Admittedly, 2016 was a brutal year for music lovers with the passing of Prince, Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Glen Frey, and the two Georges — Martin and Michael. And while 2017 may have been mercifully less painful nevertheless, the last twelve months also witnessed the deaths of some truly beloved musicians from Southern rock legend Gregg Allman to bubblegum pop sensation David Cassidy to the country great Mel Tillis. Below are a handful of tributes to artists lost in 2016. We couldn’t let the year close without nodding to their meaningful contributions one last time.
You can witness the Father of Rock n’ Roll’s legacy not only in his own vast catalogue but in the songs that were indebted to him like “Surfing USA,” “Come Together,” and “Travelin’ Band.”
We took the passing of this multi-talented singer-songwriter (“Galveston” and “Gentle on My Mind”) as a chance to celebrate his many contributions as a sessions player.
Even when the Soundgarden front man was doing covers of such familiar tunes as “Redemption Song” and “Nothing Compares to You,” this soulful singer was a one-of-a-kind force in rock.
He may have been rock’s quiet founding father but he sold over 60 million records: more than Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Buddy Holly combined.
Anyone unfamiliar with this man’s namesake band was quickly directed to check out the “Live” Full House album — a blast furnace of R&B, soul, and red-hot rock n’ roll.
Looking back at his career with The Smithereens, you couldn’t help but feel that the man and his band were woefully underrated.
When we published this homage to the late-blooming soul master in 2016, we didn’t know that Bradley would pass shortly thereafter but our respect for his contributions is deep.
Photo Credit: Tom Petty by Karl Walter/Getty Images
PS. Click here to read our tribute to music stars lost in 2016.