If you’re expecting 2017 to be less awful than 2016 when it comes to losing musicians to the Grim Reaper, give your head a shake. Classic rockers and long-time pop stars aren’t getting any younger and as with the rest of the Baby Boomers who burst on the scene with a boom in births will leave this mortal coil in a boom of deaths. Consult any actuarial table. It’s just…life.
My theory about what made 2016 so especially bad was that we were hit with three COMPLETELY unexpected superstar deaths. Sure Bowie was 69, but we were pretty sure he was immortal; he’d never die. Prince? Who saw that coming? A clean-living vegan Jehovah’s Witness felled by an opiate addiction? And no one had George Michael in the dead pool. It didn’t help that Bowie and Prince died within four months of each other, creating a massive double-whammy. Add in all the others (Glenn Frey, two-thirds of Emerson, Lake and Palmer–one by suicide–Frank Sinatra Jr., Leon Russell, etc. etc, etc, most of whom died in clusters during the first half of 2016) and the effect on our psyche has been bad. It was one rough year.
On the positive side, we can only lose people like Bowie and Prince once, which is the point of this song by Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan. It’s called “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again).”