The Year That Was: In Memoriam

2017 has seemingly been a lot kinder on the entertainment industry than the notorious 2016. But there were a number of notable deaths, particularly in the music scene.

We lost some of the most influential figures in early rock ‘n roll, country music, jazz, RnB and rock – their careers spanned decades and their deaths have had a huge impact.

Seven times Grammy winner Al Jarreau died aged 76 on February 12. The jazz singer was known as the “Acrobat of Scat”.

Joni Sledge was the second oldest member of Sister Sledge and gave ‘We Are Family’ and ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’. She died aged 60 on March 10.

The legendary Chuck Berry died on March 18, aged 90. The singer and guitarist was considered the father of rock ‘n roll with such hits as ‘Johnny B. Goode’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Maybelline’ and ‘My Ding-a-ling’.

On May 18, Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell was found dead in a Detroit hotel room, just hours after stepping off stage. The death of the 52 year old was ruled a suicide and the music world was left in shock.

The Allman Brothers’ Gregg Allman died of complications from liver cancer on May 27 aged 69. He and his brother Duane pioneered the Southern Rock sound of the 70s.

Just months after losing his friend Chris Cornell, Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington took his on life on July 20.  The 41-year-old was widely regarded as one of the top rock vocalists of the 2000s.

2017 also took country music legend Glenn Campbell on August 8. His career spanned more than 50 years with his final album Adios two months before his death from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 81. Among his hits, ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ and ‘Wichita Linesman’. 

Tom Petty passed away on October 2 aged 66. He formed the Heartbreakers in 1976 and had only just wrapped up a 40 anniversary tour, when he suffered a massive heart attack at his Malibu home.

Another music pioneer died on October 24.  Antoine “Fats” Domino sold more than 110 million albums and had 35 Top 40 hits including ‘Blueberry Hill’ and ‘Ain’t That a Shame’He was 89.

On November 18, we lost AC/DC founder Malcolm Young at the age of 64. He formed the band with his brother Angus in 1973, but eventually retired in 2014 after developing dementia.

His rhythm guitar was the guiding force behind Acca Dacca classics including ‘High Voltage’, ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘Let There Be Rock’.

November also saw the death of singer David Cassidy aged 67. His time on TV’s The Partridge Family spawned hits like ‘I Think I Love You’.

2017 also claimed a number of celebrity deaths.

January 25: British actor John Hurt aged 77. He played wand maker Ollivander in the Harry Potter movies.

January 25:  Actress Mary Tyler Moore aged 80. The Mary Tyler Show saw her become a cultural icon and served as inspiration for young actresses.

February 7: Actor Richard Hatch aged 71. He played Apollo on the 70s Battlestar Galactica and appeared in the 2000s reboot.

February 25: Actor Bill Paxton aged 61. His film roles included Aliens, Apollo 13, Twister and Titanic.

April 6: Comedian Don Rickles aged 90. He was the voice of Mr Potato Head in the Toy Story movies

April 23: Actress Erin Moran aged 56. She played Joanie on Happy Days as well as in the spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi.

May 23: Actor Sir Roger Moore aged 89. He played James Bond on seven 007 movies. 1983’s A View To A Kill was the last time he played the suave spy.

June 9: Actor Adam West aged 88. He played ‘The Caped Crusader’ on TV’s Batman. He was considered to take over the role of James Bond in 1970.

July 15: Oscar winner Martin Landau aged 89. He also appeared on TV’s Mission Impossible.

July 21: Actor John Heard aged 71.  He played the dad in the Home Alone movies.

July 27: Playwright and actor Sam Shepard aged 73. He wrote 44 plays and nominated for an Oscar for his role as test pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983’s The Right Stuff.

August 20: comedian/actor/entertainer Jerry Lewis aged 91. Over more than 40 years, his annual telethon raised 2.5 billion dollars for MD research.

August 24: Actor Jay Thomas from TV’s Murphy Brown and Cheers aged 69.

September 15: Actor Harry Dean Stanton aged 91. He had roles in movies like Cool Hand Luke, Alien, Pretty in Pink and The Green Mile.

September 27: Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, aged 91. The magazine was first published in 1953.

November 30: TV’s Gomer Pyle Jim Nabors aged 87. He originally played the role on The Andy Griffith Show.

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