There's this fantastic collage going round that parodies Peter Blake's Sgt Pepper's album sleeve, replacing the iconic stars (dead or alive) of 1967 with just the dead of 2016. It kept getting updated, right up to the end of 2016, with the untimely deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher sealing the perceived deal that we were dealt a bummer of a hand last year. There's no doubt that many bloggers, commentators and reviewers have, or will report, that 2016 was a bit of a bitch.
It's all hogwash, of course. Social media has made us all commentators now, and amongst many of my Facebook friends, it has been the death of famous musicians that has in particular exercised their tear ducts and pseudo-theorising. But rather than mourning, we should be celebrating. As they do with such life-affirming style in Mexico. Indeed, the theme of 2016 should be about celebrating in the face of adversity, be it emanating from politics and world affairs, or that of art and entertainment.
And how do we celebrate? By revisiting the incredible music that the likes of David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael et al produced, of course. Indeed, there was even more excuses for further celebration in the cases of Bowie and Cohen, by dint of the fact they both produced some of their finest ever work in their dying days. And for that we should be thankful.
We should also be thankful that the increasingly justifiably maligned format, The Music Download, continued its freefall into the grave, shortly to permanently snuggle up against phonograph cylinders, minidiscs, 8-tracks, laserdiscs and DAT. Vinyl, meanwhile, after itself flirting with extinction, has been resurrected and, most impressively, overtaken downloads in sales. This is another genuine cause for celebration, as it was only nine years ago – 2007 – that vinyl reached its nadir, when a paltry 200,000 albums were sold in total. Then, many major and independent artists and labels opted not to bother with the format at all. Death seemed likely.