Suicided Musicians
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1962
Leon Chappelear: Age 53
aka Leon Chappel
despondent over a career gone sour. He shot himself in the face with a shotgun

1967
Steve MacDonald: Age 31
Gorguts
eight years to the day that Meek's idol Buddy Holly perished in an airplane crash--a crazed Joe took his shotgun and opened fire on his landlady. After sending her lifeless body spiraling down a flight of stairs (without last month's rent), he turned the weapon around and, blasting his own face off, he became the only rock 'n' roll suicide ever to take a hostage. Prior to his untidy demise, Meek was a hotly contested suspect in another grisly murder, this one involving a dismembered youth found in several suitcases left strewn about the British countryside.


1971
Libby Holman:
carbon monoxide poisoning
Strong, daring, "dark" and impetuous, this feisty Jewish woman led a rich public life touching a dizzying array of people, from Montgomery Clift, to Alice B. Toklas, to close friends Jane and Paul Bowles. From a deep sense of personal commitment to racial justice, she later made contributions to the civil rights movement as both an artist and a wealthy benefactor, helping to finance Martin Luther King Jr.'s visit to India to meet Mahatma Ghandi. Known as the "Statue of Libby," she carried one of the smokiest torches of American music-hall society in the twenties and thirties and was the inventor of the strapless evening dress. Murder, millionaires, death and suicide were morbid recurrent themes in Libby Holman's life, reaching tabloid proportions. Scandal, however, was not only the operative mode of Holman's personal life; she also produced scandal on the stage, combining race, sound, and sexuality


1973
Paul Williams: Age 34
The Temptations
shot himself in 1973, after years of depression and drug abuse



1974
Nick Drake: Age 26
was found dead in his bedroom. Although the coroner's verdict was suicide, relatives and acquaintances feel that his overdose of a prescribed drug. A questionable suicide note was found on a napkin in the studio. He overdosed on manic depressant medication.


1974
Pete Ham: Age 27
Badfinger
the next year when Pete Ham same band took his life

1974
Graham Bond: Age 36
Graham Bond Organization
He committed suicide by throwing himself into the path of a London Underground train in 1974. -- Richie Unterberger, All-Music Guide



1976
Phil Ochs: Age 35
He was attacked during a tour of Africa and an attempted strangulation permanently impaired his singing voice. Beset by a chronic songwriting block, Phil sought solace in alcohol... he later succumbed to schizophrenia
was found hanged at his sister's home



1977
Sonny Criss: Age 50
Sonny Criss was influenced by Charlie Parker but had his own heavier sound.
due to the pain of cancer, he chose to commit suicide in 1977



1978
Mel Street: Age 45
played clubs and honky tonks, and he recorded his song, Borrowed Angel, for a small label in 1970. Two years later it was reissued and became a US country hit
he shot himself on his 45th birthday George Jones sang Amazing Grace at his funeral

1978
Frank Rosolino:Age 52
One of the top trombonists of the 1950s, Rosolino's fluid and often-humorous style put him near the top of his field for awhile
life ended (killing himself after shooting his two sons


1979
Donny Hathaway: Age 33
Originally schooled in the gospel tradition, this versatile artist majored in musical theory before performing in a cocktail jazz trio
compositions were recorded by such acts as Aretha Franklin and Jerry Butler, but Hathaway is best remembered for his cool duets with Roberta Flack. Their complementary voices were honed to perfection on Where Is The Love (1972) and The Closer I Get To You (1978), both of which reached the US Top 5.
Hathaway threw himself from the 15th floor of New York's Essex House hotel




1980
Ian Curtis: Age 23
Joy Division
the eve of Joy Division's proposed visit to America, Ian Curtis was found hanged


1980
Darby Crash: Age 22
Germs
punk band the Germs was formed in April 1977 and quickly became one of the most popular and influential in that area of music. The group disbanded in early 1980 but reformed later that year. A week after their first reunion concert, however, singer Crash died of an intentional heroin overdose


1981
Chuck Wagon, Age 24
The Dickies
He shot himself. He was a multi-instrumentalist.



1983
Tom Evans: Age 36
BadFinger
Tom Evans committed suicide [by hanging] at his Surrey home. Like Pete Ham he had been suffering from depression and financial worries

1983
Danny Rapp: Age 41
Danny & The Juniors
their song Do The Bop came to the attention of Dick Clark who suggested it be changed to At The Hop
committed suicide by gunshot


1986
Richard Manuel: Age 42
The Band
hanged himself in a motel room
"Manuel apparently had been threatening suicide for quite some time. His 'suicide attempts' were viewed by all as cries for help, nothing more.



1988
Roy Buchanan: Age 48
The son of a preacher, Buchanan discovered gospel music through the influence of traveling revivalists....
two of his finest (and longest) outings; the pulsating Green Onions featured shared solos with the song's co-composer Steve Cropper and the extraordinary Ramon's Blues (again with Cropper). His trademark was a battered Fender Telecaster guitar. Buchanan was never comfortable with the role of virtuoso. A shy, reticent individual, he made several unsuccessful suicide attempts before hanging himself in a police cell in 1988, following his arrest on a drunk-driving charge



1990
Del Shannon: Age 55
From the plethora of clean, American, post doo-wop male vocalists to find enormous success in the early '60s
severely depressed Shannon pointed a .22 calibre rifle to his head and pulled the trigger



1993
Douglas Hopkins: Age 32
Gin Blossoms
After struggling for years against depression and alcoholism, chief songwriter Hopkins' behaviour had became so unstable that it was necessary to eject him from the band. His departure came in April 1992, soon after recording sessions for the album were completed
he left a detox unit in Phoenix, Arizona, and shot himself



1994
Kurt Cobain: Age 27
Nirvana
His descent into self-destruction accelerated in 1994 as he went into a coma during dates in Italy (it was later confirmed that this had all the markings of a failed suicide attempt), before returning to Seattle to shoot himself


1994
Tommy Boyce: Age 55
Boyce recorded for RCA Records and had one self-written charting single, "I'll Remember Carol" b/w "Too Late For Tears" peak at #80 Pop on Billboard's charts in fall 1962.He began writing with Bobby Hart, with their first success being "Come A Little Bit Closer," a 1964 #3 Pop smash for Jay and the Americans.


1994
Danny Gatton: Age 49
Danny Gatton is Washington D.C.'s musical legend, described in the Washington Post Magazine as"The Greatest Guitarist You've Never Heard." Danny is well-known to the likes of Chet Atkins, Les Paul, and Buddy Emmons. He was once on the cover of Guitar Player magazine as part of a feature called "Unknown Greats
Danny died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.




1995
Phyllis Hyman: Age 45
silky-voiced, jazz-influenced singer, and gradually moved into slick, heavily produced Urban Contemporary ballads and light dance numbers
Phyllis was diagnosed as being "bi-polar", a medical term for someone who suffers from the dis-ease of manic-depression. As she got older, her dis-ease became more and more difficult for her to manage. She elected not to use pharmaceutical medication. She elected to self medicate. Her self medication distorted her dis-ease more and more, until she felt helpless about ever being able to recover from it


1995
Philip Taylor Kramer: Age 42
Iron Butterfly
The bassist disappeared without a trace in 1995. Four years later hikers in LA found his remains in a car at the bottom of a 200 foot ravine. Kramer was also working on guidance systems for the MX missile for the US government. Prior to his discovery, many theories abounded regarding his sudden and unexplained disappearance.



1996
Jim Ellison: Age 31
Material Issue
Long before the Smashing Pumpkins became Chicago's most famous export, Material Issue was doing its part to put the Windy City on the musical map
suffocated himself in his garage with carbon monoxide fumes from his moped


1996
Chris Acland: Age 30
Lush
(b. 7 September 1966, d. October 96)
Tragically, Chris committed suicide at his parents home in Cumbria in October 1996.

1996
Jason Thirsk: Age 28
Pennywise
former bassist and co-founder of the California punk band Pennywise
From the start of PENNYWISE Jason wanted to make it a positive band with positive, uplifting lyrics and more melodic music...From 1988 to 1996 Jason...used his music and writing as a form of therapy to help him get over his own problems and addictions
gunshot wound/suicide


Faron Young: Age 64
Faron Young had one of the longest-running and most popular careers in country music history. Emerging in the early '50s, Young was one of the most popular honky tonkers to appear in the wake of Hank Williams' death, partially because he was able to smooth out some of the grittiest elements his music
Young was stricken with a debilitating emphysema. Depressed by his poor health, he shot himself on December 9, 1996 and passed away the next day.



1997
Nick Traina: Age 19
Link 80, Knowledge
He was the subject of his mother Danielle Steel's book, His Bright Light. "When Nick Traina died, he was 19 years old, just starting up a new band, and dealing with the ills of manic depression
succumbed to a heroin addiction, and died of suicide


1997
Michael Hutchence: Age 37
INXS
INXS had been rehearsing for their 20th anniversary tour. All those close to the singer report that he had been in high spirits in the days prior to his suicide
hanged himself in Ritz-Carlton Hotel room with his leather belt.



1998
Oupa Mafokate "Makhendlas": Age 27
shot himself in the head. Mafokate -- known as Makhendlas -- was a rising star of kwaito -- a rap-derived music seen as a symbol of black empowerment.

1998
Brian O'Hara: Age 58
Fourmost


1998
Larry Troutman, 54
Zapp
Most recently, Roger Troutman was used by 2Pac and Dr. Dre for their 1996 award-winning collaboration "California Love."
murderd his brother then hisself


1998
Carlos Vega: Age 41
James Taylor
Vega had recorded and/or performed with Freddy Hubbard, Boz Scaggs, Lee Ritenour, Vince Gill, Reba McIntire, Olivia Newton-John (including the "Grease" soundtrack), Larry Carlton, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell, and Randy Newman
self-inflicted gunshot wound on the eve of a scheduled April 8 appearance with James Taylor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show,"


1998
Rozz Williams: 34
Christian Death
Shadow Project
hanged himself


1998
Wendy O. Williams: Age 48
Plasmatics
theatrical hardcore band which incorporated such violent acts as blowing up Cadillacs and chain sawing guitars in half into its performances.
shot herself in the woods by her home


1999
Kevin Wilkinson: Age 41
Squeeze / Waterboys
Squeeze and Waterboys drummer
hanged self at his home




1999
E. William Tucker: Age 38
Ministry, Pigface,
Initial reports indicate that he had taken pills and afterwards slit his own throat. His body was discovered by his roommate, along with a 10-page suicide note


1999
Screaming Lord Sutch: Age 58
(b. David Edward Sutch
Worked with Keith Moon, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Ritchie Blackmore, Charlie Watts & Nicky Hopkins - Holds the record for running for public office in the UK (Lost all 40 elections) - Founder of The Monster Raving Loony Party
Hanged himself


2000
Andre Dede Fortin: Age 38
Les Colocs
known as Dede to his friends and fans, was a songwriter and the lead singer of the group Les Colocs
Quebec singer Andre Dede Fortin died from a self-inflicted wound


2001
Susannah McCorkle: Age 55
sultry voiced pop-jazz singer who brought a rare literary refinement to popular standards
She had left a suicide note, jumped to her death




2001
J.J. Johnson: Age 77
Considered as much a revelation on slide trombone as Charlie Parker was on the saxophone, Johnson also was a top arranger and composer

2001
Herman Brood: Age 55
a well known artist and a top musician on the Dutch rock scene for 30 years, jumped to his death from the roof of an Amsterdam hotel



2002
Johannes Kerkorrel: Age 42
Born: Ralph John Rabie
South African music icon Johannes Kerkorrel is dead. He hanged himself
"I hope you can forgive me, Mom, I really do not have the strength to carry on. I pray that the Lord will forgive me and that you will be able to understand and accept as time goes by." This was the last wish of Ralph Rabie, better known as Johannes Kerkorrel, expressed in a letter written to his mother before he committed suicide in a forested area... He told her there was no other way.
To his partner Demetrios Demetriou he wrote: "I do not have any other option. I am in such a deep state of depression that I see no future for myself."


2002
Jon Lee: Age 33
Feeder
hanged himself in his Miami home


2003
Elliott Smith: Age 34
singer-songwriter whose dark, introspective songs won him critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination
single stab wound to the chest ..... self-inflicted


2003
Gary Stewart: Age 58
One of country music's greatest honky-tonk singers ..
Ramblin' Man," the song by his idols the Allman Brothers
self-inflicted gunshot wound.




2004
Jason Raize, Age 28
Broadway singer
played the older Simba in the original
Broadway company of "The Lion King," death caused by suicide.


2004
James Lawrence, Age 26
Hope of the States
Musician found hanged at studio


 

 

 

 

 

 

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