“Rock and roll doesn’t really mean a band. It doesn’t mean a singer, it doesn’t mean a lyric, really. It’s that question of trying to be immortal.” — Malcolm Mclaren (Manager, Sex Pistols)
Everybody wants to be like them-the rock gods. People hero-worship them. They buy their albums, watch their concerts, and even try to dress like them. A lot of people aspire to become rock stars. They want fame, money, and other things that come with the image of being a musical icon. Young people today want to be rock stars more than anything else. They want to sing loud songs, strum the guitars to produce loud music, and beat the drums real hard. Young people want to experience the euphoria that these rock icons claim they feel whenever they’re on stage.
The rock and roll era started in the traces its roots in the 1950’s. When a form of music popular music with vocal melody accompanied by drums, guitars, and bass were introduced to the mainstream. It became a hit and gave birth to different forms of rock and roll. In 60’s there were folk rock, jazz-rock fusion, and Psychedelic rock. Jimi Hendrix was a hit in the 60’s, rock fanatics consider him as the greatest guitarist in rock history.
In the 1970’s, soul, funk, and latin incorporated its influences on rock and roll music and developed a number of sub-genres. This included soft rock, blues rock, hard rock, progressive rock, punk rock, and heavy metal. The 1970’s featured bands like Fleetwood Mac and Led Zepplin. Psychedelic rock and progressive rock merged and gave birth to Glamour Rock.
The 1980’s added different forms of rock like synth rock and alternative rock. Grunge-rock, Britpop, Indie rock, piano rock, sufi rock, and nu rock were hits in the 1990’s. Nirvana, with lead vocalist Kurt Cobain, was the major influence in grunge era.
Fame and glamor have taken the limelight in the rock and roll industry. What is on the back seat are number of famous rock stars and rock icons who died before they reached the age of 30. They died premature deaths.
Jimi Hendrix, probably the best guitar player ever died in bed after drinking wine and taking Vesperax sleeping pills. Some believe he committed suicide because of a sad poem found in his apartment. Others believe that Hendrix was murdered. He was forced to take the sleeping pills and the wine and was suffocated with a scarf by professionals hired by his manager Michael Jeffery. Many believe however that the potency of the sleeping pills were misjudged and suffocated in his sleep because he failed to regain consciousness when he vomited. Prior to his death Hendrix was known for the use of drugs like heroin and LSD-a known “trip” drug. Clinical studies show that LSD users experience flashbacks of certain people’s experience. These flashbacks occurs suddenly and may occur a few days after intake.
Kurt Cobain, the lead vocalist of Nirvana, famous for his abrasive and disturbing songwriting and vocal style died at age 27. He was cited as one of the most influential rock and roll musicians of all time. Reports say that throughout Cobain’s life he battled anxiety and depression, bronchitis, and intense physical pain due to an undiagnosed stomach condition. Reports say that because of the physical pain he felt, Cobain developed anxiety-disorder self-medicated with heroin. Cobain heroin addiction worsened as the years go by. He made his first rehab attempt in 1992 when he found out that he was going to have a baby with lover, Courtney Love. Reports say that Cobain committed suicide, he shot himself with a shot gun. Though there were several reports that the Nirvana vocalist was murdered. Based on the songs that he wrote, it is clear that Kurt Cobain lived a life of misery. pain, and angst.
Blind Melon lead singer Richard Hoon 28, died of heroin overdose. Reports say that upon the increased success of the band in the early 90’s, the members of Blind Melon became increasingly involved in drug use. Hoon was always the primary offender and was constantly involved in drug-induced rampage and other related incidents. On October 21, 1995, Richard Hoon was added to a list of rock stars who died before 30.
Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Richard Hoon, all dead before age 30. What went wrong? Were they overwhelmed by fame that they lost control of reality and turned to drugs and other banned substances? It is clear that these rock stars were not happy at all. Death in some ways make people more interesting and famous than when they were still alive. However ,dead rock stars are reminders of the pain and anxiety that may take place as side effects of fame.