haggard (06 Apr 2016): Country music legend Merle Haggard has passed away on his 79th birthday to double pneumonia, according to various news agencies. Prior to his death at his home near Redding, California, Haggard spent nearly two weeks in a Riverside hospital.
A Tribe Called Quest (22 Mar 2016): We recently learned that Phife Dawg passed away on Tuesday because of complications from diabetes. If you were a fan of 90s hip hop and rap, chances were you loved the trio (featuring Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad). The group, along with De La Soul, was a central part of the Native Tongues Posse.
Emerson, Lake, and Palmer (11 Mar 2016): Shocking news, Keith Emerson, the ‘Emerson’ keyboardist in committed suicide by gunshot to the head, at the age of 71. According to tmz.com, he was suffering from depression.
The Beatles (08 Mar 2016): “The Fifth Beatle” Sir George Martin passed away, the news broke a few hours ago, according to Ringo Starr’s Twitter account… Beatles should be familiar with Martin’s work, as he is involved with most (if not all) of the Beatles’ albums. He’s one of the greatest record producers of all time, scoring 30 #1 hits in the UK and 23 #1 in the US.
Joey + Rory (04 Mar 2016): Joey Feek, one half of husband-wife duo Joey + Roy, died at the age of 40 to cervical cancer. The duo was third place on CMT’s Can You Duet in 2008, but they didn’t walk away empty-handed. They got signed to Sugar Hill/Vanguard Records and released seven studio albums. The news of Joey’s death wasn’t as shocking, because her husband actually blogged about the whole ordeal. They had discovered the cancer in June 2015 and they knew it was terminal. She lived long enough to see her daughter’s second birthday in February 2016, and passed away on Wednesday (March 4th).
Vanity (15 Feb 2016): We just learned that Prince’s protégé Vanity (real name Denise Katrina Matthews), singer of Vanity 6, has died today (Monday) from sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis (an inflammation of the small intestines). According to TMZ, who broke the story, she underwent daily dialysis treatments as a result of failed kidneys from a crack overdose in 1994.
Viola Beach (13 Feb 2016): Young British band Viola Beach plunged to their deaths by driving off an open bridge in Sweden on Saturday. The band was in the country on their first (and last) overseas gig took place last Friday at the Where’s the Music? festival in Norrköping, Sweden. Four band members, plus their manager died: Kristian Leonard, 20; River Reeves, 19; Tomas Lowe, 27, Jack Dakin, 19; Craig Tarry, 32.
Earth, Wind and Fire (04 Feb 2016): Founding band member Maurice White died in his sleep after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease at his home in Los Angeles, at the age of 74.
Jefferson Airplane (28 Jan 2016): Paul Kantner, from Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship, has died at the age of 74 as a result of “multiple organ failure and septic shock”. Jefferson Starship was still fresh on our mind because of their upcoming show with Blue Oyster Cult at Medina Entertainment Center (the venue also previously booked Scott Weiland, who died in the Minnesota area in December 2015).
The Eagles (18 Jan 2016): Founder Glenn Frey passed away on January 18th. We first heard about it on social media and TMZ, but the band (including Don Henley) made it official and issued the statement on eagles.com.
David Bowie (10 Jan 2016): I woke up to the sad news that legendary singer, songwriter, actor, space traveling alien from another planet, David Bowie, has died. Bowie was still fresh in our minds as we talked about the unexpected release of his latest album Blackstar on his birthday (January 8) on a recent Podcast… but we had no idea of his health situation.
Regrettably, much like us, Job’s comforters in the Bible were not able to endure the mystery of Job’s suffering, so they jumped to conclusions about its source. How much harm have well-intentioned people caused by giving pious-sounding answers to suffering, even though they had no idea what they were talking about? “It’s all for the best.” “It’s part of God’s plan.” “God never sends people more adversity than they can handle.” How arrogant to imagine we know God’s plan.
How foolish to think we know the reason for anyone else’s suffering. We don’t even know the reason for our own suffering. It would be more truthful — and far more helpful — to admit, “I don’t know why this happened.
“If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous”. – Blaise Pascal