While the New Year is a time of celebration it is also a time for reflection. The music world lost many of its greats in 2012 whose contribution to music will never be forgotten. Here are just a few of the legends we said goodbye to in the past year.
One of the 1960’s most beloved musicians, Levon Helm , singer and drummer for The Band, succumbed to cancer on April 19th at the age of 71. His unique voice helped make songs like “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek” the hits that they remain even to this day. In his later years his career revolved around his “Midnight Rambles,” jam sessions with a variety of fellow musicians at his studio and home in Woodstock, NY. In 2007 he earned a Grammy for his album ”Dirt Farmer” and one year later was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of all Time.
The world was shocked to hear of the passing of Adam Yauch on August 5, 2012. The Beastie Boys member also known as MCA, died of cancer at the young age of 47. Aside from his work with the Beastie Boys, Yauch also founded Oscilloscope Laboratories; a New York City based film production and distribution company and was an avid human rights activist. The Beastie Boys have sold over 40 million records worldwide and in 2012 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
American rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose played with a vast array of bands throughout his career as well as leading his own groups. He’s contributed to albums by musical legends such as Van Morrison, Herbie Hancock, The Neville Brothers, Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter. Montrose toured until 2009 when his battle with prostate cancer forced him to retire. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on March 3rd, he was 64 years old.
Legendary singer, Etta James, passed away on January 20th, 2012 after battling leukemia. The “At Last” singer received 6 Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards throughout her long career and in was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. She is credited with bridging the gap between rock and roll and rhythm and blues and was ranked by Rolling Stone at 62 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of all time.
Whitney Houston was found dead in a hotel bathtub on February 11th at the young age of 48. The singer had long battled drug addiction but her personal struggles could not detract from her astounding professional career. In 2009 she was declared the most awarded female act of all time by Guinness World Records and has sold over 170 million records. Aside from her musical career Houston was also a successful actress, appearing in movies like “The Bodyguard”, producer and a model.
The queen of disco, Donna Summer, passed away on May 17th after a long battle with lung cancer at the age of 63. The singer and songwriter was one of disco’s most successful acts with hits like “Love to Love You Baby” and “Hot Stuff.” Summers started her career in the 1960’s as a performer in the musical “Hair” as well as the lead singer of a psychedelic rock band called Crow. Summers won 5 Grammys throughout the course of her career and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this coming spring.
Justin Miller is a professional blogger that writes on a variety of topics including guitar lessons online. He writes for JamPlay.com, a leading online music educator offering 2,000+ acoustic guitar lessons for beginners in HD.