The Year in Music 2023: David Crosby, Tina Turner, Sinéad O’Connor among music greats we lost this year

It’s always sad when our favorite musicians pass away and 2023 was no exception, with several beloved artists leaving us.

The year started off with the loss of two two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legends, guitar great Jeff Beck on January 10 at the age of 78 from bacterial meningitis, and David Crosby on January 18 at the age of 81. Although no official cause of death was ever announced for Crosby, the singer’s bandmate Graham Nash revealed in an interview that Crosby died while battling COVID-19.

Another death felt deeply in the music world happened on May 24, when Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Tina Turner died at the age of 83. Turner, another two-time Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, battled multiple life-threatening illness over the years.

Music fans were shocked when, on July 26, it was announced that Irish superstar Sinéad O’Connor had died at the age of 56. No cause of death has been revealed. A funeral for the singer, held on August 8, was attended by Bob Geldof, U2’s Bono and The Edge, and Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins.

Also, crooner Tony Bennett, who made teenyboppers scream in the 1950s and toured with Lady Gaga in the 2000s, died July 21 in New York City at the age 96. The singer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, revealing his condition to the public in February 2021.

Here’s a list of the many other music figures who died in 2023, in chronological order:

January 1: Fred White, drummer for Earth, Wind & Fire, 67

January 5: Gordy Harmon, founding member of The Whispers, 79

January 12: Robbie Bachman, drummer for the Canadian rock band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, 69

January 31: Charlie Thomas, of the legendary group The Drifters, 85

February 8: Legendary composer Burt Bacharach, 94

March 1: Leon Hughes, the last surviving original member of The Coasters, 92

March 5: Gary Rossington, guitarist and last surviving original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 71

March 13: Jim Gordon, drummer for Derek and the Dominos, 77

March 17: Parliament-Funkadelic original member Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, 81

March 22: Tom Leadon, co-founder of Tom Petty’s early ’70s band Mudcrutch, 70

April 2: Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, who signed artists like Talking HeadsMadonna and Pretenders, 80

April 25: Harry Belafonte, singer, groundbreaking actor and trusted confidante to fellow civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., 96

April 28: Tim Bachman, guitarist and one of the co-founders of the Canadian band Bachman-Turner Overdrive, 71 

May 1: Gordon Lightfoot, the Canadian singer-songwriter best known for such hits as “Sundown” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” of natural causes, 84

May 22: Chas Newby, who played bass for The Beatles in their early days, 81

June 1: Grammy-winning songwriter Cynthia Weil (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”), 82

July 26: Randy Meisner, founding member of the Eagles, due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 77

August 4: John Gosling, keyboardist for The Kinks, 75

August 9: Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Robbie Robertson, guitarist and main songwriter for The Band, after a long illness, 80

August 16: Music executive Jerry Moss, who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert, the label responsible for The Police’s Synchronicity and Carole King’s Tapestry, 88

August 24: Whitesnake’s original guitarist, Bernie Marsden, 72

September 1: Beloved “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett, after a four-year battle with Merkel cell skin cancer, a rare and aggressive form of skin cancer, 76

October 11: Rudolph Isley, a founding member of The Isley Brothers, 84

November 16: Kool & The Gang drummer and founding member George “Funky” Brown, 74

November 22: Jean Knight, best known for her 1971 hit single “Mr. Big Stuff,” 80

December 5: Denny Laine, co-founder of Moody Blues and co-founder and guitarist for Paul McCartney & Wings, from interstitial lung disease, 79

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