Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RIP Amy... and RIP rest of you

Another musician dies a pre-mature death this weekend - Amy Winehouse.

Frankly speaking, I hadn't listened to much of her music, and I didn't even care if she had a great voice (as critics claim) while she was alive. I am the kind of guy who doesn't like expanding his horizons beyond his pre-set bounds as far as music is concerned. And my bounds are limited to British Rock from the 60s, 70s and 80s. So any news about the likes of Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and even the modern rock bands like Green Day and Linkin Park, doesn't excite me much.

However, the news of Winehouse's pre-mature death made me stop and think for a while - Why is it that musicians become easy target to an early death as compared to other celebrities?

Its not the first time that a famous musician has died at a young age while he / she was at the pinnacle of his / her career in music. It is in fact a very strange thing that the mortality rate at a pre-mature age amongst musicians is much higher as compared to that in other similar professionals - painters, sportspersons, actors, all of them have a greater chance of living a long life as compared to musicians.

The causes of these musicians' pre-mature deaths are also not the same always. Here are some of the ways I remember some of the well-known musicians died -
1. Over consumption of alcohol / drugs
2. Over consumption of sleeping pills
3. Heart failure, cancer, Aids
4. Accident
5. Murder
6. Suicide

And here is the list of famous musicians I remember who died quite early (not in any specific order), and the causes of their deaths -

1. Jimi Hendrix - Died at age of 27 due to over-consumption of sleeping pills.

2. Janis Joplin - She was 27 when she died. The cause is reported to be overdose of heroin.

3. John Lennon - Former member of "The Beatles". Murdered at the age of 40.

4. John Bonham - Led Zeppelin drummer. Died aged 32, due to over-consumption of alcohol.

5. Keith Moon - Drummer in the band "The Who". Died at age 32 due to over-consumption of a prescribed drug.

6. Dimebag Darrell Abbot - Guitarist in the heavy metal band "Pantera". Murdered while carrying out a live performance at the age of 38.

7. Brian Jones - Founder and former guitarist of "The Rolling Stones". Died at age of 27 when he was found drowned in swimming pool. It is uncertain whether it was an accident or a murder.

8. Jim Morrison - Lead singer of band "The Doors". Died at age 27. Found dead in his bathtub. However, it is uncertain whether it was due to drug overdose or a case of murder.

9. Kurt Cobain - Lead singer of "Nirvana". Killed himself with a shotgun at age of 27.

10. Michael Jackson - At the age of 50, suffered cardiac arrest due to overdose of propofol - an intravenous hypnotic agent he had been using for getting sleeps.

11. Cliff Burton - Bassist of "Metallica". Died aged just 24 when Metallica's tour bus met with an accident.

12. Bon Scott - Lead singer for band AC/DC, died at the age of 33 due to heavy drinking.

13. Bob Marley - Died due to skin cancer at the age of 36.

14. Dave Williams - Lead singer of the Alternative Rock band "Drowning Pool" died due to a heart disease at the age of 30.

15. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines - Lead vocalist, guitarist and backup singer respectively of the American rock band "Lynyrd Skynyrd", all died in a plane crash. They were 29, 28 and 29 respectively.

16. Tommy Bolin - Guitarist for "Deep Purple". Died aged 25 because of drug overdose.

17. Elvis Presley - Died aged 42 due to continuous abuse of prescription drugs.

18. Hillel Slovak - Guitarist and founding member of "Red Hot Chilli Peppers". Died at the age of 26 due to heroin addiction.

19. Paul Gray - Bassist for band "Slipknot". Died aged 38 due to accidental overdose of morphine.

20. Freddie Mercury - Lead singer of "Queen", died at 45 due to Aids.

21. Randy Rhoads - The guitarist died in an airplane crash when he was just 25.

22. Amy Winehouse - Died at an age of 27 due to reasons which are still to be explained.

The list doesn't end here. These are the musicians that came to my mind instantly. If you refer the Google, you may find scores of more musicians. If you know any other musician whom I have missed out, and who makes to this list, please put his / her name in the comments.


Nirav said...

Isn't it errie how many times the number 27 features on that list !?

Dude! Gaga and Eminem aren't British! Lol!

What's worth pondering upon more is what is it about their young ages that makes them so susceptible - Fame? Love? Inability to cope with either or both at those young years.

RIP Amy ! You will be missed, you crazy lady.

Vaibhav Mathur said...

@Nirav - 27 is probably the worst age to be in if you happen to be a musician. I too had two terrible accidents last year when I was 27, and almost ended up with the other musicians (if you consider me one because of my novice guitar skills, lol). Luckily, I am 28 now :)

Gaga, Eminem, Green Day, Linkin Park - all are American. What I meant was that these are the most popular artists today, yet I don't follow them. But any news about the likes of Jimmy Page (for instance launch of his new website) or other British musicians fro 60s, 70s and 80s would not escape me.

Fame, love and drugs happen even to movie stars at quite a young age. And they have also suffered several casualties. But the musicians have got a bigger number in this regard. Even accident is one of the biggest causes for musicians' deaths. John Denver, 3 members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, bassist of Metallica, Randy Rhoads, all died in plane crashes or road accidents.

Siddhartha Mathur said...

I definitely agree with you vaibhav I never listened to any of her work nor have I find any intrest in her work, I am still lying with 70's, 80's and 90's music and that too hard core country, however after reading your article I was shocked that you believe so timidly about life, in this case let's illustrate "Amy".
Take this vaibhav, One of the Dalai Lama's 'Instructions for Life' in the new millennium is to'take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk'. It's a fine line between risk and foolhardiness, rushing in where angels fear to tread, and all that. We, the East and West, have something in common - the feeling that there's not enough time; there's too much frenzy, too much speed, too much compression, in a word, stress. "We have sold our souls," wrote historian Arnold Toynbee in 1972 of his British compatriots, "to the pursuit of maximising material wealth, a pursuit which is spiritually wrong and practically unattainable." So to critsize Amy and make comments is just mean and plain rude.Show me anyone that is perfect.
I'd like to quote a line from the film "About Schmidt" where Warren Schmidt (portrayed by Famous Actor "Jack Nicholson" and the film was released in year 2002 managed to get t 7.3 out of 10 stars in IMDB list)
"Relatively soon, I will die. Maybe in 20 years, maybe tomorrow, it doesn't matter. Once I am dead and everyone who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone. None that I can think of. None at all."
So Vaibhav not only you but who ever reads this blog or may be in whole world I'd rather say: Face your problems bravely, confidently, and improve on your situation, no matter what state it be in. Be good to feel good. Be active and improve your mind. Laugh, relax, and sleep well. May your life be full of happiness, peace, self-esteem and free of worry and stress.

Vaibhav Mathur said...

@Siddhartha Mathur - I didn't actually try to belittle the value of life through this post. I also consider death of Amy Winehouse as truly tragic.

Nor have I criticized her or her music. As I mentioned in the post, I haven't listened to much of her music, and hence am not the right person to say anything about the music she made. I just mentioned about the music I listen to, i.e. British rock, and about my own conservative nature with respect to my favourite music which doesn't allow me to move out of this genre.
Amy Winehouse definitely had a great voice. I have listened to couple of songs from her. Infact I have read that several other musicians (eg Lady Gaga) consider her to be their ideal, which is actually commendable. But I only mentioned here in the post about my own preference in music. And because of that, I dont follow much news about the others.

The news of Amy's death really shocked me. It was really sad to lose a musician in a world that is nowadays becoming more and more estranged from music. However, the news also made me think of other tragic deaths that I know of, and thats why I wrote this post. Each of the musicians I have written about in this post is one of my favourites, and I would never dare mock at them. And I have also placed Amy Winehouse in that list now. May they R.I.P.

And I am glad that you shared Dalai Lama's message here. People are moving towards materialistic life and away from spirituality. And while doing so they are even forgetting the meaning and importance of life. People joke about death without giving a damn. I will give another example from music industry here - that of Justin Bieber. Bieber is just 17 years old and has achieved so much while so young. But those who are either jealous of him or simply don't like his music put jokes on internet which lack taste. Some of them even even want him to die.
Again, I havent listened to much of Bieber's music, and chances are that I may not like his genre of music. But that doesnt mean that I will be putting tasteless jokes about him. The kid is a musician, and I have great respect for him. I myself learning a bit of guitar since past couple of years know how much talent and hard work is required to reach to a level where all these musicians reached. And would never dare mock any of them.