Music Obituaries: December 2016
By Four Walls
January 6, 2017 7:13pm CST
One news site referred to 2016 as "the year the music died." It was one of the more extensive lists of music obituaries I've seen, but I think what really made it seem so unbelievably bad is the number of certified superstars who died. I'll explore that in another discussion. Meanwhile, here are the people from music that we lost in December. Mickey Fitz (died December 1, cancer, age 57): the singer for the punk band the Business. Mark Gray (died December 2, unknown cause, age 64): one-time member of the country-rock band Exile, he went on to write several hits for the band Alabama, such as "The Closer You Get" and "Take Me Down." Greg Lake (died December 7, cancer, age 69): the guitarist/bassist for Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Keyboardist Keith Emerson also died this year. Bob Krasnow (died December 11, organ failure, age 82): one-time executive for Elektra Records (the label for acts such as Queen and Carly Simon), he was also one of the co-founders of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joe LIgdon (died December 11, unknown cause, age 80): singer in the legendary gospel group the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Jim Lowe (died December 12, long illness, age 93): singer/songwriter best known for his 1950s hit "The Green Door." Alan Thicke (died December 13, ruptured aorta, age 69): actor who wrote several theme songs (including the theme to his series Growing Pains). He was also the father of singer Robin Thicke. Bunny Walters (died December 14, short illness, age 63): New Zealand pop singer who had a hit in the early 70s with the song "Brandy." Barry Manilow later covered the song; and, to avoid confusion with the Looking Glass song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)," changed the title of the song to "Mandy." Icey Sloan-Hawkins (died December 17, murdered [stabbed], age 18): granddaughter of country music greats Jean Shepard and Hawkshaw Hawkins. She died three months after her grandmother, stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend. Bob Coburn (died December 17, lung cancer, age 68): longtime host of the syndicated rock and roll call-in show Rockline. Gordie Tapp (died December 18, pneumonia, age 94): Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame member who was a cast member and one of the head writers of the long-running country variety show Hee Haw. Andrew Dorff (died December 19, unknown causes, age 40): country songwriter who wrote hits such as Kenny Chesney's "Save It for a Rainy Day." Sam Leach (died December 21, brief illness, age 81): British concert promoter who booked the Beatles around England in 1961. Frank Murray (died December 22, heart attack, age 66): the manager for Thin Lizzy and later, the Pogues. Rick Parfitt (died December 24, infection, age 68): the guitarist for Status Quo who wrote their biggest hit, "Pictures of Matchstick Men." Carole Smith (died December 24, natural causes, age 94): country songwriter who collaborated with Sonny James on several hits including "Don't Keep Me Hanging On," "True Love's a Blessing" and "A Little Bit South of Saskatoon." Sonny James also died this year. George Michael (died December 25, heart failure, age 53): British pop superstar who began his career as a member of Wham! and achieved solo success. He also sang lead with members of Queen at a Freddie Mercury tribute. Alphonse Mouzon (died December 25, cardiac arrest, age 68): drummer for the jazz band Weather Report. (Victor Bailey, Weather Report's bassist for their final incarnation, died last month.) Willie Royal (died December 25, Alzheimer's disease, age 62): fiddler in the world music/jazz combo Willie & Lobo. Carrie Fisher (died December 27, cardiac arrest, age 60): the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress/singer Debbie Reynolds, and former wife of Paul Simon, played the homicidal ex-girlfriend of Jake Blues in [i]The Blues Brothers.[/b] Debbie Reynolds (died December 28, stroke, age 84): actress, dancer (Singin' in the Rain), and singer ("Tammy") died the day after his daughter Carrie Fisher. Farewell, and thank you for the music. Here's the late Greg Lake singing his classic song "Lucky Man:"
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