Saw a headline right out of The Onion today: Rock Stars More Likely to Die Early. Yes, it was an actual study conducted by academics in England, the blockbuster follow-up to their famed Drunks More Likely to Suffer From Liver Maladies work. No kidding around, this was a real study:
A study of more than 1,000 mainly British and North American artists, spanning the era from Elvis Presley to rapper Eminem, found they were two to three times more likely to suffer a premature death than the general population.
Between 1956 and 2005 there were 100 deaths among the 1,064 musicians examined by researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.
Turns out that rock stars are “at a disproportionate risk of alcohol- and drug-related deaths.” Color me gob-smacked. But it was a good excuse to start a list. The ten best rockers to depart before their times. No oldies: Carl Perkins, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, even Jerry Garcia (53), Roy Orbison (52), George Harrison (58), Johnny Ramone (56), and John Entwhistle (whose coke-inspired demise came at 58) and the like all had their time. So, sub-50, taken from us. In their prime. In order. Here goes:
1. John Lennon
2. Elvis Presley
3. Otis Redding
4. Johnny Thunders
5. Duane Allman
6. Keith Moon
7. Buddy Holly
8. Kurt Cobain
9. Jimi Hendrix
10. Gram Parsons
Elvis is the only guy (and they’re all guys though Nico almost made it) over 40. He still had so much to give. Who’s on your list in the little outfit I call, The Great Hereafter?