Several excellent musicians passed away in 2019, here we celebrate some of their lives and contributions to the world of music.
January 29, 2019: James Ingram
James Ingram died from brain cancer at his home in Los Angeles, aged 66.
James Ingram (February 16, 1952 – January 29, 2019) was an American singer, songwriter, instrumentalist and record producer. He was also a multi Grammy nominated artist, a two-time Grammy Award-winner and a two-time Oscar nominee for the Best Original Song.
Ingram is probably best known by most people for his hit collaborations with other vocalists. He scored a No. 1 hit on the Hot 100 chart in February 1983 with Patti Austin on the duet “Baby, Come to Me”, a song made popular on TV’s General Hospital. A second Austin–Ingram duet, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?”, was featured in the movie Best Friends (1982) and earned an Oscar nomination. In 1984, he teamed up with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes for the Top 40 ballad “What About Me?”. In 1985, Ingram won a Grammy Award for “Yah Mo B There”, a duet with Michael McDonald, and also participated in the charity single “We Are the World”.
February 21, 2019: Peter Tork
Peter Halsten Thorkelson (February 13, 1942 – February 21, 2019), known as Peter Tork, was an American musician, composer and actor, best known as the keyboardist and bass guitarist of The Monkees.
He grew up in Connecticut and in the mid-1960s was part of the Greenwich Village folk scene, and as an accomplished musician, befriended Stephen Stills. After moving to Los Angeles with Stills, he was recruited for the musical television sitcom The Monkees, and became a teenage idol between 1966 and 1968. Tork recorded his debut solo album Stranger Things Have Happened in 1994, and later toured with his blues band Shoe Suede Blues.
He died of Cancer at his home in Mansfield on February 21, 2019, eight days after his 77th birthday.
February 25, 2019: Mark Hollis
Talk Talk’s Mark Hollis was born in Tottenham in North London in 1955 and died aged 64, after a short illness.
Mark David Hollis (January 4, 1955 – February 25, 2019) was an English musician and singer-songwriter and co-founder, lead singer and main songwriter of Talk Talk. He wrote or co-wrote most of Talk Talk’s music including their hits “It’s My Life” and “Life’s What You Make It”.
On February 25, 2019, reports started online saying Mark Hollis had died, with posts from his family, collaborators and musical contemporaries acknowledging the death and offering condolences and tributes. His former manager, Keith Aspden, finally confirmed the next day that Hollis had died after a short illness.
February 28, 2019: André Previn
André Previn died at home in Manhattan, at the age of 89.
André George Previn, KBE (April 6, 1929 – February 28, 2019) was born Andreas Ludwig Priwin and was an American musician, born in Germany.
André Previn’s career in Hollywood, was as an arranger and composer, in jazz he was a pianist-interpreter and arranger of songs from the “Great American Songbook,” he was also a piano-accompanist to singers of jazz standards, a trio pianist, and a classical music pianist, conductor and as composer.
André Previn was nominated for 11 Academy Awards and won in 1958, 1959, 1963 and 1964. He is one of the only composers to have won back-to-back Oscars, one of only two to have done so on two occasions, and the only person in the history of the Academy Awards to receive three nominations in one year (1961).
In 2008 he won Gramophone magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in classical, film, and jazz music.
March 4, 2019: Keith Flint
The Prodigy’s Keith Flint died March 4, 2019
Keith Charles Flint (September 17, 1969 – March 4, 2019) was an English singer, musician and dancer for the electronic music band The Prodigy and sang on their two 1996 UK number one singles, “Firestarter” and “Breathe”. He was also the lead singer of his own band called Flint.
On March 4, 2019, following concerns for his welfare, police were called to Flint’s home in Essex, where he was found dead. The police did not treat his death as suspicious and his bandmate Liam Howlett later stated on Instagram that his death was a suicide. The Prodigy’s official website went black with a simple announcement of his death by suicide later that day.
March 16, 2019: Dick Dale
Dick Dale, The King of Surf Rock Guitar, died in Loma Linda, California at the age of 81.
His unique and dynamic way of playing shaped a genre and inspired musicians including the Beach Boys and Jimi Hendrix. Dale was himself inspired and influenced by the Arabic scales and sounds he grew up listening to, and he combined the sounds of his father’s native Lebanon with a lot of reverb and wildly fast tempos. Dick Dale defined surf rock.
Dale worked closely with Fender to produce custom-made amplifiers including the first-ever 100-watt guitar amplifier. He pushed the limits of electric amplification technology and helped to develop equipment that was capable of producing a louder guitar sound without sacrificing reliability.
Dick Dale died on March 16, 2019, after twenty years battling multiple illnesses and a lifetime of health issues.
March 22, 2019: Scott Walker
Scott Walker died on March 22, 2019, at the age of 76
Scott Walker was born Noel Scott Engel (January 9, 1943 – March 22, 2019) and was an American-born English singer-songwriter, composer and record producer. Rising to fame in the mid-1960s as frontman of the pop music trio the Walker Brothers. He was known for his distinctive baritone voice and an unorthodox career path which took him from 1960s teen pop icon to 21st-century avant-garde musician. Scott Walker’s success was largely in the United Kingdom, where his first three solo albums reached the top ten, and where he lived from 1965 and became a UK citizen in 1970.
Scott Walker died in London on March 22, 2019, at the age of 76.
March 31, 2019: Nipsey Hussle
Nipsey Hussle (often stylized as Nipsey Hu$$le) (August 15, 1985 – March 31, 2019), was born Ermias Joseph Asghedom and was an American rapper, entrepreneur, and community activist from Los Angeles, California. He emerged from the West Coast hip hop scene in the mid-2000s and independently released his first mixtape, Slauson Boy Volume 1, to moderate local success, leading him to be signed to Cinematic Music Group and Epic Records.
On March 31, 2019, Hussle was shot multiple times in the parking lot of his store, Marathon Clothing, in South Los Angeles at about 3:25 p.m. Hussle was hit five times in the torso and once in the head. Two others were wounded in the shooting. All three victims were transported to a hospital, where Hussle was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. He was 33 years old.
June 6, 2019: Dr. John
Dr. John died of a heart attack on June 6, 2019.
Dr. John (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019) was born Malcolm John Rebennack and was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined blues, pop, jazz, boogie-woogie and rock and roll.
He recorded 32 studio albums and 6 live albums, as well as contributing to thousands of other musicians’ recordings, was the winner of six Grammy Awards, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend in March 2011, and received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University in May 2013.
Dr. John was also a prominent session musician throughout his career. He played piano on the Rolling Stones’ 1972 song “Let It Loose”, and backed Carly Simon and James Taylor in their duet of “Mockingbird” in 1974, and Neil Diamond on Beautiful Noise in 1976. He was co-producer on Van Morrison’s 1977 album A Period of Transition and also played keyboards and guitar. He played keyboards on the highly successful 1979 solo debut album by Rickie Lee Jones.
July 22, 2019: Arthur Lanon Neville
Arthur Lanon Neville (December 17, 1937 – July 22, 2019) was an American singer, songwriter and keyboardist from New Orleans.
Neville was a staple of the New Orleans music scene for over five decades. He was the founder of the funk band The Meters whose musical style set the tone of New Orleans funk, a co-founder of the rock-soul-jazz band The Neville Brothers, and he later formed the spinoff group The Funky Meters. He performed on many recordings by notable artists from New Orleans and elsewhere, including Labelle (on “Lady Marmalade”), Paul McCartney, Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Dr. John and Professor Longhair. He was the recipient of three Grammy awards.
In 1978 Neville and his brothers Cyril, Aaron and Charles formed The Neville Brothers.
Neville retired from music in December 2018. He died in New Orleans at the age of 81 on July 22, 2019, after years of declining health.
September 15, 2019: Ric Ocasek
Ric Ocasek of The Cars died.
Richard Theodore Otcasek (March 23, 1944 – September 15, 2019), was known as Ric Ocasek and was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and painter, and the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the rock band the Cars.
The Cars, recorded numerous hit songs from 1978 to 1988. With Ric Ocasek playing rhythm guitar and singing lead vocals for a majority of songs (bassist Benjamin Orr was lead vocalist on the remaining tracks). After splitting writing duty with Orr in the 1970s, Ocasek became the principal songwriter of the band, and wrote nearly all of the Cars’ material, sharing credit on only a few songs with bandmate Greg Hawkes as co-writer. In 2010, Ocasek reunited with the surviving original members of the Cars to record their first album in 24 years, titled Move Like This, which was released on May 10, 2011.
Ocasek was found dead at his New York City townhouse, where he had been recovering from surgery, by his third wife Paulina Porizkova on September 15, 2019. The Chief Medical Examiner office reported that Ric Ocasek died from natural causes in his sleep. Ric Ocasek was known to suffer from both hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases.
September 23, 2019: Robert C. Christie Hunter
Robert C. Christie Hunter (born Robert Burns, June 23, 1941 – September 23, 2019) was an American lyricist, singer-songwriter, translator, and poet, best known for his work with the Grateful Dead. Born near San Luis Obispo, California, Hunter spent some time in his childhood in foster homes, as a result of his father’s abandoning his family, and took refuge in reading and writing. He attended university in Connecticut for a year before returning to Palo Alto, where he became friends with Jerry Garcia. Garcia and Hunter began a collaboration that lasted through the remainder of Garcia’s life.
Garcia and others formed the Grateful Dead in 1965, and sometime later began working with lyrics that Hunter had written. Garcia invited him to join the band as a lyricist, and Hunter contributed substantially to many of their albums, beginning with Aoxomoxoa in 1969. Over the years Hunter wrote lyrics to a number of the band’s signature pieces, including “Dark Star”, “Ripple”, “Truckin'”, “China Cat Sunflower”, and “Terrapin Station”. Hunter was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Grateful Dead in 1994, and is the only non-performer to be inducted as a member of a band. Upon his death, Rolling Stone described him as “one of rock’s most ambitious and dazzling lyricists”.
Hunter died at his home in San Rafael, California on September 23, 2019.
October 6, 2019: Ginger Baker
Ginger Baker the Legendary Cream drummer died aged 80.
Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (August 19, 1939 – October 6, 2019) was an English drummer and a co-founder of the legendary rock band Cream. His work in the 1960s earned him the well-deserved reputation of “rock’s first superstar drummer”, while his individual style melded a jazz background with African rhythms. He is credited as having been a pioneer of drumming in such genres as jazz fusion and world music.
In the 1960s he joined Blues Incorporated, where he met bassist Jack Bruce. The two clashed often, and sometimes violently, but would be rhythm section partners again in the Graham Bond Organisation and Cream, which Baker co-founded with Eric Clapton in 1966. Cream’s music was a fusion of blues, psychedelic rock and hard rock, they released four albums and achieved worldwide success but only lasted until 1968, partly because of Baker’s and Bruce’s volatile relationship. After briefly working with Clapton, bassist Ric Grech, from Family, and Steve Winwood, from Traffic, on keyboards and vocals, in Blind Faith and leading Ginger Baker’s Air Force, Baker spent several years in the 1970s living and recording in Africa, often with Fela Kuti, in pursuit of his long-time interest in African music.
On September 25, 2019, Baker’s family reported that he was critically ill in hospital, and asked fans to keep him in their prayers, and on October 6, 2019 Ginger Baker died at the age of 80.
December 8, 2019: Juice Wrld
Jarad Anthony Higgins (December 2, 1998 – December 8, 2019), known professionally as Juice Wrld, was an American rapper, singer, and songwriter. Born in Chicago, Illinois, and known for his singles “All Girls Are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams” which helped him gain a recording contract with Lil Bibby’s Grade A Productions and Interscope Records.
“All Girls Are the Same” and “Lucid Dreams” acted as singles for Juice Wrld’s debut studio album Goodbye & Good Riddance (2018) which was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and enjoyed positive critical reception. It also contained three other singles: “Armed and Dangerous”, “Lean wit Me” and “Wasted”, which charted on the Billboard Hot 100. After collaborating with Future on the mixtape Wrld on Drugs (2018), Juice Wrld released his second album Death Race for Love in 2019, which was a number-one album on the Billboard 200.
On December 8, 2019, Juice Wrld collapsed and died from a suspected drug-induced seizure at Midway International Airport in Chicago, after flying in on a private jet from Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles. His death provoked an outpouring of grief across social media and the music industry.
December 9, 2019: Marie Fredriksson
Marie Fredriksson, from Roxette, died at the age of 61.
Gun-Marie Fredriksson, known as Marie Fredriksson, (May 30, 1958 – December 9, 2019) was a Swedish pop singer, songwriter, pianist and painter, best known as the lead vocalist of soft rock duo Roxette, alongside Per Gessle. Roxette achieved international success in the late-1980s and early-1990s with their albums Look Sharp! (1988) and Joyride (1991), and had six top two hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “The Look”, “Listen to Your Heart”, “Dangerous”, “It Must Have Been Love”, “Joyride” and “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)”.
Marie Fredriksson died on December 9, 2019 in Djursholm, Sweden, at the age of 61, from a recurrence of a previous brain tumor.
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