Remembering music’s dear departed

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star


We never really forget our departed loved ones. We just get used to the pain we feel inside because they are no longer around. At this time of the year though, we think not only of them but of all the souls who have gone ahead of us. Here are some of them that music lost this past year.

Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communications; 89 years old, of a lingering illness last Sept. 28. Librettist, teacher, movie critic, freedom fighter. He wrote the book for musicals like Noli Me Tangere, Tales from the Manuvu, Bayani, Rama Hari and others.

Sue Thompson, 96, of age-related issues last Sept. 23. Country and pop music star with hits like Sad Movies (Make Me Cry) and Norman.

Jane Powell, 92, of age-related issues last Sept. 16. She was a star of Hollywood musicals during the ‘50s. Among her memorable pictures were Rich, Young and Pretty, Royal Wedding, Athena and Small Town Girl.

Renato de la Rosa, also known as Alon, 61, of COVID-19 last Sept. 16. Singer and songwriter is best-known for Pusong Bato.

Charlie Watts, 80, of a heart attack last Aug. 24. Hall of Fame drummer and founding member of the Rolling Stones. He remained with the band for 58 years.

Don Everly, 84, of an undisclosed cause last Aug. 21. He was half of the Everly Brothers, who brought country music to the rock ‘n roll era with hits that included Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have to do is Dream, Till I Kissed You and many more. His brother Phil died in 2014 at the age of 84.

Wally Gonzalez, 71 years old, died in his sleep last July 23. Bluesman and guitarist of the legendary Juan de la Cruz Band. Along with Joey “Pepe” Smith and Mike Hanopol, he pioneered Pinoy Rock.

B.J. Thomas, 78, of lung cancer last May 29. He was a pop and country singer famous for Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head, I Just Can’t Help Believing and Hooked on a Feeling.

Rey Reyes, 51, of a heart attack last April 30. Rey was a member of the Puerto Rican group Menudo and was a big favorite when the boys came to perform here during the early ‘80s.

Victor Wood, 75, of COVID-19 last April 23. The Jukebox King dominated music sales during the ‘70s with Eternally, Mr. Lonely, I’m Sorry My Love, Sweet Caroline and other hits.

Jim Steinman, 73, of kidney failure last April 19. Singer-songwriter’s compositions included Total Eclipse of the Heart, It’s All Coming Back to Me and I’d Do Anything for Love.

Nestor Torre Jr., 78, of COVID-19 last April 6. Nestor was a teacher, writer, film, television and theater director, TV host, actor, newspaper editor and columnist. Among the musicals he directed were Katy and Magsimula Ka, for which he also wrote the book.

Claire de la Fuente, 62, of COVID-19 last March 30. Popularly known as Claire, she had a huge hit during the late ‘70s with Sayang.

Chick Corea, 79, of cancer last Feb. 9. He was a jazz-pop musician who created the iconic Return to Forever album and hit singles like Spain and 500 Miles High.

Mary Wilson, 76, of heart disease last Feb. 8. Wilson formed The Supremes with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard as teenagers. She took over the lead vocals when Ross left the group to go solo. She is best known for Where is It I Belong.

Jimmie Rodgers, 87, of a heart attack last Jan. 18. He was a country music star who crossed over to pop with hits like Honeycomb, Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, Secretly and others.

Phil Spector, 81, of COVID-19 last Jan. 16. A Hall of Fame music producer, Spector is credited with introducing the innovative and later greatly influential Wall of Sound style.

Gerry Marsden, 78, of a blood infection last Jan. 3. He was the lead singer of the British group Gerry and the Pacemakers with hits Ferry Cross the Mersey, Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying, I’ll be There and the iconic football theme version of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Chad Stuart, 79, of pneumonia last Dec. 20. He was half of the Chad and Jeremy duo who had hits like A Summer Song, Yesterday’s Gone, What Do You Want with Me and Willow Weep for Me.

Freddie Santos, 64, after a long illness last Dec. 17. Santos was a librettist, TV and theater director, actor and songwriter. Among his works were the cantata, First Name: Joseph the Dreamer, and the hit song Points of View by Pops Fernandez and Joey Albert.

April Boy Regino, 59, of kidney failure last Nov. 29. The Filipino jukebox idol popularized hits like Umiiyak ang Puso, Esperanza and Kahapong Nagdaan.

Jamir Garcia, 42, last Nov. 26. He was lead vocalist of the metal band Slapshock, famous for songs like Cariño Brutal and Anino Mo.

And to end, I would like to add Ricky Lo, entertainment editor of The Philippine STAR, who suddenly passed away last May 4. Ricky was no musician but he loved music and had to have a music column in his section. It was sweet on his part to viber friends his favorite songs each morning to open the day.

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