Scientists Study Rock and Roll Deaths

forever27.jpg Studies appear in the news all the time. Today scientists revealed that Rock stars are more likely than the general population to die young. The results of this study were a bit of an ‘oh, der’ moment for me.

Overall, 100 stars died between 1956 and 2005 and long-term drug or alcohol problems accounted for more than one-quarter of the deaths.

Jimmy Hendrix died after taking a cocktail of wine and nine sleeping pills; Janis Joplin and Doors frontman Jim Morrison died of suspected heroin overdoses; and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. All were aged 27 when they died.

The findings were based on 1050 North American and European musicians and singers who rose to fame between 1956 and 1999.

These stars were featured in the All Time Top 1000 albums list, selected in 2000 and covering rock, pop, funk, R&B, electronica and new age genres.

The study also examined how long the pop stars survived once they had achieved chart success, compared with the life expectancy of the general population, when matched for age, sex, ethnicity and nationality.

It found music stars were more than twice as likely to die early and even more likely to die within five years of becoming famous.

The average age of death was 42 for North American stars and 35 for European stars.

Sydney Morning Herald

Apparently some of the deaths can be attributed to ageing rock stars not being able to afford health insurance in the US, and not getting treatment for ailments brought on by their hard partying youth.

I wonder how long Pete Doherty’s got? Except I am unsure as to whether he counts as a star. He’s a celebrity, in the manner that he is famous for doing models and cocaine, but he is not technically a rock star. Perhaps scientists could waste some time on a study into what makes someone a genuine bonafide star?

You know, if I had realised you could study the lives of rock stars, I might have done a doctorate. My friends are studying more useful things for their PhDs, like endangered lizards and how to preserve Australia’s coastline, and getting paid reasonably to do it. I would love to get paid to study Pete Doherty’s star power. Or the odds of Amy Winehouse living to be 30.

Picture note by Celebitchy: Header image is the “Forever 27” poster by Scott Lobaido from


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