2016 was a brutal year for musicians and their fans. Things started out badly with David Bowie leaving us in January, then got worse when Prince suddenly died in April, and became seriously heartbreaking with Sharon Jones’ untimely death in November. There’s still 5 days left in 2016, and I’m a little terrified that we might lose even more legends before the New Year begins. Can someone please check on Neil Young?
In honor of all the greats we lost this year, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite albums by my top 10 favorite artists who passed away in 2016. Here’s a few highlights:
David Bowie – Hunky Dory
It’s difficult to pick just one Bowie album but I’ve always been a big fan of the early Bowie stuff and this one includes so many amazing songs – “Life on Mars?” “Quicksand” and “Queen Bitch” to name three of my favorites. Seu Jorge’s bossanova inspired covers of these songs and others are a wonderful tribute.
Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor (A Tribe Called Quest) –
People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm.
I was crushed to learn that Phife Dawg passed away not long after recording We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service, Tribe’s first album in years, which is also excellent. But their stellar debut album will always have a special place in my heart thanks to tracks like “Can I Kick It?” “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” and “Ham N’ Eggs.”
Merle Haggard – Okie From Muskogee
Yes, the title song is super-problematic. But I have a soft spot for this country outlaw and this live album includes great renditions of many of my favorite Hag tunes, including “Mama Tried” and “White Line Fever.”
Prince – Purple Rain
As with Bowie, it is very hard to choose just one Prince record. However, you really can’t argue with an album that includes “Let’s Go Crazy” “When Doves Cry” and of course, “Purple Rain.” I dare you to put this on and not start dancing immediately.
Sharon Jones — Naturally
I love every single album Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings released in their all-too-brief time on this planet, but this one is the first I ever heard & it’s still my favorite. I’ll never get tired of hearing Jones’ hilarious (and strangely sweet) duet with Lee Fields “Stranded In Your Love” and her cover of “This Land Is Your Land” will always be the definitive version for me. But pretty much every single track on this album is a standout.
Which musicians are you mourning this year? Tell us your favorite albums in the comments!
~ posted by Abby