Day the music died | 

Music star deaths in 2022: remembering the icons we lost this year

Olivia Newton-John and Meat Loaf are two stars who had their final moments in the spotlight during 2022

Meat Loaf© Getty Images

Eddie RowleySunday World

Grease legend Olivia Newton-John and Bat Out Of Hell sensation Meat Loaf are two of the iconic music stars who had their final moments in the spotlight during 2022.

Olivia Newton-John died on August 8 at her ranch in California after a long journey with breast cancer. She was 73.

The Grammy Award-winning singer found enduring fame as Sandy in Grease alongside John Travolta in 1978.

Grease was the biggest box-office hit that year, and its soundtrack album spent 12 consecutive weeks at number one in the US. Newton-John’s performance was nominated for a Golden Globe and she performed Hopelessly Devoted to You at the 1979 Oscars.

The film remains a much-loved staple of the small screen and the singalong circuit; its soundtrack is one of the top 10 biggest sellers of all time.

Meat Loaf, who died on January 20 at the age of 74, was born Michael Dee Aday in Dallas, Texas, and had a spectacular career in rock music that spanned six decades.

His most popular release was his Bat Out Of Hell album trilogy, which was known for its operatic rock style and popular single of the same name.


Other music luminaries who died in January included Ronnie Spector (Ronettes), Jon Lind (songwriter whose songs include Boogie Wonderland for Earth Wind & Fire and Madonna’s Crazy For You), Bobbie Nelson (musician and sister of Willie Nelson) and Don Wilson (The Ventures).


Screaming Trees frontman and former Queens of the Stone Age member Mark Lanegan died at the age of 57 at his home in Killarney.

Known for his deep, melancholy vocals, during his career the American singer-songwriter collaborated with musicians including Kurt Cobain, PJ Harvey, Isobel Campbell and Moby.

Last year, he was in hospital for months after contracting Covid, and was put into a medically-induced coma.

Other deaths this month include Gary Brooker (Procul Harum) and Betty Davis (American singer songwriter).


The Wanted star Tom Parker died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

The singer told fans in October 2020 that he had an inoperable tumour.

His wife Kelsey Hardwick wrote on Instagram: "Our hearts are broken." The pair had two young children together.

She added: "Tom was the centre of our world. We can't imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence."

The Wanted formed in 2009, with Parker, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Jay McGuiness.

They had two UK number one singles - Glad You Came and All Time Low - and eight other top 10 hits including Chasing The Sun, Heart Vacancy and Lightning.

Dubliner Siva Kaneswaran wrote on Instagram, saying: "Hey Tom, hope you're having a blast up there.

"I am so grateful that I had a chance to witness your true courage. It has been a pleasure of my life Tommy Boy.

"Thank you for letting us see you light up the world. Talk to you soon and see you later. Love you brother x.”

Other stars who died this month included Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) and Natty Wailer of Bob Marley and The Wailers.


American country music star Naomi Judd died by suicide at the age of 76 following a long battle with mental illness.

In 1980, Naomi and her daughter Wynonna formed the duo known as The Judds, which became a hugely successful country music act, winning five Grammys and nine Country Music Association awards.

Other deaths this month included Andrew Woolfolk (Earth Wind & Fire), Con Cluskey (The Bachelors), Joe Messina (Funk Brothers)


Cathal Coughlan, frontman with acclaimed indie bands Fatima Mansions and Microdisney, died aged 61. His family said that Coughlan “slipped away peacefully in hospital after a long illness”.

Born in Cork, Coughlan first formed Microdisney with guitarist Sean O’Hagan in 1980 and moved to London three years later.

Coughlan formed Fatima Mansions in 1988 after Microdisney split up. The band supported U2 for a leg of 1992’s Zoo TV tour, and had an unlikely Top 10 hit that year with an eerie trip-hop cover of Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It for You.

Other deaths this month included Vangelis, Andy Fletcher (Depeche Mode), Alan White (Yes), Ben Moore (Blind Boys of Alabama)


Alec John Such, the founding bassist of Bon Jovi. He served on the first five Bon Jovi albums, from their 1983 self-titled LP to 1992’s Keep the Faith, appearing on hits like Livin’ on a Prayer, Wanted Dead or Alive, You Give Love a Bad Name and I’ll Be There for You. Such left the band in 1994, at which point he was replaced by Hugh McDonald.

Brett Tuggle (Fleetwood Mac and David Lee Roth) also died this month.


Paul Ryder, the bass guitarist who helped power the hugely popular “baggy” funk sound of the Happy Mondays, died aged 58.

Ryder, whose brother Shaun fronted the group, was a founder member since their formation in 1980 and had rejoined for their most recent reunion in 2012.


Darius Campbell Danesh died at the age of 41. Danesh’s family said in a statement that he had been suffering from chronic pain, which stemmed from a car accident in 2010 that left him with a broken neck.

“The results of medical examinations confirmed that Darius’s death was an accident caused by chloroethane, which is used to treat pain and that tragically lead to respiratory arrest,” they said in a statement.

Deaths this month also included Darryl Hunt (The Pogues), Judith Durham (The Seekers), Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and The Cricketts) and Sam Gooden (The Impressions).


In one of his last interviews, American rap legend Coolio, who died at 59, told the Sunday World how he had found his mojo after losing interest in music and was back working on a new album with Irish producer Evan Kennedy.

Coolio, famous for his 1995 mega-hit Gangsta’s Paradise, had spent the summer flying in and out of Dublin to work with Kennedy.

“Evan is a smart kid, a talented kid,” Coolio said. “I’m always looking for a kid who will motivate me.”

Other deaths this month included John Hartman (Doobie Brothers) and American rapper PnB Rock.


American legend Loretta Lynn, whose tales of heartbreak and poverty are among the most celebrated in country music, died aged 90.

Other deaths this month included Clannad founder member Noel Duggan, Declan Mohan of Tyrone group All Folk’d Up, D.H. Peligro (Dead Kennedys) and Gregg Philbin (REO Speedwagon).


Boomtown Rats guitarist Garry Roberts died at the age of 72. The band said: “On a clear Spring evening in 1975, in a pub in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, Garry became the founding member of what turned out to be a great rock ’n’ roll band, driven largely by that sound of his.”

Oscar-winning singer and actress Irene Cara also died at the age of 65, at her home in Florida. Irene was best known for singing and co-writing the iconic theme tune to Flashdance - What A Feeling, which won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. She also played the role of Coco Hernandez in the 1980 blockbuster Fame.

Other deaths this month included Aaron Carter, Dan McCafferty (Nazareth), Nick Turner (Hawkwind), Keith Levine (The Clash/Public Image Ltd), Wilko Johnson (Dr Feelgood) and Rab Noakes (Stealers Wheel).


Recent days saw the deaths of Terry Hall of The Specials and Fun Boy Three, and also, Maxi Jazz of dance group Faithless.

Jet Black of British group The Stranglers died aged 84.The musician, whose real name was Brian John Duffy, was a founding member of the legendary band in 1974 and his playing style helped them to achieve a unique sound and have a string of hits including Golden Brown and No More Heroes.

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