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Below are brief tributes to some recent losses from across the world of music

Ken Hensley2.jpg
Jóhann Jóhannsson

Born: 19 September, 1969

Died: 9 February, 2018

He started in indie bands in Reykjavík, initially Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, early shoegaze practitioners who had some international exposure. Since 2002 he had been a composer, combining classical with electronic and ambient music, and working in theatre, dance and film. Most famous recently for his score for The Theory Of Everything, his most significant work may still be his collaboration on The Miners’ Hymns, a celebration of the coal industry in Co. Durham.

John Perry Barlow

Born: 3 October, 1947

Died: 6 February, 2018

He makes this list as a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, mainly in collaboration with Bob Weir, whom he met at school in Colorado when they were both 15. He is however more widely known as an internet activist, a cyberlibertarian and a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was also a writer and a poet, and ran his father’s cattle ranch in Wyoming (where he was born) for a number of years. A true Renaissance man.

Dennis Edwards Jr.

Born: 3 February, 1943

Died: 1 February, 2018

He had gospel roots, and was best known as the lead singer of The Temptations, who he joined in 1968, replacing David Ruffin. He had three spells with them, before leaving finally in 1989, and finished his career in a Temptations splinter group (which itself made it to the Rhythm & Blues Hall Of Fame). He also had solo success in 1984 with Don’t Look Any Further. He was briefly married to Ruth Pointer; their daughter Issa also performed with the Pointer Sisters.

Mark E. Smith
Mark E. Smith

Born: 5 March, 1957

Died: 24 January, 2018

Born: 5 March, 1957

Died: 24 January, 2018

He was The Fall, for over 40 years. He was a singer, a songwriter, an author, an actor, a poet, a playwright, a composer. He was a socialist, with anarchist tendencies. He was a Manc. He was very angry. He was an alcoholic. He was uncompromising, he could be unpleasant. He made music that not many of us got. Those that did, really did. Like John Peel. Like my son. He was well-read (The Fall? Camus!) with a wide range of musical influences. A true one-off.

Hugh Masakela

Born: 4 April, 1939

Died: 23 January, 2018

He started playing trumpet in his teens, and ending up in the Jazz Epistles, learned early on to convey the anguish of apartheid-era South Africa in his playing. After the 1961 Sharpeville massacre he left SA, not returning till the early 90s. Besides his anti-apartheid songs, he also had a US Number 1 with Grazing In The Grass, and guested on many rock albums. He encouraged an authentic African jazz - earning the soubriquet "the Father of South African Jazz".

Jim Rodford

Born: 7 July, 1941

Died: 18 January, 2018

A founder-member of Argent (with his cousin Rod Argent), a key player in the emergence of The Zombies, and the bassist in The Kinks from 1978 to their disbandment in 1996 - and then he finally joined The Zombies. That's some pedigree, especially as Jim never moved from his St Albans birthplace. Revered by all who met him, he was a strong family man (not many rock musicians celebrate their golden wedding anniversary) and totally grounded.

Edwin Hawkins

Born: 19 August, 1942

Died: 15 January, 2018

He started playing keyboards in the family gospel group at the age of seven. The Edwin Hawkins Singers (left) had an international hit in 1969 with his arrangement of an 18th century hymn, Oh Happy Day. It is now a gospel standard. The following year they backed folk singer Melanie (Safka) on Lay Down (Candles in the Rain) - still have it on vinyl. That was it for chart success, save for a solo foray in 1990 that made the lower reaches of the R&B charts.

Dolores O'Riordan

Born: 6 September, 1971

Died: 15 January, 2018

Shy and nervous on stage, a complex person whose early songs revealed an exceptional emotional range (from vulnerability to optimism to incandescent rage), a victim of sexual abuse as a child, and later diagnosed bipolar, "troubled" is how many have described her. But this massively understates the achievements of her and the Cranberries, and ignores the good times at the top of the music world, selling 40 million albums. Gone way too soon.

"Fast" Eddie Clarke

Born: 5 October, 1950

Died: 10 January, 2018

A member of Motörhead's classic line-up from 1976 to 1982, he played fierce riffs with blistering speed (the nickname was bang-on), a key part of the band's thrash-metal sound. Off-stage partying made the band unstable, and Eddie left in 1982, his bluff having been called by the other two. Thereafter he formed Fastway, underwent rehab, and largely retired, although he never stopped making music.

Ray Thomas

Born: 29 December, 1941

Died: 4 January, 2018

A founder member of the Moody Blues, and a key player in the band's migration from Brummie R'nB to orchestral rock pioneers, he was a multi-instrumentalist but mainly a flautist. Later than the others to songwriting, but no less accomplished - Legend Of A Mind is my personal favourite. He retired from the band in 2002 through ill-health, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. He tried to raise awareness of the disease that eventually claimed him.

Johnny Hallyday

Born: 15 June, 1943

Died: 5 December, 2017

We never got him, and he didn't care. The "French Elvis" sold more than 110 million records, but never made it outside la Francophonie. He was a consummate live performer, and played to sell-out crowds till the end. He spent seven years as a child in London, and half of every year latterly in LA, but he worked out early on that France was his market; they somehow saw him as their defence against the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon popular culture that he imitated.

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