It’s all very well to die tragically of an overdose, commit suicide or choke to death on your own vomit and become an icon of rock n’ roll history, staring out from posters on teenage bedroom walls and becoming an icon of popular culture. However what about those who die in less than rock n’ roll circumstances. You haven’t heard of these tragic deaths before? That’s probably because the circumstances weren’t very rock n’ roll...
Nick Drake The British folk troubadour struggled with mental health issues and drug addiction, increasingly finding it hard to function by himself. He was forced to move home with his parents in his late 20s, dying of an overdose of antidepressants, of all dugs, in their basement.
Stiv Bators – The Dead Boys Front man for punk legends The Dead Boys and Lords of the New Church, Bators was stumbling around drunk in Paris one night when he was hit by a taxi. He went to the emergency department of a local hospital for a check up, but bored of waiting he decided to head home, where he died of concussion in his sleep.
Keith Relf – The Yardbirds Relf, the lead singer of legendary blues rockers The Yardbirds, pulled out his guitar at home one night but didn’t ground the electrical connection; literally dying of rock n’ roll when his guitar electrocuted him.
Allen Collins – Lynyrd Skynrd Hard drinking, gambling, woman bashing Allen Collins was your typical Southern gentleman. He survived the plane crash that killed most of his band mates in Lynyrd Skynrd, then managed to survive after crashing his car while drink driving in an incident which killed his girlfriend at the time. So for him to die of pneumonia a few years later was just a bit of a let down for fans who had been not unreasonably expecting him to go out with a bang.
Andy Gibb- The Bee Gees The younger brother of Bee Gees Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb had a successful career in the late 70s and 80s, topping the charts in Australia and the US. Alas a fiendish cocaine addiction weakened his heart and he died aged 30 from a viral infection which attacked his heart, weakened by years of cocaine abuse.
John Glascock – Jethro Tull Glascock knew how to burn a candle at both ends and party with the best of them, to the point that even band leader Ian Anderson – no stranger to living the high life himself – warned him to take it easy. Whether he heeded this advice became somewhat irrelevant – his rotten teeth became infected and said infection led to him having a heart attack.
Sandy Denny – Fairport Convention The angel voiced singer was the only person to appear as a guest vocalist on a Led Zeppelin recording and scored a string of hits with her own band at the height of folk rock in the 1960s. Alas she died after falling down the stairs at her parents’ house in 1978. Sadly, she wasn’t even drunk.
Terry Kath – Chicago The guitarist for MOR rockers Chicago was very enthusiastic about exercising his right to gun possession and indulged in collecting them. One night when visiting one of his roadies, he put a gun to his dead, saying ‘don’t worry, it’s not loaded’ as he fatally pulled the trigger.
Steve Peregrine Took – T-Rex Took was well meaning in his quest to live the rock n’ roll lifestyle – indeed the night before he died he’d been out high as a kite on a morphine binge. Alas there was no morphine binge to see him over the other side of the River Styx – the next day he choked to death on a cocktail cherry in a drink he had been served.
Jeff Porcaro – Toto In light of the Spinal Tap joke about drummers dying in bizarre gardening accidents, the death of Jeff Porcaro, drummer for soft rockers Toto, was spot on. Porcaro had an allergic reaction while spraying insecticide one evening in his Los Angeles garden in August 1992, dying later that night in hospital.
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