Pop Music 2018: In Memoriam

The Queen of Soul. The Father of Muscle Shoals Music. The Buzzcocks’ front man. The Cranberries frontwoman. 2018 witnessed the loss of some seriously major talent in the world of music and while we weren’t able to pay tribute to every legend who passed away this past year — Nancy Wilson, Randy Skruggs, Hugh Masekela, and Roy Clark are all sorely missed! — below are some of the greats no longer with us that we were able to memorialize. Rest in peace with great respect. Thank you for the music!

Pete Shelley

To say that bands like Green Day, Nirvana and the Pixies owe a major debt to the late punk icon and Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley would be an understatement.

Roy Hargrove

When Roy Hargrove’s sounds were stilled unexpectedly at the tragically early age of 49 by cardiac arrest, it left a huge hole in the world of jazz.

Otis Rush

Critics called his style “West Side Blues” but guitarist Otis Rush forged a place of his own among America’s blues masters, defying geographical terms.

Marty Balin

Grace Slick gets all the press, but Marty Balin’s contributions to Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship were major, too.

Geoff Emerick

The late engineer’s input on many Beatle classics is legendary. So is Geoff Emerick’s work with the Zombies and prog-rock’s Robin Trower.

Jonathan Fire*Eater

CBGBs, Central Park, opening for Blur… Jonathan Fire*Eater was an edgy NYC band that the Village Voice compared to the Stones. What happened?

Aretha Franklin

If the Queen of Soul had stuck with either jazz or gospel, Aretha Franklin could easily have become a sovereign of those music genres too.

Dolores O’Riordan

Her song about a first kiss put the Cranberries on the map. But there was more to Dolores O’Riordan.

John Barlow

“Cassidy,” “Looks Like Rain,” and “Black Throated Wind” are just three great examples of John Barlow’s poetic work for the Grateful Dead.

Cecil Taylor

This revolutionary artist Cecil Taylor broke jazz out of its “bebop” box, and took it to places no one had ever imagined before.

Jabo Starks

The last living link to that funky James Brown groove also made his mark in the music of Prince, Iggy Pop, and Q Burns Abstract Message.

Rick Hall

Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin are just some of the legends we can thank the late Rick Hall – the man behind Muscle Shoals – for bringing them to us.

Paul Goresh

Photographer John Goresh wasn’t a musician but he did get some of the last shots of John Lennon – and forged a bit of a friendship with the former Beatle before that.

-Culture Sonar

Photo Credits: Public domain image of Aretha Franklin at the White House circa 2015.

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