In Memoriam: Musicians And Industry Giants We Lost In 2011

Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band passed on in 2011.
For Rocks Off, one of the creepiest parts of our job is to report on deaths in the industry. Now matter how old or young the musician or mogul is, it's hard to try to quantify a person's life over the course of a few hundred words. How can you? Professional obit writers must be touched by the hand of God to be able to do this numerous times daily.

2011 was a rough year for Houston, losing blues legend Earl Gilliam, Clip D, and Kathy Johnston of the Mydolls. Huey P. Meaux, the onetime studio and record-label owner and chart-topping producer who helped define the Gulf Coast sound through hits by the Sir Douglas Quintet, Freddy Fender and Barbara Lynn, died in April at the age of 82. He's going to be remembered not only for his hit-making heyday, but also his more tawdry dealings too.

Sadly the most shocking, non-shocking death this year was Amy Winehouse, who died July 23 after a life of booze and drugs. Her death at 27 put her into the vaunted 27 Club along with all the other miscreants who shuffled off this mortal coil. It's hard not to be angry about this one, seeing that almost every outlet was at her disposal to clean up, and she had the entire music industry rallying behind her, but it was not enough.

I compiled a gigantic list of all the deceased this year, along with links to proper obits. The Houston-centric names are listed at the end, along with a young fellow from Dallas whose early demise ripped out a bit of the heart of our friends to the north, the Dallas Observer. We could feel their loss in their words and comments.

Amy Winehouse

Clarence Clemons

Poly Styrene

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Reg Burns
Reg Burns

Still haven't figured out why lists of people who passed during the year are always published before the end of the year...what's the hurry?  I feel extra bad for the folks who die the last couple of days of December, they're always left off the list.

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