Remembering musicians who died in 2012

Celebrating brilliant careers of Whitney Houston, Etta James, Robin Gibb and more

Associated PressDecember 29, 2012 

From pop queen Whitney Houston to jazz great Dave Brubeck, here is a roll call of some of the musicians who died in 2012. The cause of death is cited for younger people if available.

JANUARY

Larry Reinhardt, 63, guitar hero can be heard on Iron Butterfly's 1970 album "Metamorphosis" and albums by Captain Beyond, the group he cofounded. Jan. 2. Complications from sclerosis of the liver.

Jimmy Castor, 71. Funk and soul saxophonist, singer and songwriter whose tune, "It's Just Begun," morphed into an anthem for generations of musical acts. Jan. 16.

Johnny Otis, 90. He wrote and recorded the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" and for decades evangelized black music to white audiences as a bandleader and radio host. Jan. 17.

Etta James, 73. Blues singer best known for her performance of the enduring classic "At Last." Jan. 20. Complications from leukemia.

FEBRUARY

Don Cornelius, 75. As host of "Soul Train," he helped break down racial barriers and broaden the reach of black culture with funky music, groovy dance steps and cutting edge style. Feb. 1. Self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Whitney Houston, 48. She ruled as pop music's queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image ruined by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown. Feb. 11. Accidentally drowned in a bathtub.

Davy Jones, 66. Actor turned singer who helped propel the TV rock band The Monkees to the top of the pop charts. Feb. 29. Heart attack.

MARCH

Robert B. Sherman, 86. Songwriter who wrote "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in "Mary Poppins" and other songs for Disney classics. March 5.

James T. "Jimmy" Ellis, 74. As frontman for The Trammps, he belted out the refrain "Burn, baby burn!" in the 1970s-era disco hit "Disco Inferno." March 8.

Michael Hossack, 65. Longtime Doobie Brothers drummer whose work is heard on the hits "Listen To The Music" and "China Grove." March 12. Cancer.

Earl Scruggs, 88. Bluegrass legend and banjo pioneer who profoundly influenced country music with Bill Monroe in the 1940s and later with guitarist Lester Flatt. March 28.

APRIL

Dick Clark, 82. Ever-youthful television entrepreneur who helped bring rock 'n' roll into the mainstream on "American Bandstand," and later produced and hosted game shows and the year-end countdown from Times Square. April 19.

Levon Helm, 71. Key member of the rock group The Band who lent his voice to classics like "The Weight" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." April 19.

MAY

Lloyd Brevett, 80. Renowned double bassist who helped carry ska music from Jamaica to the world as a founding member of the band The Skatalites. May 3.

Adam Yauch, 47. Also known as MCA, the gravelly voiced rapper helped make the Beastie Boys one of the seminal groups in hip-hop. May 4. Cancer.

Donald "Duck" Dunn, 70. Bassist who helped create the gritty Memphis soul sound at Stax Records in the 1960s as part of the legendary group Booker T. and the MGs lived in Manatee County. May 13.

Chuck Brown, 75. Widely acclaimed as the "Godfather of go-go" for styling a unique mix of funk, soul and Latin party sounds. May 16.

Doug Dillard, 75. Banjo player who helped shape rock 'n' roll and introduce the nation to bluegrass music during a run on "The Andy Griffith Show." May 16.

Donna Summer, 63. Disco queen whose pulsing anthems such as "Last Dance," ''Love to Love You Baby" and "Bad Girls" became the soundtrack for a glittery age of drugs, dance and flashy clothes. She had a home in Sarasota County. May 17.

Robin Gibb, 62. One of the three Bee Gees whose falsetto harmonies powered such hits as "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever" and defined the flashy disco era. May 20.

Eddie Blazonczyk, 70. Grammy Award-winning polka great who earned the nickname "Polka King" after starting his own band and label. May 21.

Doc Watson, 89. Grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world. May 29.

JUNE

Herb Reed, 83. Last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like "Only You" and "The Great Pretender." June 4.

Richard Adler, 90. Composer-lyricist who won Tony Awards for such Broadway musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees" and who produced President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration featuring a breathy Marilyn Monroe. June 21.

JULY

Kitty Wells, 92. Singer whose hits such as "Making Believe" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels" made her the first female superstar of country music. July 16.

AUGUST

Chris Lighty, 44. A hip-hop mogul who helped the likes of Sean "Diddy" Combs, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey attain hit records and lucrative careers outside music. Aug. 30. Apparent suicide.

SEPTEMBER

Hal David, 91. Stylish, heartfelt lyricist who teamed with Burt Bacharach on dozens of songs for movies, television and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond. Sept. 1.

Joe South, 72. Singer-songwriter who performed 1960s and '70s hits such as "Games People Play" and "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and penned songs including "Down in the Boondocks" for other artists. Sept. 5.

Andy Williams, 84. Silky-voiced, clean-cut crooner whose hit recording "Moon River" and years of popular Christmas TV shows brought him fans the world over. Sept. 25.

DECEMBER

Dave Brubeck, 91. Jazz composer and pianist whose pioneering style in pieces such as "Take Five" caught listeners' ears with exotic, challenging rhythms. Dec. 5.

Jenni Rivera, 43. California-born singer who became a superstar adored by millions in a male-dominated genre of Mexican-American music. Dec. 9. Plane crash.

Ravi Shankar, 92. The sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over an eight-decade career. Dec. 11.

--Wade Tatangelo, Bradenton Herald features writer, contributed to this story.

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