Here Are All The Famous Musicians Who Died in March 2016

George MartinEXPAND
George Martin
David Train/Creative Commons 2.0

March came in like a lion and went out like a light for 16 notable musicians. The latest in the Reaper Ranks for the past 31 days include a knighted record producer, a prog rock maverick, and an actress turned pop star of whom we know that "a hot dog makes her lose control."

Here are musicians, some famous and others lesser-known, that died during March 2016. 

March 1
Gayle McCormick, 67,  lead singer of Smith; cause of death — cancer

Any oldies radio fan remembers this group called Smith's passionate and despondent cover of The Shirelles' "Baby It's You," also featured in Quentin Tarantino's film Death Proof. When it was first released and reached the Top 5 in 1969, it reminded some people of Janis Joplin, had Janis Joplin lived to die of cancer at 67. 

Joey is on the left.EXPAND
Joey is on the left.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Tiffany Addair/Released

March 4
Joey Feek, 40, American country singer (Joey + Rory); cause of death — cervical cancer 

Joey was part of the husband-wife country duo Joey + Rory who scored a 2008 Top 40 country hit with "Cheater Cheater." (Sample putdown - "Where did you meet that no good white trash ho?")

March 6
Aaron Huffman, 43, American rock bassist (Harvey Danger); cause of death — respiratory failure

This Seattle pop band's unforgettably catchy 1998 single "Flagpole Sitta" had the chorus tag "I'm not sick but I'm not well." The group's sick and not-at-all-well bassist played a distinctive distorted bass on that hit, and bandmate Sean Nelson acknowledged  Huffman's bass as a "a melodic lead instrument" and "the signature element of the band’s sound."

Here Are All The Famous Musicians Who Died in March 2016EXPAND
David Train/Creative Commons 2.0

March 8
Sir George Martin, 90, British Hall of Fame record producer (The Beatles)

It's not every producer and arranger who can say they changed the landscape of pop, and in the avalanche of tributes to the Beatles' producer (including my own appreciation of his hand in the Beatles' development), something overlooked was that Martin produced another British institution. He helmed the two best-ever and highest-charting Bond themes, Shirley Bassey's seismic "Goldfinger" and Sir Paulie's "Live and Let Die." The latter film featured Martin's original score throughout.

The cover for Ray Griff's Expression album.
The cover for Ray Griff's Expression album.

March 9
Ray Griff, 75, Canadian country music singer; cause of death — aspiration pneumonia as a complication from surgery 

In case you ever wondered what Canadian country singers sound like, back when country music told sad stories that made crying in your beer a national pastime.

March 10
Gogi Grant, 91, American pop singer

She was the first female singer to knock Elvis Presley off the top of the charts in 1956, with her classic recording of "The Wayward Wind". She is also the last woman on Earth to be named Gogi. Believe me, I Googled "Gogi."

March 10
Keith Emerson, 71, English progressive rock and rock keyboardist (The Nice; Emerson, Lake & Palmer); cause of death — suicide

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's over-the-top progressive rock was an easy target of ELP's punk contemporaries,  but Emerson was certainly a kindred spirit, what with stabbing his keyboards with Nazi-era daggers and rigging his pianos with more explosives than Wile E. Coyote might employ in a single Road Runner cartoon. Plus, he managed to get banned from the Royal Albert Hall for desecrating an American flag while performing "America" from West Side Story. In latter years, Emerson suffered nerve damage in his hand, which adversely affected his playing. It has been suggested that some of the nasty trolling about his recent appearances hurt him greatly. It makes me feel doubly worse about any cruel comments I ever made about Love Beach. 


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