2015 saw some amazing musical talent pass from this world and though they’re gone we have a feeling that they will live on forever in their music. No eulogy other than a full discography of these stars could really suffice, so we’ve compiled a list of the five top artists that have been lost this year and the best albums to remember them by.
Percy Sledge (November 25, 1941-April 14, 2015)
“When a Man Loves a Woman” from 1966 is one of the most recognized songs of all time not to mention Percy Sledge’s illustrious career. He’s also responsible for “Warm and Tender Love”, “Sunshine”, and “It Tears Me Up”. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 and received the Rhythm and Blues Foundation’s Career Achievement Award in 1989. The soul singer died on April 14, 2015.
To fully appreciate Percy Sledge put on his 1966 album “When a Man Loves a Woman” and get ready for some serious chills as his soulful voice floats over you.
B.B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)
He was the king of blues and had a career that spanned over four decades before this legendary guitarist and blues singer died at age 89 on May 14, 2015. B.B. was short for Beale Street Blues Boy and his name is synonymous with jazz the blues. He was the recipient of countless awards and honours throughout his career including 30 Grammy nominations, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. He performed into his early eighties before his diabetes made it impossible to keep touring.
Put on King’s Live at the Regal, a 1964 recording of from the Regal Theater in Chicago. This album is considered not only King’s best but also one of the greatest blues album ever recorded as well as Rolling Stone’s #141 among its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Cilla Black (May 27, 1943 – August 1, 2015)
Discovered in the sixties by the Beatles in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, she signed with their manager and quickly produced hits like “You’re My World” and “Anyone Who Had a Heart” in 1964. She later went on to host various shows on the BBC and even enjoyed a sting in the mid-70s as a comedic actress. She passed away in Spain in August 2015 at the age of 72.
We recommend you listen to The Best of Cilla Black for a great mix of her early work that features hits co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Gary Richrath (October 18, 1949 – September 13, 2015)
A latecomer to the band, Richrath only joined REO Speedwagon as a songwriter and lead guitarist three years after the band was formed, but he’s credited with helping them gain their immense popularity as well as a major contributor to 1980’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” He recorded a total of 12 albums with REO Speedwagon before leaving in 1989 and releasing a solo album “Only the Strong Survive” in 1992. Gary Richrath passed away on September 13, 2015.
We suggest putting on the 1980 album “Hi Infidelity” to fully appreciate Richrath’s contribution’s to not only REO Speedwagon but rock in general. At the very least you’ll recognize a lot of the tracks as it was the best selling rock LP of 1981 and saw six songs hit the Billboard charts.
Scott Weiland (October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015)
The most recent on our list to have passed away and one of the youngest, Scott Weiland passed away on December 3, 2015 at the age of 48. Perhaps best known as the singer for the band Stone Temple Pilots, he also fronted bands such as Velvet Revolver as well as the Wildabouts. He was ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader but often suffered setbacks due to a widely publicized drug problem.
Pay tribute to Scott Weiland’s illustrious musical career by listening to the 1994 release “Purple” and follow up with Velvet Revolver’s “Contraband’ from 2004.