In Memoriam: Prince, David Bowie, Phife Dawg Among Musicians Lost In 2016
It was hard to do some sort of In Memoriam to 2016 because it felt like significant stars kept on dropping all of the way until the end. 2016 took a lot of legends from the world starting with David Bowie on Jan. 10, continuing all the way to the end with George Michael on Christmas Day. Many other names standout in between and you can read on for a brief list of the influential artists who left this world in 2016.
David Bowie - Jan. 10
The legendary singer, songwriter and music icon died on Jan. 10 after a long battle with cancer. He was 69. He released his final album Blackstar two days before his death, which includes references to his eventual death.
Glenn Frey - Jan. 18
The Eagles' guitarist died on Jan. 18 after succumbing to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. He was 67. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member was a founding member of The Eagles who put out songs such as "Hotel California," "Take It Easy," "Life In The Fast Lane" and many others. They were one of the most successful bands of the 1970s.
Paul Kantner - Jan. 28
Founding member of Jefferson Airplane and eventual leader of Jefferson Starship died on Jan. 28 a few days after having a heart attack. He was 74. The singer, songwriter and guitarist was at the forefront of the counterculture, hippie psychedelic rock movement that dominated the 1960s and 1970s.
Maurice White - Feb. 3
The voice and founder of legendary funk group Earth Wind & Fire, died on Feb. 3 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 74. He had not toured with the group since 1994 after getting the disease in 1992, but his voice remains one of the most iconic in the genre even still today.
George Martin - March 8
Often dubbed the "fifth Beatle,' George Martin produced much of The Beatles classic catalog, racking up 30 No. 1 hits in the UK and 23 in the United States. He died on March 8 at the age of 90.
Keith Emerson - March 11
Founding member and keyboardist of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith Emerson was found by police on March 11 with a single gunshot wound to the head. It was later confirmed that he had committed suicide. He helped pioneer prog-rock, as the group became one of the most successful bands in their genre during the 1970s.
Frank Sinatra Jr. - March 16
Maybe best known as the son of legendary singer Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Jr. died of cardiac arrest on March 16 while on tour in Daytona Beach. He was 72. His father's son, he also had a long career of his own as a singer and actor.
Phife Dawg - March 22
Malik Taylor, better known as Phife Dawg, died on March 22 from complications related to diabetes. He was just 45 years old. Phife's smart lyricism and nimble rhymes help propel A Tribe Called Quest to both commercial and critical success. The New York rap group was able to finish their new album We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service before his death. It partially served as an homage to the rapper.
Merle Haggard - April 6
One of country music's greatest songwriters, Merle Haggard died on April 6, his birthday, at age of 79 after a battle with pneumonia. His nearly six-decade career looms as one of the greats in country music, writing for himself and others. He has 38 No. 1 country hits to his name.
Prince - April 21
The man, the myth, the symbol, the legend, Prince died from an accidental drug overdose on April 21 at the age of 57. His impact on music, film, entertainment and culture has been well documented as music icon from the 1970s until modern day and someone who was so unique in every way. He, like David Bowie, broke the stereotype of what a modern male music star should be.
Christina Grimmie - June 10
22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed on June 10 while signing autographs after a show in Orlando. She earned her fame on The Voice and started to release music after her third place finish in 2014.
Shawty Lo - Sept. 21
A founding member of hip-hop group D4L and successful rapper on his own, Shawty Lo died in a car accident on Sept. 21. He was known for solo hits such as "Dey Know" and others as part of D4L like "Laffy Taffy."
Pete Burns - Oct. 23
Lead singer of the 1980s band Dead of Alive, Pete Burns died on Oct. 23 from cardiac arrest. He was 57. The band was best known for its hit record "You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)." Burns was another musician who changed the way we look at male pop stars. He began cross-dressing as a six-year-old and kept an androgynous look throughout his career.
Leonard Cohen - Nov. 7
Highly successful singer and songwriter, Leonard Cohen died on Nov. 7. He was 82. His career spans nearly 50 years as one Canada's most influential writers, poets and singers of the 20th century.
Sharon Jones - Nov. 18
The leader of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, the soul and funk singer died on Nov. 18 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She started to gain serious notoriety at the tail end of her career after a Grammy nomination in 2014.
Greg Lake - Dec. 7
One of the founding members of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Greg Lake died on Dec. 7 after a "long and stubborn battle with cancer. He was 69. Lake died just nine months after his partner in the group, Keith Emerson. A singer and multi-instrumentalist, Lake helped bring the prog-rock to the mainstream.
George Michael - Dec. 25
Just when you thought the major music deaths were done, George Michael died at the age of 51 on Christmas Day. The brains behind Wham!, a massive pop star and the writer behind so many hits in the 1980s and 1990s, George Michael became much more than a pop star. He transformed what people think of a superstar and became an icon the LGBTQ community as an outspoken advocate.