This past decade saw the passing of an innumerable amount of musical icons and pioneering giants. Not only did we lose the second coolest Beatle, but we lost two of the best dancers and performers the world will ever see.
Punk rock and metal saw some of their best and brightest lights get snuffed out by disease, drugs, and the bullets of the insane. Some let their demons take over and were felled by their own tortured hands. Others were called home peacefully in hospital beds and in their sleep for the great juke joint gig in the sky.
Rocks Off picked ten of the most influential and notable deaths of the past ten years to reflect on. One has to admit we were all pretty lucky to have these people for as long as we did, because there has to be some wicked jamming going on right now in the hereafter.
Michael Jackson (June 25, 2009)
Just like Elvis Presley a generation before, we will always remember where we were when the first fateful words began disseminating from Los Angeles. It began with Michael Jackson in the hospital with an unnamed emergency illness, and ended two hours later with the world blaring "Billie Jean" and "Beat It" from every car and rooftop in memorial of the Gloved One. People will be studying his dance routines and music until the end of time.
Johnny Cash (September 12, 2003)
The passing of the Man In Black was a not an entirely sad moment, even as we mourned our loss of him. His wife June Carter had passed just months before and the look in Cash's eyes those weeks and months after was purely heartbreaking. When they were reunited in September 2003 after Cash lost his battle with Peripheral neuropathy, they were at peace together once again.
James Brown (December 25, 2006)
Christmas 2006 will forever be remembered as the night we lost James Brown. Instantly every single one of his moves and nuances were under the microscope again as a whole new generation discovered that slick pompadour and purple cape for themselves. Simply put, artists like Black Joe Lewis and King Khan would have never been possible without the hardest-working man in show business.
Joe Strummer (December 22, 2002)
It's hard to think of many deaths that hit the punk rock world as deep and crushing as the tragic passing of Joe Strummer. The former Clash front man was felled by a congenital heart defect, making the 50 years we had with him all the more precious. A documentary about his life, The Future Is Unwritten, is crucial and recommended viewing, as our the albums he made with his band the Mescaleros.
The Ramones (April 15, 2001; June 5, 2002; September 15, 2004)
Within the span of three years, the world lost the lifeblood of the monolithic Ramones. Joey, Dee Dee and Johnny died in succession from 2001 to 2004 forever putting an end to the order of the Brudders. Joey fought valiantly against lymphoma, Dee Dee overdosed sadly (and predictably) overdosed on heroin, and Johnny was finally felled by prostate cancer after a five-year struggle. Original drummer/producer Tommy Ramone remains the band's last surviving member.