Whatever the case and whatever the cause, here at VanMusic we want to pay homage to some musicians that died in 2016. Whatever the case and whatever the cause, here at VanMusic we want to pay homage to some of the musicians that left us in 2016, a year many people called a killer.
Cause of death: Fentanyl overdose.
A pop idol whose pinnacle was Purple Rain. An American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He was a flamboyant artist who played wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time. He probably reached his peak when he filmed Purple Rain so here is my favourite song of the film.
Trivia fact, the love interest in the film was Apollonia (Patricia Kotero) a American/Mexican actress that not only starred in the film but was the substitute of Vanity. Prince formed a band called Apollonia 6 with both other dancers from Vanity 6.
Robert Allen Curtola aka Bobby Curtola (April 17, 1943 Thunder Bay ON– June 4, 2016 Edmonton)
Cause of Death: Unknown.
A Canadian rock and roll singer and teen idol who recorded 14 albums. Curtola also made his mark internationally in 1962 with the singles Fortune Teller and Aladdin. Probably died of sadness, Curtola’s partner Karyn Rochford was killed in a collision on Highway 103 in Maitland, N.S. on Dec. 15.
Alan Vega Boruch Alan Bermowitz (June 23, 1938 Brooklyn NY– July 16, 2016 New York)
Cause of death: Died in his sleep.
Vocalist and visual artist was one of the two of the pioneer electronic band Suicide in New York. His vocals were impressive, the way he sang through the hypnotic rhythms of Martin Rev pioneered a new form of making art. Simple, distorted and theatrical. An avant gard performance. Check out this song from late seventies.
Juan Gabriel (born Alberto Aguilera Valadez January 7, 1950 Parácuaro, Michoacán – August 28, 2016 Santa Monica, CA)
Cause of death: Heart Attack.
One of the most successful Mexican singer and songwriter. He sold 100 million copies worldwide, Juan Gabriel is among Latin America’s best-selling singer-songwriters. Recuerdos, Vol. II, holds the distinction of being the best-selling album of all time in Mexico, with over eight million copies sold. He wrote 1,800 songs. Check out this video from his movie El Noa Noa from 1981.
Ollie Imogene “Jean” Shepard (November 21, 1933 Pauls Valley, OK – September 25, 2016 Hendersonville, TN)
Cause of death: Parkinson disease
She was an American honky tonk singer-songwriter who pioneered for women in country music. Shepard released a total of 73 singles to the Hot Country Songs chart, one of which reached the No. 1 spot. She recorded a total of 24 studio albums between 1956–81, and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955. Some of them are here:
Caroline Crawley (8 August 1963 Bournemouth UK – 4 October 2016)
Cause of death: A long illness (probably cancer).
British singer who sang for various bands. She was co-founder of Shelleyan Orphan alongside guitarist Jemaur Tayle. She sang in This Mortal Coil album Blood. Taken from 1991’s Blood album, this Syd Barrett cover is sung by Caroline Crawley.
Peter Jozzeppi “Pete” Burns (5 August 1959 Port Sunlight UK – 23 October 2016 London UK)
Caused of Death: Cardiac arrest.
Singer of Dead or Alive in 1980, in which he was vocalist and songwriter, and who rose to mainstream success with their 1985 single “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”.
Bobby Vee (born Robert Thomas Velline April 30, 1943 Fargo, ND– October 24, 2016 Rogers, MN)
Cause of death: Alzheimer’s disease.
Bobby Vee was an American pop singer who was a teen idol in the early 1960s.
Leonard Norman Cohen (September 21, 1934 Westmount, QB, Canada – November 7, 2016 Los Angeles, CA)
Cause of death: Complications of cancer.
Maybe the greatest poet and singer of Canada. Besides being a singer, songwriter, musician, and poet, he was a novelist, and painter. His first album was released when he was 33 years old. Cohen died on November 7, 2016 at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles; cancer was a contributing cause. According to his manager, Cohen’s death was the result of a fall at his home on the night of November 7, and he subsequently died in his sleep. This video is from 4 years ago a live performance of Everybody Knows.
Leon Russell (born Claude Russell Bridges; April 2, 1942 Oklahoma, US – November 13, 2016 Tennessee, US)
Cause of death: He died in his sleep.
American musician and songwriter who was involved with numerous bestselling pop music records over the course of his 60-year career. His genres included pop, rock, blues, country, bluegrass, standards, gospel and surf records, with six gold records to his credit. This is one of his last concerts in New York couple of years ago.
Sharon Lafaye Jones (May 4, 1956 Georgia, US – November 18, 2016 Cooperstown, NY)
Cause of death: Complications from Cancer and stroke.
A funk and soul singer. She commanded Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and they played in Vancouver a couple of times including a great set for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Sharon died following a long and heroic battle against pancreatic cancer, the soul singer passed away on Friday, aged 60. Jones was a dynamic performer as seen in this tribute video to her:
– music festival: Pinkpop 2012 in The Netherlands
– Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings performing live –
Songs: – I Learned The Hard Way – 100 Days 100 Nights – Shout it out & Dance!
Craig Gill (5 December 1971 Salford– 20 November 2016)
Cause of death: Found unresponsive.
Craig Gill was the drummer of the band Inspiral Carpets. A well known figure in the Madchester scene he went to create a tour of the city with the landmarks of the musical town Manchester Music Tours. An amazing drummer left us at age 44.
Pauline Oliveros (May 30, 1932 Houston TX – November 24, 2016 Kingston NY)
Cause of death: Died in her sleep.
An American composer, accordionist and a central figure in the development of experimental and post-war electronic art music. She was a founding member of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s, and served as its director. Multi instrumentalist. She created a philosophy/band called Deep listening “an aesthetic based upon principles of improvisation, electronic music, ritual, teaching and meditation. This aesthetic is designed to inspire both trained and untrained performers to practice the art of listening and responding to environmental conditions in solo and ensemble situations”. Deep Listening Institute (DLI) promotes the music and Deep Listening practice of pioneer composer Pauline Oliveros, providing a unique approach to music, literature, art, meditation, technology and healing.
Gregory Stuart “Greg” Lake (10 November 1947 Pool Dorset UK– 7 December 2016 London UK)
Cause of death: Cancer.
Bassist, guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer who gained prominence as a founding member of the progressive rock bands King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP).
This song title as well as the lyrics of this song refer to the message that is displayed on a gravestone. In this song, the singer is facing a struggle and fears that his epitaph will be “confusion.” Greg Lake, who was the bass player with the group for the In the Court of The Crimson King album (his only album with the band, as he left to form Emerson, Lake & Palmer), explained: “‘Epitaph’ is basically a song about looking with confusion upon a world gone mad. King Crimson had a strange ability to write about the future in an extremely prophetic way and the messages this song contains are even more relative today than they were when the song was originally written.”
Betsy Pecanins (1954 Yuma Arizona – December 13, 2016 Mexico City)
Cause of Death: Stroke
An American-born Mexican singer, songwriter and record producer. Known in Mexico as Queen of the Blues.
George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou; 25 June 1963 London, UK – 25 December 2016 Oxfordshire, UK)
Cause of death: Heart Failure (inconclusive, he died in his sleep).
Mr. Panayiotou was better known as the other half of Wham! Wake me up before you go go. He was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who went to sell 100 million records.
Red Army Choir (25 Dec 2016): The entire Red Army Choir (64 members) has died from a plane crash over the Black Sea. The group was travelling on a Russian military plane to perform for troops.
The last concert of the Twice Red Banner Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army under A.V. Alexandrov at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, 2016.
Conductor – Valery Khalilov
In the memory of all who perished in a tragic airplane crash over the Black Sea on December 25, 2016.
REST IN PEACE, DEAR ARTISTS !