Friday, January 21, 2011
Great rock and roll deaths - and Teena Marie
There are great rock and roll deaths - and then there's Teena Marie's.
Of course, death can never be great but for some of baddest rockers, the way they died has added to the legend and their allure.
Rockers die from gallons of red wine and strange brands of German pills like the ones found in Jimi Hendrix and there are question marks lingering over their deaths. Or big overdoses like Keith Moon (Moon the Loon), the wild living drummer from The Who.
Or like Brian Jones from the Stones, they drown in swimming pools. Seriously how stoned do you have to be to drown in your own swimming pool? Poor Brian must look down from heaven, or up from the other place to cast a withering eye on Keith Richard to conclude life just ain't fair.
Then there's Jim Morrison of the Doors, who apparently died snorting someone else's heroin (you'd think he could have afforded his own) after rock n' roll turned him from a fresh faced American kid to someone who looked like Charles Manson's obese brother.
The women got in the act too. Janis Joplin, who was only in her 20s, but looked like the sort of character who you'd jump in a puddle to avoid at the bus station, died of a drug overdose in 1970, a couple of weeks after Hendrix.
Dying it seemed was in vogue for the stars of 1970, although it played havoc with the recording studio schedules.
The most recent classic rock and roll death has been that of Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, who shot himself in the head in 1994.
But what about Teena Marie? In a way her death at the end of last year was a result of the rock and roll lifestyle but it was hardly due to heavy living.
Appently five years ago Marie, known as the ivory queen of soul was in her hotel room on tour when a large picture fell on her head. She had suffered from seizures and other neurological problems ever since.
It reminds me of the time when a large glitter ball almost took out Boy George on the dance floor. But at least this would have been a more glamorous way to go. The Boy would have gone out having a ball.
It would be just plain wrong of me to mourn the demise of real rock and roll deaths but there was something curiously seductive about the age of excess when the likes of Hendrix could sleep with more women in one short lifetime than the rest of us if we lived to be 300. And I've heard there's a wild swinging scene in the retirement homes for the over 200s these days.
Instead we live in an age when the worst thing that can happen to a recording artist is a tongue lashing from Simon Cowell.