Remembering Those the Music World Lost in 2017

As another year winds down to a close, we at Reverb have taken some time to reflect on all that 2017 brought. We've reviewed some of the most-discussed gear stories of this year and illustrated some of the brightest Reverb-specific highlights. But no reflection on any year would be complete without taking a moment to consider those we lost. We hope you'll spend this moment with us, celebrating these wonderful musicians and their important contributions to our lives and to music.

Tom Petty

"Tommy’s passing feels like I’ve lost a little brother. … It was obvious very early on in his career that his talent, magnetism, and charisma were a very special gift that few souls in this world are given. He has given this world so many wonderful memories and touched millions with his magic. Gone far too soon. May he rest in peace knowing how much he is loved and appreciated by all of us that are left behind." - Don Felder

Johnny Hallyday

Known as the Elvis Presley of France, Johnny Hallyday is often cited as the one who brought rock ‘n’ roll to France. He released 79 albums over his 57-year career, sold over 100 million records, and, like Elvis, acted in more than 30 films.

Paul Buckmaster

Paul Buckmaster provided orchestral arrangements for a variety of radio hits from artists and bands like Elton John, the Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. "He helped make me the artist I am. A revolutionary arranger who took my songs and made them soar." - Elton John

Fats Domino

Over his long career, Fats Domino collected 23 gold records, three dozen Top 40 hits—including "Ain’t That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill"—and sold over 65 million singles. He has been cited by many early rock ‘n’ rollers—like Elvis and the Beatles—as well as more modern performers as a major musical influence.

Charles Bradley

"I find some solace knowing that he will continue to inspire love and music in this world for generations to come. I told him as much a few days ago. He smiled and told me, ‘I tried.’ It was probably the simplest and most inspiring thing he ever told me. I think he wanted to hug each person on this planet individually." - Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Bradley’s label Daptone Records.

Malcolm Young

"As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done." - Angus Young

Grant Hart

Grant Hart is most known as the drummer and co-songwriter for the seminal hardcore band Hüsker Dü. "Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful storyteller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember." - Bob Mould

Jessi Zazu

After a hard-fought battle with cervical cancer, Jessi Zazu passed away this year at just 28 years old. She’s best-known for the Nashville-based indie rock band that she fronted from 2006 to 2016 called Those Darlins. The group was popular for its unique style that mixed genres like garage rock and punk with bluegrass and country.

Walter Becker

Walter Becker was a founding member of Steely Dan and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. "Walter Becker was my friend, my writing partner, and my bandmate since we met as students at Bard College in 1967. ... He was smart as a whip, an excellent guitarist, and a great songwriter." - Donald Fagen

Bill Collings

"Bill was what we call ‘a character’—a unique, memorable, and lovable personality. It was always an adventure to talk with him. … Bill led the way forward for so many builders. The sky over the guitar world is a little darker today, and it’s hard to imagine it being as bright again without Bill." - Walter Carter of Carter Vintage Guitars

Gord Downie

"We lost one of the very best of us this morning. ... Our buddy Gord, who loved this country with everything he had. … He loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life. He wanted to make it better. He knew as great as we were, we needed to be better than we are. … We are less as a country without Gord Downie in it." - Justin Trudeau

Ray Phiri

"He was a beautiful, masterful guitarist and an inventive musician. He will be remembered as a patriot who used his music to fight apartheid and brought that message to the world. His contribution to Graceland was immense, and I am grateful and honored to have worked with him." - Paul Simon

Dave Rosser

Dave Rosser was an established session player in New Orleans, who was known for collaborating with artists like Mark Lanegan, Ani DeFranco, and Tim Heidecker. In 2014, he joined the Afghan Whigs during the band’s reformation.


Prodigy was best known for being a part of the hip-hop duo Mobb Deep. "Damn. RIP to the great one Prodigy. Rap game lost a legend and the world lost a G. [Prayers] to and for his fam. Love. MOBB" - Lil Wayne


"Jonghyun was one of the most talented and well-rounded artists in K-pop. He had a wonderful voice and was so versatile and composed beautiful music. He was an even better person and he will be forever missed. The world of K-pop has lost one of its brightest stars." - Paul Han

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell is known for massive country hits, like "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman," and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." In 1968, he even outsold the Beatles. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s, Mr. Campbell passed away at the age of 81.

Gregg Allman

Gregg Allman, alongside late older brother Duane, founded the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, which rose to international acclaim not long after. He was responsible for writing some of the biggest hits, like "Whipping Post," "Midnight Rider," and "Melissa."

Colonel Bruce Hampton

Col. Bruce Hampton was a prominent figure in the jam band scene, starting with the Hampton Grease Band and continuing onto a variety of other collaborative projects. He also acted in a handful of films and television show episodes, like Sling Blade and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.

Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth was an inventive jazz fusion guitarist who came to prominence along with others like John McLaughlin and John Scofield. He often played innovative, futuristic guitars, like headless models and the SynthAxe.

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme was an award-winning director known for critically acclaimed films like Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia. Demme was also one of the most influential music documentarians of his time with credits that include his landmark collaboration with the Talking Heads for 1984’s Stop Making Sense.

Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell was one of the defining musicians of the grunge movement, with a strong and powerful voice that became emblematic of the genre. He was best-known as the frontman for Soundgarden and Audioslave.

J. Geils

J. Geils was best-known as the frontman for The J. Geils Band, which topped the charts in the ‘80s with hits like "Love Stinks," "Centerfold," and "Freeze-Frame." Billy Joel, U2, and the Eagles all opened for The J. Geils Band during that time, before its disbandment in 1985.

Clyde Stubblefield

Clyde Stubblefield was a legendary funk drummer who will be most remembered for his work with James Brown from 1965 to 1971. Stubblefield drummed on classic tracks like "Cold Sweat" and "Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud."

John Wetton

John Wetton was a noted progressive rock bassist who started his career with Mogul Thrash, played with King Crimson for the last two years before its disbandment, and went on to form the supergroup Asia—his largest commercial success.

Butch Trucks

Butch Trucks was the drummer and co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band. He was one of the most steadfast band members, continuing to play with the band until its official retirement in 2014.

Ikutaro Kakehashi

Ikutaro Kakehashi founded the Roland Corporation in the 1970s and is closely associated with the development of the company’s landmark drum machines—the TR-808 and 909—as well as influential products—like the RE-201 Space Echo—and many other synths.

Pat DiNizio

"Pat had the magic touch. He channeled the essence of joy and heartbreak into hook-laden three minute pop songs infused with a lifelong passion for rock & roll. Our journey with Pat was long, storied and a hell of a lot of fun." - The Smithereens

Mel Tillis

"Mel Tillis spent a lifetime giving us joy and laughter and music. … He wrote some of country music's most compelling and consequential songs, he fronted a remarkable band, and he sang with power and emotion. He also shone as an inspiration, revealing what others called an impediment as a vehicle for humor and hope." - Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young

Lil Peep

"Peep was the nicest person. Hanging out with him, talking to him about music, the song ideas we were going to do together and touring was so amazing. Everyone will miss you man." - Marshmello

David Cassidy

"I have known, loved, and admired David Cassidy for 48 out of my 58 years. He has been as kind to me as any real brother could ever be. We’ve been through a lot together and he was always there for me. This loss is huge. RIP my dear friend." - Danny Bonaduce

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry was a pioneering rock ‘n’ roll guitar player and singer-songwriter, whose repertoire includes hits like "Roll Over Beethoven" and "Johnny B. Goode." "I’ve seen Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Rolling Stones. Ain’t none of them can hold a crowd like Chuck. That’s his talent. Chuck Berry is an entertainer." - Johnnie Johnson

Della Reese

"[Della] was an incredible wife, mother, grandmother, friend, and pastor, as well as an award-winning actress and singer. Through her life and work she touched and inspired the lives of millions of people. … Della Reese will be forever in our hearts. Rest in peace, sweet angel. We love you." - Roma Downey

Larry Coryell

Nicknamed the "Godfather of Fusion," Larry Coryell was best-known for the more than 60 solo albums that he put out over the course of his career. He was a pioneer of the jazz-rock genre and collaborated with a list of jazz greats including Chet Baker and Miles Davis.

Al Jarreau

Al Jarreau was best known for his jazz-pop hits like "Breakin’ Away" and "We’re in This Love Together." He was also known for writing the theme song for the popular television show Moonlighting in the 1980s.

Keely Smith

Keely Smith was a singer known for tracks like "Bei Mir Bist Du Schön," "I’ve Got You Under My Skin," and "That Old Black Magic," which won a Grammy for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group in 1959. The duo also played the hit at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.

Chester Bennington

Chester Bennington was best known as the lead singer for the massively popular rock band Linkin Park. Hybrid Theory, Linkin Park’s debut release, was certified Diamond and became one of the best-selling albums of the 21st century.

Jaki Liebezeit & Holger Czukay of CAN
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