Causes of death of deceased rock/rock 'n roll/pop musicians

Years ago I had a conversation with a former roomate about deceased rock and pop musicians. He pointed out that for most of them the cause of death fell into one of three main categories: substance abuse (drugs/alcohol), homicide/suicide, and transportation related. At the time we could think of very few exceptions, and even now there are relatively few:

Sam Cooke
Marvin Gaye
Brian Jones (according to some)
John Lennon
Kurt Cobain

Substance abuse:
Jimi Hendrix
Janis Joplin
Jim Morrison
Brian Jones (according to some)
Keith Moon

Buddy Holly
Big Bopper
Richie Valens (all plane)
Otis Redding (plane)
Jim Croce (plane)
Harry Chapin (car)
Stiv Bator (Lords of the New Church, hit by car)
Marc Bolan (T. Rex, car crash IIRC)
Stevie Ray Vaughn (helicopter crash IIRC)

Elvis (heart attack, no drugs involved?)
Roy Orbison (heart. It was his death that sparked the conversation with my roomate)
Karen Carpenter (anorexia)
Mama Cass Elliot (heart, not ham sandwich)
Freddie Mercury (AIDS)
George Harrison (cancer)

As it is, one could question some of the exceptions. If you consider food a substance, than Elvis and Mama Cass could be in the substance abuse category, and George Harrison late in life indicated that he thought his cancer was caused by his decades of cigarette smoking.

The other amazing thing is thinking about people who are still alive but by all rights “should” be dead for any of several reasons(Keith Richards, Jerry Lee Lewis).

The reasons so many fit one of these patterns I guess isn’t too mysterious. Rock is still a relatively young art form, so many of its founders are naturally still with us. The rock 'n roll lifestyle tends to encourage fast living (drugs, booze, fast cars), and maybe also tends to attract people of the tortured artist stripe. It is sad, though, that so many of these people have died in aviation accidents, usually on their way to or from a gig.

So, who have I forgotten? I am especially interested in any exceptions to the three main categories I have above.

Who was the guy who was electrocuted by his guitar?

Of course, Ricky Nelson had the ultimate rock death. A plane crash caused by setting the plane on fire while free-basing.

I realized I forgot the “Bizzare Gardening Accident-Spontaneous Human Combustion” category.

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes: car crash.

A few more:
Ricky Nelson: Transporation (plane)
Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon): Substance Abuse
John Bonham: Substance Abuse
Paul Williams (The Temptations): Suicide
David Ruffin (The Temptations): Substance Abuse
Aaliyah: Transportation (plane)
If you include rap then:
Notorious B.I.G.: Homicide
Tupak Shakur: Homicide

John Denver: plane crash

Oh, and the general consensus on Brian Jones’s death was either that he died of an asthma attack in the pool or was murdered. I haven’t heard the drug overdose version. He had done a good deal of them during his short life, but IIRC he was clean at that point.

Steve Gaines - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Plane
Ronnie Van Zant - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Plane
Duane Allman - Motorcycle Crash
Marc Bolen - T Rex - Car Crash
Johnny Ace - Playing Russian Roulette backstage - he lost !!
Les Harvey - Stone The Crows - electrocuted by touching live mike
Keith Relf - lead singer Yardbirds - dead in bathtub from electric
shock from guitar
Rory Storm - English group leader (Ringo was the drummer
prior to the Beatles) - suicide with head in the
oven along with his mother

Ronnie Van Zandt, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines: plane crash
Lowell George (Little Feat): Drug-induced heart attack
Duane Allman: Motorcycle wreck (he ate a peach)
Tommy Caldwell (Marshall Tucker): Jeep accident
Toy Caldwell (Marshall Tucker): Heart attack in his sleep

While searching for the above, I found this website.

Ronny Van Zant (lead singer of the original Lynyrd Skynyrd Band):
plane crash.
Bon Scott (original lead singer for AC/DC): overdose from narcotics plus alcohol.

I forgot to put Sid Viscious (drugs) and Michael Hutchence (INXS, drugs).

Strainger, that site takes all the fun out of it!

What did Jerry Garcia die of? That site indicates it was drug-related, but I don’t remember hearing that.

Brad Nowell–Sublime heroin overdose
Layne Staley–Alice In Chains heroin overdose
As far as Garcia is concerned, I think that it was a heart attack, with drugs being a primary factor in causing the attack.

Jerry died of a heart attack in a detox center the night he checked in. Certainly years & years of abusing heroin played a major part in this. He was in extremely poor health for a long time, and his continuing drug use didn’t help. this site has a decent summary.

As for the list…The Dead lost 3 keyboard players over the years. The first, Pigpen, died of liver failure as a direct result of a serious drinking problem. Keith Godchaux died in a car accident, and Brent Mydland died of an overdose.

D’oh! Sorry. If a moderator wishes to delete the link, feel free to do so. I don’t want to screw up the game here. :smiley:

All these guys were Grateful Dead keyboardists:

Pigpen (Ron McKernan): long illness and death caused by alcohol and the such, he was 27

Keith Godchaux: car crash in Marin County

Brent Mydland: drug overdose, his last show played was exactly ten years after Keith’s death.

No, no. I didn’t mean it like that. It was a good find, and makes for interesting reading. Someone obviously did a lot of research. It just makes this little mental exercise of mine too easy!

Michael Hutchence was suicide, not drugs. My mistake.

I was trying to remember the guy in the band Chicago who apparently accidentally shot himself. It was Terry Kath

Has anyone mentioned Andy Gibb yet.

I don’t think he was trying to kill himself. It was autoerotic asphyxiation, which I would list as “death by misadventure”.

The coroner didn’t seem to think so.