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  • Writer's pictureChristine

Is It Okay To Be Sad When Our Favorite Musician Dies?

A picture of some dying leaves along with the graphic "Is it okay to be sad when our favorite musician dies?"

It isn’t easy when we find out our favorite musician has died. The feelings of sadness can be very real.

How do you feel when your favorite musician dies?

It’s been a rough 18 months or so for music fans. A lot of musicians have died.  At least, it sure feels that way.

For me, it started with the loss of David Bowie on January 10, 2016. Just a few months later, Prince passed away on April 21st. The trend continued in 2017. Chris Cornell died on May 18th of this year. The music world had barely recovered from that news, when Chester Bennington died on July 20th. Of course, the latest death to rock the music world was Tom Petty, who just passed away on October 2nd.

The reality is that nobody is immortal. Not even rock legends. And, while many people are saddened by hearing of the loss of their favorite musician, nothing compares to losing someone who is REALLY a part of your life – a grandparent, a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a child, a good friend.

Having said that, a lot of people feel saddened when their favorite musician dies. Some people would say that’s silly, but the feelings are real.

If you have been affected by the death of a musician (or anyone famous), read on.

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The first musician death that really had an impact on me was Prince. There were others before Prince that I was shocked by, but I didn’t feel the same as I did when I heard about Prince.

I remember being at work, when I heard someone say that they just heard Prince had died. I immediately jumped on the computer and tried to find out some information. Was it true? How had it happened? Why did it happen?

As the day wore on and the details surrounding his death started to come in, I honestly couldn’t stop thinking about it. As I got in my car to drive home, I turned on a local radio station that was playing all Prince music as a tribute. I felt a bit numb listening to the music – not wanting to believe it was true.

Then they played the song “Sometimes It Snows in April”. It isn’t a very well-known Prince song. It wasn’t one of his hits. But the lyrics hit me right in the gut. I legitimately cried. I don’t cry very often. In fact, it takes a lot to get me to cry, but that song did it.

That night when I got home, my husband had prepped my Purple Rain DVD. He had a bottle of wine, a box of tissues, and told our dog that she was going to have to sit with me and comfort me while I watched. I watched the movie and I cried again. I was still in a state of disbelief.

A picture of the Purple Rain DVD, record album, a bottle of wine, and a box of kleenex.

What I needed to get me through the night Prince died.

Why did Prince’s death affect me so much? I was a huge fan, but certainly not the biggest. However, I listened to his music throughout my life. If someone asked me to tell them my favorite album of all-time, it would undoubtedly be Purple Rain. I listened to that record repeatedly when it came out. I can sing every word of every song.


I think the deaths that are most shocking are the ones that happen when an artist is still young. Kurt Cobain, Prince, Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, and Tom Petty were all still very relevant musicians, who were either just coming off tours, or in the middle of a tour when they died. When a celebrity has been out of the limelight for many years, has some sort of illness, or is of an age that it is not unexpected that they die, we might feel sad, but we don’t feel shocked.

Typically, when a celebrity dies “before their time”, some sort of tragedy is involved. A tragedy that feels preventable. Whether it was Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell or Chester Bennington taking their own lives. Or, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston or Prince getting addicted to some sort of drugs that in some way led to their deaths. You feel like it just wasn’t their time. They had more to give, and certainly had more music to make.


Let’s be honest. We put celebrities on a pedestal. They live a life that most of us can only imagine. The great ones have talents that most of us can only dream of. For every Prince, there are thousands of musicians trying to make it every day, selling their EP for $10 off a tiny merchandise table after a concert.

As a result, I think we almost do consider celebrities to be immortal. I compare it to the teenagers who drive recklessly because they don’t think a bad accident can happen to them. They are untouchable.

We think our celebrities are untouchable too. They lead a charmed life. They’ll live out their days making music, go on the 10th version of their final farewell tour, and slowly fade off into the sunset.

So, when it doesn’t play out that way, it feels wrong. It feels like something has been taken from us.


Social media has had an impact on how we get our news and how we deal with it. The news of the death of a celebrity is no different. In many cases, the first time you hear that a celebrity has died, is when someone posts the obligatory “RIP [fill in the blank]” post on Facebook.

In fact, social media led to quite a controversy in the most recent death of Tom Petty. Petty’s death was reported by several news outlets before he had actually passed, and news of it went viral immediately. While it sounded clear that his passing was inevitable, imagine his family having to see reports of his death plastered all over, while they were trying to say their good-byes and spend the little bit of time they had left with him.

And then you have the conspiracy theories. Did Chris Cornell really kill himself? How about Chester Bennington? Who is going to inherit Prince’s estate? It seems people can’t leave it alone, and these theories perpetuate on social media.

We live in a 24-hour news cycle. When a musician dies, our news feeds are filled with information about it for 24 hours. People post their favorite songs. They post their favorite memories. But by the next day, some other news story or tragedy has gained our attention, and we move on to the next thing.


The hole that is left in our hearts when someone dies is real. Just because we don’t know someone personally, doesn’t mean we can’t be saddened by their death.

For a few months after his passing, I couldn’t listen to “Purple Rain” without being sad. I would just think of the talent Prince had, and how much more he had to give.

I was lucky to have seen Prince in concert a couple of times. One of those times was in a little club in the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Prince did a couple month residency there, and we just happened to be in town on opening weekend. In typical Prince style, he didn’t take the stage until after midnight, and played for hours. He even walked out into the crowd at one point, and I was almost close enough to touch him.

I will never forget that, and I will never regret going to that show – no matter how much it cost. One of my personal mantras is “just buy the tickets”, because you never know when it’s the last time you will see that person perform.

If reading this has encouraged you to finally buy tickets to that show you’ve been dreaming of, be sure to read my article containing tips for buying concert tickets.

The good thing about musicians, is that they leave a legacy behind – their music. Whenever I hear a Prince song now, I crank it up, sing along, and think about how much his music meant to me. I will always thank him for what he shared with all of us during his time on this earth. I will always wish he had more time to share his gifts with all of us. And, I will always be a little sad when I think about his death.

It’s okay to feel sad. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t be sad or that it’s silly.

If you have a couple of minutes, take the time to listen to the song that made me cry on the day Prince passed away, or just read the lyrics.  You can download the song here:

Sometimes It Snows in April – by Prince

Tracy died soon after a long fought civil war,

Just after I’d wiped away his last tear

I guess he’s better off than he was before,

A whole lot better off than the fools he left here

I used 2 cry 4 Tracy because he was my only friend

Those kind of cars don’t pass u every day

I used 2 cry 4 Tracy because I wanted to see him again,

But sometimes sometimes life ain’t always the way…

Sometimes it snows in April

Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad

Sometimes I wish life was never ending,

And all good things, they say, never last

Springtime was always my favorite time of year,

A time 4 lovers holding hands in the rain

Now springtime only reminds me of Tracy’s tears

Always cry 4 love, never cry 4 pain

He used 2 say so strong unafraid to die

Unafraid of the death that left me hypnotized

No, staring at his picture I realized

No one could cry the way my Tracy cried

Sometimes it snows in April

Sometimes I feel so bad

Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending,

And all good things, they say, never last

I often dream of heaven and I know that Tracy’s there

I know that he has found another friend

Maybe he’s found the answer 2 all the April snow

Maybe one day I’ll see my Tracy again

Sometimes it snows in April

Sometimes I feel so bad, so bad

Sometimes I wish that life was never ending

But all good things, they say, never last

All good things they say, never last

And love, it isn’t love until it’s past

Have you ever been affected by the death of a musician?  If so, who?  Comment below or e-mail me at

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