Dec 31, 2016: “Britney Spears is dead by accident!” Fortunately, it was just a hoax and the “Toxic” star is still alive. But not all musicians were as “Lucky” as the star. If it was “Last Christmas” for George Michael, Prince made the rain gods pour “Purple rain” when they breathed their last this year.
It was time for merry making, believing in Santa Claus and hanging lights and gifts on Christmas trees. But the festive mood got switched off when the news of the legendary singer-songwriter George Michael’s death broke on Christmas Day. The Grammy winner was 53.
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The British pop icon, who sold tens of millions of albums as a member of the Wham! duo and on his own, was found dead at his home in Oxfordshire, England, by his boyfriend Fadi Fawaz. Police described the death as “unexplained but not suspicious”.
While the tributes are still pouring in for the “Father figure” hitmaker, the year gone by has been widely tagged as “a curse” as many musicians bid their final adieu.
2016 began with rock legend David Bowie’s death on January 10. Aged 69, Bowie, who enjoyed a string of worldwide hits from the late 1960s onwards, died peacefully surrounded by his family after an 18-month battle with cancer.
Bowie’s last released album “Blackstar” became his first record to top the charts in the US. The record was released two days before Bowie died.
A week after his death, Mott The Hoople drummer Dale Griffin died at the age of 67. He was a founding member of the group, best known for songs including “All the young dudes”, which was penned by Bowie. Griffin died peacefully in his sleep.
January 18 was another day to mourn as Glenn Frey, a founding member of the rock band the Eagles, died at 67. He succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, read a post on the official website of the band, which had churned out hits like “Hotel California” and “Take it easy”.
The time of grief continued in February too. Maurice White, the Earth, Wind and Fire vocalist and co-founder, died in his sleep in Los Angeles on February 4. He was 74. The singer had reportedly been battling Parkinson’s disease since 1992.
Singer Gogi Grant, whose hit track “The wayward wind” pushed music icon Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak hotel” off from the top spot on the Billboard charts, died on March 10. She was 91.
The same day, legendary keyboardist Keith Emerson of English progressive rock supergroup Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Nice band died at age 71. Emerson’s death was ruled a suicide.
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On March 16, Frank Sinatra Jr, the son of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra, passed away aged 72. He died of cardiac arrest while on tour in Daytona, Florida.
Flamboyant pop musician Prince, who became a global superstar in the 1980s, with albums like “1999” and “Purple Rain”, died at his home in Minnesota on April 21. He was 57. Based on toxicology reports, he died of an accidental overdose of Fentanyl – the same painkiller found at the Los Angeles house where King of Pop Michael Jackson died in 2009.
Congo music star Papa Wemba, 66, died on April 24 after the stage collapsed during a concert in Ivory Coast.
“Me and Mrs. Jones” hitmaker Billy Paul also breathed his last on April 24 “after a serious medical condition”. The soul singer was 81.
Nick Menza, drummer of the former heavy metal band Megadeth, passed away after he collapsed on stage during a show in California on May 21. He was 51.
Renowned Pakistani qawwali singer Amjad Sabri was shot dead in Karachi on June 22, after unknown gunmen fired at his car.
Scotty Moore, “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” Elvis Presley’s guitarist, died at 84 on June 28.
Legendary singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, whose “Hallelujah” was one of the most covered songs, passed away at 82. He died during his sleep following a fall in the middle of the night on November 7.
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Rock icon Leon Russell also died in his sleep on November 13. He was 74.
Noted Carnatic musician M. Balamuralikrishna, 86, passed away in Chennai on November 22. He had been ailing for some time.
Renowned Pakistani singer and preacher Junaid Jamshed died in a plane crash in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on December 7. (IANS)