The world of music lost many of its treasured voices in 2011, from the heartbreak of Amy Winehouse and Heavy D, to singular talents like Gil Scott-Heron and Clarence Clemons. Iconic bluesmen, salsa stars, disco divas, a hair metal wailer, a punk icon, songwriting legends, and a tech genius that changed the way we enjoy music -- all gone, but never forgotten. As we prep for 2012, help us take a look back at what we've lost.
GERRY RAFFERTY, Jan. 4 The Scottish s...
GERRY RAFFERTY, Jan. 4 The Scottish singer had solo hits with "Baker Street" and "Right Down the Line" and later reached No. 6 on the Hot 100 in the band Stealers Wheel with the irresistible rocker "Stuck in the Middle With You." He died of liver failure in Gloucestershire, England at 63.
CHARLIE LOUVIN, Jan. 26With his broth...
CHARLIE LOUVIN, Jan. 26 With his brother Ira, Louvin crafted vivid country classics like "The Christian Life," "Knoxville Girl" and "The Great Atomic Power" and inspired generations of aspiring musicians. He died from complications of pancreatic cancer at age 83.
GARY MOORE, Feb. 6 The Thin Lizzy gu...
GARY MOORE, Feb. 6 The Thin Lizzy guitarist died in a Spanish hotel room of a reported heart attack. He was 58.
MIKE STARR, March 8 The former Alice...
MIKE STARR, March 8 The former Alice in Chains bassist, who publicly struggled with drug addiction and appeared on VH1's "Celebrity Rehab" in 2009, died in Salt Lake City at age 44.
NATE DOGG, March 15 Best-known for h...
NATE DOGG, March 15 Best-known for his work with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Nathaniel "Nate Dogg" D Hale got his start performing alongside Snoop and Warren G, and his voice floats alongside hip-hop classics like "Regulate" and "The Next Episode. He was 41.
FERLIN HUSKY, March 17 One of the b...
FERLIN HUSKY, March 17 One of the biggest country music artists of the "Nashville Sound" era, he hit with such classics as "Gone" and "Wings Of A Dove." Husky died at his daughter's Tennessee home of congestive heart failure. He was 85.
PINETOP PERKINS, March 21 A blues pi...
PINETOP PERKINS, March 21 A blues pianist with an aggressive style and a distinctive voice, Perkins played with everyone from B.B. King to Ike Turner to Sonny Boy Williams. In 2010 he became the oldest artist to win a Grammy Award for his "Joined at the Hip" album. He died in Austin at at 97.
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY, March 21 Th...
LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY, March 21 The disco singer best known for her 1980 hit "Love Sensation," died following a brief illness. She was 64.
GERARD SMITH, April 20 A bassis...
GERARD SMITH, April 20 A bassist and multi-instrumentalist in the indie rock favorites TV on the Radio, Smith died a month after the band announced he was undergoing treatment for lung cancer. He was 36.
POLY STYRENE, April 25 Born ...
POLY STYRENE, April 25 Born Marian Joan Elliott-Said, the leader of the pioneering punk rock band X-Ray Spex succumbed to breast cancer at age 53.
PHOEBE SNOW, April 26 Born Pho...
PHOEBE SNOW, April 26 Born Phoebe Laub, the bluesy singer/songwriter skyrocketed to fame in 1974 with the chart-topping hit "Poetry Man" but soon faded from the spotlight to care for her disabled daughter. In 2010, Snow suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and slipped into a coma. She died in New Jersey at age 60.
GIL SCOTT-HERON, May 27 Th...
GIL SCOTT-HERON, May 27 The self-described "bluesologist" fused soul, jazz, percussion and politically charged poetry into a potent mix that made him a powerful voice of black protest cultrue of the '70s and laid the foundation for hip-hop. He died in New York City at age 62.
CARL GARDNER, June 12 As f...
CARL GARDNER, June 12 As frontman of the Coasters, which he co-founded in 1955, Gardner can be heard on a handful of Leiber & Stoller classics like "Searchin'" and "Yakety Yak. He died in Fort Pierce, Fla. at 83.
CLARENCE CLEMONS, June 18 ...
CLARENCE CLEMONS, June 18 For 40 years, the "Big Man" played alongside Bruce Springsteen in his E Street Band and helped define the group's rollicking sound on classics like "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road." Clemons died of complications from a stroke in Palm Beach, Fla. He was 69.
MICHAEL "WURZEL" BURSTON, July 9 Lem...
MICHAEL "WURZEL" BURSTON, July 9 Lemmy Kilmister once referred to Burston as "a quiet monster. He's a very soft-spoken guy... But give him a guitar and he just… erupts." Wurzel, who was with Motorhead between 1985-1995, died from ventricular fibrillation caused by heart muscle disease, at the age of 61.
AMY WINEHOUSE, July 23 The so...
AMY WINEHOUSE, July 23 The soul singer, whose substance abuse demons battled with her epic talents for the media's attention dating back to the release of her wildly successful sophomore album "Back to Black," died of accidental alcohol poisoning at her London home. She was 27.
DAN PEEK, July 24 A co-fou...
DAN PEEK, July 24 A co-founder of the folk rock band America, Peek enjoyed hits in the early '70s including "Lonely People" before turning to born-again Christianity and ditching rock 'n roll. He later became a moderately successful Christian pop artist and was even nominated for a Grammy. He was 60.
JOE ARROYO, July 26 Known ...
JOE ARROYO, July 26 Known for his high tenor and hit songs "La Noche" and "Rebelion," Arroyo rose to prominence in the '70s to become the face of Colombia's faster, more aggressive brand of salsa. He died in his native Colombia at 55.
MARSHALL GRANT, Aug. 7 The bas...
MARSHALL GRANT, Aug. 7 The bassist (left) brought the boom chick boom to Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two and was the last surviving member of the group. He died at age 83 in Jonesboro, Ark., after an aneurysm and stroke.
JANI LANE, Aug. 11
Known for h...
JANI LANE, Aug. 11
Known for his golden boy looks and a voice that hearkened back to the '70s era of arena rock wailers, Lane penned many of Warrant's huge hits, including "Down Boys," "Cherry Pie" and the band's biggest charter, the 1989 ballad "Heaven." The singer died at age 47 in a California motel room of alcohol poisoning.
NICK ASHFORD, Aug. 22 Working ...
NICK ASHFORD, Aug. 22 Working alongside his wife and longtime writing partner Valerie Simpson, Ashford penned some of the most indelible songs in pop history including "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "I'm Every Woman." Later they thrived as a singing duo, with hits like "Send It" and "Solid." He died in NYC of unconfirmed causes at age 70.
JERRY LEIBER, Aug. 22 The pop ...
JERRY LEIBER, Aug. 22 The pop music lyricist, whose partnership with Mike Stoller created such timeless hits as "Jailhouse Rock" and "There Goes My Baby," helping to shape the identity and commercial potential of early rock and roll, died of cardio pulmonary failure. He was 78.
FRANK DILEO, Aug. 24 As Micha...
FRANK DILEO, Aug. 24 As Michael Jackson's manager in the '80s, DiLeo helped make the singer's "Thriller" into a monstrous success. The short, portly music exec, who also acted in films such as "Goodfellas," was 64.
ESTHER GORDY EDWARDS, Aug. 24 ...
ESTHER GORDY EDWARDS, Aug. 24 A key executive at Motown Records and civil rights activist, Edwards passed away at 91 of natural causes. The sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy, Edwards founded the Motown Museum to preserve the legacy of the iconic record label.
HONEYBOY EDWARDS, Aug. 29 The ...
HONEYBOY EDWARDS, Aug. 29 The Delta blues guitarist played with greats like Charley Patton and Little Walter Jacobs and recorded his first hit, "Drop Down Mama," for Chess Records in 1953. He was 96.
DJ MEHDI, Sept. 13 The French ...
DJ MEHDI, Sept. 13 The French producer (real name Mehdi Favéris-Essadi), who gained prominence in the electro and house scene in the late '90s and had worked with Chromeo and Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter, died at the age of 34 due to an accident in which he fell through a collapsed roof.
VESTA WILLIAMS, Sept. 22 The R...
VESTA WILLIAMS, Sept. 22 The R&B diva died at the age of 53 due to a possible drug overdose in a Southern California hotel room. Williams scored late 80s hits with "Sweet, Sweet Love" and "Congratulations," and had dabbled in acting with minor roles in "Posse" and "Sister, Sister."
LEONARD DILLON, Sept. 28 Dillo...
LEONARD DILLON, Sept. 28 Dillon, the leader of reggae pioneers the Ethiopians, died at 68 in Jamaica due to lung and prostate cancer. After beginning his career as a solo artist under the name Jack Sparrow, Dillon and the Ethiopians authored hits like "Everything Crash" and "Train to Skaville."
SYLVIA ROBINSON, Sept. 29 An R...
SYLVIA ROBINSON, Sept. 29 An R&B singer-songwriter who influenced the direction of early hip-hop, passed away at 75 of congestive heart failure. Along with her husband Joe Robinson, the singer founded Sugar Hill Records and produced "Rapper's Delight," the breakout single from Sugar Hill Gang.
MARV TARPLIN, Sept. 30 The gui...
MARV TARPLIN, Sept. 30 The guitarist (top right) for Motown stars Smokey Robinson and the Miracles passed away at 70 of undisclosed causes. As an original member of the Miracles, Tarplin co-penned hits like "Tracks of My Tears" and "My Girl Has Gone," and toured alongside Robinson until retiring in 2008.
STEVE JOBS, Oct. 5 The Apple c...
STEVE JOBS, Oct. 5 The Apple co-founder and technology pioneer died at the age of 56 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Jobs, who built the first Apple computers in his family's garage, used digital technology to reignite animated films and the music industry by playing a key role in the success of Pixar and spearheading the creation of the iPod and iTunes.
ROGER WILLIAMS, Oct. 8 The...
ROGER WILLIAMS, Oct. 8 The famed pianist passed away in his Los Angeles home at 87 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. Known as the "pianist to the presidents," Williams performed for nine commander-in-chiefs and scored a hit with 1995 piano instrumental "Autumn Leaves."
MIKEY WELSH, Oct. 8 The former...
MIKEY WELSH, Oct. 8 The former Weezer bass player was found dead in a Chicago hotel room at the age of 40. Welsh, who performed with Weezer from 1998 to 2001 and handled bass on the group's 2001 disc "The Green Album," later established himself as a painter. The cause of Welsh's death has yet to be determined.
LIZ ANDERSON, Oct. 31 A groun...
LIZ ANDERSON, Oct. 31 A groundbreaking singer-songwriter who infiltrated the Nashville boys club by writing her own songs and penned Merle Haggard's inaugural top ten hit, "All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers," Anderson also notably wrote hits for her daughter, Lynn. She died from complications of heart and lung disease at age 81.
CORY SMOOT, Nov. 3 The gui...
CORY SMOOT, Nov. 3 The guitarist and producer, who played the part of Flattus Maximus in the outlandish, sci-fi-inspired metal band GWAR, died of a heart condition on a tour bus following a show in Minneapolis. He was 34.
HEAVY D, Nov. 8 The larger-tha...
HEAVY D, Nov. 8 The larger-than-life rapper, whose late '80s and '90s hits include the crossover smash "Now That We Found Love," died outside his Beverly Hills home at age 44. On Dec. 27, a coroner's report determined he had died of a pulmonary embolism.
HOWARD TATE, Dec. 2 A gifted ...
HOWARD TATE, Dec. 2 A gifted 1960s soul singer who dropped out of music after his now-treasured records (namely "Get It While You Can") were ignored, but who later emerged decades later to a cult following, Tate died of natural causes at his New Jersey apartment at age 72.
HUBERT SUMLIN, Dec. 4 The revered bl...
HUBERT SUMLIN, Dec. 4 The revered blues guitarist, who spent 23-plus years adding gritty leads to Howlin' Wolf's legendary voice and who inspired generations of axemen from Jimi Hendrix to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, died at a New Jersey hospital of heart failure. He was 80.
DOBIE GRAY, Dec. 6 The soul-pop sing...
DOBIE GRAY, Dec. 6 The soul-pop singer, who crooned "I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away" in the 1973 classic, "Drift Away," died of unknown causes at age 71.
SLIM DUNKIN, Dec. 16
SLIM DUNKIN, Dec. 16
The up-and-coming rapper and member of Waka Flacka Flame's BrickSquad crew (born Mario Hamilton) was shot and killed in an Atlanta music studio, in a fight that reportedly started over a piece of candy. He was 24.
CESARIA EVORA, Dec. 17
Known as the ...
CESARIA EVORA, Dec. 17
Known as the "Barefoot Diva" because she always performed without shoes, Evora started singing as a teenager in the bayside bars of Cape Verde in the 1950s and won a Grammy in 2003. She was 70.
SAM RIVERS, Dec. 26The jazz saxophoni...
SAM RIVERS, Dec. 26 The jazz saxophonist and flutist, whose multi-decade career included stints with Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, including his contributions to the 1964 "Miles in Tokyo" live album, died of pneumonia at age 88.