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  1. #1
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    The Death of Untimely Deaths?

    I overheard a conversation at the bar the other night about a local college course in "Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain," and it occurred to me that such self-inflicted deaths at the height of popularity seems to be a lost art. Jimi, Janis, Jim Morrison, Lowell George, Gram Parsons, Moon, Sid Vicious, Cobain, Shannon Hoon, Bradley Nowell, and a few others I'm sure I've missed. Hell, even the Dead had their curse of the keys.

    The only (musical) example I could come up with from the past 20 years or so was Amy Winehouse. Lindsey Lohan put in a good effort in the last decade but was ultimately unsuccessful.

    So what gives? Better handlers, less tolerance (either at the label or society level) for the antics, fancy rehab center vacations, something else?

    Is there any correlation between the decline in such overly tortured souls and today's largely shit releases? [/get off my lawn!]

  2. #2
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    Jeff Buckley comes to mind, not a top 40 radio guy; however incredibly brilliant. Died at 29 throwing himself in a river.

  3. #3
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    Phillip Seymor Hoffman

    Heath Ledger is an arguable consideration. Fairly unremarkable career overall, but the performance he gave in The Dark Knight was incredible and could certainly have led to some big opportunities.

    edit: just noticed you were looking for music specific examples. I'm drawing a blank there. Maybe musicians are sticking to soft drugs these days?

  4. #4
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    Elliott Smtih? Can't believe it was 11 years ago now.

    Bradley Nowell?

    It's just unfair we lose people like them and we get to keep bieber.
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  5. #5
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    If the question is why is Pete Doherty still alive?

    The answer is: Because God hates us.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by systemoverblow'd View Post
    Elliott Smtih? Can't believe it was 11 years ago now.

    It's just unfair we lose people like him and we get to keep bieber.
    That's who popped into my mind as well. Fuck, 11 years is right. I'm gettin old.

    The beib is the poster child for the anti-"tortured genius". And that's the problem with the state of fame these days: it's form over function.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Heath Ledger is an arguable consideration. Fairly unremarkable career overall, but the performance he gave in The Dark Knight was incredible and could certainly have led to some big opportunities.
    agreed

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by systemoverblow'd View Post
    Elliott Smtih? Can't believe it was 11 years ago now.
    I was about to say Elliott Smith too and was shocked someone beat me to the punch. Underrated.

  8. #8
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    Wow, they teach a college course titled Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix? How much in debt are those kids going to be after wasting money and time with that?

    You just lumped a bunch of different deaths into one little pile. But, I guess that kept the professor tenured and getting some very young girls.

    Kurt was an emotional mess. Jimi did a few too many sleeping pills one night, and they didn't turn him on his side when they found him. Do I get an A?

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  9. #9
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    Bradley Nowell was the most recent big one that came to mind for me. But that was almost 20 years ago now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Profane View Post
    Wow, they teach a college course titled Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix? How much in debt are those kids going to be after wasting money and time with that?
    My dad's first career was as a prof. One night I was at his house for dinner with one of his collegues, who was bemoaning that he had just been assigned to teach a course on Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Chan.

    ....
    In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then He made school boards.

  11. #11
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    River Phoenix was probably headed for stardom. Andy Gibb. Last 20 years I think Amy Winehouse & Elliott Smith had a lot left. This probably doesn't jibe with anyone's musical tastes here but there was an electric harp player Hilary Stagg that did Andrea Vollenweider type music but better that died at the peak of his talents from natural causes . A promising young reggae artist Tenor Saw died in a car crash after his first album. INXS and Big Country lead singers. Not a huge rap fan but Notorious BIG, Tupac, Easy E come to mind.
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  12. #12
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    48 isn't a spring chicken, but I think Adam Yauch had a lot left in the can.
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  13. #13
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    A few big names you've overlooked- Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer, Layne Staley, all since 2000.

    And quite a few more drug related deaths listed here
    Move upside and let the man go through...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mofro261 View Post
    Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer
    I'd argue that these three, while still untimely for human beings, were over their apex as artists.

  15. #15
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    ^^^ Yep. Michael Jackson immediately came to mind. Sure, his death was "untimely" but he wasn't in the prime of his career.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    edit: just noticed you were looking for music specific examples. I'm drawing a blank there. Maybe musicians are sticking to soft drugs these days?
    No worries - it's actually what started the thought process for me: thinking of Hoffman's situation juxtaposed with the talent loss in music. Seems there are a few ascending/peak actors going down in recent memory but not too many musicians.

    Don't know how I forgot Elliot Smith, hell I even produced one of his shows in 2002. He was a complete mess and I had to coax him back onstage after he tried to wrap up less than 15 minutes into his set. He "performed" (used loosely, as he didn't finish or seem to know most of his own songs) for the minimum time we had him booked and not a second longer. In retrospect sad, but at the time he was just a pain in the ass to deal with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mofro261 View Post
    A few big names you've overlooked- Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Robert Palmer, Layne Staley, all since 2000.
    None of those cats were near the peak of their success/artistry when they died. Shit, Staley had barely left his house in the preceeding few years. The wiki list is cool though - would like to see one that's not all "rock" artists.

    Quote Originally Posted by pisteoff View Post
    And that's the problem with the state of fame these days: it's form over function.
    agreed, though it's probably seemed that way to every generation...

    edit, following cj's thoughts, maybe a better topic would be who's next?

  17. #17
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    Who's next? Shit, I predict the obits will be filled with dead rockers for the next decade. Keith Richards is 70.

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  18. #18
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    I bet Keith is good for a few more miles yet.

  19. #19
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    I read the other day that he's writing a children's book. No shit.

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  20. #20
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    Mark Sandman and Dimebag Darrell come to mind.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Mark Sandman and Dimebag Darrell come to mind.
    Untimely, but not really self-inflicted

  22. #22
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    Jeff Buckley's father Tim Buckley can go on the OP list.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  23. #23
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