This year, the world of music lost some its brightest lights: Lemmy Kilmister, Allen Toussaint, Ben E. King, Scott Weiland and many more. Blues titan B.B. King was 89; up-and-coming rapper Capo was just 22. But no matter how many years they spent on this planet, all 54 of these artists — singers and songwriters, players and producers — left behind their music. This is a remembrance of their lives and legacies.
Guitarist Daevid Allen, founder of the prog-rock outfits Soft Machine and Gong, died on March 13th after a long episode of cancer. He was 77.
The country singer best remembered for her 1970 hit "Rose Garden" died on July 30th from a heart attack, 67 years old.
Cilla Black, a leading British pop singer in the Sixties, was closely associated with the Beatles and recorded multiple Lennon-McCartney compositions that didn't make it onto the group's albums. She died on August 1st, suffering a stroke after a fall; she was 72.
Drummer John Bradbury, a core member of pioneering two tone ska band the Specials, died December 29th at age 62.
Brown, frontman for Hot Chocolate and singer of hits such as "You Sexy Thing" and "Brother Louie," died from liver cancer on May 6th. He was 71.
The guitarist for Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts died on March 30th of an accidental overdose. He was 34 years old.
At age 16, Browne wrote "Walk Away Renee," a memorable 1966 hit single for his band the Left Banke. On March 19th, at age 65, he died of heart failure.
Robert Lewis "Bob" Burns Jr., the Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer who left the band in 1974 after playing on songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird," died in a car accident on April 3rd. He was 64.
The Chicago rapper, associated with Chief Keef, was shot and killed in a July 11th drive-by. He was 22.
The rapper Chinx, a member of the Coke Boys, was killed in a drive-by shooting on May 17th at age 31. His debut album was released posthumously.
Trailblazing saxophonist Ornette Coleman, a colossus of free jazz, died on June 11th from cardiac arrest, 85 years old.
Don Covay was an R&B performer whose songs were memorably covered by everyone from Aretha Franklin ("Chain of Fools") to the Rolling Stones ("Mercy Mercy"). He died at age 78 on January 31st, after decades of poor health following a stroke.
The gospel singer and songwriter, whose choir sang on pop hits such as Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror" and Madonna's "Like a Prayer," succumbed to a heart attack on January 8th. He was 72.
Crump, the original drummer for rock band Molly Hatchet, died on March 16th (no cause given) at age 57.
The singer and guitarist with the Kingsmen, immortal for the garage-rock hit "Louie Louie," died on April 28th, apparently from skin cancer. He was 71.
Emmons, a Nashville songwriter and studio musician, played keyboards on dozens of chart hits ranging from Elvis Presley's "Suspicious Minds" to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline." He died on February 23rd of an undisclosed illness, age 72.
The colorful and controversial impresario-producer-songwriter, most famous as the manager of the Runaways, died of cancer on January 15th at age 75.
Andy Fraser, bassist for Free, co-wrote their enduring hit "All Right Now" with singer Paul Rodgers when he was just 15. He died on March 16th, age 62; causes were not specified, but he had been receiving treatment for both cancer and AIDS.
The singer of the Number One single "It's My Party" and other Sixties hits was felled by cancer on February 16th. She was 68.
Greene, singer with Fifties-revival act Sha Na Na died on September 5th, at age 66, after an unspecified illness.
An in-demand keyboardist best known for his work with Three Dog Night, Greenspoon died from cancer (metastatic melanoma) on March 11th, age 67.
Guest, a co-founding member of Gladys Knight and the Pips who contributed background vocals to all of the group's hits, died of congestive heart failure on December 24th. He was 74.
Louis "Thunder Thumbs" Johnson, bassist in successful R&B group the Brothers Johnson, made his greatest impact as a session player: He played the immortal bass line on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." He died on May 21st of undetermined causes, age 60.
Johnston was most famous as a producer of acts like Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel and especially Bob Dylan, with whom he made six albums, including Blonde on Blonde. He perished from heart failure on August 14th, at the age of 83.
The avant-garde collagist most famous for his work with Negativland died of heart failure on July 22nd. He was 71.
Kemp, singer of the new jack swing smash "Just Got Paid," died at age 55 on April 16th, apparently a victim of drowning (his body was found floating at a Jamaican beach).
Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, longtime leader of hard-rock institution Motörhead and a true icon of heavy metal, died of cancer on December 28th. He was 70.
The legendary blues guitarist and singer, who belted out tunes from "The Thrill Is Gone" to "Love Comes to Town," died on May 14th after multiple strokes resulting from his diabetes. He was 89.