Don Cornelius. Whitney Houston. Dick Clark. Donna Summer.
All passed away this year. All were stars in their own right.
It seems lately, each time one turns on the television or reads the newspaper, he or she learns of another celebrity who has passed away. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like this has become the norm for the first part of 2012. It’s been a theme of “loss” and it’s frankly a sad thought when you think of the lives of these people, their legacies and for some, their tragic downfalls.
Where’s all the positives for 2012? Maybe I’ve missed them.
Cornelius was the father of “Soul Train.” Dubbed “The hippest trip in America,” it was a television show that highlighted and celebrated the musical talents of African-Americans. He created “Soul Train” and hosted the show in national syndication from 1971 to 1993. It was the first real venue on American TV for soul music. Cornelius, 75, was found dead at his Los Angeles home after an apparent suicide.
Houston paved the way for just about every female pop, R&B and hip-hop artist today. The songstress, actress, model and producer grew up singing in a church but it was secular music that made her a blazing star for decades.
She will always be remembered for her golden voice that could belt classics like, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” her cover of Dolly Parton’s, “I Will Always Love You” and the graduation/school assembly anthem, “The Greatest Love of All.” The 48-year-old died Feb. 11. due to an accidental drowning with heart disease and drugs also contributing to her death, according to media reports.
Clark was a legend. The leader of American Bandstand, Clark laid the groundwork for every music television show that would come years later. He introduced the world to all genres of music and taught us how to groove all the while.
He hosted the show from 1957 to 1987. Clark also hosted the game show Pyramid and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve – something you didn’t want to miss during the holiday season. He had a full life as an iconic TV host. He died April 18 at the age of 82.
Summer, the most recent loss for the music industry, lost a battle with cancer. She was 63. The singer died May 17.
Hailed as the “Queen of Disco,” she was the voice behind the era’s biggest hits. Most women applauded the ladies’ anthem, “She Works Hard For the Money,” and her crowd-pleaser, “Let’s Dance the Last Dance.”
These are just a few losses in 2012. Unfortunately, there will be more. Some lost battles with illnesses; some died tragically. They all have one thing in common: each of them is missed and left his or her legacy in history.
I’m personally looking forward to the upside of 2012. The introduction to the year has been a little depressing. If you don’t believe me, just watch the news.
Author: TaLeiza Calloway
TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.