Sex, drugs and rock n' roll is the mantra many rock stars live by, and unfortunately also die by. A lot turn into rock and roll junkies due to excess use of drugs and alcohol. Some are more tragic than others; this group of rock stars left gaping holes in bands and fans sad their idols left them so soon.
The drugs that often prove deadly include heroin, cocaine, alcohol and various pain pills/medication. Man, rock stars really do love their heroin. Not all died in the list that follows, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t others that did pass and not make the list. Honorable (or dishonorable) mentions include Bradley Nowell of Sublime (a longtime heroin addict) who died at the age of 28, founding member of Def Leppard, Steve Clark, who died at the age of 30 from a combination of codeine, Valium, morphine and alcohol and Paul Gray, and a founding member of Slipknot, who was found dead from an accidental overdose of morphine and fentanyl at the age of 38. Amy Winehouse also didn’t make the list, but that was more due to genre of music (even though you could make the case Winehouse was more rock star than many listed here).
Our list includes rock stars from the sixties through present day (for one, anyway) and we even threw in a couple of bonus entries for multiple member overdoses within one band. Some of the deaths you could see coming for years while others were more sudden. Also, a couple still leave questions unanswered as to what really happened on the night of their alleged death. Have you seen Jim Morrison? Many have and don’t believe he actually died. For the rest of us, here’s a list of the 15 most shocking rock star overdoses.
15 Bill Murcia (New York Dolls)
14 Brent Mydland (Grateful Dead)
13 Brian Jones (Rolling Stones)
12 Pete Farndon (Pretenders) / James Honeyman-Scott (Pretenders)
11 Nikki Sixx (Motley Crue)
10 Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon)
9 John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
8 Sid Vicious (Sex Pistols)
7 Layne Staley (Alice in Chains)
6 Keith Moon (The Who) / John Entwistle (The Who)
5 Bon Scott (AC/DC)
4 Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
3 Janis Joplin
2 Jimi Hendrix
1 Jim Morrison (The Doors)
Morrison fancied himself a poet more than a rock star, but rock stars didn’t get much bigger than Morrison. He wrote over-the-top lyrics and loved to address large audiences with his ramblings and (at least in his mind) wise words of romance and humanity. The lead man of The Doors also loved alcohol as well as drugs. In 1971 in Paris, France he died of an apparent heroin overdose. If you like conspiracies you should read up on Morrison’s death. There was no autopsy performed and some feel he never actually died and still may be among us (presumably writing poetry) today. Morrison died at (or has been missing since) 27 years of age.
Sources: ultimateclassicrock.com, wikipedia.com
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