In Memoriam 2016: The Musicians We Lost NPR Music remembers musicians — singers, songwriters, instrumentalists — and other visionaries we lost in 2016. Explore and celebrate their musical legacies.
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In Memoriam 2016

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In Memoriam 2016

In Memoriam 2016

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And we're going to spend some time now remembering some of the musicians we lost this past year. And there were sadly a lot of them, so many we couldn't fit them all into the montage you're about to hear. You will recognize some, including this purple icon of pop.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LET'S GO CRAZY")

PRINCE: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life - it means forever, and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you there's something else, the afterworld.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOEDOWN")

EMERSON AND LAKE AND PALMER: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ONLY ONE OF YOU")

THE URBAN VERBS: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "D.C.B.A.-25")

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE: (Singing) It's time you walked away set me free.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FILL YOUR HEART")

DAVID BOWIE: (Singing) If the writing was on the wall. Free, yeah - and you can know it all if you choose. Just remember, lovers never lose.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A SONG FOR YOU")

LEON RUSSELL: (Singing) But we're alone now, and I'm singing this song to you.

(SOUNDBITE OF PAUL BLEY'S "MONDSEE VARIATIONS I")

PAUL BLEY: (Playing piano).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SOME OTHER TIME")

ERNESTINE ANDERSON AND GEORGE SHEARING: (Singing) Where has the time all gone to? Haven't done half the things we want to. Oh, well...

(SOUNDBITE OF ROB WASSERMAN'S "DUET")

ROB WASSERMAN: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUGGIN' OUT")

A TRIBE CALLED QUEST: (Rapping) Yo, microphone check - one, two - what is this? The 5-foot assassin with the roughneck business. I float like gravity, never had a cavity - got more rhymes than the Winans got family.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLASHLIGHT")

PARLIAMENT: (Instruments playing, vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHINING STAR")

EARTH, WIND AND FIRE: (Singing) When you wish upon a star, your dreams will take you very far, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KISS")

PRINCE: (Playing guitar, vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF TOOTS THIELEMANS' "SOUL STATION")

TOOTS THIELEMANS: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF TOOTS THIELEMANS' "BLUES ON TIME")

TOOTS THIELEMANS: (Instruments playing.)

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YOUR MIND IS ON VACATION")

MOSE ALLISON: (Singing) You're sitting there yakking right in my face. I guess I'm going to have to put you in your place. You know, if silence was golden, you couldn't raise a dime.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "100 DAYS, 100 NIGHTS")

SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS: (Singing) One hundred days, 100 nights to know a man's heart.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL (IS A MAN)")

JEAN SHEPARD: (Singing) So girls, take my advice. Think it over once or twice, for the root of all evil is a man.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW")

STANLEY BROTHERS: (Singing) I am a man of constant sorrow. I've seen trouble all my days.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SING ME BACK HOME")

MERLE HAGGARD: (Singing) Take me away and turn back the years. Sing me back home before I die.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DESPARADOS WAITING FOR A TRAIN")

GUY CLARK: (Singing) We were friends, me and this old man - was like desparados waiting for a train.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUZANNE")

LEONARD COHEN: (Singing) He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them. But he himself was broken long before the sky would open. Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMOR ETERNO (LIVE)")

JUAN GABRIEL: (Singing) Como quisiera, que tu vivieras...

(SOUNDBITE OF GATO BARBIERI'S "LAST TANGO IN PARIS")

GATO BARBIERI: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA'S, "CANTUS ARCTICUS")

ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF PIERRE BOULEZ'S "LE MARTEAU SANS MAITRE")

ENSEMBLE INTERCONTEMPORAIN AND HILARY SUMMERS: (Instruments playing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOUND DOG")

ELVIS PRESLEY: (Vocalizing).

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TAKE IT EASY")

THE EAGLES: (Singing) Well, I've been running down the road trying to loosen my load. Got a world of trouble on my mind.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE MORE TRY")

GEORGE MICHAEL: (Singing) Because there ain't no joy for an uptown boy who's teacher has told him goodbye.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LAZARUS")

BOWIE: (Singing) Look up here. I'm in heaven.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I WOULD DIE 4 U")

PRINCE: (Singing) No need to worry, no need to cry - I'm your messiah, and you're the reason why. 'Cause you - I would die for you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CHANGES")

BOWIE: (Singing) Still don't know what I was waiting for. And my time was running wild, a million dead-end streets. And every time I thought I'd got it made, it seemed the taste was not so sweet.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PURPLE RAIN")

PRINCE: (Singing) Let me guide to the purple rain. Purple rain, purple rain...

GREENE: All right, a montage of the work of just some of the musical artists we lost in the year 2016, ending right now with the work of producer George Martin. Now, for more on these and other musicians we lost in 2016, visit NPR Music. You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Our theme music was written by BJ Leiderman and arranged by Jim Pugh. I'm David Greene.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I'm Rachel Martin.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE BEATLES' "A DAY IN THE LIFE")

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