Mysterious Deaths in Music
Elliott Smith Elliott Smith’s rise to fame was perhaps as unexpected as his untimely death. In 1998 he was nominated for an Oscar for his song ‘Miss Misery’ which featured on the soundtrack of Good Will Hunting. Just 5 years later he was found dead in his apartment with two stab wounds to the chest. Sure alcoholism, drug addiction and depression may have played a part, but conflicting evidence at the scene and the fact that it’s pretty hard to stab yourself in the chest twice (don’t try this one at home kids) have led some to believe that his girlfriend was the perpetrator, since she was the last person to see him alive.
Peter Tosh With roughly 81% of deaths in Jamaica caused by Bobsled related injury, the death of Reggae master Peter Tosh continues to surprise many. Upon returning to his home one night in 1987, he was accosted by three armed men, demanding his money. Not content with his answer 'I don't have any mon', they remained in his home for several hours, ending in the death of Tosh and 2 of his friends. Jamaican conspiracy theorists still believe that this was an assassination plot by the government, rather than a home invasion, citing that nothing was actually stolen from the house. They also claim the government gave Bob Marley skin cancer and Grace Jones is an alien (not as hard to believe).
John Lennon John Lennon’s assassination was one of those events where people will tell you exactly where they were when they found out- on the toilet, having a bath or reading a newspaper. It’s an exhaustive list. But it was this single event that gave rise to more conspiracy theories than you could poke a stick at. A man called Mark Chapman was charged with the murder, but after lengthy interviews Chapman admitted he had no memory of the event or why he had done it. This could be one of two things- either he had been brainwashed by the FBI to carry out their dirty work (the FBI had a very large file on Lennon due to his political leanings) OR Chapman was schizophrenic.
Jim Morrison The mystery around Jim Morrison’s death wasn’t so much the cause (If you didn’t know- Jim liked to party) but the way in which it happened. I’m sure you know the old story- he was found in a bathtub and suffered a heart attack. But a recent article published by Classic Rock brings to life an account of the night Morrison died by the former manager of Rock n’ Roll Circus, Sam Bernett. He claims Morrison was found passed out on the dunny with foam covering his nose and lips in a paralytic state. The owner, not wanting any bad publicity, ordered for Morrison to be shipped out the back door. Cut to bathtub scene.
Johnny Thunders Live fast, Die...well kind of young. Johnny Thunders was almost a cliché, although he did manage to make it past the 27 club. As one of the original members of the New York Dolls, Thunders went on to form The Heartbreakers, but died in a hotel room in New Orleans in 1991, supposedly from an overdose. Rumours circulated at the time that he had gotten himself mixed up with some ruffians who wanted his methadone supply (as he was a former heroin addict). What is perhaps most disturbing is that rigor mortis has set in by the time he was found; leaving him in a position that resembled a pretzel. So his friend told everyone he died with a guitar in his arms- a sign of true friendship.
Bobby Fuller ‘I fought the law and the law won’, ironically the famous lyrics to Bobby Fullers hit single served as a lasting reminder that you shouldn’t fuck with a mobster’s ex-missus, unless you want trouble. 23-year-old Fuller was found dead in his car several days after being reported missing. His body was soaked in gasoline covered in bruises. His friends say it was a mob job, but apparently the LA police found nothing suspicious at all...
Brian Jones If there was a black sheep of the Rolling Stones, it was Brian Jones. He could never finish a song he wrote, was achingly insecure about it and at the time of his death he’d already acquired 4 different baby mama’s. Jones was found floating in his pool at about midnight in July 1969 at the grand old age of 27. The police said it was a misadventure, but we all know the builder did it.
The Notorious B.I.G AKA Christopher Wallace, AKA Biggie Smalls...I’m sure the list could go on. Wallace was gunned down in a car in 1997while he was driving with his entourage back from a party. Like Lennon, there are many theories circulating about who actually killed him, but the most popular seems to be that it was organised in tandem by members of Death Row Records and the LAPD. It’s just a thought, but maybe Biggie should have thought more carefully when naming his album ‘Ready to Die’, it could have somehow been misconstrued.
Tim Buckley The Buckley name usually brings to mind the death of Jeff, who accidentaly drowned in a river. But mystery still surrounds the death of his father Tim, who died from an ‘overdose’ at the age of 28. Buckley was no stranger to heroin, but managed to control his consumption on the road. However after a fight broke out between him and a friend over their heroin supply, his friend challenged him to take the lot, and that is exactly what he did. Apparently Buckley’s body wasn’t used to the amount he had ingested, but his ‘friend’ was later charged with involuntary manslaughter
Marvin Gaye ‘What’s going on, what’s going on? No really Dad, you just shot me’. Marvin Gaye was shot by his father in 1984 following an argument about lost business documents. Gaye was no stranger to depression and was in fact staying with his parents because he feared someone was trying to kill him. His father ended up being charged with voluntary manslaughter because Gaye had beaten his father just before he shot him. Mixing business with family always ends in tears...or gunshot wounds if you live in America.
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