Are Musicians Making Death Cool?

by A-Badgero

Elton John used his celebrity status to help a charitable cause. At its peak, almost six copies of Candle in the Wind 1997 were sold every second and he donated all profits and royalties to the Princess Diana Memorial Fund.

For decades generations of youth have looked to their favorite musicians for the new “cool” up and coming trends. Since the late 60′s to early 80′s the genre of rock/punk has spiralled into a new subculture that truly embraces and idolizes the idea of dying young.

For those trying to rebel and be as anti-conformist as possible the new culture of cool has turned into a “live fast die young” rock and roll lifestyle. Many of our youth now rock to beats that feature lyrics such as MGMT’s Time to Pretend – “This is our decision to live fast and die young/We’ve got the vision, now let’s have some fun!”

From Bob Marley refusing a simple toe removal to save his life from cancer, to Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols diving full force into a heroin addiction he knew could be fatal, it seems young stars became so immortalized that death was just the newest addition to their revolution.

Instead of learning from their idols’ mistakes many youth seem to embrace and even repeat them. After the death of Sid Vicious the use of heroin actually took off and became more popular than ever. Singer Ari Up of The Slits became a part of the increasingly hip Rastafarian religion as was Bob Marley. Once diagnosed with breast cancer Up opted for a similar death as her idol and refused a mastectomy ultimately resulting in her death at age 48.

Rev of Avenged Sevenfold died at the age of 28 from an accidental overdose of alcohol and narcotics. Other members of the band recall Rev as a party animal who always said he knew he wouldn’t make it to 30.

This “hope I die before I get old” culture seems to envelope young stars of the rock genre. Because so many of the best artists died before their time it has almost become a prerequisite for being truly great. This may very well be the reason that death has become so trendy amongst young stars√ñ you don’t know how great you are until you are gone and all who love you flock to pay tribute.

It’s not that young people are now out searching for ways to end their lives in the style of their favorite music stars. It’s that the music culture is full of impressionable fans who see their idols leading frivolous lives with dangerous habits and they look upon them with great adoration.
With many of our favorite stars being immortalized in death it does beg the questionÖ would they have been so successful if they were still alive? Does dying young give you a free pass to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

There are of course musicians who are on the other side of the spectrum and use their celebrity to bring attention to causes or occasions. When the young Princess Diana passed in 1997, her good friend Elton John sang a reworked rendition of Candle in the Wind known as Goodbye England’s Rose specifically for Diana. He refused to publicly play that version again after he played it at Diana’s funeral but in 1997 he re-released Candle in the Wind. All artist and composer royalties and record company profits were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund which provides funding to charitable causes throughout the world.


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