Talent lost in music in 2011
As we get ready for a new year, many blogs and magazines do pieces that look back over the past year. As rock and roll, blues and jazz music all age, as do the rest of us, it seems we lose more music pioneers every year. I have written posts about some of the great talent that we have lost but sometimes I let the moment pass in fear of writing a non-stop obituary. I thought I would take just a moment to highlight some of the great musicians and singers that were lost and did not get their mention.
Gerry Rafferty was the vocalist and guitar player for the band Stealers Wheel, who had the million selling single “Stuck in the Middle With You.” Later, Rafferty also had solo success with his hit single “Baker Street.” “Stuck in the Middle With You” was used in the 1992 Quentin Tarantino movie Reservoir Dogs which exposed a whole new generation to Rafferty’s music. Rafferty passed January 4, 2011.
Phoebe Snow was born Phoebe Ann Laub in 1950. She gained national attention after playing in Greenwich Village on amateur nights and being signed to a record deal by Shelter Records. She recorded her first album and it was released in 1974, selling over a million copies. She had a vocal range over four octaves and recorded some memorable duets with Paul Simon. Snow died April 26, 2011.
Sylvia Robinson was an incredibly talented music pioneer and had top 10 hits of her own, she helped usher in the disco era and she is considered the mother of hip-hop. Her career started with Columbia Records in 1950 under the name “Little Sylvia.” By the 1970’s she sold 2 million records under the name of Sylvia and she started Sugar Hill Records. At Sugar Hill she co-wrote and produced Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five‘s most successful single, “The Message.” She was also instrumental in bringing “Rappers Delight” to the airwaves. Sylvia passed away on September 29, 2011.
These are just a few of the incredible talents lost in 2011 that we missed. For a more complete list, I recommend this interactive article on NPR.org.