The Year the Music Died By: Sean Harrison


Back on February 3, 1959, the music world was shaken up by a plane crash that killed three of Rock and Roll’s shining lights.  All Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were killed on that day, cutting short the careers of three promising talents.  The first two, in particular, were among the greatest pioneers of the Rock industry (along with the likes of Elvis Prestley and Chuck Berry).  Since then, that day has forever been known as the “the Day the Music Died.”

Fast forward to the present…

Looking back over the last few months, I notice there have been at least five legendary rock stars to die.  This actually began late last year, during the “Winter of Discontent,” when Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead died of congestive heart failure on Christmas Eve.  He also had an irregular heartbeat and prostate cancer.

However, it got worse in January when David Bowie and Glen Frey of the Eagles each died only eight days apart.  Bowie, who was easily one of the most important glam rockers, died because of liver cancer and as a result knew he was going to die.  For this reason, he recorded his last album, “Blackstar,” as an intentional swan song and a final gift for his fans.  Meanwhile, Frey died of complications from Pneumonia (among other conditions).

This year of tragedy would continue.  Maurice White, former lead vocalist and bandleader of Earth, Wind & Fire, would leave this Earth on February 3.  Of everyone here, he may have been the luckiest.  He died in his sleep from Parkinsons.

This ultimately leads to the most influential and recent death, that of Prince who died this past Thursday.  During his lifetime, the intensely private Prince was known as not just an extremely talented musician and singer but also a bit of a philanthropist.  In addition he also changed the music industry itself, enabling various other artists to gain control over their public persona.  This included the likes of Beyonce and Jay-Z.   He also encouraged more women to get into the music industry.  At present, he cause of death is not yet known.

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