Musicians Who Drank Themselves to Death
After Kings of Leon this week were forced to cancel their US tour and placed their career in doubt due to an onstage incident in which front man Caleb Followill was forced to call an early end to a gig when he appeared to drunk to continue, we thought it would be a timely reminder to him and us to look at some of the long list of musicians that have had their careers cut short by alcoholism. Followill’s band mates and management are currently urging him to attend rehab, and only a few weeks after Amy Winehouse’s still unexplained death, we can all reflect on the dangers posed by alcohol addiction and heavy drinking.
Jim Morrison The Doors front man’s death has never been properly explained as no autopsy was conducted but he is believed to have choked on his own vomit after drinking heavily in Paris in 1970.
Townes Van Zandt Van Zandt was a Texas alt country artist who died on New Year’s Day 1997 after years of battling the bottle and depression. He is believed to have entered rehab around 12 times but his reputation as a cult artist meant that he was championed by everyone from Emmylou Harris to Sonic Youth to Bob Dylan during and after his career.
Billie Holiday One of the greatest singers of them all battled chronic alcoholism throughout her career and died of cirrhosis of the liver and acute heart failure in a New York City hospital in 1959 aged just 44.
John Bonham Led Zeppelin’s drummer, nicknamed Bonzo, was a legendary party animal who battled addictions throughout his career as well as a fiery temperament. He eventually choked on his own vomit in September 1980 after consuming 40 shots of vodka.
Keith Moon The Who’s drummer was notorious for his madcap behaviour and his hard drinking and died in September 1978 of an overdose of an anti alcohol drug he had been prescribed to treat his alcohol addiction.
Jimi Hendrix Hendrix overdosed on a mixture of barbiturates and alcohol which led him to join the 27 club by choking on his own vomit in a London flat in 1970.
Steve Clark The Def Leppard lead guitarist died in 1991 after combining an apparently accidental but nonetheless lethal cocktail of prescription drugs and copious amounts of alcohol.
Brian Jones Although his death has been subject to much speculation, it is believed that he died after drowning in his own swimming pool while under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs.
Billy Murcia The New York Dolls drummer is believed to have choked on his own vomit while passed out in a bath in a flat he was staying at in London.
Bon Scott The heavy drinking AC/DC front man infamously choked to death on his own vomit while sleeping off a big night on the turps in a friend’s parked car in London in February 1980.
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