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Only the Good Die Young

Posted on Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 10:12AM by Registered CommenterAllyson B. Crawford | Comments4 Comments

Researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University have released findings of the most worthless study of all time. Yes, it seems rock stars really do die young. Who would have thought?

Here's a newswire from Reuters:

LONDON - Rock stars -notorious for their "crash and burn" lifestyles - really are more likely than other people to die before reaching old age.

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.

As well as Presley, the toll of those dying before their time included Doors singer Jim Morrison, guitar hero Jimi Hendrix, T Rex star Marc Bolan and Nirvana's Kurt Cobain.

More than a quarter of all the deaths were related to drugs or alcohol abuse, said the study in the Journal of Epidemial Community Health.

"The paper clearly describes a population of rock and pop stars who are at a disproportionate risk of alcohol and drug related deaths," said Mark Bellis, lead author of the study.

He said the study raised questions about the suitability of using rock stars for public health messages such as anti-drug campaigns when their own lifestyle was so dangerous.

"In the music industry, factors such as stress, changes from popularity to obscurity, and exposure to environments where alcohol and drugs are easily available, can all contribute to substance use as well as other self-destructive behaviors," the report said.

Highest risk:

It found that musicians were most at risk in the first five years after achieving fame, with death rates more than three times higher than normal.

Hendrix, Bon Scott of AC/DC and punk rocker Sid Vicious all died within five years of hitting the big time, said Bellis.

Among British artists the risk of dying remains high until around 25 years after their first success, when they return to near normal life expectancy.

That bodes well for rock survivors like The Who's 63-year-old Roger Daltrey, who famously first sang "I hope I die before I get old" in the song "My Generation" back in 1965.

But this trend was not found in North America, where aging rockers remain almost twice as likely to suffer a premature demise, particularly from heart attack or stroke.

American stars Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys and Johnny Ramone of the Ramones all died in their 50s.

Bellis suggested that the high death rate among older American musicians could be related to the continent's greater appetite for reunion tours, exposing the artists for more years to an unhealthy "rock'n'roll" lifestyle.

It could also be due to the poor medical outlook for impoverished American ex-pop stars who have no health insurance, he said.

Americans have a penchant for reunion tours, eh? So be it. Here's a Van Halen video: "Dance the Night Away"


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Should we take bets on how long it takes for the rock n' roll life on the road to tear the mighty Van Halen apart?

Reader Comments (4)

The Van Halen tour will come apart because EVH is an ass, not because of drugs or alcohol.

I wonder who managed to get funding for a study where they watch rock videos and draw bar graphs of how artists died. I also wonder how they got their list ? I mean, Kurt Cobain is an obvious poster boy for this stuff, but he was just a screw up. Am I the only one who still hates Nirvana ?

Dave Grohl is one cool guy, tho.
September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
That's kind of interesting and sad at the same time.

I think that Van Halen last a whole tour, but I don't really think they'll last much longer than that.
September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
Yeah, the $$$$ might keep them tolerating each other for that long. But, I feel sorry for Dave. He's got three VH's against him, now.

Funny, I used to think that *Dave* was the jerk.
September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Graus
The Van Halen tour will be fine...on stage at least. Well, I hope so, hopefully they've learned something all these years...you only need to tolerate each other onstage for 90+ minutes. If there is trouble it'll be BEFORE the tour kicks off. The practices will break them first, they HAVE to be in the same room for extended periods of time then.
I agree with Ian Christie, that this is a wonderful gift and opportunity for Wolfgang, BUT I still say it's a travesty that Michael Anthony isn't a part of this. Me being around on the 1st VanHalen tour many brain cells ago, when they hit the "Never Say Die" tour with Sabbath and all but the fatefull VHIII tour, I was in the audience somewhere. The last "reunion" with Sammy was positively THE worst performance I have ever seen from ANY band. I have seen many many shows through my 40 plus years and THAT was the first show I EVER left during the headliner's set out of disgust. It was beyond a trainwreck.
I have my seats for the Cleveland show coming up and I am anticipating the usual VH w/Dave show that I have longed for since 1986. Vocally, Sammy definitely has the chops, but for all out fun and party...NO ONE better than Diamond Dave. It's a shame that tickets are about $115 bucks higher than they were for the "1984" tour LOL. Now THAT is some inflation right there. But like Poison, I know what I'm gonna get with my ticket price. I can close my eyes and see it and hear it...."LOOK AT ALL THE PEOPLE HEAR TONIGHT MAN!" and then the "Davecicle" " This hears the sound of summatime!" ahhhh I can taste the Jack right now. hahahaha.
Allyson...LOVE the site. Thank you!
Sweet Lou.
PS
By the way, concerning the "original" post...I don't need a PhD to know that "rockers" die at a young age. Did anyone REALLY need to waste money and time to redearch that? Isn't there a need to find a cure for cancer or AIDS? Maybe they should do something with their Doctorate. hahahaha
September 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSweet Lou

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