When people talk about British punk, first, they’ll invariably mention Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash. The breakthrough of a whole new wave of alternative music was never limited to the London suburbs, of course, and Manchester’s Buzzcocks were at the forefront of a whole musical revolution.
On 2nd October 2017, Tom Petty died following a heart attack. His unexpected passing marked one of the blackest days of the year, since Tom always felt like someone who would always be there and always be part of life’s fabric. The fact that he left behind a marvellous body of work – most of which never seems to age – means that in some way, he’ll always be a part of millions of lives, but the idea that we’ll never hear a new Tom Petty album is very hard to comprehend, especially so soon after critically acclaimed works like ‘Hypnotic Eye’ and ‘Nobody’s Child.
Those last records featured tracks that were potentially as solid as anything Petty had ever recorded, lending weight to the fact that he was one of the finest and arguably most consistent songwriters of his generation.
Hüsker Dü were the ultimate power trio. From hardcore punk beginnings, the band pioneered alternative rock sounds which eventually blended distinctly US punk noise with a more thoughtful singer-songwriter approach, which in turn paved the way for guitarist/vocalist Bob Mould’s solo career. Contrasting Mould’s abrasive approach, drummer/vocalist Grant Hart later wrote songs with a more palatable quality. Hart – a truly underappreciated songwriter – captured raw and emo-ish beauty on tunes like ‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’ and ‘Every Everything’; tunes that were pivotal to the Hüskers’ balance between sheer force and a cerebral approach to punk.
On September 3rd 2017, it was announced that the legendary Walter Becker had passed away.
The multi-instrumentalist and record producer will always be best known as an integral part of westcoast rock/jazz-rock trailblazers Steely Dan. Taking in various elements of rock pop and jazz, brought to life in the studio and in the live setting by a crack team of session players – including Michael McDonald, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Toto’s Steve Lukather and countless others – few had equalled the perfectionist sound of Steely Dan.
Following a gig with Soundgarden in Detroit on 16th May 2017, vocalist Chris Cornell passed away. The cause of his death in the hours that followed remained a mystery. At only 52 years of age, Chris potentially had a lot more to give, both in his songwriting and powerful sense of performance, both on record and in the live setting.