Tom Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017)

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.

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Chris Cornell: July 20, 1964 – May 17, 2017

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.

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Rick Parfitt (12th October 1948 – 24th December 2016)

Few musicians hope they will be in the spotlight for fifty years and even fewer expect to spend that long with the same band. For guitarist Rick Parfitt, of course, this was pretty much the case. The young Richard Parfitt joined the fledgling Status Quo (previously called The Spectres) in 1967. His friendship with Francis Rossi now more than cemented, they both became committed to the band, which from 1967 scored hits across the bulk of the next five decades.

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Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

There are so many things that could be said about Prince, it’s almost impossible to put anything into words. The man was a firecracker of creativity; one of the most prolific artists the world has ever seen. He was an enigma. He was a man whom, in live performance, never seemed to do the same thing twice. Love Prince, or hate him, he was unique. Here was one of the world’s last true untouchable megastars whom, even in the twilight of his career, never played it safe or by the rules. It made him infuriating; it made him bizarrely entertaining, but above all, it made him so different.

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DAVID BOWIE (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016)

davidbowieFew figures were as influential within popular music as David Bowie. He not only knew how to pen distinctive songs, oft delivered with an even more distinctive vocal style, but he understood more than most that, to survive, constant reinvention was utterly necessary.

Pretty much no-one would have guessed that from David Jones’s first musical steps with R&B and his bands The King Bees and Lower Third, he would soon reinvent himself as a flippant music-hall act on his much overlooked ‘David Bowie’ debut of 1967. There’s even less there to suggest that the glam rock starman Ziggy Stardust’ was lurking around the corner preparing himself for world domination.

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