Stars of Music We Lost in 2017

December 16, 2017 Last Updated: December 16, 2017

Join the Epoch Times in remembering the musicians who have entertained, moved, and inspired us over the years, but passed away in 2017.

Reveal interesting facts about these celebrities by tapping or clicking images to flip cards.

Tom Petty

Click to see one of Petty’s greatest inspirations.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers rose to fame in the 1970s, putting out massive hits, including “American Girl,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around,” “Breakdown,” “Listen to Her Heart,” and many more, Epoch Times reported.

Petty told media outlets in that past that he wanted to become a musician when he was 13 after seeing The Beatles play on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

“This was the great moment in my life, really, that changed everything. I had been a fan up to that point. But this was the thing that made me want to play music,” he told Grammy.com.

Della Reese

Click image to see what Della and Oprah have in common.

Della Reese was best known for her acting role on “Touched By an Angel” and her long and lustrous musical career, Epoch Times reported.

CBS, which aired “Touched By an Angel,” issued a statement after her death.

“For nine years, we were privileged to have Della as part of the CBS family when she delivered encouragement and optimism to millions of viewers as Tess on ‘Touched By An Angel,’” CBS said, reported by Variety magazine. “We will forever cherish her warm embraces and generosity of spirit. She will be greatly missed. Another angel has gotten her wings.”

In 1959, Reese scored a No. 1 R&B and No. 2 pop hit “Don’t You Know.” She also sang jazz and pop songs until the early 1970s, getting four Grammy Award nominations.

David Cassidy

Click image to see how Cassidy made ends meet before becoming famous.

David Cassidy played the role of teenager Keith Partridge, in the musical sitcom “The Partridge Family.”  In the show, the character’s widowed mother was portrayed by his real-life stepmother, Shirley Jones. They formed a touring pop band, traveling to gigs in a multi-colored bus.

The sitcom produced a number of hit songs, including “I Think I Love You,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard chart in 1970, the year the show debuted, Reuters reported.

The daughter of David Cassidy, Katie Cassidy, revealed the last words of the singer before his death.

“Words can’t express the solace our family’s received from all the love & support during this trying time. My father’s last words were ‘So much wasted time,’” Cassidy’s daughter stated, Epoch Times reports.

Antoine “Fats” Domino

Click image to see how success did – or didn’t – change him.

As one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll in the 1950s, Antoine “Fats” Domino sold 65 million records – more than anyone in that period except Elvis Presley, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Epoch Times reported. He had dozens of songs on the pop and rhythm-and-blues charts.

“For lack of a better way of putting it, he’s a living, walking legend among us in New Orleans,” singer Irma Thomas told the New York Times in 2007. “Between him and Louis Armstrong, they were the first big names to put us on the musical map.”

Mel Tillis

Click image to reveal how Tillis was personally honored by none other than the President of the United States.

Mel Tillis was a singer, songwriter, comedian, and businessman. He recorded more than 60 albums and had more than three dozen Top 10 singles. Several of his songs are now regarded as classics, Epoch Times reported.

Tillis, whose full name was Lonnie Melvin Tillis, was born on Aug. 8, 1932, in Tampa, Florida. He developed a speech impediment as a child due to malaria and was mocked for his stammer during youth. But Tillis used the impediment to great comedic effect later.

“After a lot of years and more hurting than I like to remember, I can talk about it lightly—which eases things a bit,” Tillis wrote in his 1984 autobiography, Epoch Times reported. “It’s a way of showing people that it hasn’t licked me, so it doesn’t have to lick others.”

Charles Bradley

Click to see some unusual places Bradley called home.

Known as the “screaming eagle of soul,” Charles Bradley released his first album–No Time for Dreaming–at the ripe age of 62, NPR reported.

He says a live James Brown performance he saw when he was 14 had a profound effect on him. 

“It was breathtaking,” Bradley told Rolling Stone. “I didn’t know who James Brown really was but I wanted to go see.” 

“And I was mesmerized. I was just gone. I was just shocked. Shocked. I said, ‘Wow. I wanna be something like that.’”

Before releasing a total of three albums, Bradley was a successful James Brown impersonator who went by the stage name Black Velvet.

Glen Campbell

Click image to see just how deep Campbell’s passion for golf went.

Glen Campbell was initially a member of the so-called “Wrecking Crew,” a group of highly sought-after session players who recorded with the likes of Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, Reuters reported.

Campbell later set out on his own, and scored a number of breakthrough hits, including the huge pop-crossover song “Rhinestone Cowboy” about trying to make it in the music business.

He sang “Rhinestone Cowboy” at the 2012 Grammy ceremony, where he was given a lifetime achievement award.

Campbell also starred opposite John Wayne in the 1969 film “True Grit” and earned an Oscar nomination for singing the movie’s theme song.

Chuck Berry

Click image to see why Berry was known for rarely having a hair out of place.

Despite writing several rock ‘n’ roll classics, Berry’s only No. 1 song was 1972’s “My Ding-a-Ling,” a live recording of a novelty song he had written years earlier, Reuters reported.

In 1972 Berry told Rolling Stone that his anthemic “Johnnie B. Goode” originally had a line saying “that little colored boy could play” but he changed it to “country boy” in order to get it on the radio.

Berry is also known for being a bit of a wordsmith–unusually for a music star, he penned his own autobiography without the help of a ghostwriter, New York Times reported.

Chester Bennington

Click to reveal which teams this avid sports fan rooted for.

Chester Charles Bennington was best known as the lead singer for the rock band Linkin Park, and also served as the frontman for Dead by Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots.

Bennington gained prominence after the release in 2000 of Linkin Park’s debut album, Hybrid Theory, which became a huge hit, Reuters reported.

The album reached Diamond, making it one of the best-selling debut albums of the decade.

The band experimented with rock, metal and rap, most notably collaborating with Jay-Z in 2004 on the “Collision Course” album. The album, a mash-up of the rapper’s hits with Linkin Park songs, included “Numb/Encore,” which won a Grammy award in 2006 for best rap/sung collaboration.

The band has sold more than 70 million albums worldwide.

Chris Cornell

Click to reveal the name of a restaurant where Cornell worked as a sous-chef.

Chris Cornell is hailed as one of the architects of the 90’s ‘grunge’ movement as frontman for Soundgarden,  alongside legendary contemporaries Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Chicago Tribune reported.

Cornell’s lifelong achievements include selling over 30 million records worldwide and winning two Grammy awards.

Known for having an exceptionally broad 4-octave vocal range, Cornell was ranked 4th on the Hit Parader list “Heavy Metal’s All-Time Top 100 Vocalists” and was voted “Rock’s Greatest Singer” by readers of Guitar World.

Reuters contributed to this report.

 

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