Without question 2016 was the worst year ever for departing musicians. It felt like ever other day we were losing one of our heroes and it was both tragic and disorienting. The pace slowed considerably in 2017, but there were still tough loses. Some weren't entirely unexpected; both Chuck Berry and Fats Domino had lived nine decades, which is a great run for anyone. It's still hard to see the original 50's rock n rollers pass on. I don't think anyone would have guessed that Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard would be the last men standing, but I'm glad they rock on. Jerry Lee even made a few live performances in 2017.
Without question the most shocking loss was that of Tom Petty back in October. He had just finished a triumphant US tour and was finally being recognized as one of the greats. We lost quietly ground-breaking country artists in Glen Campbell, Mel Tillis and Don Williams. With their loss I dug into their catalogs and found so many gems. It was another tough year for the blues with the passing of James Cotton, Lonnie Brooks and J. Geils.
I was especially saddened by the loss of Gregg Allman and his former bandmate Butch Trucks. The original Allman Brothers were my first real musical crush many years ago. I just about wore the grooves out of Live At The Fillmore East and it remains a favorite today. I can hardly listen to Gregg's amazing swan song album Southern Blood, which was released within days of his passing. It's a great last testament.
RIP Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, Charles Bradley, Don Williams, Mel Tillis, Maggie Roche, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, J. Geils, Sonny Burgess, Belton Richard, James Cotton, Rosaliee Sorrells, Jimmy Lafave, Keely Smith, Greg Trooper.