Death is of course a horrible thing, only made worse when someone is taken at a young age, in or before their prime, leaving an incomplete legacy behind them.
As is the nature with the excess that can come with fame and fortune, countless musicians and artists have passed away young, either unable to handle the radical change in lifestyle or through other tragic means - be it natural causes or unavoidable accidents. Certain deaths have no doubt had a huge impact on how the industry has developed over time.
Looking at this harrowing prospect from a less morbid, and more legacy-based viewpoint, here are 47 artists who died far too young.
Brian Jones - 1942-1969: Jones was the original frontman of The Rolling Stones and a crucial member in the band's formation, even choosing the members, songs, and the name. His role in the band gradually diminished as his drug problem grew. He was eventually asked to leave and less than a month later was found dead in his swimming pool, his heart damaged by drug and alcohol abuse.
Jim Morrison -1943-1971: Morrison was the lead singer of the rock band, The Doors. He died as a result of heart failure, believed to be induced by alcohol and heroin.
Nick Drake - 1948-1974: The reclusive and intellectual musician only achieved recognition after his death. A Cambridge graduate who made music in his parents house, he suffered depression and finally overdosed on antidepressants. Whether the overdose was accidental or intentional remains unknown.
Elvis Presley - 1935-1977: Considered a cultural icon all over the world, Elvis is still hailed as the King of rock'n'roll. He was one of the best selling solo artists of the twentieth century, but had a long battle with drug addiction, eventually becoming plagued by many health issues that culminated in heart failure.
Keith Moon - 1946-1978: Moon was the drummer in The Who, best remembered for his legendary and unique drumming style that gave him a legacy as one of the best of all time. The musician was also known for his alcohol and drug fuelled destruction, which included a habit of putting explosives down toilets. His life ended when he overdosed on a combination of pills.
Minnie Riperton - 1947-1979: The singer songwriter was best known for classic hits like 'Lovin You'. She later died of breast cancer aged 31.
John Lennon - 1940 - 1980: The Beatles musician was murdered in the street by super-fan Mark David Chapman who shot him several times in the back as he returned to his apartment with Yoko Ono.
Marvin Gaye - 1939-1984: The soul musician was shot by his father after an argument with the gun he had bought him as a Christmas present. The musician, who claimed to be influenced by Frank Sinatra, had a number of iconic tracks such as 'Heard It Through The Grapevine' and 'Sexual Healing'. The singer had struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction ever since the death of his musical partner Tammi Terrell.
Cliff Burton - 1962 - 1986: Burton was the original bass guitarist for Metallica and was tragically killed when the band's tour bus crashed. He was thrown from the window whilst sleeping and the bus landed on him.
Chet Baker - 1929-1988: The iconic jazz musician and trumpet player struggled with a heroin habit which had begun in 1950 and stayed until his death. He was found dead on the street with heroin and cocaine later found in his system.
Hillel Slovak - 1962-1988: The original guitarist and founding member of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. He recorded two albums with the band before he died of a heroin overdose, despite attempting to quit for a number of years.
Andy Gibb - 1958-1988: The younger brother of the Bee Gees had limited solo career success and a long battle with drug addiction and depression that led to his eventual death.
Freddie Mercury - 1946-1991: The iconic Queen front man, infamous for his flamboyant persona and stage presence, composed a large number of Queen hits including 'Don't Stop Me Now' and Bohemian Rhapsody'. He had a private and long battle with Aids which eventually caused his death after suffering with pneumonia.
Aaliyah - 1979-2001: Aaliyah was killed in a plane crash returning from a video shoot for the track 'Rock the Boat' in the Bahamas. It was later dicovered that the pilot had cocaine and alcohol in his system. She is best remembered for her melodic, silky sweet vocals that crossed over from R'n'B, hip-hop and pop.
River Phoenix - 1970-1993: As well as being a famous child actor, River was an accomplished musician, using an ethereal folk rock style. He died on the night he was due to perform with Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, after snorting a large quantity of cocaine and heroin. His brother, the actor Joaquin Phoenix, was by his side when he died outside the Viper Room nightclub.
Richey Edwards - 1967-1995: The songwriter and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers was only officially pronounced dead in 2008 following his disappearance in 1995. Best known for his intellectual and politicised style of song writing, he struggled with depression and self harm prior to his disappearance.
Eazy E - 1963-1995: Often considered the 'Godfather of Gangsta Rap, Eazy E was a member of N.W.A and died of complications from AIDs.
Tupac - 1971-1996: The figurehead of West Coast hip-hop was killed in a drive by shooting that has never been solved. However he made an interesting come back as the first ever hologram to perform on stage to an audience at Coachella with Snoop and Dr Dre last year.
Jeff Buckley - 1966-1997: The songwriter and guitarist only achieved one studio album in his lifetime with the critically acclaimed Grace. Whilst working on his second album he accidentally drowned in a river after a spontaneous swim with all his clothes on.
Michael Hutchence - 1960-1997: The INXS frontman achieved chart success with hits such as 'I Need You Tonight' but hanged himself after struggling with depression, a drug habit and alcohol addiction.
Dee Dee Ramone - 1951-2002: The founding member and songwriter of the iconic punk rock band The Ramones had a long struggle with drug addiciton that eventually led to a heroin overdose.
Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes - 1971-2002: The TLC rapper was often in the media spotlight for her troubled and fiery relationship, during which at one point she set fire to her boyfriend's mansion. Before her death in a fatal car accident, she had claimed that she believed a bad spirit was after her.
Michael Jackson - 1958-2009: As well as some of the best selling pop hits that included 'Billie Jean', 'Beat It' and 'Thriller', the King of Pop had a troubled personal life leading up to his death in 2009. The singer was due to perform a series of huge gigs for his 'This Is It' tour, but he died before the tour could take place.
Charles Haddon - 1988-2010: Plagued with guilt after seriously injuring a girl when he stage dived at a music festival in Belgium, the lead singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool committed suicide after climbing to the top of a rigging tower and jumping off.
Gerard Smith - 1974-2011: The bassist in indie rock band TV On The Radio was discovered by front man Tunde Adebimpe, whilst he was busking in a Brooklyn subway in 2003. He died of lung cancer.
Whitney Houston - 1963-2012: Houston was a best selling artist famous for her overwhelmingly powerful vocal talent that was to have a huge influence on female pop singers ever since her discovery. The Queen of power ballads was found accidentally drowned in a bath, with cocaine, prescription drugs and marijuana discovered in her system.
DJ Mehdi - 1977-2011: The French hip-hop artist and DJ was part of the Club 75 group, a collection of influencial french dance producers and musicians that included Cassius and Justice. He died when the roof of his home collapsed as he celebrated a friend's birthday.
Otis Redding - 1941-1967: Otis remains one of the leading figures in soul music but was tragically killed in a plane crash only 3 days after recording 'Sittin' in the Dock of the Bay', a track he became best known for. The Dock of the Bay album was released after his death and went to Number 1.
Jimi Hendrix - 1942-1970: Hendrix left one of the greatest legacies in rock'n'roll history - but the circumstances of his death remain unclear. It is believed he asphyxiated on his own vomit after overdosing on sleeping pills.
Tim Buckley - 1947-1975: A folk rock musician and the father of Jeff Buckley, the singer fatally consumed an entire bag of heroin when drunk.
Sid Vicious - 1957-1979: The bassist in The Sex Pistols and a punk icon. Vicious had a destructive drug habit, fuelled by his mother who supplied him with the heroin which was to eventually kill him. He was charged with the murder of his girlfriend Nancy who was stabbed in their hotel room, but he died of an overdose, aged just 21, before the trial could take place.
Bob Marley - 1945-1981: The iconic reggae musician, who became a figure head for Rastafarian culture survived an assassination attempt in 1976, but died following a battle with cancer that had begun in the toe. Due to his religious beliefs he would not have the toe amputated, and it quickly spread to the rest of his body.
Sam Cooke - 1931-1964: A pioneering soul singer, whose gospel and jazz infused records went on to influence the landscape of pop. He found success with hits like 'Twistin the Night Away' and 'A Change is Gonna Come'. He met a controversial death when he was shot in a motel by a woman claiming self defence against the singer. He was found dead only wearing a jacket and shoes.
Amy Winehouse - 1983-2011: After struggling with a well documented alcohol and drug addiction, her rapid descent was unfortunately played out in the media spotlight. She died of an accidental alcohol poisoning during a relapse, but she remains well known for her stunning musical prowess and is still considered one of the best soul voices the UK has ever seen.
Eva Cassidy - 1963-1996: The Songbird vocalist and guitarist is another musician to achieve big time success only after her death. Her effortless gospel and blues mix found mainstream recognition when her version of 'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' was discovered and played on radio after she had died from cancer.
Notorious B.I.G - 1972-1997: Christopher Wallace was murdered in an unsolved drive-by shooting only a year after his West Coast rival, Tupac. The Brooklyn based artist was the East Coast hip-hop leader and recorded two studio albums, the second being released two weeks after his death with the ominous title, Life after Death.
Tammi Terrell - 1945-1970: Terrell was the star singer of Motown records through out the 60s and is best known for her high profile collaborations with Marvin Gaye which included 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough and 'You're All I Need To Get By'. Starting out as a singer for James Brown, her and Gaye quickly became one of the best performing duos in Motown. She died of brain cancer, and Marvin Gaye, who himself died aged just 44, never recovered from her death.
Stuart Sutcliffe - 1940-1962: The original bassist in The Beatles, Sutcliffe left the band in 1961 to concentrate on his artwork and painting but died of a brain hemorrhage a year later. He is one of the figures who feature on the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover.
Buddy Holly - 1936-1959: With hits such as 'Peggy Sue' and 'Everyday', Holly is considered a pioneer of rock and roll, and has influenced acts including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones. His own success lasted only a little over a year though, as he was killed in a plane crash at the height of his fame, aged just 22.
Karen Carpenter - 1950-1983: The singer and drummer in the sibling duo The Carpenters, Karen suffered heart failure after a long battle with anorexia. In the 1980s, little was known about anorexia nervosa, but Carpenter's death led to increased visibility and awareness of severity of the condition.
Ian Curtis - 1956-1980: Curtis was the frontman of Joy Division, the iconic post punk band, and his angst-filled and dark romance were immortalised in tracks such as 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. Curtis suffered with epilepsy and depression, and - following the breakdown of his marriage - committed suicide by hanging himself. Curtis's life and death are chronicled in the 2007 film Control.
Simone Battle - 1989 - 2014: One of this year's most harrowing tragedies, Simone Battle's passing was completely unexpected, especially considering GRL were about to score their first UK chart hit with 'Ugly Heart'. On the week of the single's release, Battle was found in her apartment after seemingly committing suicide, aged just 25.
Andrea Marongiu: The most recent addition to this list, Crystal Fighters' drummer Andrea Marongiu was found dead in his home in September 2014, just 10 hours after tweeting he was "at home recovering". The cause of his has yet to be determined, however needless to say fans of one of the best live bands in the world are devastated, whilst the group themselves issued an emotional statement commemorating the great drummer's life.
Janis Joplin - 1943-1970: Joplin found major success as a solo artist with iconic tracks including 'Piece of My Heart.' Often hailed as the Queen of psychedelic soul, she earned her place in rock'n'roll history with her unrestrained, raw vocal style that expressed pain and heartache in a devastatingly bluesy and empowering style. She was found dead in a hotel room following a heroin and alcohol overdose.
Benjamin Curtis - 1978 -2013: Formerly of the incredible but underrated Secret Machines before forming School Of Seven Bells, the talented singer, songwriter and guitarist tragically passed from T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma at the age of 35. "We will all miss this incredibly talented and rare person every day, but we are fortunate enough that he shared with us his music, and that is something that we can keep forever," said the School Of Seven Bells in a a statement. He is survived by his brother Brandon, a touring keyboardist with Interpol.
Alan Wass - 1983 - 2015: Alan Wass, close friend and collaborator of Pete Doherty, passed away aged 33 following an injury obtained after falling through a glass partition at his home in Ladbroke Grove, where he severed an artery and two nerves in his arm. He was recovering in intensive care at St Mary's Hospital, where he suffered a heart attack and died. Wass fronted his own bands The Lipstick Melodies and Left Hand as well as collaborating with The Libertines and Pete Doherty. Doherty paid tribute to Wass during The Libertines' secret set at Glastonbury 2015.
Wayne Static - 1965 - 2014: The Static-X frontman was well-respected within the world of metal, sending shockwaves throughout the industry when he died from a "mixed prescription drug (oxycodone, hydromorphone, alprazolam) with alcohol toxicity" at the age of 48
Nick Talbot - 1977-2014: The Warp Records artist Nick Talbot, stage name Gravenhurst, died aged just 37 after recording five acclaimed studio albums in his career, had his passing confirmed by his record label, who paid tribute alongside his manager Michelle Hilborne - who described him as "outstandingly intelligent, compassionate, fascinating and witty, Nick was the dearest friend and his absence brings indescribable sorrow."
Alexis Gotts - 1982 - 2015: Wet Nuns drummer Alexis Gotts sent waves of sadness beyond the Yorkshire music scene when he died aged 32. The Yorkshire duo were local favourites around the music scene of Sheffield and Leeds - as well as finding fans throughout the UK. They announced their split in 2013. The band then revealed that drummer Gotts, known to friends as Leki, has passed away after taking his own life. "It's with a deep sadness and a heavy heart that I try to find the words to express the deep sense of grief that I feel as I come to terms with the loss of my friend, band mate and brother Leki," wrote frontman Rob Graham.
Ross Dawson - 1988 - 2015: The Late of The Pier drummer tragically from a 'tragic and sudden accident. As well as the likes of Alex Kapranos and Erol Alkan paying tribute, his family wrote: "As well as writing and playing his own material Ross was a drummer with many other successful artists including Misty Miller, Kai Fish and most recently Zibra. Ross was a monumental force in the lives of everybody who knew him, multi-talented, modest, kind and generous; he loved and was loved by his family. The world has become a sadder place without him. He will be eternally missed by all who knew and loved him."
Kurt Cobain - 1967-1994: The iconic grunge frontman and songwriter for Nirvana achieved a huge breakthrough with their second album Nevermind in 1991 which featured tracks like 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. He battled with heroin addiction and severe depression. His body was discovered days after his suicide with a gun shot wound to the head.
Prince: 1958-2016: His Royal Badness was just 57 when he left us - still gigging and partying for fans up until his dying day. Restlessly creative, the 'Purple Rain' icon released a staggering four albums in his last two years, and we doubt he had yet more greatness to unload.
It's likely tied to the elevated alcohol and drug use among artists.
Music Legends Who Lived Fast and Died at 27. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and Janis Joplin number among the tragically long list of musicians who died at 27.
Because the 27 Club is entirely notional, there is no official membership.
According to a new report, rock and pop stars die young. Many of them die from drug overdoses, AIDS or drunk-driving accidents. The study found that the average lifespan of American musical stars in pop, rock and rap genre is only 45. The average European stars die on average at age 39.
Anti-social working hours, touring schedules and an 'always on' mentality driven by oversupply of music and lack of boundaries also lead to musicians struggling to know when to stop working, resulting in isolation and a lack of meaningful relationships.
For centuries, musicians have used drugs to enhance creativity and listeners have used drugs to heighten the pleasure created by music.
Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin. A cliché, yes, but a beseeching one nevertheless. Amy Winehouse's death over the weekend – untimely sure, but no jaw-dropper – allowed her entry to a dodgy little clique known as the 27 Club.
The '27 Club' is a cultural phenomenon, highlighting the musicians, artists, actors and athletes who died at the age of 27, with many of the deaths linked to high-risk lifestyles. This includes deaths that are the result of suicide, homicide, drug and alcohol abuse, or transportation-related accidents.
On July 3, 1971, Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of the apartment at approximately 6:00 a.m. by Courson. He was 27 years old. The official cause of death was listed as heart failure, although no autopsy was performed as it was not required by French law.
Moreover, there are renowned celebrities in both the unspecified “26” and “28 clubs.” Mac Miller, Sharon Tate, Otis Redding, and Nick Drake all died at 26. Heath Ledger, Avicii, and Big Pun died at 28.
Robert Johnson was the first, but unfortunately not the last, important musician to pass away at 27, becoming the founder of a club no one wants to join — and one that has captured the popular imagination for decades.
Amy Winehouse Becomes the Newest Member of the Forever 27 Club.
The median ages of popular musician death in the two Bellis studies (links above) were 41.78 and 45.2 years respectively, which closely aligned with my findings.
|Robert Johnson||Guitarist, singer||27|
|Brian Jones||Guitarist of The Rolling Stones||27|
For musicians, great hearing protection is essential to protect their way of life. Since IEMs go directly into the ear canal, they offer earplug-like protection from the outside. These protect performers from being exposed to loud band sounds and shouts from the crowd.
The report found that more than 73% of independent music makers suffer from symptoms of mental illness, and that anxiety and depression were the most commonly experienced negative emotions in relation to music creation.
According to Collins, musicians exhibit enhanced memory functions. Because they use both sides of their brain, they are able to give their memories multiple tags, such as conceptual, emotional and audio tags, making it easier to extrapolate the memories when needed.
The brains of musicians have stronger structural and functional connections compared to those of non-musicians, regardless of innate pitch ability, according to new research from JNeurosci. Years of musical training shape the brain in dramatic ways.
Now neurologists report that this human response to music -- which has existed for thousands of years, across cultures around the world -- involves dopamine, the same chemical in the brain that is associated with the intense pleasure people get from more tangible rewards such as food or addictive drugs.
Marijuana is the drug of choice when exploring what musicians prefer to incorporate in their music. Rock, hip hop, pop, electronic, and country music mention this particular drug a greater amount than any other substance.
So the question is: will drugs make you a better songwriter? The likely answer is that it depends on which part of your songwriting process is weaker. If you find it difficult to come up with original thoughts (i.e., to tap into your imagination), some evidence shows that cannabis might help that condition.
The term became widely known after Kurt Cobain's death in 1994, with rock fans connecting his age to that of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix – though it was notable to fans in the early 1970s when those four visionaries died within just two years of each other.
All of them were all incredibly influential musicians who coined new genres and changed the course of music history before they died untimely deaths at 27 years old. That coincidence spawned the myth of the 27 Club among music historians and fans. Howard Sounes wrote an entire book about it. But the 27 Club isn't real.
They are Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse. The late '60s was the start of the 27 club and where most of the deaths happened. Between 69-71, we had Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin all die. To qualify for the 27 club, you need to be a famous musician.
Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison were among the first celebrities to become 27 Club members between 1969 and 1971. However, the term “27 Club” was created in 1994 when Kurt Cobain joined. At that time people started to notice a consistency of how old many great musicians were when they passed.
His last words were allegedly “Are you there, Pam? Pam, are you there?” and the official cause of death was reported as heart failure. According to Danny Sugerman, co-author of No One Here Gets Out Alive: The Biography of Jim Morrison, the couple had been snorting heroin together that night.
Jim Morrison Met Elvis? Elvis laughed and said, “No I can't rightly say I have, Jim.” He saw that Jim wasn't laughing, that he, in fact, seemed deeply troubled. “What about you?” Jim looked down at the floor and shook his head, not in negation, but confusion.
Jim Morrison Net Worth: Jim Morrison was an American rock singer, poet and songwriter who had a net worth of $400 thousand dollars at the time of his death. That's equal to roughly $2.5 million in today's dollars after adjusting for inflation.
Of course, the 27 Club myth could be just that - a myth. After all, there have been plenty of stars that have perished tragically young, but not at 27 - James Dean (24), River Phoenix (23), Sid Vicious (21) and Tupac (25).
- Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) Kurt Cobain performing as part of Nirvana. ...
- Amy Winehouse (1983-2011) ...
- Jim Morrison (1943-1971) ...
- Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) ...
- Janis Joplin (1943-1970) ...
- Robert Johnson (1911-1938) ...
- Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) ...
- Brian Jones (1942-1969)
American blues singer Robert Johnson is one of the earliest examples of the 27 Club. Although he was largely ignored during his lifetime, Johnson's life and death have produced many urban legends, such as that he sold his soul to the devil at a local crossroads to achieve his musical success.
On this day in 1970, she died of an accidental heroin overdose and was discovered in her Los Angeles hotel room after failing to show for a scheduled recording session. She was 27 years old.
On September 18, 1970, American musician Jimi Hendrix died in London at the age of 27. One of the 1960s' most influential guitarists, he was described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music."
According to his death certificate, Morrison, who was famously found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment at the age of 27, died from natural causes.
For musicians, great hearing protection is essential to protect their way of life. Since IEMs go directly into the ear canal, they offer earplug-like protection from the outside. These protect performers from being exposed to loud band sounds and shouts from the crowd.
Musicians tend to be ahead of the cultural curve and to shape it. Because it came of age in the 60's, rock music became strongly associated with long hair. Even newer rock musicians in the older sub-genres (classic rock, heavy metal) tend to keep to this convention. Conversely, punk rockers tend to have short haircuts.
Diaphragmatic Breathing: Making Your Voice Carry
Singing with your stomach is a much better way to be heard and to make your voice carry. Diaphragmatic breathing can expel the air stored up and create a better sound. This will allow you to sing more loudly.
Closing one's eyes while singing leads to increased auditory acuity and improved vocal control - which acts as a type of biofeedback. This allows the singer to express an enormous amount of energy at the moment as it becomes a larger-than-life experience.
This is where they'll place an earpiece in one ear (which plays a pre-recorded track) and use the other ear to listen to their singing voice. This allows them to sing along to the track, but still hear their voice clearly. This approach is most-often used in the recording studio.
It's believed that when our hairs gets longer, our head gets Vitamin D, phosphorus and calcium naturally. They in due course, enter into our body via two of the tubes which're at the brain's top part. This alteration alters our memory more strong and efficient.
The beliefs that hair is in competition with the fetus for nutrients and that long hair can negatively affect the growth and development of the body and mind are absolutely bogus.
Some guitarists have long fingernails on their picking hand as a way of increasing the attack of each struck note. In other words, the longer nail acts as a natural pick, where the end of the nail strikes the string alongside the actual finger, increasing the volume, attack, and overall strength of the note.
Overall, although Elvis was hard to watch at times, Priscilla loved the film. And she thinks the King himself would've approved, too. “It was perfection,” she told Good Morning America in June. “This is a movie he really would have loved, showing who he was, what he was striving for, what his dreams were.”
Eyeliner and Lashes Were Key For the Elvis Makeup Look
Elvis was ahead of his time in more ways than one and often wore makeup, especially for his performances.
Along with cocaine, toxicology tests found marijuana, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, the muscle relaxant Flexeril and the allergy medicine Benadryl in Houston's body when she died, a coroner's report stated, concluding the prescription drugs “did not contribute to the death.”
At the time of her death, Houston was worth around $20 million. Undoubtedly, that amount increased due to music sales as news of her death spread. Houston had only one daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown — from her tumultuous marriage to Brown — who became sole heir to the singer's estate when she was just a teen.