Solo rock stars more likely to die young, study says

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 3:53am


Solo rock stars are twice as likely to die prematurely as those who perform in groups.

British researchers examined the fate of 1,489 rock and pop stars who rose to fame in a period spanning half a century, from Elvis Presley in 1956 to the Arctic Monkeys in 2006.

A total of 137, or 9.2 per cent, died prematurely, at 45.2 years of age on average for North American stars and 39.6 for those in Europe, according to the study published in the journal BMJ Open.

Substance abuse and car crashes accounted for nearly 40 per cent of deaths, according to the research.

The difference in life expectancy was huge when it came to solo performers, it found.

Among the 114 US soloists documented in the study, 23 per cent died at a younger age than the general population. This was double the 10.2 per cent death rate among members of equally famous American bands.

In Europe, too, 9.8 per cent of soloists died young, compared to 5.4 per cent of those who performed in groups.

Stars who became famous before 1980 were much likelier to have died young, they added.

Nearly half of the stars who died from substance abuse had suffered childhood traumas.

"This study raises some important issues relating to protecting both stars' and would-be stars' acute and long-term well-being in an industry that has turned recruitment of the next generation of celebrities into a global business," the report said.