We have anecdotal evidence that performers of all kinds, but perhaps especially musicians, tend to struggle with their mental health. Their lives too often end in tragedy, and below are 17 heartbreaking facts that seem to buoy the perception that their destined to have it rough.
#17. The 27 Club
Too many musicians and singers have died at the not-so-ripe age of 27 – Amy Winehouse, recently, but between 1969 and 1971 Brian Jones (The Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison all died at the age of 27. Kurt Cobain also joined in 1994.
#16. So many plane crashes…
Otis Redding died in a crash on December 10, 1967, and he is not the only musician who went out that way. But we’ll get there…
#15. Here one day, gone the next.
Django Reinhardt survived a house fire as a teenager that left him disfigured, but the shape of his hand led to a unique sound that’s never been duplicated. But when he was just 43 he collapsed on the steps of his home and died of a stroke before being able to see a doctor the next day.
#14. At the hand of the father.
Singer Marvin Gay was shot and killed by his unstable father, Marvin Gay Sr.
#13. Marvin Gaye Jr. had experience with brain tumors.
In 1967 Tammi Terrell, who recorded “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” collapsed in Gaye’s arms on stage. A trip to the hospital revealed she had a malignant brain tumor that led to her death less than a year later.
#12. Bad Luck Brothers
The Allman Brothers almost seem cursed – in 1971, Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident and now there’s only one surviving original member remaining.
#11. Seriously, you couldn’t make this up.
A year later, Allman Brothers’ bassist Berry Oakley was killed – also in a motorcycle accident, and just a few blocks from where Duane Allman died.
#10. Was it inevitable?
Amy Winehouse reportedly feared turning 27 and becoming part of the infamous club, and her fears sadly became a reality.
#9. Out of time.
The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia had decided to get help for his drug and alcohol abuse after years of living large, but he died of a heart attack in the treatment center.
#8. The day the music died.
One of music’s more famous plane crashes took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. Richardson (the Big Bopper), and their pilot, Roger Peterson.
#7. Maybe don’t get back together.
The Band reunited in 1983, but, just 3 years after, pianist Richard Manuel hung himself in his motel room. His replacement, Stan Szelest, died (of natural causes) 5 years later.
#6. Loyalty can’t be bought.
Selena Quintanilla’s agent, Yolanda Saldivar, embezzled a large sum of money from the young star, and the uncovering of the scam eventually led to Selena’s death.
#5. Grave robbers.
Elvis was originally buried next to his mother in Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis, but his body had to be moved to Graceland after more than one terrible person attempted to dig him up.
#4. Suicide, or…
Elliott Smith was well known for his mental health problems – ADHD and depression led to a battle with substance abuse that he was very open about. In 2003, his girlfriend Jennifer Chiba locked herself in the bathroom after a fight, emerging to find Smith impaled on a knife. He had left a suicide note, but some haven’t ruled out the possibility that Chiba killed him and used his unstable past to cover it up.
#3. Continued grief.
A few days after Buddy Holly’s death his wife, Maria Elena Holly, miscarried their first child.
#2. Plane crash statistics don’t apply.
It seems as if the statistics about dying in a plane crash don’t apply to musicians – Lynyrd Skynyrd became one of a number of bands to be decimated by a crash when in 1977, they lost their lead singer, guitarist, and singer along with a crew member.
#1. A cursed life.
After being preyed upon (according to recent reporting) by R. Kelly, teenage star Aaliyah and her crew, along with the pilot and co-pilot of the plane, died in a crash in the Bahamas.
Maybe try to convince your guitar-loving kiddo to take another path in life, eh? Or to avoid drugs and planes at the very least…