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BBC News – Early death ‘more likely in solo artists’

Warner Bros. publicity poster for the Sex Pist...

Successful solo artists are twice as likely to die early compared to those in bands, the journal BMJ Open reports.

The study looked at the careers of 1,400 European and North American rock and pop stars who were famous between 1956 and 2006.

The chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – but for those from North America it was twice as likely.

Experts suggest that peer support from band mates may be protective.

The cut-off point of the study was 20 February 2012 – at which point 137 performers had died prematurely.

These included solo artists like Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, rapper 2Pac, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston.

And band members like Kurt Cobain from Nirvana, Sid Vicious from the punk group Sex Pistols and Stuart Cable from Stereophonics.

The stars’ achievements were determined from international polls and top 40 chart successes, while details of their personal lives and childhoods were drawn from a range of music and official websites, published biographies and anthologies.

The average age of death was 39 years for European stars, with those from North America being six years older on average.

Solo performers were about twice as likely to die prematurely compared to those in a band, irrespective of whether they were European or Northern American.

And while the chances of a European solo artist dying young was one in 10 – for American solo artists it was more likely at one in five. The authors speculate this may be due to longer tours in North America plus variations in access to health care and exposure to drugs.

Honey Langcaster-James, a psychologist who specialises in celebrity behaviour, believes the support of a band may be protective.

via BBC News – Early death ‘more likely in solo artists’.

This entry was published on December 27, 2012 at 9:47 am. It’s filed under Article and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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