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An appreciation of the work by some of the musicians who died in 2022

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

Let's spend a little time appreciating the work of some of the musicians who died in 2022. It was a tough year for those who love the sound of Philadelphia. Philly soul lost a few of its architects, such as producer and songwriter Thom Bell, studio owner Joe Tarsia, and William Hart, singer with the Delfonics.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LA-LA - MEANS I LOVE YOU")

THE DELFONICS: (Singing) All I know is la la la la la la la la means I love you.

MARTÍNEZ: In January, we lost a legendary voice - Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BE MY BABY")

THE RONETTES: (Singing) So won't you please - be my, be my baby - be my little baby? My one and only baby...

MARTÍNEZ: And in August, one of the greatest songwriters in Motown history died. Lamont Dozier co-wrote smash hits such as "Baby Love," "Reach Out," "I'll Be There," "You Keep Me Hanging On" and this one for the Supremes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE")

THE SUPREMES: (Singing) Stop in the name of love, before you break my heart...

MARTÍNEZ: Two jazz legends died in September. Pianist Ramsey Lewis brought swing to pop songs.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE RAMSEY LEWIS TRIO'S "THE IN CROWD")

MARTÍNEZ: And saxophonist Pharoah Sanders took the spirit of John Coltrane into new territories.

(SOUNDBITE OF PHAROAH SANDERS' "THE CREATOR HAS A MASTER PLAN")

MARTÍNEZ: A Pulitzer Prize-winning composer died in February. George Crumb wrote works as tender as a hymn or as terrifying as war.

(SOUNDBITE OF GEORGE CRUMB'S "BLACK ANGELS: I. DEPARTURE")

MARTÍNEZ: A number of film score composers died this year, too. Vangelis wrote the music for "Blade Runner" and went to No. 1 with this piece from the movie "Chariots Of Fire."

(SOUNDBITE OF VANGELIS' "CHARIOTS OF FIRE - TITLES")

MARTÍNEZ: Monty Norman came up with one of the most recognizable riffs in film history.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTY NORMAN'S "THE JAMES BOND THEME")

MARTÍNEZ: And director David Lynch lost two of his collaborators, composer Angelo Badalamenti and singer Julee Cruise, best known for this song from "Twin Peaks."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FALLING")

JULEE CRUISE: (Singing) Then I saw your face...

MARTÍNEZ: She was called the Nightingale of India. Lata Mangeshkar lent her voice to more than a thousand Bollywood films.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PYAR KIYA TO DARNA KYA")

LATA MANGESHKAR: (Singing in non-English language).

MARTÍNEZ: Another singer known for film soundtracks, Irene Cara, died last month. "Fame" was a Top 10 hit, and then this song went all the way to No. 1.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FLASHDANCE... WHAT A FEELING")

IRENE CARA: (Singing) What a feeling. Being's believing.

MARTÍNEZ: Two of the men who brought the musical "Hair" to Broadway died - writer James Rado and producer Michael Butler.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAIR")

JAMES RADO: (Singing) Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen.

MARTÍNEZ: Speaking of long, beautiful hair, here's someone who brought theatrical flair to the rock scene - Meatloaf scored one of the biggest hits of the '70s with his album "Bat Out Of Hell."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHT")

MEATLOAF: (Singing) I can see paradise by the dashboard light.

MARTÍNEZ: This man practically destroyed pianos when he played.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE")

JERRY LEE LEWIS: (Singing) You shake my nerves, and you rattle my brain.

MARTÍNEZ: The Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis, was one of rock and roll's founding fathers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE")

LEWIS: (Singing) You broke my will, but what a thrill. Goodness gracious, great balls of fire.

MARTÍNEZ: Someone who took a slightly different approach to the piano - Romania's Radu Lupu was considered perhaps the greatest concert pianist of his generation.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADU LUPU'S "SIX PIANO PIECES, OP. 118: 3. BALLADE IN G MINOR")

MARTÍNEZ: A beloved rock drummer died in March. Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters was just 50 years old.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MY HERO")

FOO FIGHTERS: (Singing) There goes my hero. Watch him as he goes.

MARTÍNEZ: In the '70s, a few British bands started incorporating Jamaican music into their sound, and that gave ska its second wave. Terry Hall of the Specials died just a few weeks ago.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "A MESSAGE TO YOU RUDY")

THE SPECIALS: (Singing) Rudy - a message to you, Rudy.

MARTÍNEZ: In the mid-'90s, you couldn't go far without hearing one of Coolio's hits. He died in September, not long after his 59th birthday.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GANGSTA'S PARADISE")

COOLIO: (Rapping) As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I take a look at my life and realize there's nothing left.

MARTÍNEZ: And then, just about a month later, one of hip hop's most creative young rappers was killed - Takeoff from the trio Migos.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "T-SHIRT")

MIGOS: (Rapping) Neck water faucet - water - mockingbirds mocking - woo - Act pint stocking - Act - nats keep thotting - nat.

MARTÍNEZ: One of the greats in Brazil's Tropicalia movement died last month - Gal Costa.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PAIS TROPICAL")

GAL COSTA, GILBERTO GIL AND CAETANO VELOSO: (Singing in non-English language).

MARTÍNEZ: And one of the founders of the Nueva Trova scene that thrived at the beginning of the Cuban Revolution also died - Pablo Milanes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MIS VEINTIDOS ANOS")

PABLO MILANES: (Singing in non-English language).

MARTÍNEZ: This past year, we said goodbye to two of the queens of country music. Loretta Lynn had 16 No. 1 singles on the country charts.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER")

LORETTA LYNN: (Singing) Well, I was borned a coal miner's daughter in a cabin on a hill in Butcher Holler.

MARTÍNEZ: And the mom in the mother-daughter duo the Judds, Naomi Judd, died in April.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LOVE IS ALIVE")

THE JUDDS: (Singing) Love is alive and at our breakfast table every day of the week. Love is alive, and it grows every day and night, even in our sleep.

MARTÍNEZ: Olivia Newton-John was one of the most popular singers of the late '70s and early '80s. This song stayed at No. 1 for a stunning 10 weeks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHYSICAL")

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN: (Singing) Let's get physical, physical. I want to get physical.

MARTÍNEZ: We also lost one of the most successful rock songwriters from that time. Christine McVie wrote some of Fleetwood Mac's biggest hits, like "Don't Stop," "You Make Loving Fun," "Say You Love Me," and this one found new life this past year.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYWHERE")

FLEETWOOD MAC: (Singing) Oh, I - I want to be with you everywhere.

MARTÍNEZ: Also, the man who signed Fleetwood Mac died this past summer. Mo Ostin was a wildly successful studio executive who worked with Neil Young, Prince, Madonna, R.E.M., and many others. He was 95.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYWHERE")

FLEETWOOD MAC: (Singing) I want to be with you everywhere.

MARTÍNEZ: And those are just a few of the many musicians we lost in 2022. If you heard a favorite of yours, maybe just go out and enjoy some of their music over the weekend. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

A Martínez
A Martínez is one of the hosts of Morning Edition and Up First. He came to NPR in 2021 and is based out of NPR West.
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