The music industry is filled with myths and legends. Those who don’t know much about the inner workings of the industry often think that being a famous singer or musician involves some type of magic. In a way, this may not be too far from the truth. Yes, singers and musicians often have a reputation for being reckless partiers with drug addictions, and this causes their demise at times. However, there are other ways in which the music industry is cursed.
There are a few curses associated with the music industry that actually have some validity to them. For instance, some musicians have all passed away due to tragic circumstances, when they were all around the same age. There are also urban myths that carrying certain items on you will bring you bad luck, similar to the misfortunes that some musicians experienced. Of course, there are also the unforgettable accidents that occurred in the music industry, leaving the world yearning for the sweet melodies and lyrics that were once provided by musicians who are now deceased. Whether you believe in curses or not, it’s hard to deny the creepy connections in many of these stories. Here are the most shocking curses in the music industry.
10. Jelly Roll Morton Curse
Ferdinand Joseph LeMothe, who was professionally known as Jelly Roll Morton, had a curse placed on him by his grandmother, who was also his Godmother. Legend has it that the woman sold LeMothe’s soul to the devil. In the 1920s, Jelly Roll Morton experienced significant success as a ragtime and jazz musician. His career was thriving, until one day he found some voodoo powder sprinkled around his office. After that point, his music career started to plummet. Jelly Roll was convinced that the demise of his career was largely due to the curse, so he went to a voodoo woman, who told him to burn all his clothing. When he followed her instructions, it appeared that the curse was lifted. Strange, indeed.
9. Ouija Board Curse (Bone Thugs –N–Harmony)
The Cleveland, Ohio-based rap group was big in the 1990s, and attempted to make a comeback in more recent years. They were known for their catchy and melodic hooks, and many of the group’s members had long hair, which made Bone Thugs –N- Harmony stand out even more. The group is perhaps best known for their hit Crossroads, a song paying homage to friends and loved ones who have passed away. It’s also a scary truth that many of the rappers who were featured on Bone Thugs –N- Harmony records died the same year the verses were released. Rumor has it that the rap group used a Ouija board to determine their fates before becoming famous, and sold their souls in order to achieve fame. They started dropping lyrical hints about the deal they’d made with the devil, and any rapper who collaborated on a song with the group died. For instance, the group worked with both Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. before their deaths.
8. The Robert Johnson Curse
Robert Johnson was a singer, songwriter and guitarist who was popular in the 1930s. He is well known for his contribution to blues music. Legend has it that Johnson met with the devil on the outskirts of a small town and agreed to sell his soul in exchange for fame. Johnson’s intentions were to be a dynamic blues performer, but of course, his exchange with the king of evil didn’t exactly go smoothly. There was a catch. Robert Johnson became a music legend, but this didn’t happen until long after he died. Johnson’s song Crossroads is also believed to be cursed. Eric Clapton, who did a solo cover of the song and recorded it with the group Cream, lost his son when the boy fell from a window. The Allman Brothers recorded the song as well, and had a death in the band shortly afterwards.
7. Gloomy Sunday
Rezo Seress, a pianist from Hungary, wrote the song Gloomy Sunday, and it has been recorded by several artists. The song talks about the terrible and devastating effects of war, and ends with a prayer for the sins of people. The song was originally published in 1933, and was performed by Billie Holiday in 1941. Gloomy Sunday is also referred to as the Hungarian Suicide Song, since legend has it that people are more likely to commit suicide after hearing the song. The song was even removed from radio playlists in the 1930s, since suicides increased while the song was in rotation. The suicide rate went up once again when Holiday and Paul Robeson each recorded their version of the song. Some also believe that the song was written about Seress’ girlfriend, who committed suicide.
6. The Curse of Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin is a legendary rock band whose members are known for their catchy lyrics and flowing hair. Shortly after the band was formed, a rumor started that three of the four members, Bonham, Page and Plant, made a Faustian-type deal with the devil in order to become famous. It was said that from then on, the band, and the lives of these men, were cursed. Plant got into a serious car accident with his family, and was unable to walk without help for some time afterwards. He later lost his son from an unidentified stomach virus. The boy was only 6 years old. Bonham died from a drinking binge in 1980, and Page nearly died from overdosing on heroin. Jones, who was the only member of the group who didn’t make a deal with Satan, wasn’t affected by endless tragedy the way his group members were.
5. The Curse of the Fleetwood Mac Guitarist
Fleetwood Mac has been around for decades, making timeless music that reminds most people of Woodstock. The band has reunited in recent years to embark on a world tour for their die-hard fans. Fleetwood Mac has been through a number of guitarists, for a variety of reasons. Peter Green, the guitarist who founded the band, had to be taken to a mental facility in 1970 for taking too much acid. The next year, guitarist Jerry Spencer took too much mescaline and left the band to join a sex cult. In 2012, guitarist Bob Weston passed away from a brain aneurysm, and Bob Welch, another Fleetwood Mac guitar player, committed suicide after finding out he’d never walk again. One can only hope that Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham is doing well.
4. “The Day The Music Died”
Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper were all killed in a plane crash in February 1959. This event was known as The Day the Music Died. The event was also the beginning of what is called the Buddy Holly Curse. It is believed that after Holly’s death, many people connected to him, some famous and some not, died. For instance, Ronnie Smith, who was the vocalist hired to replace Holly on The Winter Dance Party Tour, committed himself immediately after his last performance on the tour. He hanged himself years later. Buddy Holly’s wife, Maria, also miscarried their only child.
3. The Number 9 (and John Lennon)
John Lennon, a member of the iconic group The Beatles known for his round glasses and wavy hair, was shot to death in the doorway of his home. Lennon also had a strange connection to the number 9. He was born on the 9th of October in 1941. The Beatles were discovered in 1961, on the 9th of November. Three years later, the band performed on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9th. The Beatles also broke up after spending 9 years together. Lennon was shot on December 8th in the U.S., but in his hometown of Liverpool, it was already December 9th.
2. The Curse of the White Lighter
Music industry legend suggests that you should never keep a white lighter. As a matter of fact, if you buy into the legend, you should throw your white lighters away immediately. White lighters are believed to be a death curse! Musicians who were gone too soon, such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain had white cigarette lighters on them when they died. These musicians, unfortunately, are also part of a club that no one wants to join. Their music still has a significant influence on the tunes that are produced today, and a number of famous musicians have cited these singers as their influences.
1. The “27” Club
The members of The 27 Club are perhaps the most cursed of all musicians. This is the name given to singers and musicians who met their untimely demise at the age of 27. The first to join the club was Brian Jones, who was the guitarist for The Rolling Stones. He was found dead in his pool. The Doors lead singer Jim Morrison is also a member of the club, and was found dead in a bathtub in Paris from heart failure. Janis Joplin is a 27 Club member as well. The talented singer died from a heroin overdose. Guitarist Jimi Hendrix joined the 27 Club in 1970, after choking on his own vomit during a drug and alcohol binge. Kurt Kobain has been a member since 1994, when he shot himself in his garage. Most recently, singer Amy Winehouse joined the club in 2011 from a drug overdose.