Singer Whitney Houston was the most noted loss of 2012. The 48-year old singer died tragically in an accidental drowning on February 11. Although cited by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most awarded female act of all time, Houston's long career was marred by drug use and turmoil in her personal life. In the years preceding her death, her performances had became erratic and often embarrassing. Her last appearance was in the 2012 film Sparkle.
The great Etta James died in January at age 73 after a long illness. Like Houston, James' long career was marred by drug addiction. Unlike Houston, she was the greatest singer who ever lived, mistress of every musical style from jazz to rock and roll. Here she is singing I'd Rather Go Blind.
Singer Donna Summer died in May at age 63 of lung cancer unrelated to smoking. Summer was a five time Grammy award winner who rose to fame during the disco boom of the 1970s. Her hit songs include Hot Stuff, I Feel Love, and She works Hard for the Money. Summer is scheduled to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 2013. Here she is singing Last Dance in 1978.
Beastie Boys co-founder, Adam Yauch, who performed as MCA and sometimes Nathaniel Hornblower, died in May at age 47 after a long illness. He was a well-known white rap artist and part of the first white hip hop group founded in 1985. He also founded Oscilloscope Laboratories, an independent film production and distribution company based in New York.He was also a practicing Buddhist. Here is Sure Shot.
Finally, Johnny Otis died in January at the age of 90. He was a singer, musician, composer, and record producer known as the "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues". Otis was a white man of Greek parents who grew up in an all-black neighborhood in Berkley and chose to live his entire life with African Americans. He played drums in a number of swing bands, founding his own band in 1945 which produced the hit song Harlem Nocturne. He passed just three days before Etta James, whom he discovered in the early 1950s, producing and co-writing her first hit, Roll With Me Henry.