April 16 – 21: R.I.P. Dick Clark, Levon Helm and Men at Work’s Greg Ham

Billy Johnson, Jr.
Stop The Presses!

This year has been tough on the music industry. A number of iconic figures have died and this week took on a few massive losses.

Dick Clark wasn't a musician, but his impact on the record business was significant. Pop, rock, country, R&B stars and fans mourn the loss of the entertainment giant who died of a heart attack Wednesday at the age of 82.

Clark's career began in radio and later included hosting and producing some of the television's most popular music programs, "American Bandstand" and "New Year's Rockin' Eve."

The legendary The Band drummer and vocalist Levon Helm lost his battle with throat cancer Thursday. He was 71. Before The Band made a mark with their 1968 debut, "Music From Big Pink," the group backed Bob Dylan.

After Helm's passing, Dylan said he was having a difficult time coping with his friend's death. "He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation," Dylan said in a statement posted on his website.

Thursday also included the death of Men At Work member Greg Ham, who was 58. Though the cause of death has not yet been disclosed, concerned friends found the saxophone and flute player dead in his home in Melbourne. Ham's Australian band received the prestigious Best New Artist Grammy in 1983.

Fans of another late influential music figure assembled in Kingston, Jamaica Thursday to celebrate his memory. Thousands of reggae fans joined in a local park to view a screening of "Marley," a 2 1/2 hour documentary about his life told through the memories of family and friends.

Hip hop stars Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg found an even more creative way to memorialize a friend. During Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's Sunday night headlining set at California's Coachella Music Festival, they were joined on stage by a life-like hologram visual of former collaborator Tupac Shakur.

Coachella attendants were stunned by the surprise guest appearance that has sparked a week's worth of follow up stories about the computer-generated rapper joining Dr. Dre on tour and even jumpstarting a trend that would include other artists.

Even stranger and ironic, considering the happenings this week, country king Willie Nelson released his song "Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die." The new record coincided with Friday's unveiling of a Willie Nelson statue in downtown Austin.

All the talk of death this week makes some of the other news stories trivial. After receiving flack for shunning his invitation to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last week, former Guns N' Roses lead singer Axl Rose apologized for his reaction.

Less than a week after her sophomore album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," debuted at No. 1, selling more than 250,000 copies, rap vixen Nicki Minaj said goodbye to Twitter and her 11 million followers, citing frustration with a fan site's posting of unreleased material.

But while some pop stars appear to take themselves too seriously, The Eagles seem to have the right light-hearted attitude. This week a photo surfaced from their first ever tour stop in Dubai. What's even cooler is that the picture captured a camel wearing a backstage pass. Now, that's VIP treatment.


1) American Music Awards -- Radio and TV pioneer Dick Clark dies at 82.

2) Celebrity Sighting -- Hologram Tupac makes a surprise appearance at Coachella Music Festival.

3) Change Of Heart -- Axl Rose apologizes for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame slam.

4) Remembering A Legend -- The Band legend Levon Helm dies from throat cancer.

5) R.I.P. -- Men at Work member Greg Ham found dead.

6) One Love -- Bob Marley fans in Kingston, Jamaica gather to watch film.

7) Saga Continues -- Sugarland tour manager is under investigation for Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

8) Anti-Social -- Nicki Minaj deletes her Twitter account.

9) All Access — Is that a camel wearing at VIP pass backstage during their opening dates in Dubai.

10) Site To See -- Willie Nelson statue makes debut in Austin.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter.