The Year in Music 2022: Meat Loaf, Christine McVie & Olivia Newton-John among those who passed this year


It always hurts when our favorite musicians pass away, and 2022 was no exception, with several beloved artists leaving us this year.

It was a year that started with a great loss: on January 20 Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, died at the age of 74. Although no cause of death was ever announced, he had been plagued with health issues in recent years. He also reportedly had COVID before his death, although it was never confirmed he died from it.

After battling breast cancer for decades, Olivia Newton-John lost her fight and passed away August 8 at the age of 73. The singer-actress had been in remission for more than 20 years when her cancer returned in 2017.

Just two days after TMZ erroneously reported his death, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Lee Lewis passed away October 28 at his home in Mississippi. He was 87.

And on November 30 music fans were left shocked when Fleetwood Mac co-lead vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie died at the age of 79. Her family shared that she died “peacefully at [the] hospital” after “a short illness.” While paying tribute to her bandmate and friend, Stevie Nicks revealed that she hadn’t known McVie was ill until a few days before her death.

Here’s a list of the many music figures who died in 2022, in chronological order:

Rosa Lee Hawkins, an original member of the New Orleans R&B vocal trio The Dixie Cups, best known for their song “Chapel of Love,” died January 11. She was 76.

Ronnie Spector, former lead singer of the Ronnettes, passed away January 12 at the age of 78 after a short battle with cancer.

Blood, Sweat & Tears co-founder Dick Halligan died January 18 from natural causes in Rome, Italy. He was 78.

Don Wilson, the last surviving member of the instrumental surf rock quartet The Ventures, died January 22 of natural causes at the age of 88.

Sly Johnson, best known for his 1967 classic “Different Strokes,” died February 6 at the age of 85.

Procol Harum’s founder and lead singer, Gary Booker, died February 19 after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Guitarist Joe Messina, an original member of the Motown session musicians known as The Funk Brothers, died April 4 in Northville, Michigan, at age 93.

1960s teen idol Bobby Rydell, best known for hits like “We Got Love” and “Wild One,” passed away April 5 from complications from pneumonia. He was 79.

Re Styles, former vocalist for The Tubes, died April 17 at the age of 72.

Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Andrew Woolfolk died April 24 after a long illness. He was 71.

Oscar-winning composer Vangelis, best known for his Chariots of Fire score, died May 17 at the age of 79. He passed away at a French hospital, where he was being treated for an undisclosed illness.

Yes drummer and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Alan White passed away May 26 after a short illness. He was 72.

Alec John Such, the original bassist for the rock band Bon Jovi, died June 4 of natural causes at the age of 70.

Seals and Crofts’ Jim Seals passed away June 6 after suffering a “chronic ongoing illness.” He was 80.

William “Poogie” Hart, the lead singer of legendary Philadelphia soul group The Delfonics, died July 14 at age 77.

Sam Gooden, an original member of the soul group The Impressions, died of a heart attack on August 4 at the age of 87.

Olivia Newton-John lost her decadeslong battle with breast cancer on August 8. She passed away at her home in California at the age of 73.

Motown great Lamont Dozier, one-third of the songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland, passed away August 8 at the age of 81.

Jerry Allison, best known for being the drummer with Buddy Holly‘s band The Crickets, died from cancer on August 22, nine days before his 83rd birthday.

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Lee Lewis, aka The Killer, passed away October 28 at his home in Mississippi. He was 87.

Singer and actress Irene Cara, who starred in and sung the title song of the movie Fame, and topped the charts with the Flashdance tune “Flashdance… What a Feeling,” died November 25 at the age of 63.

Fleetwood Mac’s co-lead vocalist, songwriter and keyboardist Christine McVie died November 30 after a short illness. She was 79.

The Rascals drummer Dino Danelli passed away December 15 at the age of 78.

Rick Anderson, bassist and co-founding member of the band The Tubes, passed away December 16 at the age of 75.

Just 16 months after Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away, his wife, Shirley Watts, died December 16 at the age of 84.

Terry Hall, lead singer of the influential British band The Specials, died December 18 at the age of 63. In addition to his work with that band, he also co-wrote The Go-Go’s debut single, “Our Lips Are Sealed,” with his then-girlfriend, Jane Wiedlin.

Thom Bell, one of the members of “The Mighty Three” architects of the Philadelphia soul sound, which also included Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, passed away December 22 at the age of 79.


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