Music Industry News 2023
by Alex Cosper

Recording Artists Who Have Died in 2023

Here are some of the several legendary recording artists who have passed away in 2023:

Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot (May 1 at 84), known for 1970s hits "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown," "Carefree Highway," "Rainy Day People" and "Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald."

Canadian guitarist/vocalist Tim Bachman (April 28 at 71), a founding member of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which had 1970s hits "Let It Ride" and "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet."

Harry Belafonte (April 25 at 96) helped popularize calypso music with his 1950s hit "Banana Boat Song" aka "Day-O." As an activist since the 1960s, he helped open minds throughout the world on social issues such as human rights. In February 1968 he made television history when he sat in for Johnny Carson on NBC's Tonight Show for a week. His musical guests included Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Johnny Nash, Petula Clark and Buffy St. Marie. Other guests included Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

April Stevens (April 17 at 93) was known for a few hits with her brother Nino Tempo in the early 1960s, such as the 1963 chart-topper "Deep Purple," a 1930s cover song that inspired the name of the band known for "Hush" and other hits.

Jazz bandleader Ahmad Jamal (April 16 at 92) played piano since age 3 and composed music throughout his career. He began recording in the 1950s. His most notable album was At The Pershing, released in 1958. One of his most widely heard recordings featured his electric piano solo on the instrumental "Suicide is Painless," the theme of the 1970 film MASH.

Jay and The Americans singer Howie Kane (April 26 at 77) sang with the band in two separate eras: 1960 to 1973, then on the oldies circuit 2006-2023. He was more of a backup vocalist to lead singer Jay Black, who died October 22, 2021 at 82. The band had several hits in the 1960s including "Come a Little Bit Closer" and "This Magic Moment."

R&B singer Clarence "Fuzzy" Haskins (March 16 at 81) was a founding member of 1970s funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic, led by George Clinton. The bands, collectively known as P-Funk, worked together with rotating members. Fuzzy remained with the project until 1977, when he ventured into solo work. Parliament had several lead vocalists with Clinton as the mainstay.

Jazz singer Bobby Caldwell (March 14 at 71) was best known for the 1978 hit "What You Won't Do For Love." That marked the start of a career that spanned decades. He released solo albums in every decade since the 1970s. His music crossed multiple genres, such as R&B, soul and jazz and he appealed to a wide age group.

Napoleon XIV (May 3 at 84) was considered a one-hit-wonder with the 1966 novelty hit "They're Coming To Take Me Away Ha-Ha."

Guitarist Garry Rossington (March 5 at 71) was a founding and last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, in which he played both lead and rhythm guitar. He was also a founding member of the Rossington-Collins Band.

Huey "Piano" Smith (February 13 at 89) was an early rock and roll pioneer who played piano on R&B hits. One of his most notable performances was on the 1957 hit "Rockin' Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu."

Songwriter Burt Bacharach (February 8 at 94) wrote many popular songs, mainly concentrated in the 1960s through 1980s. He wrote music for lyrics written by Hal David. Some of their most widely known collaborations include "Close To You" by The Carpenters and "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" by Dionne Warwick. Both acts were propelled by Bacharach/David songs.

Sire Records Co-Founder Seymour Stein Dies at 80

Music industry legend Seymour Stein, who co-founded Sire Records in 1966 and coined the term "new wave music," passed away at 80 on April 2, 2023. Some of the many recording artists he signed included Madonna and many modern rock acts such as Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, The Ramones, The Pretenders, The Cure, The Replacements, The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen. He was a major force behind the new wave era of the late seventies through mid-eighties. He also signed Ice-T, Lou Reed and various other acts. Stein remained head of Sire through 2018, when he officially retired and released his autobiography, Siren Song: My Life in Music.

2023 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

The 2023 nominees to be inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced earlier this year. The inductees will be announced in May. This year's nominees are Willie Nelson, Kate Bush, Missy Elliott, George Michael, Sheryl Crow, A Tribe Called Quest, Iron Maiden, Joy Division/New Order, Cyndi Lauper, Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden, The Spinners, The White Stripes and Warren Zevon.

Vinyl Records Outsell CDs in 2022

Vinyl records overtook CDs in units sold throughout 2022, according to a year-end report released by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 9, 2023. While digital streaming still made up the vast majority of revenue, physical sales hang on to an 11% share of the market. Among physical sales, vinyl was up 17% for the year, accounting for $1.2 billion in revenue. It marked the 16th straight year of sales growth for vinyl. For the first time since 1987, vinyl recording products outsold CDs and it was by quite a wide margin: 41 million vinyl units vs 33 million CD units.

65th Annual Grammy Awards

The 65th Annual Grammy Awards was broadcast live February 5, 2023 on CBS from Arena in Los Angeles. The show attracted an average of 12.5 million TV viewers, according to initial Nielsen data. It marked a 30% increase from the previous year's average of 9.2 million viewers, which had set a record low. Here are selected awards from the event.

RECORD OF THE YEAR: Lizzo - "About Damn Time"
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Harry Styles - Harry's House
SONG OF THE YEAR: Bonnie Raitt - "Just Like That"
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM: Harry Styles - Harry's House
BEST ROCK ALBUM: Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9
BEST ROCK SONG: Songwriters Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth - "Broken Horses"
BEST R&B ALBUM: Robert Glasper - Black Radio III
BEST R&B SONG: Songwriters Denisia Andrews, Beyonce, Brittany Coney, Terius Gesteelde-Diamant, Morten Ristorp, Nile Rodgers & Raphael Saadiq - "The Dream"
BEST RAP ALBUM: Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers
BEST RAP SONG: Songwriters Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar & Matt Schaeffer - "The Heart Part 5"
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM - Chris Stapleton - Starting Over
BEST COUNTRY SONG - Songwriters Matt Rogers and Ben Stennis - "'Til You Can't"

See 2022 Music News

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