Prince’s talent was singular, but it’s hard not to reflect on the mounting number of losses the music industry has already suffered so far in 2016. Before Prince, there was David Bowie, and Phife Dawg, and Merle Haggard, and Maurice White and many more. Suffice it to say, it has been a hard year for music fans.
Reading through the tributes, re-listening to our favorite songs and albums and reliving concert memories helps ease the pain, but it doesn’t take it away completely. Each death feels so personal because “it’s like an extended member of our family dies,” as psychologist David Kaplan, chief professional officer of the American Counseling Association, told The Huffington Post.
It’s only April, and yet it’s already clear that 2016 will go down as one of the saddest years in music history, if not the saddest. Just look at who we’ve lost.
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The legendary singer died April 21, 2016. He was 57 years old.
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David Bowie, legendary singer, artistic chameleon and Grammy-winning songwriter, died on Jan. 10, 2016. He was 69.
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Singer Maurice White, 74, the founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, died on Feb. 3, 2016.
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Country legend Merle Haggard, who earned 38 No. 1 hits over the course of his career, died on April 6, 2016. He was 79.
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Malik Isaac Taylor, better known as his stage name Phife Dawg, reportedly died on March 22, 2016, at the age of 45.
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Founding Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey died on Jan. 18, 2016, at the age of 67.
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Paul Kantner, one of the founding members of 1960s San Francisco psychedelic rock band Jefferson Airplane, died on Jan. 28, 2016, at 74.
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George Martin, the music industry legend who worked on nearly every Beatles recording, died on March 8, 2016. He was 90.
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Ernestine Anderson, the internationally celebrated jazz vocalist who earned four Grammy nominations during a six-decade career, died on March 10, 2016. She was 87.
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Leonardo “Gato” Barbieri, a jazz saxophonist who was considered a pioneer in Latin jazz and who won a Grammy Award for his music in the film Last Tango in Paris, died on April 2, 2016, at 83.
Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of famed singer and actor Frank Sinatra, who carved out his own career as a singer and conductor, died on March 16, 2016, at 72.
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Keith Emerson, the legendary keyboard player in Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP), died on March 10, 2016, at 71.
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The 1980s pop star and model Denise Matthews, known by the stage name Vanity, died on Feb. 15, 2016 at the age of 57.
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Hall of fame rhythm and blues artist Otis Clay, 73, known as much for his big heart and charitable work as for his singing internationally, died on Jan. 8, 2016.
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Nicholas Caldwell, co-founder and singer with the California R&B group The Whispers, died on Jan. 5, 2016.He was 71.
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Pierre Boulez, the former principal conductor the New York Philharmonic and one of the leading figures in modern classical music, died, on Jan. 5, 2016 at age 90.