2016. The year a lot of the music died.

Happy New Year’s Eve fellow music lovers! For starters, thank you for following and listening. We humbly appreciate you following our posts and mostly my musings. It really means a lot and I love hearing from some of you followers and music artists. It was a pleasure to host some of our followers at the inaugural show for our Back To More Cowbell concert series this past November. We are grateful to the amazing talents of Pretty Gritty, for performing and making it a huge success. We hope we will continue to host and feature more artists along the way in 2017.

It sure has been an interesting 2016. I personally took some time off recently to reflect upon the year and everything that has happened. It has indeed been quite the year. So many greats across the board have passed away and left us. Many of those greats fell into the music realm. In a year, where in the United States, President- Elect Donald Trump proved ANYTHING is possible, please bear with me, as I pay tribute to those that left a big gaping hole in our passionate music loving hearts. It seems but only fitting, that I end the year with a feature solely focused on them, and the songs that were my personal favorites.

David Bowie– Let’s Dance (January 8, 1947 –January 10, 2016)

2016 started with a punch straight to the gut. David Bowie’s death left us stunned. Ten days into the new year and just like that, one of our legends was gone. The fashion, the imagination, and the inspiration that Bowie was for so many meant his sudden death left us devastated. Little did we know, his leaving was only the beginning of what would be a series of significant musical departures to come.

Bottom line- quite possibly one of the most romantic songs of all time and one that gets straight to the point on what most of us should just do when things hit rock bottom in any situation. My personal favorite, precisely because of this line:

And if you say run, I’ll run with you. And if you say hide, we’ll hide.
Because my love for you,would break my heart in two.
If you should fall… into my arms, and tremble like a flower.

RIP David Bowie. Thank you for turning what we knew to be referred to as a fashionista, upside down on its head.

Glenn Frey(The Eagles)- New Kid In Town (November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016)

A little over a week after Bowie left us in our sorrow, this legend bowed out stage left. A prominent force behind The Eagles, having penned some of their biggest hits, Frey left a gaping hole in one of classic rock’s finest bands. Most agree that his best penned hit is New Kid In Town. It was a tough call for me to pick my favorite one of his, but in the end, I had to go with this one. The lyrics are heartbreaking and the melody that accompanies is the classic soothing sound that embellishes The Eagles’ harmonies. People can be so mean. The uncomfortable feeling of being in these shoes before surfaces every time I hear it.

You’re walking away and they’re talking behind you.
They will never forget you till somebody new comes along.
Where you been lately? There’s a new kid in town. Everybody loves him, don’t they?
And he’s holding her, and you’re still around.

Maurice White (Earth, Wind, & Fire)September (December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016)

The world then lost its soul man, Maurice White, who made us want to Groove Tonight and every night. Oh…September. You just can’t help but move to any of these tunes. There’s a certain level of fondness and reminiscing that surfaces right at the start with this opening line…

Do you remember the 21st night of September?
Love was changing the minds of pretenders, while chasing the clouds away…

I know many you kicked it old school back in the day. Let’s be honest, many of us got the urge to shoot the duck when these tunes came on the radio. And in case you’ve forgotten or have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s how you shoot the duck. NO. Not like that! (Looking at you Southern Maryland!–KIDDING!!)

RIP Maurice White. Our souls miss you a significant amount already.

Vanity (Vanity 6)Nasty Girl (January 4, 1959 – February 15, 2016)

I have to be honest that as much as I consider myself a music aficionado, I was not all that familiar with Vanity’s music. Considered to be one of Prince’s proteges, it was only after her passing that I took the time to really listen to her music. However, I do remember this hit from back in the day. And this line, is nothing short of epic:

I guess I’m just used to sailors, I think they’ve got water on the brain.
I think they’ve got more water upstairs, Than they got sugar on their candy cane.

RIP Vanity- thank you for giving us a better way to describe being Nasty.

Merle HaggardOkie from Muskogee (April 6, 1937- April 6, 2016)

Half of Poncho and Lefty left us this year, Haggard was a classic timeless country artist whose music filled the household when I was growing up. If there was ever a loyal fan of Haggard, it was certainly my own father. I like to think my father and Haggard are hanging out these days complaining about the youth today and how times have changed. I don’t blame them. The world, for better or worse, is a very different place than the Okie’s world was back in the day.

Leather boots are still in style for manly footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals won’t be seen.
Football’s still the roughest thing on campus,
And the kids here still respect the college dean.

RIP Merle. I will always have you in my heart and your music will still give me and other fans of yours chills when we fondly recall childhood and lifelong memories associated with it.

Prince– Diamonds and Pearls (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

Prince shocked the world with his sudden death. I am fairly certain that it rained purple that day from all the tears that were shed. I remember I was driving to a meeting that day and my friend called. He said, “are you driving? Pull over.” I said “okay…what’s wrong? Who died?” He said, “Prince.” And I just started to cry. I must have played Purple Rain at least 50 times the week he died, along with several other of his albums, on repeat over and over. But for some reason, this song, has always struck me differently than any of the other songs in his incredible repertoire. The emotion the song evokes and the rawness of its truthful lyrics get me every time.

If I gave you diamonds and pearls, Would you be a happy boy or a girl…
If I could I would give you the world, But all I can do is just offer you my love.

Shouldn’t that be enough? What’s worth more than love?

Nick Menza- (Megadeth & OHM) – Trust (July 23, 1964 – May 21, 2016)

The former drummer of Meredith, Menza died of heart failure while in the middle of a performance with his band OHM. I cannot even begin to imagine the terrible sadness his fans felt that night, especially those that witnessed it. Menza officially started his musical career as a drummer at age 18, but the truth is, he apparently started playing the drums at the young age of two. Now how is that for knowing your calling?

I chose to share the song Trust with all of you in this entry because it is the song that Megadeth paid tribute to him with, the day after his passing.

RIP Nick Menza. Keep on rocking!

Christina GrimmieWith Love (March 12, 1994 – June 10, 2016)

This young artist, full of heart, was just getting started. Gone way too soon, we grieved, together, on a weekend that turned out to be one of the most tragic for the American populace. Many of us will remember that weekend, vividly, for a very long time….In grief, I turn to music. Just know you are not alone.

RIP Christina Grimmie– Wise beyond your years, you left us with these words and perhaps advice that we should put into practice more in 2017:

Cause when I’m down and I’m done, and I’m coming unplugged,
When I’m ready to fall, you’re the one always holding me up,
With love.

Matt Roberts (3 Doors Down)Here Without You (January 10, 1978- August 20, 2016)

The lead guitarist and founding member of the band 3 Doors Down, Roberts continued the trend of artists who left us way too soon in 2016. By August 2016, I kept saying this year has got to end. I can’t take any more sad news about the music industry. I am actually a long time fan of this band and I was sad to hear they had lost one of their main guys. These lyrics seem apropos and they  are my favorite lyrics from this band’s collection of music.  RIP Matt Roberts.

A hundred days have made me older, Since the last time that I saw your pretty face…
A thousand lies have made me colder, And I don’t think I can look at this the same.

Toots Thielemans– (Performing Bluesette) (April 22, 1922 – 22 August 22, 2016)

From Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, to Pat Metheny, Toots was a legendary jazz harmonica player and musician who accompanied many of these greats and kicked off his career with a performance with Benny Goodman. I encourage you to close your eyes and really listen to this talented musician. I promise that you will not be disappointed. Here’s a great clip of one of his performances where his brilliance shines like the star he now is shining above us.

RIP Tootsy. There must be an incredible jam session happening with all of you up there these days.

Juan GabrielNo Vale La Pena (January 7, 1950- August 28, 2016)

El Divo de Juárez devastated his fans when news hit that this Mexican icon had died. Having sold over 100 million records world wide, Juan Gabriel is one of the most successful Latin American singer songwriters of all time. I grew up dancing and singing along to this artist’s music and the memories are bittersweet considering my mother grew up just down the street from him in Juarez, Mexico. With so many hits to choose from, his influence and support to other Latin American artists leaves a long repertoire to follow for years to come. My all time favorite romantic song of his is No Vale La Pena…

RIP Juan. Tú estás….siempre en mi mente.

Leonard Cohen–  Hallelujah (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)

Having been covered now by many talented musicians, this song is a signature Cohen masterpiece. Cohen penned so many amazing lyrics and was a powerful force and influence for fifty iconic years in the music world. It was sad to have to say goodbye to this class act and songwriter. His lyrics surround us daily in songs recorded by the likes of Willie Nelson, James Taylor, and many others.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof, You saw her bathing on the roof…
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.

RIP Leonard Cohen–There is no doubt that your musical spirit and creative genius will never be forgotten.

George Michael (Wham!)Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

(June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016)

And just as we were winding the year thinking we had gotten through the sadness of losing  artists we loved, the news of George Michael’s passing on Christmas Day stunned us once again and at that point I said to myself, okay. 2017 you need to get here fast because 2016 is claiming all of them. An icon for many, and unashamed of who he was as an artist, sexually, and as a free spirited human being, we’re still mourning the news of his passing. With timeless hits from his Wham! repertoire, and in his own solo career, I have always had a lot of respect for Michael. I am very grateful that I got to see him perform live at least once before he died. Although I am a huge fan of the song Father Figure

If you are the desertI’ll be the sea…
If you ever hunger, Hunger for me…
Whatever you ask forThat’s what I’ll be.

when Elton John and George Michael performed and recorded Don’t Let The Sun oGo Down On Me, it took the song to a whole new level of iconic status, and it shows how amazingly talented and powerful he was as an artist. RIP George. Thank you for giving us and sharing your Faith.

It seems only appropriate to end this article on a high note and dedicate this song to all of the incredible artists, actors, and famous personalities we’ve lost this year and to all of the loved ones many of us lost in our own personal lives throughout 2016.

To these amazing artists who have now since departed, I simply say, thank you. Thank you for the music. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your creative minds and souls, and most of all, thank you for giving many of us, a voice. There is hope for the future. You paved the way for other artists along the way through your inspiration and impact on this world. RIP Music Legends.

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And on that note, as 2016 comes to a close…I’m wishing you a wonderful New Years Eve, and a brighter 2017. Thanks for following and listening. I look forward to sharing amazing music with you in 2017.


  1. I’ve been an avid reader of this blog since it started. What happened to the content updates??!? I know More Cowbell Liv has been going to concerts and continuing to enjoy music — we, the lovers of tunes all over the world, want to continue to read your witty critiques and positive spin. Keep it comin’ please!

    Very respectfully,
    Cowb Ells

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Cowb Ells,
      I apologize for taking so long to respond to you, just know that I did receive your note the day you sent it. I very much appreciated it, and by the way, and I also love your name. I finally got going again and look forward to hearing from you in the future.
      Sending you much love and music.
      Take care,
      More Cowbell Liv


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