This year was an epic 365 days for music in South Florida. But along the way, we lost some of our state's finest artists, from hometown legends to local talents who hit it big on the world stage. As the year draws to a close, we remember Florida's fallen musicians of 2017.
Boise Bob. Harold Spector, better known as Hal or Boise Bob, was 63 years young when he passed away in December. Bob, a Baltimore native, had been part of Florida's punk scene since the late '70s, most notably in the honky-tonk outfit Boise Bob & His Backyard Band.
Tom Petty. When his death was announced in October, Gainesville native Tom Petty was mourned by the world, and for good reason. He went from living in poverty and enduring a difficult childhood to writing some of the best songs to come out of the States and playing in supergroup the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison. And he went out a rock star, having just wrapped up his 40th-anniversary tour with his band the Heartbreakers a week before his death. There's some comfort in knowing the triumph of his swan song was poetic in itself.
Larry Joe Miller. “Six Pretty Girls in My Black Limousine”: That was the A-side that put Larry Joe Miller and his Rockabilly Rockets on the South Florida map. Though it's not known as a rockabilly destination, South Florida had a small but thriving scene with artists such as Jim Voytek, Steve Alaimo (before he got the TK bug), Tommy Spurlin, and Wally Deane. But Larry Joe, he was one of us. From the beginning till the end, Miller was a real South Florida artist. He passed away November 3 at the age of 74.
Chris Wong Won. "Life is life," Chris Wong Won said in an interview in 2000. "There's only X amount of time to shine." Wong Won, also known as Fresh Kid Ice and one of the founders of the hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, died in July at 53 years old. Along with rap mogul (and New Times columnist) Luther Campbell, Wong Won and several others made history in 1989 with their album As Nasty as They Wanna Be. That album inspired a local attempt at a sales ban and two U.S. Supreme Court cases, which the rap group won.
Lindell Trocard. Lindell Trocard wasn't a musician, but his infectious love for music qualified him as an artist. Before Spotify, before iTunes, and even before Napster, Blue Note Records was a South Florida music mecca. The shop was home to an ad hoc army of music lovers who were integral members of the local scene and tastemakers. Trocard was more than just an expert at the store. He was an encyclopedia of good music, regardless of genre, and was always happy to make suggestions and steer casual buyers in the right direction, turning them into lifelong customers. In June, news of his death sent Miami's music scene into mourning.
Chris Cornell. The frontman of the legendary '90s band Soundgarden, who had moved to Miami near the end of his life, will forever be remembered as “a founding member of grunge” along with Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder. But that’s a cheap epitaph. Cornell will go down as one of the finest vocalists in rock history. From "Black Hole Sun" to his stint as the frontman of the supergroup Audioslave, Cornell possessed a restless, aerial voice that was an instrument unto itself.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.