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Notable music deaths of 2012

January 7th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

2012 is done and dusted — except for the award shows. At the Grammys, the only part that still pleases me is the section in which the past year’s music dead are commemorated to the backing of some sad music, possibly performed by some goon with excess of gravity. Though, given my monthly In Memoriam update, that section holds few surprises for me, but all the more surprises at inexplicable omissions.

Here, then, are the most notable deaths in the past year, in my view, sorted by category in leagues of five. These categories include one for most influential people, the Movers & Shakers, who left for the great recording studio in the sky. If the Grammys contrive to omit any of these then they ought to shut shop.

Sorry, no music this time; instead we will have pictures.

ROCK/POP
Whitney Houston, 48, soul and pop singer, on February 11
Davy Jones, 66, actor and member of The Monkees, on February 29
Levon Helm, 71, singer, drummer and composer, member of The Band, on April 19
Robin Gibb, 62, member of Bee Gees, on May 20
Jon Lord, 71, composer and keyboardist of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, on July 16SOUL/DISCO/HIP HOP
Etta James, 73, R&B and blues legend, on January 20
Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, 47, rapper with the Beastie Boys, on May 4
Donna Summer, 63, disco and pop singer, on May 17
Lillian Lopez, 76, lead singer of Odyssey, on September 4
Terry Callier, 67, soul singer and songwriter, on October 28COUNTRY/FOLK
Earl Scruggs, 88, bluegrass banjo legend, on March 28
Doug Dillard, 75, country musician with The Dillards and Dillard & Clark, on May 16
Doc Watson, 89, bluegrass and folk musician, on May 29
Kitty Wells, 92, country legend, on July 16
Scott McKenzie, 73, folk-singer and songwriter, on August 18JAZZ/WORLD
Carrie Smith, 70, blues and jazz singer, on May 20
Byard Lancaster, 70, jazz saxophonist and flautist, on August 25
Dave Brubeck, 91, American jazz pianist and composer, on December 5
Ravi Shankar, 82, Indian music legend and composer, on December 11
Ken Chaney, 73, jazz pianist (Young-Holt Unlimited), on December 19MOM’S FAVOURITES
Hazy Osterwald, 90, Swiss big band leader, on February 26
Herb Reed, 83, singer with The Platters, on June 4
Max Bygraves, 89, British singer, variety performer and TV personality, on August 31
Andy Williams, 84, American singer and TV entertainer, on September 25
Dorothy McGuire, 84, member of The McGuire Sisters, on September 7SESSION MUSICIANS
Andrew Love, 70, half of the Memphis Horns, on April 12
Charles Pitts, 65, soul guitarist for Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes a.o., on May 1
Donald  ‘Duck’ Dunn, 70, bass guitarist on Stax, The Blues Brothers and Booker T. & the M.G.’s, on May 13
Bob Babbitt, 74, bass guitarist of backing bands The Funk Brothers (Motown) and MFSB (PIR), on July 16
Big Jim Sullivan, 71, English session guitarist and producer, on October 2SONGWRITERS/COMPOSERS
Billy Strange, 81, songwriter, music arranger and guitarist, on February 22
Robert B. Sherman, 86, Tin Pan Alley and Disney film songwriter, on March 5
Richard Adler, 90, American Tony Award-winning producer and composer, on April 21
Marvin Hamlisch, 68, composer, arranger and musician, on August 6
Hal David, 91, lyricist with Burt Bacharach a.o., on September 1SHAKERS AND MOVERS
Johnny Otis, 90, R&B singer, songwriter and producer, on January 17
Don Cornelius, 75, host and producer of Soul Train, suicide on February 1
Dick Clark, 82, TV host and producer, on April 18
Carl Davis, 77, pioneering Chicago soul producer, on August 9
Bert Weedon, 91, influential English guitar pioneer and composer, on April 20

That gives us a very un-Rawk-en-Roll average age of 78,7 (though in the pop/rock and soul sections, that number drops to the early 60s).

We could have sweepstakes on whom the Grammys will omit to allow for the five-minute standing ovation for Whitney Houston. Terry Callier, Carl Davis, Billy Strange, Lillian Lopez, and most of the session guys probably won’t make it. All the more reason to check this corner of the Internet the first week of each month for the In Memoriam series…

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  1. Tom Hyslop
    January 7th, 2013 at 07:49 | #1

    Nick Curran, died 2012-10-06, made your October list but deserves to be on the year-end roster as well. Nick excelled at rockabilly (with Ronnie Dawson and Kim Lenz), blues (a Fabulous Thunderbird), and rock’n'roll, in every style from girl group to punk rock. Nick played guitar like T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Johnny Thunders, and sang like Little Richard or Wynonie Harris. A beautiful soul, too soon gone at age 35.

  2. DW
    January 7th, 2013 at 17:38 | #2

    Mickey Baker

  1. January 10th, 2013 at 16:39 | #1

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