Sex, drugs and alcohol play a part but suicides, murders and accidents occur more often than in the general population. They were twice as likely to die from accidents and suicide than other Americans and six times more likely to be murdered.
You might argue there are exceptions like Keith Richards or Leonard Cohen not to mention Neil Young and Bob Dylan. But overall rock stars have the same life-expectancy of someone living in Zimbabwe. Women are more likely to make it to 60 but most male rock stars go to that great gig in the sky by the time they reach 50.
Professor Dianna Kenny, a professor of psychology and music at the University of Sydney (I’d like a job like that) who carried out the study on almost 13,000 musicians from all popular music genres (90% male) since 1950, also found that young rock stars need not fear the “curse of 27” which has no statistical significance.
This is the myth which grew out of rock musicians dying at that age:
- Jim Morrison
- Kurt Cobain
- Brian Jones
- Janis Joplin
- Jimi Hendrix
- Amy Winehouse
Some famous musicians who died of natural causes beyond the age of 27 include Dusty Springfield (of breast cancer aged 59), George Harrison (of lung cancer aged 58), Michael Jackson (cardiac arrest aged 50), Jerry Garcia (heart attack aged 53), and Freddy Mercury (from AIDS aged 45).
Others who are still going strong and give me hope include David Bowie (67), Roger Daltry (70), Leonard Cohen (80), Paul McCartney (72), Bob Dylan (73), Keith Richards (70).