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Volume 70, Issue 79, Thursday, January 27, 2005

Life & Arts

Ridiculous deaths cause stars to fade

Stay Sick

Jason Gagnon

The life of a rock star is one of the most celebrated and envied existences in our society. You get the fame, the coin, the groupies, drugs and all sorts of other accoutrements the rest of us are rarely (if ever) afford. But there is a dark side always present that lingers in the shadows and can destroy anyone's reputation, even in death. Here is a list of some of the most ignoble, embarrassing and humorous rock star demises.

Bon Scott, John Bonham, Jimi Hendrix ' Death by Vomit

This trio of rockers was world-renowned not just for their music but also for their ability to imbibe incredible amounts of dope and booze. Naturally, this is the quality that killed them all. Bon Scott, one of the best frontmen ever and original singer for AC/DC, got thoroughly sloshed one night and passed out, sitting upright and with his head tilted back, in a car and subsequently choked on the vomit his body was trying to expel. Led Zeppelin's John Bonham died in a similar fashion, but Jimi Hendrix (who admittedly was not of this Earth) takes the cake. Lord only knows what all was coursing through his system that night but it put him face down on the floor in a pool of his own puke. Yuck on all accounts, huh?

Stiv Bators -- Hit by a car, neglected to receive medical attention

I absolutely love everything Stiv Bators ever recorded, from the Dead Boys to the Lords of the New Church and even his bizarre interpretation of "Like a Virgin." But that won't stop me from pointing out the fact that he was an utter moron for the way in which he died. While kicking around in Paris, Stiv was headed home after a night on the town when a car struck him. Maybe it's because he was probably drunk and/or high but he walked away from the accident, decided against getting check out by a doctor and went on home where he later died in his sleep. An interesting post-script to this idiotic demise is that Stiv requested to be cremated and then have his friends snort lines of his remains (this is also what I would like to happen when I die). Some declined, but a few, including his girlfriend, complied and reportedly kicked back some bone among the ashes. 

"Mama" Cass Elliot -- Choking/ Heart attack

The most robust member of '60s singing group the Mamas and the Papas has one of the most odd and controversial deaths in rock history. Some say that she choked to death on a ham sandwich, while others insist it was a heart attack that took her life. How about we split the difference and say she began choking on the food, became frightened and then had a heart attack. This still makes it the lamest death on the list.

Elvis -- Heart attack

By the '70s Elvis had begun enjoying pills and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches a little too much, which defined this final era of his life as that of "Fat Elvis." His manner of death isn't embarrassing but the circumstances of it are quite comical. Elvis died on the throne, so to speak, suffering a heart attack while voiding his royal bowels. 

Michael Hutchence -- Auto-erotic asphyxiation

Hail to the king, baby. The INXS singer comes in first on the list for the most funny and embarrassing rock star death. Alone in a hotel, bored and presumably aroused, Hutchence decided to have a little fun while simultaneously strangling himself. For those of you who don't watch Law and Order: SVU, this is known as auto-erotic asphyxiation. The assumption is that he got a little carried away with the act and tugged a little too hard on the belt tied around his neck and wound up dead. He was later discovered hanging naked from the door. This incident outshines the singer's musical accomplishments. 

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