Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Friday, July 24, 2015

"It's better to burn out, than fade awaaaayy......"

For those interested in rock and pseudo-social science, here's an interesting table on the causes of death of musicians, broken down by genre. Prepare to have almost every stereotype you ever had about musicians confirmed in spades (my only surprise is that metal topped punk for suicides). I guess having a bleak outlook concerning fantasy worlds and the return of ancient deities is worse for one's state of mental health than simply sporting a nihilistic and anarchic view of the actual reality we inhabit.
The link to the table's source article - which also links to an earlier article containing the research methodology (i.e., where the info on deaths was obtained) - is below:

There are some real methodological problems, such as what constitutes a genre, to this research (I put one in the comments), but there is some fun stuff here, so I applaud the effort.


Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

The biggest problem here is that she (the author) lumps all deaths together. This skews the population of newer genres (punk, rap, hip hop) toward the younger side of the scale. There are plenty of 80 year-old jazz artists, but no rappers over 60, so the more 'natural' causes like heart disease and cancer can't have kicked in. Thus, the homicide rate looks even worse than it should.

Looking at age cohorts together would be more acceptable.

4:47 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

Great post, Red Devil. It reminds me a lot of a classic - if ghoulish - article by one of my favorite music writers, Greil Marcus, which ranked 1970s rock star deaths. First published in The Village Voice in 1979, "Rock Death in the 1970s: A Sweepstakes" ranked the significance of rock star deaths in terms of categories such as the manner of their deaths (e.g., more points for tragic deaths such as plane crashes), the age of the star and, most subjectively, their future potentials.

Using that metric, these were Marcus' Top Ten rock deaths from the 70s:

1. Ronnie Van Zant, 28 years old, Lynyrd Skynyrd - 25 pts
- Jimi Hendrix, 27 years old - 25 pts
3. Duane Allman, 24 years old - 23 pts
4. Elvis Presley, 42 years old - 22 pts
- Leslie Kong - 38 years old, reggae producer - 22 pts
6. Paul Williams - 34 years old, Temptations - 21 pts
- Gram Parsons - 27 years old, Byrds, etc. - 21 pts
- Al Jackson - 39 years old, Booker T and MGs - 21 pts
- Sandy Denny - 31 years old, Fairport Convention - 21 pts
10. Jim Morrison - 27 years old, The Doors - 17 pts

You can find the full text of the piece in the Google books version of the Greil Marcus compendium volume "In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992" here:

7:48 AM  
Blogger The Red Devil (1 FCK) said...

Superb. That book looks like a lot of fun. I will read a bit online.

12:18 PM  
Blogger manunitedrules said...

An interesting post and interesting responses. Will there still be a significant amount of homicidal rappers in 20 years? How will that compare to the R&R artists who are now senior citizens?

11:35 AM  
Blogger The Blue Devil said...

I've got several of Marcus' books that I'd be happy to loan to you, Red Devil. My favorite is "Lipstick Traces," in which Marcus attempts with some success to link punk rock aesthetics to the French postmodernist movements of the 1960s.

7:54 PM  

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