Drugs, drink, sandwiches? The encyclopedia of rock deaths

Dec 4, 2012

WAMC's Ian Pickus and guest Jeremy Simmonds examine the always growing list of dead rock stars. A BBC television writer and producer, Simmonds is the author of The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, Ham Sandwiches, now out in its second edition from Chicago Review Press.

The fast-paced life of rock and roll has led to untold numbers of untimely deaths, from the tragic to the tragic-comic. The accidents, suicides, murders and overdoses have inflated the genre with an aura of mystique and melancholy, from the day the music died in 1959 to Amy Winehouse.

Part of what makes rock’s excesses so exciting, perhaps, is the threat of a life lived on the edge, and every musical death before its time is a reminder that artists chase the muse in often detrimental – or just plain unlucky — ways.