50 Tribute Songs for Dead Musicians
What better way to immortalize your heroes than in a song? With 50 Tribute Songs for Dead Musicians, we explore the many classic rockers who have written and recorded tribute songs for dead musicians.
For plenty of musicians featured here, writing these songs was a way of grieving with a loss of a collaborator, co-worker and even friend. Bands from AC/DC to the Yardbirds recognized their fallen comrades on subsequent releases. Bruce Springsteen, Roger Daltrey and Chrissie Hynde paid tribute to band members in songs. George Harrison and Paul McCartney remembered John Lennon in separate tunes after their former bandmate’s 1980 murder.
In other cases, songwriters have tipped their caps by penning a tune about a musician who wasn’t necessarily in their band. Rod Stewart and Don McLean sang about some of the late artists that have inspired them the most, while other acts have been inspired by the loss of a fellow musician cut down in their prime or long after their glory days.
Some of the tracks in this gallery honor music’s greatest legends, including Elvis Presley, Otis Redding and Billie Holiday. U2 wrote a song about the jazz icon, and the Irish band has made a habit of writing tributes to dead musicians, whether the subject is one of the band’s mentors (Joey Ramone) or friends (Michael Hutchence).
So scan the obituaries, take out your prayer cards and get ready for a whole lot of rock ’n’ roll eulogizing. These are the 50 best tribute songs in classic rock.