Top 10 "In Memoriam" - Icons We Lost in 2016


  • #1  David Bowie
  • #2  Glenn Frey [Eagles]
  • #3  Prince
  • #4  Leonard Cohen
  • #5  George Martin [Beatles Producer]
  • #6  John Berry [Beastie Boys Founder]
  • #7  James Wooley [Nine Inch Nails]
  • #8  Gordie Howe [Canadian Hockey Great]
  • #9  George Michael
  • #10 Carrie Fischer & Tony Dyson [Star Wars Icons]

Not everyone knows what to say on the topic of mortality.  So, Let’s let some numbers do the talking.

From Alan Cross:

Since George Michael died, more than a dozen of his songs are in the Top 100 on iTunes with sales spiking over 3000%

Prince has sold two million more albums than he did in 2015

At one point this year, David Bowie had ten albums on the Billboard Top 200 

Tributes happen in and out of rock for this weekend’s program as we look at actors, cultural icons, and sports legends too.

You’ll have to understand this will come with some honourable mentions…since we only have ten slots and there have been more than ten iconic deaths this year.

Here are some of those Honourable Mentions:

FIDEL CASTRO (AUG. 13, 1926 – NOV. 25, 2016)

The former president of Cuba

FLORENCE HENDERSON (FEB. 14, 1934 – NOV. 24, 2016)

Carol Brady on ‘The Brady Bunch’.

ARNOLD PALMER (SEPT. 10, 1929 – SEPT. 25, 2016)

Golf legend, part of “The Big Three” with 62 PGA Tour Titles, and the first golf professional to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

JOSÉ FERNÁNDEZ (JULY 31, 1992 – SEPT. 25, 2016)

What a sad story – a up and coming pitcher for the Miami Marlins who passed away at the age of 24 in a boating accident after winning NL Rookie of the Year in 2013.

GENE WILDER (JUNE 28, 1926 – AUG. 29, 2016)

Best known for his work in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

LOU PEARLMAN (JUNE 19, 1954 – AUG. 19, 2016)

Lou Pearlman – the guy who made the Backstreet Boys big.

MUHAMMAD ALI (JAN. 17, 1942 – JUNE 3, 2016)

Not just a world champion, a cultural icon.

NICK MENZA (JULY 3, 1964 – MAY 21, 2016)

The drummer for Megadeth for “Rust in Peace” (1990), “Countdown to Extinction” (1992), “Youthanasia” (1994) and “Cryptic Writings” (1997).

DORIS ROBERTS (NOV. 4, 1925 – APRIL 17, 2016)

Emmy Award Winning actress most well known for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond.

MERLE HAGGARD (APRIL 6, 1937 – APRIL 6, 2016)

Country legend inducted into the Country Hall of Fame in 1994.

PHIFE DAWG (NOV. 20 1970 – MARCH 23 2016)

Malik Isaac Taylor, aka “Phife Dawg” was a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest.

ROB FORD (MAY 28, 1969 – MARCH 22, 2016)

The former mayor of Toronto.

KEITH EMERSON (NOV. 2, 1944 – MARCH 11, 2016)

Founding member and keyboardist for Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

ALAN RICKMAN (FEB. 21, 1946 – JAN. 14, 2016)

An actor best known for his role as Severus Snape in Harry Potter.

ALAN THICKE (MARCH 1 1947 – DECEMBER 13, 2016)

A Canadian actor most well known for his role on Growing Pains, who used to work at CFPL Radio in London, Ontario!

David Bowie January 8th, 1947 – January 10th, 2016

David Bowie passed after an 18-month battle with cancer. He was a man most comfortable playing the role of a character, like Ziggy Stardust. He explains.

Glenn Frey November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016

Glenn Frey was the founding member of Eagles.  You may think of him as Eagles frontman, but he shared that role with Don Henley.  He played guitar, piano, and keyboards too. Eagles were planning another reunion tour when Glenn went into surgery, he died from complications.
Glenn Frey talks about the song he defines as the peak of Eagles, Hotel California:

Together with Don Henley, Glenn Frey is behind the lyrics of this classic:

10 Things You May Not Know About Hotel California, including the inspiration for Life in the Fast Lane from Rolling Stone:

“Life in the Fast Lane” was inspired by a conversation with Glenn Frey’s drug dealer at 90 miles an hour.

The Eagles’ success made them, by their own admission, well versed in most forms of debauchery: illicit pharmaceuticals, hotel destruction and elaborate forms of sex play. Some of these late nights yielded memorable lyrics. One of the album’s standout tracks was inspired by Glenn Frey’s particularly harrowing car ride with his bagman.

“I was riding shotgun in a Corvette with a drug dealer on the way to a poker game,” he recalled in 2013 documentary The History of the Eagles. “The next thing I know we’re doing 90. Holding! Big Time! I say, ‘Hey, man!’ He grins and goes, ‘Life in the fast lane!’ I thought, ‘Now there’s a song title.'”

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hotel California

Prince June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

A pop, funk and rock legend. Born Prince Rogers Nelson, he wrote and performed across many genres of music.

Leonard Cohen September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

A legendary Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist who passed this year at 82. Hear him reflect on his humble beginning in music:


George Martin January 3rd, 1926 – March 8th, 2016

There’s a reason he was called the fifth Beatle.  Their legendary producer passed away at 90, involved in almost every original Beatles record.

Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick told me about his contributions on their 1980 record, All Shook Up: 


John Berry May 31, 1963 – May 19, 2016

 There wouldn’t have been a Beastie Boys without him. He only appears on the band’s first EP but he was THE original.

Berry is credited with coming up with the name Beastie Boys when they were teenagers. He attended the Walden School in New York with Mike Diamond. The group formed in July 1981, with Berry and Diamond joined by Adam Yauch and Kate Schellenbach. The first Beastie Boys shows took place at Berry’s old loft at the corner of West 100th Street and Broadway in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where a small crowd gathered to hear the fledgling hardcore/punk band.
James Woolley September 26, 1966 – August 14, 2016

James Woolley was a keyboardist with Nine Inch Nails for four years touring with them through Woodstock and Lollapalooza in the 90s. He doesn’t get any album credits but he was in the music videos for March of the Pigs and Wish.

Gordie Howe March 31st, 1928 – June 10th, 2016

Mr. Hockey’ scored 801 goals, and won the Stanley Cup four times in his 26-year NHL career including an amazing run with the Detroit Red Wings. I think Bobby Orr had the right words about Gordie…as written in the foreword of his story.  My boyfriend is a Red Wings fan so I bought him this book last year:

Gordie3 GordieHoweExerpt

Read more about Mr. Hockey from the CBC.

Other Honourable Sports Mentions:

Muhammad Ali January 17th, 1942 – June 3rd, 2016

Arnold Palmer September 10th, 1929 – September 25th, 2016

George Michael June 25 1963 – December 25 2016)

A musician known for both his solo music and his time with Wham! 

He was famous for his free expressions and sexual appeal.  He was also a quiet philanthropist. After his death, from NPR, we learned:

Among the charities he quietly aided, The Associated Press reports, were Macmillan Cancer Support, Childline, and the London-based HIV-awareness organization Terrence Higgins Trust.

Michael donated the royalties from “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” his 1991 duet with Elton John, to the Trust, the AP reports. Michael kept his repeated donations to the Trust private.

The proceeds from the 1996 song “Jesus to a Child” went to Childline, the wire service says. The founder of the organization told the AP that Michael had donated millions of dollars over the years, and was “determined” that no one outside the charity know how much he had given.

And on Twitter, news of more donations — big and small — have been spilling out. DJ Mick Brown said when he would run a charity drive at Easter, George would call in every year, at the same time, with a 100,000-pound donation (more than $122,000 today; it would have been worth even more at previous exchange rates).

Star Wars fans are mourning a few different losses this year.

Carrie Fisher October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016

As Rogue One took over box office sales, we had to say goodbye to actress Carrie Fisher who was only 60 when she died, four days after some heart problems on a flight.

In her first film she starred as a seductive teenager in SHAMPOO which came out in 1975 – and she had Hollywood in her blood with mother Debbie Reynolds setting her up to star on Broadway with her (she also passed this month).

By 1977 she would assume the role most know her for and for that, a different obituary for Princess Leia:

General Leia Organa, will be remembered as the politician and revolutionary who led the defeat of the Galactic Empire.

Hers was a life laced with controversy concerning everything from her tactics to her very ancestry, but her intelligence, commitment to the Republican cause, and place at the heart of the Rebellion, and later the Resistance against Neo-Imperialism, remains the indisputable core of her legacy.

Read More From Malcolm Sheppard

What about the next instalment in the Star Wars franchise? Rest easy knowing her work on Episode 8 was completed before she passed. They’ll have to address her death in time for episode 9 which begins filming in 2018.

Read more from Variety

Anthony John “TonyDyson April 13th, 1947 – March 4th, 2016

Tony Dyson, a special effects supervisor and robotics expert who built the iconic R2-D2 droid for the Star Wars franchise, was found dead on the Maltese island of Gozo where he lived. He was 68. An autopsy is being carried out to determine exact cause of death, but investigators said foul play isn’t suspected and Dyson likely died of natural causes, the BBC reports.

At the time of Star Wars, Dyson was the owner of the White Horse Toy Company, which was commissioned to create the eight R2-D2 models, including four with remote control capabilities. The models were constructed with a seat inside for actor Kenny Baker, who played the droid in the film series. Dyson called working on the R2-D2 unit “one of the most exciting periods of my life” and routinely called R2-D2 his “child” in subsequent interviews.

In addition to R2-D2, Dyson also contributed special effects to films like Superman 2, the James Bond film Moonraker, Dragon Slayer and Altered States. Dyson also served as the special effects director on the 1980 sci-fi film Saturn 3 and created that film’s Hector the Robot.

In 1985, Dyson was nominated for an Emmy for a robot he created for a Sony commercial.

The actor who played R2-D2 in six of the films, Kenny Baker, also passed away this August at 81.