Best of NYS Music 2016: Biggest Musical Loss and Best Live Cover or Tribute Performance

As we give thanks for the awe inspiring musical talent living among us, we must also honor those who have left incredible music legacies behind. 2016 was particularly rough, having lost several pioneers and visionaries whose music has influenced not only other musicians, but has affected so many of us far outside the realm of making music. Their songs are the songs we queue in epic DJ mixes at dance parties, belt the lyrics alone in our rooms when we’re feeling melodramatic, and reflect on their lyrical wisdom in challenging times.

1). David Bowie

January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016

2). Prince

June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

3). Leonard Cohen

September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016

Staff and readers unanimously agreed David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen were our three most cherished losses in the music community this year. All three were producing up until their heartbreaking deaths with Bowie’s Blackstar (2016), Prince’s HITnRUN Phase One and HITnRUN Phase Two (2015) and Cohen’s You Want it Darker (2016).

Other notable losses in 2016 include Leon Russel, Sharon Jones of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire, John Berry of Beastie Boys and Merle Haggard.

Best Live Cover or Tribute Performance

It seems fitting to follow up Biggest Musical Losses with Best Live Cover or Tribute Performance as a way of honoring the work of past musical greats. In this year’s poll, we received so many noteworthy performances. Our staff voted on Dopakuaz’s Yacht Rock, Lotus’ Space Disco set at the Town Ballroom, Mirk’s Michael Jackson medley, Phish’s Ziggy Stardust tribute, Start Making Sense, James Brown Dance Party, Salt City Waltz and Twiddle’s cover of ALO’s “BBQ”

Readers chose Aqueous covering “Band on the Run,” JRAD’s performance at Lockn’, Phish’s Suffragette City cover, Pink Talking Fish’s Nov. 17 show in Denver, Twenty One Pilots covering “Cancer” and White Denim’s Prince Medley. Recap Monday’s staff and reader picks for Albums of the Year, and stay tuned as the series continues throughout the week.

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