2016 was a historical year in America and around the world. The nation saw firsts in politics, sports, and social trends that will have lasting impacts on the future of mankind. There were also major upheavals in entertainment, losses that will affect the way music lovers will be able to cope with those changes.
Music has always been a medium for change, and the artists behind it perceived as heroes of humankind. The world lost a number of those heroes in 2016, singers and songwriters who changed the face of music and carved their own paths toward stardom.
David Bowie’s two-year old battle with cancer ended tragically on January 10th, 2016. Not only was he a major influence in the music industry, his unique sense of style made him a visionary in the world of fashion. Starting in the 1960’s, Bowie graced millions of stages, delighting fans with his mere presence. Songs like “The Man Who Sold the World” and “Rebel, Rebel” bear his trademark anarchic attitude like a glove, and will likely remain treasured hits for generations to come.
The 67-year old ex-Eagle passed away on January 18th from complications due to rheumatoid arthritis and intestinal problems. An original member of The Eagles, Glenn Frey is the man behind the iconic “Hotel California” and “Already Gone”. Frey was not only the man on guitar pushing out hit after hit during the 1970’s, he was one of the groups lead singers and pianist. “Heartache Tonight” was what the world felt when they learned of this legend’s passing.
The founder of Earth, Wind and Fire died at the age of 74 on February 3rd of 2016. While at the height of their fame, White led the group to earn six Grammy awards for hits like “September” and “Shining Star”. Parkinson’s disease put an end to the singers touring days back in 1994, but he still remained an integral part of the music industry up until his death.
With over 35 country number one hits under his studded belt, the influence that Merle Haggard has had on our lives cannot be denied. The singer and guitarist died in April of 2016 after a very long and successful career. He was the man behind the Bakersfield sound, a technique that new musicians strive to twang. His sound will be carried forward in country, rock and pop even though he is no longer present to enjoy it.
The loss of Prince on April 21st is arguably the biggest blow to music fans since Michael Jackson died. There is no denying the impact he had on singing and songwriting, whether a fan of his or not. As a performer, Prince was nothing short of a genius, creating music that will live on for ages. His death was a hard hit to take for the musical industry, and those eclectic purple shoes will never be filled again.
Despite any personal issues, the musicians lost in 2016 changed the lives of millions of people around the world. They will forever live in our hearts and iPads, but their stage presence will always be missed.