Music Consumption in the MP3 Era
Music Consumption in the MP3 Era

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Name: uao
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I grew up reading Robert Christgau, Village Voice, and Lester Bangs, Creem, Punk, various others.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005
 

Lists: Rock Suicides 1954-2005

Ian Curtis Gravestone


When Kurt Cobain commited suicide in 1994, he wasn't the first pop/rock star to choose that way out. But it is still rare; the young ones are still more frequently killed by drugs, alcohol, and car crashes. Even homicide. The older ones usually go from heart attacks, liver failure, or cancer; death from drugs and alcohol are also more frequent than the national norm. Plane crashes take lives from all ages. Suicide as a cause of death has been increasing among rock stars in recent years, however. Whether this is a fluke, or has some basis in something tangible, remains unclear. Here's a list of notable rock/pop/country/soul suicides, from the dawn of the rock era to present day:

Rock Suicides (1954-2005):

Johnny Ace (singer/guitarist): playing Russian roulette, 1954
Leon Chappelear (singer/guitarist, The Lone Star Cowboys), 1962
Joe Meek (record producer, label owner): self-inficted gunshot, 1967
Alan Wilson (singer, Canned Heat): intentional pill overdose, 1970
Nick Drake (singer/songwiter): intentional pill overdose, 1974
Graham Bond (singer/organist Graham Bond Organization): jumped in front of subway, 1974
Peter Ham (singer/guitarist, Badfinger): hanged, 1975
Phil Ochs (singer/songwriter): hanged, 1976
Mel Street (singer): self inflicted gunshot, 1978
Donny Hathaway (singer/songwriter): jumped from building, 1979
Darby Crash (singer, The Germs): Intentional heroin overdose, 1980
Ian Curtis (singer, Joy Division): hanged, 1980
Chuck Wagon (keyboardist, The Dickies): self-inflicted gunshot 1981
Tom Evans (singer/bassist, Badfinger): hanged, 1983
Danny Rapp (singer, Danny & The Juniors): self-inflicted gunshot, 1983
Richard Manuel (Pianist, The Band): hanged, 1986
Roy Buchanan (guitarist, Booker T. & The MG's), hanged, 1988
Del Shannon (singer/guitarist), self-inflicted gunshot, 1990
Douglas Hopkins (singer/guitarist, Gin Blossoms): self-inflicted gunshot, 1993
Kurt Cobain (singer/guitarist, Nirvana): self-inflicted gunshot, 1994
Tommy Boyce (songwriter, The Monkees): self-inflicted gunshot, 1994
Danny Gatton (guitarist): self-inflicted gunshot, 1994
Phyllis Hyman (singer): intentional pill overdose, 1995
Philip Taylor Kramer (bassist, Iron Butterfly), drove off a cliff, 1995
Chris Aclund (drummer, Lush): hanged, 1996
Jim Ellison (singer/guitarist Material Issue), 1996
Jason Thirsk (bassist Pennywise): self-inflicted gunshot, 1996
Faron Young (singer/guitarist): self-inflicted gunshot, 1996
Michael Hutchence (singer, INXS): hanged, 1997
Rozz Williams (singer, Christian Death): hanged, 1998
Wendy O. Williams (singer, Plasmatics): self-inflicted gunshot, 1998
Carlos Vega (drummer, James Taylor): self-inflicted gunshot, 1998
Screaming Lord Sutch (singer): hanged, 1999
Adrian Borland (singer The Sound): jumped in front of train, 1999
Larry Troutman (singer/guitarist Zapp): self-inficted gunshot, 1999
Kevin Wilkinson (drummer, The Waterboys): hanged, 1999
E. William Tucker (guitarist, Ministry): intentional pill overdose/knife wound, 1999
Brian O'Hara (singer/guitarist, The Fourmost): hanged, 1999
Andre Dede Fortin (singer, Les Colocs): self-inflicted stab wound, 2000
Susannah McCorkle (singer): jumped from a building, 2001
Herman Brood (singer, Wild Romance): jumped from a roof, 2001
Stuart Adamson (singer, Big Country): hanged, 2001
Zac Foley (bassist, EMF): hanged, 2002
Jon Lee (drummer, Feeder): hanged, 2002
Steve MacDonald (drummer, Gorguts): hanged, 2002
Elliott Smith (singer/songwriter): self-inflicted stab wound, 2003
Gary Stewart (singer): self-inflicted gunshot, 2003
James Lawrence (guitarist, Hope and the States): hanged, 2004
Paul Hester (drummer, Crowded House): hanged, 2005



     

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Comments:
I think it's because most rock stars finally give into all the stress they get, and they can't back out of their profession because they're good and no one would actually let them out, so suicide is the only option left.
 
I'm so surprised by how many of those are 'hanged'.
 
I was struck by that too, jones.

More U.K. performers hung themselves than U.S. ones; that might be a reflection of easy access to firearms in the U.S. Intentional overdoses are rare; the male performers are far more likely to opt for hanging or shooting.

I realize this might've been a morbid post, but I really was just curious, and couldn't find an all inclusive list, so I patched one together from various sources. There are probably some I've missed entirely, especially in the 50's & 60's.
 
What a waste!

These people were gifted individuals who had opportunities others can only dream about.

If only they realize how lucky they were.

But then again, I have no idea what fame, fortune and passion in music entail.

God rest their souls...
 
It is a terrible waste, material boy.

Just so nobody thinks I was making light (you never can tell...), I see all of the above as terrible tragedies, and there's nothing cool about them. The talent lost is tremendous; there'd be a lot more joy in the world had they lived.

I remember when Cobain died, and Courtney Love read his suicide letter aloud, and exhorted the crowd in the park to yell "asshole!" I gained a lot of respect for her that day.

I lost a best friend to suicide a few years back. All it leaves behind is a mess beyond comprehension. If anyone, rock stars or fans, are thinking any of this is OK, find the love in your hearts to spare your friends and family.
 
oh how depressing this list is...Such a waste of talent
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