(I do hope it's not going to be that sort of year...)
David Bowie (né David Robert Jones) Musician, songwriter, actor, artist b. 8 January 1947, d. 10 January 2016
To describe all the things that David Bowie did, to describe all the people he made out of himself, and to describe all the influences that his work and his personae had on so many for so long; this would be a working definition of a fool's errand.
For close on half a century - from his R'n'B and Mod days, via the Urbane Spaceman, Ziggy, the Thin White Duke heroin years, via Berlin to the dance floor and beyond - David Bowie, for all his occasional retreating into the background of the public consciousness, seemed always to be there as a point on our artistic landscape.
Not a fixed point, of course; such a static characteristic would always have sat ill with someone of so veering an intellect and so limitless a curiosity. That this would lead him into the occasional mis-step or into ridicule from those who weren't quite as clever as they thought they were was inevitable (I remember seeing a photo of him in, I think, the NME in about 1974 of him wearing a careworn expression, above a caption in which he is saying, "Oh God, they're not taking the piss out of me again, are they?").
But he triumphed far more than he tripped, and he has left a legacy which will last as long as there are people who appreciate great songs backed by a powerful aesthetic and a strong intelligence.
Why am I saying all this? Well, "I had to tell someone, so I picked on you."
I'll just leave these here as my own favourites, with no further comment given...or needed.
Update: Geographically blocked by SMG...the wankers...