In 2015 we said goodbye to some seriously great singers, musicians and music industry characters.
October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015
The Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman was found dead on his tour bus in Minnesota. Weiland had long struggled with addiction and alcoholism and passed away from cardiac arrest.
Ben E King
September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015
The soul singer best known for the classic song ‘Stand By Me’ died at the age of 76 of natural causes. King released his final album, ‘Love Is Gonna Get You’, in 2007. In later life he established the non-profit organisation The Ben E King Stand By Me Foundation.
21 September, 1954 – 11 November, 2015
Better known as “Philthy Animal” Taylor, the former Motörhead drummer died at the age of 61. A member of the band from 1975 to 1984, he later rejoined for the five years between 1987 and 1992. His last appearance alongside frontman Lemmy came in 2014 when he joined the band for a gig in Birmingham.
27 May, 1943 – 1 August, 2015
Pop singer and telly presenter Black died of a stroke after falling in her Spanish home. Liverpool-born Black made her name as a singer in the 1960s after being championed by The Beatles. She went on to achieve 11 Top 10 hits. Black released ‘Anyone Who Had A Heart’ in 1964, the biggest-selling single by a female in the 1960s.
November 25, 1940 – April 14, 2015
Soul singer Percy Sledge died at his home in Louisiana at the age of 73. Sledge was best known for his 1966 song, ‘When A Man Loves a Woman’, recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama. In 2005 Sledge was inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
16 January, 1944 – 20 July, 2015
Krautrock musician Dieter Moebius was widely seen as a pioneer in electronic music circles. Moebius was a member of the groups Cluster and Harmonia and collaborated with Brian Eno on numerous occasions. His last release was solo album ‘Nidemonex’ in 2014.
August 14, 1953 – June 22, 2015
Oscar-winning ‘Titanic’ composer James Horner also wrote the scores for ‘Avatar’, ‘Aliens’, ‘Braveheart’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’. He died at the age of 61 after the small private plane he was piloting crashed in southern California.
26 August, 1990 – 23 March, 2015
Chris Hardman aka Lil’ Chris first became famous when he appeared in Channel 4’s Rock School in which Gene Simmons of Kiss took over a school in east Anglia and taught the students music. Hardman then signed to RCA Records and released debut single ‘Checkin’ It Out’ in September 2006. He took his own life after suffering from depression.
28 May, 1959 – 12 February, 2015
Steve Strange, the lead singer of 1980s new romantic pop outfit Visage passed away in hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Strange was born Steven John Harrington in Monmouthshire, Wales in 1959. He was best known for his band’s 1980 hit single ‘Fade To Grey’.
September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015
The Mississippi-born musician had been recording since the 1940s and was best known for his hits ‘Lucille’ and ‘Rock Me Baby’. Tributes to the star were paid by Ringo Starr, Wu Tang Clan, Chuck D, Kiss’ Gene Simmons, Diplo, Cat Power, Slash and Lenny Kravitz as well as Barack Obama. King died in his sleep in Las Vegas.
12 November, 1943 – 6 May, 2015
Hot Chocolate singer Brown had hits including ‘You Sexy Thing’, ‘It Started With A Kiss’ and ‘I Believe in Miracles’. Made an MBE by the Queen in 2003 he received the Ivor Novello award for his outstanding contribution to British music in 2004.
March 17, 1972 – August 8, 2015
Sean Price, rapper and one-half of the group Heltah Skeltah, died in his sleep at the age of 43. Alongside his partner Rock, Price began his career in Heltah Skeltah under the moniker ‘Ruck’. Price also enjoyed a solo career under his birth name.
March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015
Coleman was regularly cited as one of jazz music’s most influential figures and his 1959 album ‘The Shape Of Jazz To Come’ helped birth the genre’s more experimental side. In 1960 he released ‘Free Jazz’, which gave the new style a name. He suffered a cardiac arrest and died in his hometown of Manhattan at the age of 85.
May 15, 2015
Late Of The Pier drummer Ross Dawson was involved in an accident in May. His family wrote: “Ross was a monumental force in the lives of everybody who knew him… The world has become a sadder place without him.” Dance-punk outfit Late Of The Pier released their debut album ‘Fantasy Black Channel’ in 2008, splitting in 2010.
January 14, 1938 – November 10, 2015
New Orleans R&B musician Allen Toussaint passed away at the age of 77 while on tour in Madrid, Spain. Toussaint collaborated with the likes of Paul McCartney and Joe Cocker during his career. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
28 September, 1951 – 8 October, 2015
Scottish singer-songwriter Jim Diamond was best known for his 1980s hits ‘I Won’t Let You Down’ (with band Ph.D), ‘I Should Have Known Better’ and ‘Hi Ho Silver’. He passed away at his London home aged 64.
3 February, 1927 – 1 July, 2015
Doonican was a Saturday night television regular – his ‘Val Doonican Show’ ran on the BBC from 1965 to 1986. Doonican scored four UK Top Five singles from 1964 to 1967, also notching up five successive Top Ten records in the UK Albums Chart in the sixties. The Irish singer retired in 2009.
15 June, 1946 – 25 January, 2015
Demis Roussos was best known for his solo 1970s and ’80s hits, including ‘Forever And Ever’ – which topped the charts in several countries when it was released. He sold more than 60 million albums worldwide and was also a member of prog band Aphrodite’s Child. He died at the Hygeia Hospital in Athens, at the age of 80.
13 January, 1938 – 13 March, 2015
Born Christopher David Allen in Melbourne, the psychedelic musician moved to the UK in early 1960s and formed Soft Machine and then Gong. Gong played the second ever Glastonbury Festival in 1971. Despite going through numerous line-up changes over the years, their most recent album, ‘I See You’, came out in 2014.
July 21, 1939 – January 15, 2015
Kim Fowley, the manager and producer of the Runaways, died aged 75 after a long battle with bladder cancer. Fowley rose to prominence in the 1960s after working with several big name acts including Gene Vincent, KISS, Alice Cooper and Leon Russell. As recently as 2014 he collaborated with Ariel Pink on Pink’s ‘Pom Pom’ album.
17 October, 1934 – 4 September, 2015
Ska and reggae musician Rico Rodriguez passed away at the age of 80 at home in London. The trombonist joined The Specials in 1979. Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba but moved to Jamaica as a child, was also a solo artist, releasing his 1977 album ‘Man From Wareika’. Rodriguez was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2007.
8 August, 1944 – 26 March, 2015
After working as a solo artist and recording the album ‘Bert and John’ with Bert Jansch in 1966, folk musician Renbourn co-founded influential group Pentangle in 1967. The original line-up of the band released six albums, before splitting 1973. He continued his solo career and also made music with The John Renbourn Group.