It's a scary list. Whitney Houston, Dave Brubeck, Davy Jones, Andy Williams, Etta James, Dory Previn, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Bert Weedon, and even the man who made the Marshall amp, to name but a few. Suddenly an entire generation of our greatest musical artists starts slipping away.
As a childhood fan of Hollywood movies and an avid admirer of their screen gods and goddesses, I remember how bereft it left me to see stars of the calibre of Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles, Greta Garbo, Mae West and Cary Grant pass away. Marilyn Monroe's death still reverberates today. These people embodied US-centric Western popular culture for generations and have rarely (if ever) been equalled.
Running in tandem and blossoming later in the 1950s and 60s — both artistically and commercially — an era of musicians created the soundtrack to our lives. We're now at the point where these post-war artists are tipping over the death ledge in serious numbers.
The authors of the peak of western culture are disappearing and, with very few exceptions of whom hardly any reach the mainstream, are not being replaced by fresh generations of writers and performers capable of exploring our inner world, or examining where we are — politically and emotionally — in the cosmos. The soundtrack to our civilisation's demise is the scream of time being killed and the ker-ching of tills.
The Guardian's list of musicians who died in 2012.
Charles Shaar Murray's The Guitar Geek Dossier available on Amazon as an eBook for less than the price of a pint.