Every new year is welcomed with the hopes for new beginnings, unfortunately along with the new discoveries of talent each year comes the news of some of our treasured musical giants dying. Some of the greats we lost last year include some truly iconic legends.
DMX-Dark Man X or his birth name, Earl Simmons died on April 9th, 2021 at the young age of 50. During his lifetime, he sold 74 million records worldwide, was awarded Billboard’s 1999 Award for being the Top R &B Album Artist of the Year and the American Music Award’s 2000 Award for being the Favorite Rap/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year.
Mary Wilson of the Supremes died on February 8th, 2021 at the age of 76. Mary was a founding member of the Supremes. Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard, and Betty McGlown formed the original Primettes in 1959-1961 which became Diana Ross and the Supremes from 1967-1970. The Supreme’s had 21 number one hits and were Motown’s most successful act at the height of their success.
Don Everly was half of the Everly Brothers famous for writing and performing songs from 1957 to 1962. Some of their most popular songs included: “Cathy’s Clown”, “All I Have to Do is Dream”, and “Bye Bye Love”. Don Everly was 84 when he died on August 21, 2021.
Biz Markie (Marcel Theo Hall) was only 57 when he passed away on July 16, 2021. He was a rapper, DJ, actor, and record producer. His most famous song was “He’s Just a Friend” released in 1989. It was a top 40 hit in several countries and it made it into VH1’s top 100 all-time Hip-Hop songs.
Phil Spector –Harry Philip Spector was a musician, songwriter, and record producer. He was a founding member of the pop vocal group, The Teddy Bears as a teenager and he wrote the No. 1 hit in the USA, “To Know Him is to Love Him” for them to perform. In the 70’s he produced songs for several very popular artists: The Beatles’” Let It Be” and “Long and Winding Road”; George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”; the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin Feelin” and many more. He was also the producer of such acts as the Ronettes, Ike & Tina Turner, and the Crystals. He died at age 81 on January 16, 2021.
Chick Corea (Armando Anthony Corea) died on February 9, 2021. He was a celebrated American jazz composer, pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, and percussionist. Many of his compositions have been embraced as standards by jazz musicians: “500 Miles High”, “La Fiesta”, “Spain”, “Windows, and Armando’s Rhumba”.
Charlie Watts, the drummer for the Rolling Stones joined Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones as a permanent member of the band in February 1963 and was with them for 58 years. Considered one of the greatest drummers of all time, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Just think, he studied to be a graphic artist. Instead, he traveled the world performing for millions for decades lauded and applauded by adoring fans. He died at the age of 80 on August 24, 2021.
Too many great performers died in 2021 to mention in this short article, but suffice it to say, our ears and hearts have been blessed with the sounds these great artists have created and we’ll continue to be blessed each time we listen to their recordings well into the future.