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Customer Discussions > Music forum

10 Greatest Losses to Popular Music

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Showing 1-25 of 67 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 22, 2012, 10:53:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 4:34:42 AM PST
BigBadAzz says:
In your opinion, who would be the 10 deceased musicians/singers that you'd consider to have left the largest void in the industry since their departure from our world. Which are those artists who have passed on that have left the greatest legacy behind them?

This is not a question about your favourite dead artists, but a careful consideration about those who have had the most influence in popular music and whose loss has made the biggest impact in our collective consciousness.
My picks would be (in no particular order):
Elvis Presley
Michael Jackson
John Lennon
Frank Zappa
Kurt Cobain
Buddy Holly
Jimi Hendrix
Jim Morrison
Miles Davis
Etta James

Feel free to agree or disagree with me, and back up your argument....

Posted on Jan 22, 2012, 11:22:07 PM PST
I could swear we had this discussion a few weeks ago in the forums. But here goes....

Jimi Hendrix
Ian Curtis
Marc Bolan
Jim Morrison
Frank Zappa
John Coltrane
Charlie Parker
Keith Moon
John Bonham
Bon Scott

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 12:24:35 AM PST
Hinch says:
in no particular order

Hank Williams
John Lennon
Jim Morrison
Duane Allman
Buddy Holly
Bob Marley
Patsy Cline
Ritchie Valens
George Harrison
Gram Parsons

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 12:44:56 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 12:51:53 AM PST
7 & 7 IS says:
Ronnie Lane
Clarence White
Richard Manuel
Tommy Bolin
Lowell George
Richard Wright
Stevie Ray Vaughn
Arthur Lee
Amy Winehouse

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 12:52:27 AM PST
Hinch says:
Nice list!
It's hard to think of everyone. We've lost a lot of greats and potential greats.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 12:55:18 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 12:57:37 AM PST]

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 12:57:03 AM PST
Hinch says:
Others I could name

Tim Buckley
Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Otis Redding
Sam Cooke

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 12:57:12 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 12:57:54 AM PST]

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 1:03:04 AM PST
Miami Nights says:
I'll try to pick some whom haven't been mentioned yet.

Marvin Gaye
Tupac Shakur
Peter Tosh
Clarence Clemons

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 1:11:45 AM PST
Miami Nights says:
Here's a few more whom haven't been listed

Luther Vandross
Barry White
David Ruffin
Eddie Kendricks

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 3:12:17 AM PST
Ahmad says:
Duke Ellington

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 6:36:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 6:37:55 AM PST
Shining Star says:
In no particular order:

Sam Cooke
Otis Redding
Donny Hataway
Bob Marley
Marvin Gaye
Curtis Mayfield
Charles Stepney
Thelonius Monk
Count Basie
Duke Ellington
Miles Davis
Issac Hayes
James Brown
Marvin Isley
Michael Jackson
Nickolas Ashford
Barry White
Eddie Hazel
Jimi Hendrix
Etta James
Sarah Vaughn

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 7:08:38 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 7:15:18 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 7:14:36 AM PST
wow brother jones you nailed it! those were excellent choices, im surprised nobody mentioned Isaac Hayes & Marvin before, nice. Since its only 10 ill add on to the list

Gil Scott-Heron
Roger Troutman
Luther Vandross
Left Eye from TLC
Guru from Ganstarr
Heavy D

peace man

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 7:40:01 AM PST
Shining Star says:
Cold Rockin' Steady, thanks!

I love your list and Roger Troutman was genius, I forgot about him. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 8:03:55 AM PST
E. Dill says:

I probably shouldn't say this until I've compiled a "counter" list myself. Easier said than done.

My problem with your list (and your explaination of the topic leaves me more confused), is that most of the greats you've mentione were way past their prime. A sense of loss, perhaps, to their memory but not necessarily to their FUTURE affect on music.

Elvis was bloated, Michael was hiding, Lennon had made a comeback album of sorts, Zappa was fiddling with electronics and Etta James was a shell of herself as a singer/performer.

Who's left:

Cobain, Holly, Hendrix and Morrison because of their ages and a sense that their musical ambition wasn't over....Davis because he never quite gave up giving us something new....

Even Holly is a question because when he left the Crickets, his music became poppier than ever and much less interesting. His later influence may have been more negative than positive.

Now the hard part. Assuming there is truth to what I've said, who else is there? Maybe I should dig back to people like Clifford Brown, a great jazz trumpeter who died at the seemng peak of his creativity...maybe 31 or so.

Let me think about it and tell me what you think of my analysis and be gentle.


Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 8:11:24 AM PST
Chazzzbo says:
Yes - Clifford Brown, absolutely!

I would add Richie Valens, since what we're really talking about here is potential. Richie was so young, there's no telling what we may have seen. To a lesser extent, I would add Stevie Ray Vaughn, who had at the time of his death, seemed to have finally conquered many of his personal demons.

Many of the above listed, while I mourn their loss, already had quite prolific and fulfilling careers; leaving us with a nice body of work to explore and enjoy.

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 9:40:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 9:41:31 AM PST
vivazappa says:
Free fourm FM radio
General Admission stadium shows
The smell of pot in the air at concerts
Pops in real vinyl record (CD's are sometimes too clean)
The Who smashing their gear
Camping overnight for tickets
Hippie chicks who want to go home with you if you have some coke
Beer sales at shows past 10pm
Good opening acts
Album artwork

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 9:50:27 AM PST
Tomas j says:
Pete Ham and Tom Evans of Badfinger and Randy Rhoads.

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 10:00:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 10:04:42 AM PST
E. Dill says:

Valens is a good one and Vaughn too. I was trying to think of others who'd died rather young...Minnie Ripperton had a dynamite voice but I'm not sure she'd have found a music that would have allowed her to make an impact on music as a whole. Same with Laura Nyro. At the time of her death, she seemed to be mellowing in her music rather than becoming more experimental. I mean, the voice was still there, but her muse had changed from, say, New York Tendaberry.

Ah, I've got it. Robert Johnson. Had he reached his peak? Some say all of his music sounds the same to them and that his guitar work is primitive and boring. I though his lyrics alone were often chilling.

Gene Vincent didn't die THAT young but he was never the same after that car accident. Evidently, he lived in constant pain and that led to drug abuse, I recall. I thought he was one of the great rockers of all time, compared to Jerry Lee quite favorably.

Keith Moon? I'm not sure what more he could have done but whatever influence he'd have had on The Who couldn't have been bad.

Mary Wells? Only if she'd have stayed with Motown and had the advantage of those great songwriters. She had the voice and the intonation but she needed that material.

Sandy Denny? She left us much too soon, but I'm not sure she was an innovator. Still, we probably would have had many more great songs sung by her solo or with whatever new band she connected with...

Del Shannon? Talk was he was working with Jeff Lyne on a comeback and perhaps thought of as a replacement for R. Orbison in the Wilburys....

Roy Orbison? - He wasn't that young but with that voice, he still could have made waves...

Richard Manuel/Rick Danko? - I;m guessing that neither of their deaths was the true cause of the split up of The Band. It had more to do with Robbie Robertson taking conrol (it was a dirty job but, evidently, someone had to do it). I still hear Manuel's voice in my sleep)

Danny Gatton? - I haven't a clue what he'd had done had he lived longer. I'd sure like to have found out.

Unlike Zappa, whose better days were gone for me, I thought Mr. Van Vliet had a lot more to do musically. We'll never know.


In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 2:05:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 23, 2012, 2:36:13 PM PST
BigBadAzz says:
@E. Dill,
In response to your problem with my list, I wasn't so much referring to artists who died in their prime and would've had much more to offer in the way of future music, but moreso performers who had left us with a body of work unparalleled in popular music, and whose departure was felt most deeply by the music listening public. It doesn't matter whether or not they were "has-beens" when they passed away, or if their best work was decades behind them, it's the fact that they were icons in their prime, and that their presence per se would be missed in the music industry.

They're the personalities that left behind the greatest legacies or made the biggest contributions to music as we know it. There's no denying that Elvis and Michael Jackson et al were way beyond their creative and musical peaks when they passed on, however in spite of this, they were still major musical figures who left their mark on millions of people and influenced a great many fellow musicians.

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 2:25:44 PM PST
E. Dill says:

Gottcha. Thanks for the clarification.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2012, 2:36:57 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 27, 2012, 3:50:55 PM PDT]

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 2:43:44 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 27, 2012, 3:50:55 PM PDT]

Posted on Jan 23, 2012, 2:49:47 PM PST
1. Jimi Hendrix
An incalculable loss. I tend to agree with E Dill's interpretation of the OP to mean artists whose best, or at least additionally significant, work possibly lay ahead. With that in mind, a listen to "The Cry of Love," or even a look at the tantalizing song titles to the music Hendrix was contemplating in 1970 shows an incredible and unstoppable ambition to grow and develop. Hendrix pretty much always tops these kinds of lists for me, though I do want to make special mention of Janis Joplin, whose reputation seems to have diminished somewhat over the years, but who Hendrix is ominously linked to as part of the "27" club; I won't go so far as to say her best years were "behind her" as I think she may well have had success in a kind of country rock direction (that posthumous album "Pearl" was superb), and probably would have enjoyed the whole punk thing...it's just too speculative to be certain, even with the benefit of hindsight.

2. Bob Marley
Although I suppose one could argue that his later work slickly commercialized reggae rather than developed it, I in fact find his later albums like "Kaya" and "Uprising" to be the ones I actually enjoy the most; they're really that good! Like Hendrix, Marley was so much more than just a musician, and I think would have continued to achieve greatness.

3. John Lennon
This one is a bit tougher, because unlike the similarly aged Marley, Lennon appeared to be settling into an MOR-ish sterility, but then so was Paul McCartney at the time and Macca, I think, later redeemed himself somewhat after a rather dire 80s, which I believe Lennon could have at least emulated; besides, the 90s Beatles anthology would almost certainly have been more complete with Lennon. Like Marley, though, Lennon was a world-figure whose influence went far beyond the confines of popular music, and his voice, along with that of Frank Zappa's (I also agree with E Dill that Zappa's best music was probably behind him) continues to be much missed.

4. Tupac Shakur
There was an intelligence there, which belied his thuggish image, and helped legitimize hip/hop to those who might not otherwise have listened, such that had he lived, it is entirely possible that he might have become a James Brown type of figure. Fortunately for the more discerning listeners who picked up on that, but not for Tupac himself, like Hendrix, he left behind a wealth of unreleased recordings. It would have been better had he been lucky enough to stay around, so we could give thanks in person.

5. Marvin Gaye
Motown's greatest singer, bar none. If there is any fault to be found in his presentation, it is that he occasionally confused "sexy" with "crass exhibitionism" (hey Marvin, leave that stuff to likes of Madonna and Prince!); his great strength, besides his vocal prowess, was that he exuded class, which is sorely lacking in today's popular music. Witness the success Rod Stewart had with his album of standards, or more recently Landau Eugene Murphy on "America's Got Talent," or even the late-period resurgence of Tony Bennett...that suggests to me that a lot of people are getting tired of tacky teeny-boppers, and would welcome a suave, sophisticated singer like Marvin Gaye, who I think could have done this kind of material, in addition to his own, extremely well.

6. Buddy Holly
Ah, "the day the music died"; I wasn't even born at the time, and it does seem that Holly is a relatively forgotten figure among the early rockers. That is a shame, because like some of the other artists I've listed above, Holly too seemed to be growing and developing his music; sure, string-laden tunes like "True Love Ways" may not be as raw as his earlier hits, but those tracks do seem to anticipate the rise of Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" and the great Nashville sides of the early 60s, where I think Holly would almost certainly have recorded some fine material. On a separate note, I also think Holly would have fit right in with the "geeky" side of the new wave movement of the late 70s and early 80s (think Devo, the B-52s, Donnie Iris, etc.), and was timeless enough to have stayed relevant into the 90s and beyond.

7. Patsy Cline
Speaking of Nashville, here was one of its greatest voices cut short in her prime. An indomitable spirit, I am almost certain that Patsy Cline would have remained relevant in every decade that followed. Although she was technically about as "mainstream" as you can get, I think Cline would have found favor among the "alt-country" crowd as well; she simply transcended any of those silly labels.

8. Randy Rhoads
Darn those airplanes, this is the third tragedy in a row! One listen to Ozzy's "Diary of a Madman" should tell anyone who is dismissive of "heavy metal" that there were was more depth to that music than its cheesy image suggests, thanks in large part to great talents like Rhoads, who I am reasonably certain would have continued to expand the genre (I think it went downhill after Rhoads' death), even if he may have been just as happy in a classical ensemble as he was in the Blizzard of Ozz or Quiet Riot. I also really like that he was a teacher, and I'd bet he would have found innovations like "Guitar Hero" fascinating as another means of communicating the joy of playing.

9. Roy Orbison
After years in the wilderness, but having lost none of his vocal abilities or apparently even song-writing skills, Orbison was just on the verge of a major comeback, with the more accommodating musical climate of the 90s beckoning around the corner. Instead, it was Johnny Cash who capitalized, I think, on the desire of a generation (which I'm part of) to hear more "real" music than the 80s pap we'd been force-fed via MTV (aside: I did not feel that Kurt Cobain particularly spoke for me, nor that he might have produced future interesting material; hence, he is not included on this list). I said in another thread here that I thought 90s singers like Chris Isaak sounded a lot like Orbison; there was a reason he did, as even Elvis Presley himself once said that Orbison was the best singer there is!

10. Elvis Presley/Michael Jackson
Speaking of Elvis, I've combined my 10th choice with the two "Kings"; one of rock, the other of pop, as I feel their fates were similar. Both died in middle age, both appeared to be burned out, but both left such astonishing legacies that one keeps guessing whether either could have somehow managed to overcome his personal demons and return to greatness. Oddly enough, with Elvis, I just re-watched some of his '77 footage, and while he was clearly in pain, the man could still sing (and compared with today's obesity, he really wasn't all that fat!), so I do think that if he could have properly addressed his health, it is entirely possible that Elvis might have enjoyed the sort of comeback Johnny Cash did. I'll even go a step further and say that some of his 70s output, like "Elvis Country," ranks among the finest work he ever did. Michael Jackson, on the other hand, was so far gone down the rabbit-hole that I really can't say whether his comeback bid would have had much validity; certainly, he had retained his world-wide popularity, and could still sing and dance like no one else, but from what I saw of "This Is It" this was just going to be another one of those tiresome victory laps around the world emphasizing flash over substance, which had been Jackson's achilles heel, frankly since "Thriller"; ymmv, but I greatly missed the joy Jackson communicated on albums like "Off the Wall" where he was really singing, rather than Michael Jackson-izing. It was still sad that he died when he seemed about to at least try returning to the stage; both he and Elvis were such completely unique individuals that their losses, even if the future looked grim, were indeed great to popular music.
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