In Memoriam: Artists We Lost in 2022

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Country music and rock pioneers, transcendent musicians, and storyteller songwriters—dozens of artists who helped shape the directions of music and add to its evolving spectrum died in 2022.

In remembrance of these artists, here’s a tribute to some of the singers, songwriters, and musicians we lost in 2022 with a few words on each.

Ronnie Spector
August 10, 1943 – January 12, 2022

Ronnie Spector (Photo: Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Singer and frontwoman for The Ronettes, Ronnie Spector (born Veronica Yvette Bennett), created the girl group in 1957 with her older sister Estelle Bennett, and their cousin, Nedra Talley. The group had a string of hits in the ‘60s, including “Be My Baby,” “Baby, I Love You,” “The Best Part of Breakin’ Up” and “Walking in the Rain.” Spector later began a solo career in 1964, releasing five studio albums.

Read the obituary HERE.

Behind the Song Lyrics: “Be My Baby” by Ronnie Spector and The Ronettes

Meat Loaf
September 27, 1947 – January 20, 2022

Meat Loaf ((Photo: Jo Hale/Redferns

Meat Loaf, the singer and actor whose 1977 debut, Bat out of Hell, remains one of the Top 10 best-selling albums of all time, had a career spanning nearly 60 years and released 12 albums, from Bat Out of Hell, which produced several hits written by the late Jim Steinman, including the title track, ”Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” and “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” and the first single “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night).” 

Read the obituary HERE.

Top 10 Essential Song by Meat Loaf

Betty Davis
July 26, 1944 – February 9, 2022

Betty Davis (Photo: courtesy of Robert Brenner)

Brazen and gritty, funk and soul singer Betty Davis released a majority of her catalog of music between 1964 and 1975, including her hits “Get Ready for Betty,” “It’s My Life,” “If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up,” and “Shut Off the Lights.” She also wrote the Chambers Brothers’ song, “Uptown (to Harlem).”

Read the obituary HERE.

Mark Lanegan
November 25, 1964 – February 22, 2022

Mark Lanegan (Photo: Jordi Vidal/WireImage)

Lanegan first rose to fame as the frontman for the Screaming Trees in the ’80s and ’90s. A contemporary and collaborator with Kurt Cobain and other legendary Pacific Northwestern rockers, the artist will be missed by many.

Read the obituary HERE.

Taylor Hawkins 
February 17, 1972 – March 25, 2022

Taylor Hawkins (Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images)

The drummer of the Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in California. Prior to joining the Foo Fighters in 1997, he was the touring drummer for Sass Jordan and Alanis Morissette, as well as the drummer in the band Sylvia.

Read the obituary HERE.

7 Great Taylor Hawkins Performances

Mickey Gilley 
March 9, 1936 – May 7, 2022

Mickey Gilley (Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Singer of hits such as Room Full of Roses,” “Don’t the Girls All Get Prettier at Closing Time,” and the remake of “Stand by Me,” which was featured in the movie Urban Cowboy, country singer Mickey Gilley was cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis (on his mother’s side). He began his career in the ’50s when he released a few songs and later played clubs and bars and released his hit “Now I Can Live Again.”

Read the obituary HERE.

Bob Neuwirth 
June 20, 1939 – May 18, 2022

Bob Neuwirth (Photo: John Byrne Cooke Estate/Getty Images)

Songwriter and performer Bob Neuwirth was an influence on Bob Dylan and co-wrote the Janis Joplin hit single “Mercedes Benz.”

Read the obituary HERE.

Alan White 
June 14, 1949 – May 26, 2022

Alan White (Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Alan White made his live debut in support of Yes’ 1972 album, Close to the Edge, and his recording debut on Tales from Topographic Oceans. Across his tenure with the group, he played on more than 40 studio and live albums, including their most recent offering, The Quest, shared in 2021.

Read the obituary HERE.

Andy Fletcher
July 8, 1961 – May 26, 2022

Andy Fletcher (Photo: Sergione Infuso/Corbis via Getty Images)

Andy Fletcher first formed the band No Romance In China in the late ’70s with former Depeche Mode band member Vince Clarke, before transitioning to Composition Of Sound along with guitarist Martin Gore. The trio then recruited singer Dave Gahan and changed their name to Depeche Mode.

Read the obituary HERE.

Behind the Band Name: Depeche Mode

Deborah McCrary
June 17, 1954 – June 1, 2022

Deborah McCrary (Photo: Courtesy of Marushka Media)

Deborah McCrary of the Nashville gospel group The McCrary Sisters performed with Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, and Ray Stevens. As a teenager, she sang in the BCM Mass Choir, a multi Grammy-nominated gospel choir. 

Read the obituary HERE.

John Such 
November 14, 1951 – June 5, 2022

Bon Jovi perform at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 19, 1993.
John Such (Photo: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Founding member and original bass player of Bon Jovi, John Such worked as the manager of the Hunka Bunka Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey where he booked the early iteration of Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi & The Wild Ones, before joining the band.

Read the obituary HERE.

Top 10 Bon Jovi Songs You Should Revisit

Darryl Hunt 
May 4, 1950 – August 8, 2022

Darryl Hunt (Photo: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns)

Longtime bassist, and songwriter of The Pogues, Darryl Hunt wrote the band’s “Love You Till the End,” off their seventh and final album, Pogue Malone. The song, one of several Hunt wrote for the band, appeared in the 1999 Jay Roach-directed comedy-drama, Mystery, Alaska, and the 2007 romantic comedy, P.S. I Love You.

Read the obituary HERE.

The Story and Meaning Behind The Pogues’ Drunken Holiday Classic “Fairytale Of New York”

Olivia Newton-John
September 26, 1948 – August 8, 2022

Olivia Newton-John (Photo: Wood/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Well-known for her songs “Physical,” “I Honestly Love You,” and “Let Me Be There” among many others, Olivia Newton-John will never be forgotten for her role as Sandy Olsson in the 1978 film Grease alongside John Travolta. In the film, Newton-John sang the timeless songs “You’re The One That I Want,” “Summer Nights,” and “Hopelessly Devoted To You.” 

Read the obituary HERE.

13 Songs You Didn’t Know Were Written by Olivia Newton-John

The Surprising Story of “Hopelessly Devoted to You”

Lamont Dozier
June 16, 1941 – August 8, 2022

Lamont Dozier (Photo: Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage)

One of the primary songwriters behind a number of Motown hits, Lamont Dozier wrote for iconic artists in the Detroit scene, including the Supremes, the Four Tops, and the Isley Brothers. Before he began his lauded career as a songwriter though, he got his start singing in various local doo-wop groups like the Romeos and the Voicemasters.

Read the obituary HERE.

Morgan Andrew Taylor 
September 5, 1969 – August 11, 2022

Morgan Taylor (Photo: Courtesy Mayers Consulting)

Creator of the award-winning children’s multimedia project Gustafer Yellowgold, Morgan Taylor’s songs, and artwork captivated multiple generations, earning him two Grammy nominations and widespread critical acclaim.

Read the obituary HERE.

Loretta Lynn
April 14, 1932 – October 4, 2022

Loretta Lynn (Photo: David McClister / Legacy Recordings)

The leading lady of country, Loretta Lynn was known for her classic country tunes and for paving the path for women in the genre.

Read the obituary HERE.

10 Memorable Songs by Lortta Lynn

5 Songs You Didn’t Know Loretta Lynn Wrote for Other Artists

Jerry Lee Lewis 
September 29, 1935 – October 28, 2022

Jerry Lee Lewis (Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Rock and roll and rockabilly pioneer and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Lee Lewis Lewis was pounding the piano without abandon and introduced some of the first songs of rock and roll with fiery performances of hits “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On,” “Great Balls of Fire,” and “Breathless.” 

Read the obituary HERE.

Behind the Meaning of Jerry Lee Lewis’ Rock Classic “Great Balls of Fire”

Takeoff
June 18, 1994 – November 1, 2022

Takeoff (Photo: Erika Goldring/Getty Images

One-third of the Georgia-formed rap group Migos alongside rappers Quavo and Offset, Takeoff was born Kirshnik Khari Ball in Lawrenceville, Georgia in 1994. He began rapping with his uncle, Quavo, and his cousin, Offset, in 2008 under the name Polo Club. In 2011, the trio released their debut mixtape as Migos.

Read the obituary HERE.

Aaron Carter
Dec. 7, 1987 – Nov. 5, 2022

Aaron Carter (Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

Aaron Carter, singer, and brother of Backstreet Boys’ Nick Carter, released his debut album, Aaron Carter, in 1997 when he was just 9 years old. The same year, he shot to fame opening for the Backstreet Boys.

Read the obituary HERE.

Mimi Parker
1967 – November 5, 2022

Mimi Parker was the drummer and vocalist for Low, which formed in Duluth in 1993 and also featured Alan Sparhawk on guitar and vocals. The band continued into 2020 and became more experimental over time, bringing in electronic elements and retaining a minimalist style.

Read Robert Plant’s tribute to the late Low singer HERE.

Jeff Cook 
August 27, 1949 – November 7, 2022 

Jeff Cook (Photo: Kristen Van Zant)

Founding member of Alabama in 1969 alongside his cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, Cook was the group’s guitarist until 2018. Cook played guitar and keyboards in bands as early as age 13 in his native Fort Payne, Alabama, and was a disc jockey during his teen years. In addition to playing electric guitar, Cook was an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, mastering the piano, fiddle, banjo, and more.

Read the obituary HERE.

10 Alabama Essentials

Irene Cara
March 18, 1959 – November 25, 2022

Irene Cara (Photo: Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

Co-writer and singer of the iconic song “Flashdance…What a Feeling” from the 1983 hit romantic dance drama, Flashdance, Irene Cara landed her breakout role as dancer Coco Hernandez in the 1980 musical Fame. Cara performed the title song for the film along with the Lesley Gore-penned “Out Here on My Own.”

Read the obituary HERE.

Mariah Carey, Diane Warren, Lenny Kravitz, and More Pay Tribute to Irene Cara

Christine McVie
July 12, 1943 – November 30, 2022

Christine McVie (Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS)

Christine McVie joined Fleetwood Mac in 1970 alongside her husband at the time, John McVie. She penned some of the group’s most enduring hits like “Songbird,” “Little Lies,” “Over My Head” and “Say You Love Me.”

Read the obituary HERE.

5 of the Best Songs Written by Christine McVie

5 Bewitching Live Performances in Honor of Christine McVie

Angelo Badalamenti  
March 22, 1937 – December 11, 2022

Angelo Badalamenti (Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Best known for his work as a film scorer alongside director David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti composed music for films like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, and television shows such as Twin Peaks.

Read the obituary here.

Shirley Rose Eikhard 
November 7, 1955 – December 15, 2022

Shirley Eikhard (Photo: Meg Innell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Shirley Eikhard, the writer of Bonnie Raitt’s Grammy-winning hit “Something to Talk About,” released her self-titled debut album in 1972, and won two consecutive Juno Awards for Best Country Female Artist in ’73 and ’74.

Read the obituary HERE.

Terry Hall
March 19, 1959 – December 18, 2022

Terry Hall (Photo: Dimitri Hakke/Getty Images)

Singer and songwriter Terry Hall helped pioneer the 2 tone sound of reggae and ska in the spirit of punk with The Specials. The band released their first single, “Gangsters,” in 1979 and continued hitting the top 10 charts with a series of singles into the 1980s, including their cover of Dandy Livingstone’s 1967 rocksteady song “A Message to You, Rudy,” “Rat Race,” and their two No. 1 hits “Ghost Town” and “Too Much Too Young.”

Read the obituary HERE.

_____

Main Photo of Loretta Lynn: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns/Getty

Leave a Reply

Behind The Band Band Name: Eagles

American Songwriter’s Top 24 Albums of 2022