On December 27, 1978, Christopher Branford Bell died aged 27. He was songwriter and musician (guitar, singer), best known as founding member, guitarist and singer of the band Big Star. His work has inspired, and his songs were covered by many musicians and bands including R.E.M., Wilco, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, Afghan Whigs, Pete Yorn, Beck The Posies, and The Replacements. In 2013, “Magnolia Pictures” released documentary “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me”, which documented his life and work. In 2018, the book “There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star”, was published, also dealing with his life and music. Bell’s album “I Am the Cosmos” was posthumously released in 1992.
On December 26, 2012, Fontella Marie Bass died aged 72. She was musician (piano, singer) and songwriter, collaborated with Little Milton, Bobby McClure (The Oliver Sain Soul Revue featuring Fontella and Bobby McClure), Maurice White, David Bowie, Minnie Ripeton and Art Ensemble of Chicago. She recorded 8 albums during her career.
On December 25, 2009, James Victor Chesnutt died aged 45. He was songwriter and musician (guitar, singer), Chesnutt collaborated with many musicians and bands including Bob Mould, Widespread Panic, Elf Power, Danger Mouse, Lambchop, Bill Frisell and Jonathan Richman. He recorded 17 albums during his career.
On September 29, 2018, Otis Rush died aged 84. He was singer, guitarist and songwriter, together with Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, regarded as creator of the West Side Chicago blues style. In 1984, Rush was elected to the “Blues Hall of Fame”; in 2015, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked him at number 53 on its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists”; in 2018, “Jazz Foundation of America” honored Rush with a “Lifetime Achievement Award”. Rush influenced many musicians, including Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton.
On August 16, 2018, Aretha Louise Franklin died aged 76. She was singer and songwriter, with more than six decades long career. In the 60’, with songs “Respect”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”, “Spanish Harlem” and “Think”, she achieved commercial acclaim and success and gained the title “The Queen of Soul”. Franklin has won 18 “Grammy Awards” and is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having sold over 80 million records worldwide. In 1987 she was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, becaming the first female performer to be inducted. In 2005, Franklin was inducted to the “UK Music Hall of Fame” and in 2012; she was inducted into the “GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame”. “Rolling Stone” magazine included Aretha in its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”, and the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”.