Below are brief tributes to some recent losses from across the world of music
Mark E. Smith
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. 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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Born: 12 April, 1950
Died: 21 November, 2017
Born into a show-biz family, he became an actor before finding fame in the TV series The Partridge Family, playing alongside his real-life step-mother Shirley Jones. He became lead singer on the show, and quickly created a solo career. A mega star and teen idol in the mid 70s, he then had a successful career as a singer and actor, although he had been latterly plagued by alcohol problems, and then dementia, which caused his retirement in early 2017.
Born: 6 January, 1953
Died: 18 November, 2017
Glasgow-born co-founder of AC/DC, rhythm guitarist and chief songwriter with younger brother Angus. Not the frontman, but definitely the leader of the band, he was with it from the beginning till his retirement in 2014, after a diagnosis of dementia, apart from a brief hiatus in 1988 to deal with a drinking problem, which he did successfully. Even after his retirement, he was still a presence in the band, as Angus has acknowledged.
Born: 13 June, 1946
Died: 7 November, 2017
A classically trained cellist, he worked as an orchestrator and arranger, most successfully for David Bowie ("Space Oddity") and Elton John ("Your Song"). His trademark was being able to add strings to rock music without making the music overly-sentimental. He also worked with the Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, Carly Simon, and Miles Davis. Later he settled in the US where he worked with, among others, Guns N' Roses and Taylor Swift.