2017 was unfortunately a hard year for rock and roll fans, many amazing musicians were gone, but they will never be forgotten for their great music. So, we’ve prepared a list of the rockstars we’ve lost in 2017, in order to pay tribute for those who rocked our worlds and will keep doing that forever.
Butch Trucks (Allman Brothers Band)
Claude Hudson “Butch” Trucks (May 11, 1947 – January 24, 2017) was an American drummer. He was best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. Trucks was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. He played in various groups before forming the 31st of February while at Florida State University in the mid 1960s.
He joined the Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Their 1971 live release, At Fillmore East, represented an artistic and commercial breakthrough. The group became one of the most popular bands of the era on the strength of their live performances and several successful albums. Though the band broke up and reformed various times, Trucks remained a constant in their 45-year career.
He died after he committed suicide. According to the Miami Herald, Trucks, 69, shot himself in the head in front of his wife inside his West Palm Beach condo.
Geoff Nicholls (Black Sabbath)
Geoffrey James “Geoff” Nicholls (29 February 1944 – 28 January 2017) was a British musician and keyboardist, and longtime member of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, until 2004. Nicholls also played in the NWOBHM band Quartz, before joining Black Sabbath.
In the 1960s/early 1970s, Geoff played lead guitar for the Birmingham bands The Boll Weevils, The Seed, Johnny Neal and the Starliners and keyboards for World Of Oz. He was originally brought in as a second guitarist when Black Sabbath doubted whether they would even continue under that name. Nicholls then switched to bass when Geezer Butler left briefly, and then became the band’s keyboardist upon Butler’s return and the decision to keep the Sabbath name.
Nicholls’ first appearance on a Black Sabbath album was on Heaven and Hell (1980), and he was credited as keyboardist on every Sabbath release from that time until 13 (2013), although he was not an official member until 1986.
He remained an official member until 1991, then regained member status from 1993 to 1996. He was an unofficial member once again since the reunion with Ozzy Osbourne in 1997. Although his main role with Sabbath was on the keyboard, Nicholls also played some rhythm guitar on the reunion tours, e.g., during Iommi’s solo in “Snowblind” and a few tracks during the Headless Cross (1989) and Forbidden (1995) tours.
He died on January 28 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 68.
Charles Edward Anderson Berry (October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017) was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as “Maybellene” (1955), “Roll Over Beethoven” (1956), “Rock and Roll Music” (1957) and “Johnny B. Goode” (1958), Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive.
Writing lyrics that focused on teen life and consumerism, and developing a music style that included guitar solos and showmanship, Berry was a major influence on subsequent rock music.
On March 18, 2017, police in St. Charles County, Missouri, were called to Berry’s house, where he was found unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene, aged 90. TMZ website posted an audio recording in which the 911 operator can be heard responding to a reported “cardiac arrest” at Berry’s home.
Sib Hashian (Boston)
John Thomas “Sib” Hashian (August 17, 1949 – March 22, 2017) was an American musician, best known as a drummer for the rock band Boston.
Hashian was reluctantly chosen by Boston founder Tom Scholz in 1975 to replace original drummer Jim Masdea when Epic Records demanded that Masdea be replaced for recording. Hashian is heard on Boston’s self-titled debut album, as well as on the follow-up Don’t Look Back, although the drum parts he played on many tracks were note-for-note transcriptions of Masdea’s original drum arrangements.
Hashian was involved in the early sessions for Boston’s Third Stage album, but was later replaced when Masdea returned. After leaving Boston, Hashian sued Boston band leader Tom Scholz for back royalties and the two later settled out of court.
Boston drummer Sib Hashian died on March 22 while performing on a ship sailing to the Bahamas. The rocker was 67.
Chris Cornell (born Christopher John Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer, and songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave.
He was also known for his numerous solo works and soundtrack contributions since 1991, and as the founder and frontman for Temple of the Dog, the one-off tribute band dedicated to his late friend Andrew Wood.
Cornell is considered one of the chief architects of the 1990s grunge movement, and is well known for his extensive catalog as a songwriter, his nearly four-octave vocal range, and his powerful vocal belting technique. He released four solo studio albums, Euphoria Morning (1999), Carry On (2007), Scream (2009), Higher Truth (2015), and the live album Songbook (2011).
Cornell received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his song “The Keeper”, which appeared in the 2011 film Machine Gun Preacher, and co-wrote and performed the theme song to the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), “You Know My Name”.
His last solo release was the charity single “The Promise”, written for the ending credits for the film of the same name. He was voted “Rock’s Greatest Singer” by readers of Guitar World, ranked 4th in the list of “Heavy Metal’s All-Time Top 100 Vocalists” by Hit Parader, 9th in the list of “Best Lead Singers of All Time” by Rolling Stone, and 12th in MTV’s “22 Greatest Voices in Music”.
Singer songwriter Chris Cornell – best known as the front man for Soundgarden and Audioslave – died unexpectedly after a concert in Detroit, it may have been suicide. He was 52.
Gregory Lenoir “Gregg” Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band. Allman grew up with an interest in rhythm and blues music, and the Allman Brothers Band fused it with rock music, jazz, and country at times.
He wrote several of the band’s biggest songs, including “Whipping Post”, “Melissa”, and “Midnight Rider”. Allman also had a successful solo career, releasing seven studio albums. He was born and spent much of his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, before relocating to Daytona Beach, Florida.
Allman performed with a Hammond organ and guitar, and was recognized for his soulful voice. For his work in music, Allman was referred to as a Southern rock pioneer and received numerous awards, including several Grammys; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His distinctive voice placed him in 70th place in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. He died on May 27. He was 69.
Bennington was born in Arizona and struggled with drugs and alcohol most of his life. He also suffered from depression, a result of being sexually abused by an older boy as a kid. He didn’t address his abuse until he was an adult, and as a child channeled his emotions over it into poetry and songs.
After high school, he pursued a career in music. In 1993, he recorded several songs with a few bands in Arizona. His big break came in 1998 when he was asked to audition for Linkin Park – then called Xero. The group released several hit albums, including Hybrid Theory and Meteora.
Between his work with Linkin Park, Bennington worked with the Stone Temple Pilots, Death by Sunrise, and with musician Chris Cornell. Bennington and Cornell – who also committed suicide in 2017 – were very close friends.
He hung himself at a Los Angeles County home on July 20. He was 41.
Walter Carl Becker (February 20, 1950 – September 3, 2017) was an American musician, songwriter, and record producer. He was best known as the co-founder, guitarist, bassist, and co-songwriter of Steely Dan.
Becker met future songwriting partner Donald Fagen while they were students at Bard College. After a brief period of activity in New York, the two moved to California in 1971 and formed the nucleus of Steely Dan, which enjoyed a critically and commercially successful ten-year career.
Following the group’s dissolution, Becker moved to Hawaii and reduced his musical activity, working primarily as a record producer. In 1985, he briefly became a member of the English band China Crisis, producing and playing synthesizer on their album Flaunt the Imperfection.
He died on September 3 at the age of 67. The cause of his death is unknown.
Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Petty served as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. He was also a member and co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, and his early band Mudcrutch.
Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2001, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He died on October 2 after going into massive cardiac arrest. He was 66.
Gordon Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, died on October 17 at the age of 53. The musician had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2015.
The Tragically Hip was incredibly popular in their native Canada and beyond. The majority of their albums topped the charts, and they won 16 Juno awards, the most of any single band. After Downie’s diagnosis, the Hip went on one last tour to say farewell to their fans.
A statement released by his family read in part, “Gord knew this day was coming – his response was to spend this precious time as he always had – making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss… on the lips.”
Martin Eric Ain
Martin Eric Ain, Celtic Frost’s bassist died after a reported heart attack, he was 50 years old.
Ain, real name was Martin Stricker, he was a co-founding member of the acclaimed Swedish metal band. He was also a member of its predecessor, Hellhammer, who formed in 1981.
He remained with Celtic Frost from their founding in 1984 to their breakup 1993, then returned for the reunion that ran from 2001 to 2008. He went on to run DVD shops, clubs and bars in Zurich, where he was based, and was host of a popular weekly “Karaoke from Hell” event in the city’s Mascotte venue.
In their six-album career Celtic Frost became a major influence on a wide range of metal bands including Anthrax, Sepultura and Paradise Lost, while Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were said to have been fans.
American singer and musician Fats Domino, the rock legend and influence of Elvis Presley and Beatles, died on Wednesday (25) at age 89. According to the British newspaper “The Guardian,” the artist died of natural causes
Throughout his five-decade career, Fats Domino has sold more than 65 million records during its five decades of career.
Known for songs such as “Aint that a shame,” “I’m walking,” “Blueberry hill,” and “I’m walking to New Orleans,” Domino was one of the most influential artists of the 1950s and marked the popularization of the genre.
AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young died on November 18 at the age of 64. He had been living with dementia; the condition forced him to retired from his band.
One of eight children of Scottish couple William and Margaret Young, Malcolm Mitchell Young was born in Glasgow on 6 January 1953. In 1963, he emigrated from Scotland to Australia, settling in Sydney with his parents, brothers George and Angus, and older sister Margaret. His older brother, Alex, remained in Scotland and later formed the London-based group Grapefruit. His oldest brother Stephen was the father of his future AC/DC replacement Stevie Young.
The musician and songwriter was best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its November 1973 beginning until retiring in 2014 for health reasons. Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Though his younger brother Angus is the more visible of the brothers, Malcolm was described as the driving force and the leader of the band. In 2014, he stated that despite his retirement from the band, AC/DC was determined to continue making music with his blessing.
I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG