The Musicians We Will Sorely Miss
2016 is (or was) one of the hardest years we had to live through. From the Syrian War to Donald Trump becoming POTUS, we faced shock and tragedy head on. It was also the year Death was most active, as we had to say farewell to many great people. Even musicians were not spared. We will forever remember these artists who brought something great to music and to our ears.
George Michael (passed away in 25 December)
A couple of days have only passed and yet we can still hear the silence emitting since his death from heart failure. George Michael was one of a kind, who made pop songs into something more meaningful and fun than they otherwise would be. Though he first appeared with Andrew Ridgeley as the duo “Wham!”, he gained acclaim in his solo acts. By the Nineties, he literally stood for the M in MTV. Whether the song was soft or disco, Michael’s songs always made you want to press the replay button again.
Popular songs: Freedom’90, Last Christmas, Careless Whisper, Faith, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
David Bowie (10 January)
As Ziggy Stardust, Bowie made the rock music genre wacky but melodious at the same time. And it helped bring out even wackier rock musicians as well (we’re looking at you, KISS). But his music is still great to hear even when he is forever experimenting with his guitar and hair. Whether it was rock or pop, Bowie made a huge fan following all over the world, particularly the US. But aside from that, he was also a surprisingly good actor too, and even starred in films that have become cult classics as well. A true artist and the real rock performer.
Popular songs: Space Oddity, Starman, Fame, Ashes to ashes, Under Pressure
Prince (21 April)
He may not have been as popular as Michael Jackson, but even for a black performer, Prince was someone to listen to. His blending of various music genres (his favourite ones being rock and R&B) and his suggestive lyrics would have been at odds if it weren’t for the voice that went along with it. Apart from being hailed as the most important person in Rock N’ Roll by Rolling Stone magazine, he is also in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and even won an Academy Award for his music in Purple Rain. Despite his experimentations, changing his name and the frequent collaborations, Prince’s music still retains the consistency that makes it addictive for any listener.
Popular songs: OST of Purple Rain, Sign O’ The Times, U Got The Look, Song Of The Heart
This year is also the one where Death came to our country as well. It took away the artists without whom Pakistani music would never be the way it was (before the music industry fell in slums)
Amjad Sabri (22 June)
He and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan were our go-to singers in the classical music genre. Being the son of the acclaimed Ghulam Farid Sabri of the Sabri brothers, Amjad came onto his own with his voice and renditions of the qawwals that were done by his family before him but made them something that was attuned to the present generation. His promotion of Sufi Music was equally prolific as well. Only when his first (and last) performance on Coke Studio was aired did we fully realize just how unfortunate his death was.
Popular songs: Bhar do Jholi Meri Ya Muhammad, Mera Koi Nahi, Phir Dikha De Haraam, Aaj Rang Hai
Junaid Jamshed (7 December)
Of all the deaths this year, this one (for Pakistan) is the most tragic of all. He was our country’s pop singer who defined and built the music industry when it was still standing. Though he first appeared with that equally legendary group Vital Signs in that even more legendary Dil Dil Pakistan, Junaid later became the solo artist we never got tired of, and identified ourselves with. For that matter, he represented those Pakistanis who were neither patriotic nor religious-just your average Pakistani who loves music and everything new and Western. He was the singer who we never got tired to talk about with our parents. Before he reverted to religion, he was the face of PTV music hour. Though funny enough, his naats were the ones we loved the most and were appropriate in our holy months. Truly, his death leaves a huge hole in our hearts and ears.
Popular songs: Dil Dil Pakistan, Ankhon ko ankhon mein, Mehndi ki Raat, Qasm Uss Wqat Ki; naats to listen to are Muhammad Ka Roza, Mere Nabi Pyare Nabi, Ummati, Maula