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Hardest Losses 

A tribute to the musicians we loved and lost over the past year

Throughout 2016, the grim reaper was busy taking some of our most beloved icons. While this section focuses on music, it's hard not to pour one out for John Glenn, Gene Wilder, Anton Yelchin, Garry Marshall, Muhammad Ali, Garry Shandling, Larry Drake, Harper Lee, Alan Rickman, Carrie Fisher and dozens of others. Plus these people, of course...

David Bowie

Jan 8, 1947 - Jan 10, 2016

What makes the loss of David Bowie so profound isn't just that fact that he'd been a musical icon for five decades, it's that he left the world a precious gift just before his passing. His 25th album, "Blackstar," came out on Bowie's 69th birthday, just two days before his death. He knew he was dying of liver cancer, so every song on the record is a bittersweet goodbye to this planet.


Jun 7, 1958 - Apr 21, 2016

Prince was a musical innovator in ways that I'm not sure we'll even fully comprehend for several more decades. His stage presence, his enigmatic air of mystery and his groundbreaking work in funk, pop, R&B and pop changed the musical landscape forever. There are apparently hundreds upon hundreds of unreleased songs in Prince's vault, so expect to be hearing from The Kid again very soon.

Leonard Cohen

Sep 21, 1934 - Nov 7, 2016

Cohen was a singer, songwriter, poet, painter and novelist. His work was political, philosophical, sexual and deeply personal, and the fact that he let us in to his brilliant mind makes us better for having heard him. While his all-time classic "Hallelujah" might be what he was best known for, it's only the tip of his beautiful iceberg.

Lemmy Kilmister

Dec 24, 1945 - Dec 28, 2015

Even though we knew it was coming, Lemmy's death still seemed like a shock. It always seemed like that were the world to be scorched in nuclear fire, all that would remain were the roaches and Lemmy. His work with Motörhead was one of the cornerstones of mid-'70s metal.

Natalie Cole

Feb 6, 1960 - Dec 31, 2015

Cole's death on New Year's Eve should have given us a sign that this would be a rough year. Her work in the 1970s positioned her to be one of the largest R&B singers in history, only for her to take a step out of the limelight as she battled drug addiction. Her re-emergence in the 1980s with "Unforgettable... with Love" is one of the greatest stories of climbing back to the top in American music history. No one has ever had or will ever have a voice quite like hers.

Sharon Jones

May 4, 1956 - Nov 18, 2016

Sharon Jones didn't release her first record until she was 40, giving everyone who has given up on their dreams a shot in the arm of hope. Her work with the Dap-Kings is some of the finest soul and funk music that's been recorded in my lifetime. We didn't get enough time with her, but the fact that we got to discover her at all is something of a miracle. Say hi to Etta for us, Sharon.

George Michael

Jun 25, 1963 - Dec 25, 2016

Really, 2016?! We had to go out with this one on Christmas Day? Whether you loved him in Wham! or more for his solo stuff, this is yet another hard loss for 2016.

There's only so much room, but even more words could (and should) be written about Greg Lake, Pete Burns, Christina Grimmie, Joey Feek, Vanity, Glenn Frey, Craig Strickland, Leon Russell, John Berry, Merle Haggard, Phife Dawg, Frank Sinatra Jr., Maurice White, Paul Kantner, Dale Griffin, Mose Allison and so many more. They left their mark and we are left with their legacy.

About The Author

Jared Rasic

Film critic and author of food, arts and culture stories for the Source Weekly since 2010.
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