The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.

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A Tribute to Music in 2016

Brendan Lordan, '17, Staff Writer

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2016 has taken a toll on all of us in a variety of ways, but the music community may have been hit the hardest. This year, the world has lost some of the most influential and inspiring musicians, performers, singers, and pop icons to ever take the stage, drop a beat, or otherwise shape the world around them. From the revolutionary rhymes of the “Trini gladiator”, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, to the many flamboyant personas of David Bowie, the curtain has closed on far too many acts this year. Whatever you personally may choose to listen to, the diversity of these passed on artists is sure to have contributed to nearly every song you hear today. Their impact on the musical world has been widespread and appreciated, so it is time to pay tribute.

Leonard Cohen (1934-2016, 82 years): Besides writing one of the most popular and covered songs of all time, “Hallelujah,” Cohen stands alongside Bob Dylan and Neil Young as an incredible lyricist that kept folk music alive through the 21st century. From origins as a poet and novelist in the 1950’s and ‘60s to a stunning final album in early 2016, Leonard Cohen has kept the avenue open for wordsmiths and The Smiths alike.

David Bowie (1947-2016, 69 years): When David Bowie died, we didn’t just lose one man, but 6: Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, Major Tom, Jaron the Goblin King. This list of different characters Bowie played over his music career is the ultimate display of his range and ingenuity. Bowie’s strides in glam and stadium rock set the stage for huge theatrical acts like Muse, Radiohead and Queen.

Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor (1970-2016, 45 years): In the decades before the self-proclaimed “funky diabetic” succumbed to complications from his Type-1 Diabetes, Phife Dawg paved the way for modern rap through his work in the revolutionary hip-hop trio, A Tribe Called Quest. From Quest’s humble beginnings in the 1985 rap scene to their chart-topping album, We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, Phife’s combination of innovation and tradition has inspired artists like Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole to keep pushing rap towards fresher territory.

Prince (1958-2016, 57 years): It’s difficult to describe Prince’s influence because of how diverse his talent was. Not only did he write and perform everything from soul to psychedelia, but his skills as a record producer and writer led to the popularity and discovery of musicians like The Bangles, Alicia Keys, and Sinead O’Connor. Even after his death, Prince stands out as a symbol (figuratively and literally) of extravagance and innovation that multi-talented musicians everywhere can aspire to.

Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson (Both 1941-2016, 74 years): The two founding members of Jefferson Airplane, joined and left the world in as clear of a harmony as they put into their music. With hits like “Somebody to Love”, “White Rabbit”, and “Volunteers,” the two set in motion a unique blend of folk and psychedelia that defined the 1960s counterculture movement. Their success brought them to headline Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival, and other high profile events of the decade and helped bring a never before seen wave of experimentation to pop music.

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake (1944 and 1947-2016, 71 and 69 years old): It’s nearly impossible to mention experimentation in popular music without coming across the fathers of progressive rock, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. From their formation in 1970 to their dissolution in 1979, ELP produced some of the most influential experimentation in modern music.

Glenn Frey (1948-2016, 67 years): Best known as a founding member, singer, and guitarist for the 1970s rock staple, The Eagles, Frey was responsible for some of the most genre-defining music of 70s rock. Aside from a lengthy solo career, Frey co-wrote and performed rock classics like “Hotel California,” “Take it Easy,” “Take it to the Limit,” and albums more. At the time of Frey’s death, the Eagles’ compilation album, Their Greatest Hits, was the sixth best selling album of all time.

While we’re tempted to mourn for these fallen giants of modern music, their sound lives on through the songs they inspired. From Gorillaz’ subtle nods at ELP’s synth-heavy pieces to Childish Gambino’s new Prince-inspired album, Awaken, My Love!, the echoes of modern artists’ predecessors still ring through the halls of popular music. As a tribute to them, let us keep an ear open for their lingering echoes as the music industry and world continues to evolve and grow. While we are sure to miss these fallen legends, the beauty of music is its ability to outlive its creator and impact generations.

 

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
A Tribute to Music in 2016