'Live fast, die young' adage for rockers true, study finds

By Nick Clark

Amy Winehouse is a member of the infamous 27 Club. Photo / Supplied
Amy Winehouse is a member of the infamous 27 Club. Photo / Supplied

Those yearning to live the rock'n'roll lifestyle should take note: Musicians living fast really do die younger.

Studies by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University also found that solo performers are twice as likely to die young as their counterparts in bands.

In its report Dying To Be Famous, the centre found that musicians who followed the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll lifestyle were more likely to die prematurely. The report also suggested a third of those who died young had been subjected to abuse in childhood.

Professor Mark Bellis, who led the research, said: "We wanted to examine the risks associated with being a rock star, and whether [they were] higher than [in] other areas."

After studying 1489 musicians in North America and Europe who became celebrities in the 50 years to 2006, he said music stars had "reduced survival compared to the general population".

The results, published in the online journal BMJ Open, showed that in the UK, 5.4 per cent of those in bands and 9.8 per cent of solo musicians died prematurely. In the US, those percentages doubled.

The obsession with dead musicians is nothing new. There is even a "27 Club" whose members, including Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and more recently Amy Winehouse, all died at the age of 27, often through substance abuse. However, the report found no evidence to suggest a higher risk at that age.

- Independent

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