While the end of another decade brings with it excitement for the future, it also provides an opportunity to look back over the past 10 years. But unfortunately, the 2010s were a very tough decade for music lovers. While the deaths of these artists created a huge void in music, they left behind lasting legacies. Of course, not every death was headline grabbing as others they all impacted someone. The wonderful thing of music is that everyone has their own taste and an artist can affect one person very different from another.
These are just a few example of artists that have left their stamp on the music world that passed in the 2010s.
In Alphabetical Order: 40 Music Artists that Pasted in the 2010s (2010 – 2019)
Adam Yauch, Beastie Boys
Adam Yauch was an American rapper and bass player who was a founding member of the hip hop group Beastie Boys. He used the stage name MCA. His band the Beastie Boys released their first album when Yauch was 22 and sold 40 million records worldwide by 2010. In April 2012, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
In 2009, Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous parotid gland and lymph node. Adam Yauch died at age 47 on May 4, 2012.
Amy Winehouse was an English singer and songwriter. She won five Grammy Awards for her 2006 album Back to Black, and is remembered for songs like “Rehab,” “Back to Black” and “Valerie.” After her death, her album Back to Black became, for a time, the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century. It is also listed as one of the best-selling albums in UK chart history.
Amy died July 23, 2011, at age 27.
Howard Andrew Williams was an American singer. He recorded 43 albums in his career, of which 15 have been gold-certified and 3 platinum-certified. He was also nominated for six Grammy Awards. He hosted The Andy Williams Show, a television variety show, from 1962 to 1971, and numerous TV specials. We think his greatest musical work is the Christmas song, It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
In fact, Williams recorded eight Christmas albums over the years and was known as “Mr. Christmas“, due to his perennial Christmas specials and the success of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year“.
Andy died on September 25, 2012 at age 84.
Aretha Franklin, “Queen of Soul”
Aretha Franklin passed away on August 16, 2018, In Detroit, MI.
Avicii, real name Tim Bergling
Tim Bergling, known professionally as Avicii, was a Swedish DJ, electronic musician, and songwriter. At the age of 16, Bergling began posting his remixes on electronic music forums, which led to his first record deal. He quickly became one of the most popular DJs of the late-2000s. His breakout hit, “Levels.” was certified platinum across the globe and he soon became a fixture at both festivals and on the radio.
Tim Bergling, Avicii, died on 20 April 2018 near at the age of 28. On 1 May, TMZ reported that the cause of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries with a broken wine bottle, and he eventually dying of blood loss.
B.B. King, “King of Blues”
Ben E King, The Drifters and Solo
R&B and soul singer Ben E King, best known for the classic song Stand By Me, has died at the age of 76. King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing hits including There Goes My Baby and Save The Last Dance For Me. After going solo, he hit the US top five with Stand By Me in 1961.
Ben E. King died on April 30, 2015. He was 76 years old.
Chris Cornell, Soundgarden & Audioslave
Born Christopher John Boyle, Chris Cornell was a rock musician who served as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the band ‘Soundgarden’ and vocalist for ‘Audioslave.’
Cornell is considered one of the chief architects of the 1990s grunge movement. Across his entire catalog, Cornell has sold 14.8 million albums, 8.8 million digital songs, and 300 million on-demand audio streams in the U.S. alone, as well as over 30 million records worldwide. He was nominated for 16 Grammy Awards and won three.
Chris Cornell struggled with depression for most of his life. He was found deceased in his Detroit hotel room early on the morning of May 18, 2017. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
Chester Bennington, Linkin Park
Chester Bennington was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. He was best known as the lead vocalist for Linkin Park.
Bennington first gained prominence as a vocalist following the release of Linkin Park’s debut album Hybrid Theory (2000), which was a worldwide commercial success. The album was certified Diamond in 2005, making it the best-selling debut album of the decade, as well as one of the few albums ever to achieve that many sales.
On July 20, 2017, Bennington was found dead at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, California. His death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry was an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Berry is considered one of, if not the greatest of the pioneer rock-and-roll artists. His catalog of early rock hits includes some of the most iconic songs of the genre, many of which became hits again when covered by later artists. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame includes three of Berry’s songs—”Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” and “Rock & Roll Music“—among its “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.”
On March 18, 2017, police in St. Charles County, Missouri, were called to Berry’s house, near Wentzville, Missouri, where he was found unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at the scene, aged 90, by his personal physician.
David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie, was an English rock star known for dramatic musical transformations, including his character Ziggy Stardust. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Bowie was a leading figure in the music industry and is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the world’s best-selling music artists.
On January 10 2016, two days after his 69th birthday, Bowie died from liver cancer in his New York City apartment. He had been diagnosed 18 months earlier but had not made the news of his illness public.
Davy Jones, The Monkees
David Jones was an English singer-songwriter, musician, and actor, best known as the lead singer and member of the band the Monkees, and for starring in the TV series of the same name. Jones was considered a teen idol. The Monkees was created to be a fictional band for a TV show called The Monkees. But, the success of the show led to the actor-musicians becoming one of the most successful bands of the 1960s. The Monkees have sold more than 75 million records worldwide making them one of the biggest selling groups of all time with international hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville“, “Pleasant Valley Sunday“, “Daydream Believer“, and “I’m a Believer“.
On the morning of February 29, 2012, Jones was pronounced dead of a severe heart attack resulting from arteriosclerosis.
Dolores O’Riordan, The Cranberries
Dolores Mary Eileen O’Riordan was an Irish musician, singer and songwriter. She was the lead vocalist for alternative rock band The Cranberries from 1990 until they took a six-year hiatus in 2003. They later reunited in 2009, disbanding in 2019 following her death. The Cranberries rose to international fame in the 1990s and achieved five top 20 albums on the Billboard 200 chart as well as having eight top 20 singles on the Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Donna Summer, “Queen of Disco”
LaDonna Adrian Gaines, widely known by her stage name based on her married name Donna Summer, was an American singer, songwriter and actress. She gained prominence during the disco era of the late 1970s and became known as the “Queen of Disco“. Donna originally recorded her first disco hits in Europe, “Love to Love You Baby” and “I Feel Love”, marking her breakthrough into an international career. Summer returned to the United States in 1975, and other huge hits such as “Last Dance”, “MacArthur Park”, “Hot Stuff”, “Bad Girls”, and “On the Radio.” Summer earned a total of 42 hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100 in her lifetime, with 14 of those reaching the top-ten.
Summer died on May 17, 2012, from lung cancer, at her home in Naples, Florida.
Edward Joseph Mahoney known professionally as Eddie Money, was an American rock singer and songwriter who had success in the 1970s and 1980s with 11 Top 40 songs including “Baby Hold On“& “Two Tickets to Paradise“. Money was known as a working-class rocker with a husky voice. In 1987, he was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for “Take Me Home Tonight”.
In July 2019, Money underwent heart valve surgery and contracted pneumonia, causing him to cancel tour dates. Money had been a cigarette smoker for years. On August 24, 2019, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. Complications from the cancer resulted in his death in a Los Angeles hospital on September 13, 2019, at age 70.
Etta James, born Jamesetta Hawkins, was an American singer who performed in various genres, including blues, R&B, soul, rock and roll, jazz and gospel. Starting her career in 1954, she gained fame with hits such as “The Wallflower“, “At Last“. She faced a number of personal problems, including heroin addiction, severe physical abuse, and incarceration, before making a musical comeback in the late 1980s.
She won six Grammy Awards and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Rolling Stone magazine ranked James number 22 on its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.
She was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2011. The illness became terminal, and she died on January 20, 2012, five days before her 74th birthday.
Antoine “Fats” Domino Jr. was an American pianist and singer-songwriter. One of the pioneers of rock and roll music, Domino sold more than 65 million records. Between 1955 and 1960, he had eleven Top 10 hits. During his career, Domino had 35 records in the U.S. Billboard Top 40, and five of his pre-1955 records sold more than a million copies, being certified gold.
His 1949 release “The Fat Man” is widely regarded as the first million-selling rock and roll record. His two most famous songs are “Ain’t That A Shame” and “Blueberry Hill“.
Domino died on October 24, 2017, at his home in Harvey, Louisiana, at the age of 89, from natural causes.
George Glenn Jones was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He achieved international fame for his long list of hit records, including his best-known song “He Stopped Loving Her Today“, as well as his distinctive voice and phrasing.
For the last twenty years of his life, Jones was frequently referred to as the greatest living country singer.He served in the United States Marine Corps and was discharged in 1953. Years of alcoholism compromised his health and led to his missing many performances, earning him the nickname “No Show Jones“.
During his career, Jones had more than 150 hits, both as a solo artist and in duets.
Jones died April 26, 2013 at age 81 from hypoxic respiratory failure.
George Michael, Wham! and Solo
George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was an English singer, songwriter, record producer, and philanthropist who rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham! and later embarked on a solo career. Michael has sold over 80 million records worldwide making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He achieved seven number one songs on the UK Singles Chart and eight number one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100. He was widely known for his success in the 1980s and 1990s, including Wham! singles such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Last Christmas” and solo singles such as “Careless Whisper” and “Faith“.
In the early hours of Christmas, December 25 2016, George Michael died in bed at his home in Goring-on-Thames, aged 53.
Gerald Rafferty was a Scottish rock singer-songwriter. His solo hits in the late 1970s included “Baker Street“, “Right Down the Line” and “Night Owl“, as well as “Stuck in the Middle with You“, recorded with the band Stealers Wheel in 1973.
In November 2010, Rafferty was admitted to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital where he was put on a life-support machine and treated for multiple organ failure. After being taken off life support, Rafferty rallied for a short time, and doctors thought that he might recover. Rafferty died of liver failure at the home of his daughter Martha in Stroud, Gloucestershire, on January 4 2011.
Glen Campbell was a country music legend known for such hits as “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” The peak of his music career came in 1960s and 1970s, and gained further fame for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television, from January 1969 until June 1972. He released over 70 albums in a career that spanned five decades, selling over 45 million records worldwide, including twelve gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album.
In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six months earlier. Campbell died in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 8, 2017, at the age of 81.
Glenn Frey, Eagles and Solo
Glenn Lewis Frey was an American singer, songwriter, actor and founding member of the rock band the Eagles. Frey was the co-lead singer and frontman for the Eagles, roles he came to share with fellow member Don Henley, with whom he wrote most of the Eagles’ material.
Frey also had a hand in writing the Eagles’ “One of These Nights,” “Take It to The Limit” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” with the guitarist contributing lead vocals to the latter. The Eagles would reach their peak in 1976 with their landmark Hotel California, with the title track – penned by Frey, Henley and guitarist Don Felder – winning the Grammy for Record of the Year; “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane” (the latter written by Frey, Henley and Joe Walsh) would become classic rock staples, and the LP itself would place Number 37 on Rolling Stone‘s all-time list.
As a solo artist, Frey enjoyed a string of hits that included the Beverly Hills Cop track “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City.”
From about 2000, Frey had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, which affected various joints of his body. The medication that he was prescribed to control the disease eventually led to colitis and pneumonia, and in November 2015, the Eagles announced that they were postponing their appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors because Frey required surgery for intestinal problems and needed a lengthy recovery period. He never had the surgery due to complications from pneumonia and was placed in a medically induced coma at Columbia University Medical Center. Frey died there on January 18, 2016, at the age of 67 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.
Greg Allman, Allman Brothers Band
Gregory Allman was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He was known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band. Allman grew up with an interest in rhythm and blues music, and the Allman Brothers Band fused it with rock music, jazz, and country at times. He wrote several of the band’s biggest songs, including “Whipping Post“, “Melissa“, and “Midnight Rider“. He and his brother, Duane Allman, formed the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, which reached mainstream success with their 1971 live album At Fillmore East. Shortly thereafter, Duane was killed in a motorcycle crash.
Allman was referred to as a Southern rock pioneer and received numerous awards, including one Grammy Award; he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His distinctive voice placed him in 70th place in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time“.
Allman died at his home in Richmond Hill, Georgia, on May 27, 2017, due to complications from liver cancer at the age of 69.
John Robert Cocker OBE, better known as Joe Cocker, was an English singer. He was known for his gritty voice, spasmodic body movement in performance, and distinctive versions of popular songs of varying genres. Cocker’s recording of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” reached number one in the UK in 1968. He performed the song live at Woodstock in 1969. His version also became the theme song for the TV series The Wonder Years. Cocker was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone‘s 100 greatest singers list.
Cocker died from lung cancer on 22 December 2014 at the age of 70. He had smoked 40 cigarettes a day until he quit in 1991.
Levon Helm, The Band
Mark Lavon “Levon” Helm was an American musician and actor who achieved fame as the drummer and one of the vocalists for The Band. Helm was known for his deeply soulful, country-accented voice, multi-instrumental ability, and creative drumming style, highlighted on many of The Band’s recordings, such as “The Weight“, “Up on Cripple Creek“, and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“.
Helm died on April 19, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. due to complications from throat cancer at age 71.
Lou Reed, The Velvet Underground & Solo
Lewis Reed, Lou, was an American musician, singer, songwriter and poet. He was the rhythm/lead guitarist, singer and principal songwriter for the rock band The Velvet Underground and had a solo career that spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground was not a commercial success during its existence, but became regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of underground and alternative rock music.
Reed had suffered from hepatitis and diabetes for several years. In May 2013, he underwent a liver transplant but on October 27, 2013, he died from liver disease at his home in East Hampton, New York, at the age of 71.
Maurice White, Earth, Wind & Fire
Maurice White was an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and arranger. He was the founder and leader of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. White served as the band’s main songwriter, record producer and co-lead singer with Philip Bailey. Earth, Wind & Fire is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, Latin, and Afro pop. They have been described as one of the most innovative and commercially successful acts of all time.
White died in his sleep from the effects of Parkinson’s disease at his home in Los Angeles, California, on the morning of February 4, 2016. He was 74 years old.
Malcolm James McCormick, known professionally as Mac Miller, was an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Miller began his career in the city’s hip hop scene in 2007, at the age of fifteen. Miller struggled with substance abuse, which was often referenced in his lyrics.
On September 7, 2018, Miller was found unresponsive in his Studio City home by his personal assistant. Miller was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:51 a.m. The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office determined that Miller died from an accidental drug overdose due to a “mixed drug toxicity” of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol.
Merle Ronald Haggard was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler. Haggard was born in Oildale, California, during the Great Depression. His childhood was troubled after the death of his father, and he was incarcerated several times in his youth. He gained popularity with his songs about the working class that occasionally contained themes contrary to the prevailing anti-Vietnam War sentiment of much popular music of the time.
Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country charts, several of which also made the Billboard all-genre singles chart.
He died on April 6, 2016 — his 79th birthday — at his ranch in Shasta County, California, having recently suffered from double pneumonia.
Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead
Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister was an English singer, songwriter, and musician, best known as the founder, lead singer, bassist, and primary songwriter of the heavy metal band Motörhead. Lemmy’s music was one of the foundations of the heavy metal genre.
He was known for his appearance, including his friendly mutton chops; gravelly, raspy singing voice, which was declared “one of the most recognisable voices in rock”.
Lemmy continued to record and tour regularly with Motörhead until his death in December 2015 in Los Angeles, California, where he had lived since 1990.
He died on 28 December 2015 of prostate cancer.
Natalie Cole was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Cole was the daughter of American singer and jazz pianist Nat King Cole. She rose to success in the mid-1970s as an R&B singer with the hits “This Will Be“, “Inseparable” (1975), and “Our Love” (1977). She sold over 30 million records worldwide.
On December 31, 2015, Cole died at the age of 65 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, due to congestive heart failure.
Nathaniel Dwayne Hale, known professionally as Nate Dogg, was an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and actor. Hale began his career as a member of the Long Beach, California rap trio 213, alongside his longtime friend Warren G and cousin Snoop Dogg. He eventually pursued a solo career.
Nate Dogg is regarded as one of the pioneers of G-funk and West Coast hip hop.
Nate Dogg died in March 15, 2011 due to complications from multiple strokes.
Ermias Joseph Asghedom, known professionally as Nipsey Hussle (often stylized as Nipsey Hu$$le), was an American rapper, entrepreneur, and activist. Emerging from the West Coast hip hop scene in the mid-2000s.
Hussle was also known for his entrepreneurship, Hussle inaugurated the Marathon Clothing store, which he founded along with partners Carless, the head of the agency, Karen Civil and his brother Samiel Asghedom in 2017, and started a co-working environment which he named “Vector 90”.
On March 31, 2019, Hussle was fatally shot outside his store Marathon Clothing in South Los Angeles.
Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, dancer, actor, and filmmaker. A guitar virtuoso known for his genre-crossing work, falsetto singing voice and flamboyant stage appearances, Prince is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time. His innovative music integrated a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, new wave, soul, psychedelia, and pop.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Prince gained critical success, prominently showcasing his explicit lyrics as well as blending of funk, dance, and rock music. In 1984, he began referring to his backup band as The Revolution and released Purple Rain, the soundtrack album to his successful film debut of the same name.
Prince sold over 130 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He won seven Grammy Awards, seven Brit Awards, six American Music Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, an Academy Award, and a Golden Globe Award.
Prince was 57 when he was found alone and unresponsive in an elevator at his Paisley Park estate on April 21, 2016. Public data released six weeks after his death showed he died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin.
Ric Ocasek, The Cars
Richard Otcasek, known as Ric Ocasek, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer and painter. He was the lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the rock band the Cars. In addition to his work with the Cars, Ocasek recorded seven solo albums. In 2018, Ocasek was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Cars.
Ocasek was found dead at his New York City townhouse on September 15, 2019, where he had been recovering from surgery. He was 75 years old. The Chief Medical Examiner office reported that Ocasek died from natural causes. He suffered from both hypertensive heart and coronary artery disease.
Robin Gibb, Bee Gees
Robin Gibb was a British singer, songwriter and record producer, who gained worldwide fame as a member of the pop group the Bee Gees with older brother Barry and fraternal twin brother Maurice. Robin Gibb also had his own successful solo career.
With record sales estimated in excess of 200 million units, the Bee Gees became one of the most successful pop groups of all time.
On May 20, 2012, Gibb died at the age of 62 from liver and kidney failure brought on by colorectal cancer.
Ronnie James Dio
Ronald James Padavona, known professionally as Ronnie James Dio or simply Dio, was an American heavy metal singer-songwriter and composer, and was also known for popularizing the sign of the horns in heavy metal.
In 1975, Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore founded the band Rainbow and hired Dio to be his lead singer where the band released three studio albums. Dio quickly emerged as one of heavy rock’s pre-eminent vocalists. In 1979, Dio joined Black Sabbath as lead singer. He appeared on three studio albums with the band. In 1982, he left the band to pursue a solo career with two albums certified platinum by RIAA. In 2006, he founded the band Heaven & Hell with ex-bandmate Tony Iommi.
Dio was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2009, from which he died the following year. Ronnie James Dio died May 16, 2010. He was 67.
Scott Weiland, Stone Temple Pilots & Velvet Revolver
Scott Weiland was an American musician, singer and songwriter. During a career spanning three decades, Weiland was best known as the lead singer of the band Stone Temple Pilots from 1989 to 2002 and 2008 to 2013, making six records with them. He was also lead vocalist of supergroup Velvet Revolver from 2003 to 2008. He also established himself as a solo artist. Weiland has been ranked in the Top 100 Heavy Metal Vocalists by Hit Parader (No. 57).
Weiland was found dead on his tour bus on December 3, 2015, in Bloomington, Minnesota, while on tour with the Wildabouts. He was 48.
Thomas Petty was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch, and was also a member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.
Petty died at the age of 66, of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs, one week after the completion of the Heartbreakers’ 40th anniversary tour.
Whitney Houston was an American singer and actress. She was cited as the most awarded female artist of all time by Guinness World Records and remains one of the best-selling music artists of all time with 200 million records sold worldwide. Houston released seven studio albums and two soundtrack albums, all of which have been certified diamond, multi-platinum, platinum, or gold.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The coroner’s report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors.