2016: The year the music died

(CNN)Move over, 1959. Step aside, 1970.

When it comes to the deaths of musical icons, 2016 may be the worst year ever.
    Sunday’s startling death of pop singer George Michael caps 12 wretched months in which we’ve already said goodbye to David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Prince, Merle Haggard and Leonard Cohen, to name just a quintet of hugely popular and influential performers.
    It might be the deadliest era for pop music legends since 1970-71, when we lost Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Louis Armstrong in a sorrowful span of 11 months.
    Singer George Michael burst onto the scene with ’80s pop duo Wham! before reaching greater heights as a charismatic — and controversial — solo artist. With such monster hits as “Faith” and “Freedom! ’90,” Michael blended danceable pop with progressive social commentary. The British pop star and gay icon was 53.

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