By Eric Kohanik,
Brian Jones was the original leader and founder of the Rolling Stones when the band was formed in 1962. In the following years, though, he developed a serious drug problem that resulted in him being ousted from the band. He died on July 3, 1969, drowning in the swimming pool of his home.
He is still widely revered as one of the greatest electric guitarists ever. But Jimi Hendrix was plagued by alcohol and drug abuse that led to violent outbursts and even criminal charges. He died on Sept. 18, 1970, after his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, found him unresponsive in her London apartment. An inquest concluded that a combination of alcohol and sleeping pills led to Hendrix aspirating his own vomit.
Co-founder and lead singer of The Doors, Jim Morrison had a distinctive voice and personality that left a big mark on rock-music history. Thanks to such hits as “Hello, I Love You” and “Light My Fire,” along with several others, Morrison still has a huge following. Alcohol and drugs played a significant part in Morrison’s life. His relationship with his longtime companion, Pamela Courson, was reportedly also turbulent. On July 3, 1971, Courson woke up to find Morrison dead in the bathtub of their Paris apartment. Although the death was attributed to heart failure, no autopsy was performed. Morrison’s grave, at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, continues to be a popular tourist attraction. Ironically, Courson died of a heroin overdose in 1974 — also at the age of 27.
The rebellious, tumultuous lifestyle of singer Janis Joplin was certainly notorious. It also shaped her music, making her stand out. A heavy drinker and drug user, she attempted to clean up her life several times. She recorded her final song, “Mercedes Benz,” on Oct. 1, 1970. After failing to show up for a recording session on Oct. 4, she was found dead in her hotel room. The official cause of death was cited as a heroin overdose.
English singer/songwriter Amy Winehouse was one of the most intriguing musical talents of the past few years. She led quite a troubled life, infused with lots of drugs and alcohol. One of Winehouse’s biggest hits, “Rehab,” was an autobiographical account of her refusal to go to a rehabilitation clinic. In 2008, a former assistant revealed that Winehouse had a fear of dying at the age of 27. She ended up doing just that, succumbing to alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011. According to a coroner’s report, her blood-alcohol level was .416 — more than five times the legal driving limit (0.08) in the U.S.
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