FAREWELL Music World Passings of 2012


We pay our final respects to Etta James, Ravi Shankar, Michael Davis, Adam “MCA” Yauch and many, many more that we lost in 2012. Coming soon: saying goodbye to 2013.


 I’ve written so many obituaries – brief, in-depth, even copy/paste – over the past 12 months that I’m exhausted purely in retrospect. But as an editor and journalist, it’s part of what I signed up for; to mark time’s passage, and to pay respects accordingly. This annual ritual – cataloguing those we lost in the year that’s just completed – might be considered depressing by some, a morbid exercise that doesn’t serve any concrete purpose other than providing busywork for the compiler.

 That may be true, but having performed this ritual for years now, I’ve learned to take a quiet comfort in pulling together notes and combing the internet to learn names, dates, causes of death – and the artistic achievements that prompt us to memorialize the people in the first place. So as you scan down the list of those who did leave us this year, pause when you reach an artist who was particularly special to you, and meditate momentarily on why he or she was special. The list isn’t comprehensive, but it does dovetail into virtually every musical genre and discipline (it additionally includes a handful of non-musicians), and it touches equally upon the obscure and the well-known. Links are included for those artists we wrote about at BLURT this year and you can follow those links if you want to read more.

 And after you pay your last respects, pledge to seek out those artists who are still with us and who are important to you, and let them know in some way how much you appreciate them.

 Meanwhile, as they have done the past five years, this week The New York Times posted online a wonderful audio/video tribute to some of the artists who passed away in 2012. It’s titled, appropriately enough, “The Music They Made.” Likewise at NPR: once again they’ve posted a wonderful audio-enhanced gallery of images that’s well worth checking out as well.

Read also:

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2011

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2010

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2009

*BLURT’s farewell to music passings of 2008



(December 16, not announced until early January) Jen Miro of The Nuns

(December 29, not announced until early January) Michael Houpt of the Hot Knives

Fred Milano (Dion & the Belmonts) 1-1-12

Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt (Iron Butterfly, Captain Beyond) 1-2-12

Bob Weston (Fleetwood Mac) 1-3-12

Charlie Collins (Smoky Mountain Boys) 1-12-12

Jimmy Castor 1-16-12

Johnny Otis 1-17-12

Etta James 1-20-12

Clare Fischer 1-26-12


David Peaston 2-1-12

Don “Soul Train” Cornelius 2-1-12

Mike Kelley (Destroy All Monsters) 2-1-12

Joe Stanley “Snuffy” Smith 2-3-12

Jimmy Sabater (Latin soul/boogaloo pioneer) 2-8-12

Whitney Houston 2-11-12

Dory Previn 2-14-12

Michael Davis (MC5) 2-17-12

Joe Thompson (Carolina Chocolate Drops mentor) 2-20-12

Christopher Reimer (Women) 2-21-12

Billy Strange 2-22-12

James “Red” Holloway 2-25-12

Louisiana Red 2-25-12

Davy Jones 2-29-12


Ronnie Montrose 3-5-12

Robert B. Sherman 3-5-12

Jimmy Ellis (Trammps) 3-8-12

Michael Hossack (Doobie Brothers) 3-12-12

Earl Scruggs 3-28-12


Jim Marshall 4-5-12

Barney McKenna (Dubliners) 4-5-12

Richie Teeter (Dictators) 4-10-12

Dick Clark 4-18-12

Greg Ham (Men At Work) 4-19-12

Levon Helm 4-19-12

Burt Weedon 4-20-12

Chris Ethridge (Flying Burrito Brothers) 4-23-12

Matt Brown (Rosewood Bluff, Two-Dollar Pistols) 4-25-12

Todd Simko (Pure) 4-25-12

Kenny Roberts 4-29-12


Charles “Skip” Pitts (Memphis soul/funk guitarist) 5-1-12

Lloyd Brevett (Skatalites) 5-3-12

Adam “MCA” Yauch 5-4-12

George “Goober” Lindsey 5-6-12

Maurice Sendak 5-8-12

Duck Dunn (MGs) 5-13-12

Chuck Brown (the Father of Go-Go) 5-16-12

Doug Dillard 5-16-12

Donna Summer 5-17-12

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau 5-18-12

Peter Jones (Crowded House) 5-18-12

Robin Gibb 5-20-12

Doc Watson 5-29-12

Pete Cosey (Miles Davis, Muddy Waters) 5-30-12


Andy Hamilton 6-3-12

Herb Reed (Platters) 6-4-12

Ray Bradbury 6-6-12

Bob Welch (Fleetwood Mac) 6-7-12

Mehdi Hassan 6-13-12

Tim Mooney (Toiling Midgets, American Music Club, Sun Kil Moon) 6-13-12

Chris Neal (Nashville music journalist) 6-17-12

Richard Adler 6-21-12

Susanna Clark 6-28-12


Andy Griffith 7-3-12

Dennis Flemion (Frogs) 7-8-12

Lol Coxhill 7-10-12

Bob Babbitt (Funk Brothers) 7-16-12

Jon Lord (Deep Purple) 7-16-12

Kitty Wells 7-16-12

Sherman Hemsley 7-24-12

Larry Hoppen (Orleans) 7-24-12

Tony Martin 7-27-12

Bill Doss (Olivia Tremor Control) 7-30-12

Tony Sly (No Use For A Name) 7-31-12


Jason Noble (Rodan, Rachel’s, Shipping News) 8-4-12

Chavela Vargas 8-5-12

Marvin Hamlisch 8-6-12

Von Freeman 8-11-12

Brent Grulke (SXSW creative director) 8-13-12

Scott McKenzie 8-18-12

Neil Armstrong 8-21-12


Hal David 9-1-12

Joe South 9-5-12

Dorothy McGuire (McGuire Sisters) 9-7-12

Frank Wilson (Motown songwriter/singer) 9-21-12

Andy Williams 9-25-12

R.B. Greaves 9-27-12


Big Jim Sullivan 10-2-12

Nick Curran (Fabulous Thunderbirds) 10-6-12

B.B. Cunningham Jr. (Jerry Lee Lewis, Hombres) 10-14-12

David S. Ware 10-18-12

George McGovern 10-21-12

Russell Means 10-22-12

Natina Reed (Blaque) 10-26-12

Terry Callier 10-27-12

Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence) 10-31-12


Elliott Carter 11-5-12

Pete Namlook (electronic/ambient pioneer) 11-8-12

Major Harris (Delfonics) 11-9-12

John Napier (Ethyl Meatplow, Buccinator) 11-11-12

Frank Barsalona (concert promoter) 11-22-12

Michael Dunford (Renaissance) 11-22-12

Chris Stamp (Who manager) 11-24-12


Jonathan Harvey 12-4-12

Dave Brubeck 12-5-12

Jenni Rivera 12-9-12

Ravi Shankar 12-11-12

Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly) 12-21-12

Mike Scaccia (Ministry, Rigor Mortis) 12-22-12

Marva Whitney 12-22-12

Ray Collins (Mothers of Invention) 12-24-12

Sir Richard Rodney Bennett 12-24-12

Capital Steez (Pro Era) 12-24-12

Fontella Bass 12-26-12

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