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