With the recent passing of Amy Winehouse, the other young rockers who met their end too soon come to mind. For many of these individuals, drugs and alcohol were an escape from their rock ‘n roll lifestyle—a reality they were unable to deal with.
In no particular order, let’s begin.
**Disclaimer: We here at Songlyrics do not condone the use of any mind-altering substances in excess, and are opposed to violence of any kind. We do not support the act of suicide and this article is not intended to promote self-harm in any way.**
Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)
Kurt Cobain was the co-founder, lead singer, and guitarist for the legendary grunge rock band Nirvana. Cobain’s profound lyrics and raspy voice touched a generation while also contributing to the Seattle grunge scene of the 1990s. In fact, it was after the success of Nirvana’s album Nevermind (1991) that they were labelled as the “flagship band” of Generation X.
On April 8th 1994, Cobain was found dead in his Seattle home due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Theories state that his prolonged period of illness and depression, severe heroin addiction, difficulty coping with his growing popularity, and tumultuous personal problems with wife, Courtney Love, all contributed to his suicide.
Notable lyrics from “Come As You Are“
Come doused in mud, soaked in bleach
As I want you to be
As a trend, as a friend
As an old
Jim Morrison (1943-1971)
Jim Morrison was the charismatic lead singer of the 1960s psychedelic rock band The Doors. Morrison is best remembered for three things: his onstage strutting while wearing tight leather trousers, his entranced gaze, and his hypnotic voice.
In 1971 Morrison was found dead in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. No autopsy was performed as French law dictates an autopsy is not necessary if no foul play is evident. The most widely held theory is that Morrison snorted his girlfriend’s cocaine, mistaking it for heroine.
Notable lyrics from “Hello, I love you“
She’s walking down the street
Blind to every eye she meets
Do you think you’ll be the guy
To make the queen of the angels sigh?
Hello, I love you
Won’t you tell me your name?
Hello, I love you
Let me jump in your game
Ian Curtis (1956-1980)
Ian Curtis was the face of Joy Division. He was a misunderstood and tortured soul who suffered from recurring bouts of depression, severe epilepsy, and an unsettled personal life.
Often compared to Jim Morrison of The Doors, Curtis’ rich bass-baritone was able to mesmerize his audiences. Renowned for their tragic lyrics and Curtis’ unique dance style, Joy Division reached national success in the 1970s.
On the eve of their 1980 North American tour, Curtis committed suicide by hanging himself in his estranged wife’s kitchen. His body was found the next morning. He was 23.
Notable lyrics from “She’s Lost Control“
Confusion in her eyes says it all
She’s lost control
And she’s clinging to the nearest passer by
She’s lost control
And she gave away the secrets of her past
And said, “I’ve lost control again”
And a voice that told her when and where to act
She said, “I’ve lost control again”
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)
Jimi Hendrix has been listed as one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century. Although Hendrix is sited as being one of the greatest rock musicians, his influences were mostly blues, funk and R&B artists such as Muddy Waters and Little Richard.
Hendrix’s creativity and innovation made him one of the most exciting artists of the 1960s. He was eager to experiment with guitar amplifiers and pedals in a way no one had done before, creating new and engaging sounds. He headlined the 1969 Woodstock Festival, as well as the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival.
Although Hendrix was known for his musical talents, he was also renowned for his alcohol addiction, drug dependence, and violent behavior.
He died in 1970 at his girlfriend’s flat in London. The autopsy indicated that Hendrix died from asphyxiation, having choked on his own vomit while asleep. His girlfriend stated that he had taken several sleeping tablets the night before, which has lead some to believe this was a suicide.
Notable lyrics from “Purple Haze“
Purple Haze all in my brain
Lately things just don’t seem the same
Actin’ funny, but I don’t know why
‘Scuse me while I kiss the sky
Purple Haze all around
Don’t know if I’m comin’ up or down
Am I happy or in misery?
Whatever it is that girl put a spell on me
Sid Vicious (1957-1979)
Sid Vicious was the bass player of the punk rock band Sex Pistols. Although the band did not receive international success during its active years, Sid Vicious and vocalist, Johnny Rotten, became cult punk icons. Vicious was the epitome of punk with his spiked hair, ripped t-shirts, and sloppily applied purple nail polish.
His drug addiction was said to have begun at a young age when he did speed with his mother. His drug usage spiralled out of control during his tumultuous relationship with American groupie Nancy Spungen—in 1978 Vicious was charged with Spungen’s murder after she was found murdered on the bathroom floor of their New York hotel room. He stated that he remembered arguing with her the night before but could not remember stabbing her.
Less than a month after Spungen’s death Vicious attempted suicide by slitting his wrists. Due to this self-harming display, he was committed to Bellevue Hospital where he was rehabilitated (and met a new girlfriend). On the evening of February 1st 1979, a party was held to celebrate Vicious having made bail on the murder charges. Although he was on a detox program, his mother had heroine delivered to the venue for her use. Sid Vicious overdosed on his mother’s heroine that night—his body was found the next day at his girlfriend’s apartment.
Notable lyrics from “Anarchy in the UK“
I am an anti-Christ
I am an anarchist
Don’t know what I want
I know how to get it
I wanna destroy the passer by
‘Cause I wanna be anarchy