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Become a rock star and die young Become a rock star and die young
by William Edo
2007-09-09 09:47:46
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A study at Liverpool John Moores University concluded that rock stars are more likely to die at a premature age than average human beings. For millions, becoming a rock star is an ultimate goal.

Millions around the world dream of fame, trying every possible thing to achieve a breakthrough and finally become a rock star. A British study concluded that the average age of death for music stars was 42 for North American stars and 35 for British stars.

Let’s face it. It takes a lot of risks and sacrifice to become a rock star. Before achieving that stage, people in search of becoming a star, often go through countless hurdles such as being creative, getting noticed, finding production companies and getting people to like their music. Once they achieve their dreams, a few lucky ones will become idols and release album after album and climb into fame, while hundreds of others will experience temporary success, before being forgotten by the public.

Money and fame, as well as the exhilarating life style is the main attraction for potential rock stars, who of course consider themselves artists, and therefore put their main focus on their art.

The funny thing is that long term drug or alcohol problems only account for a little more than one fourth of the deaths. Managing success is no easy task, whether psychologically or as far as the star’s life style is concerned. The study confirmed that the first years of success are the most dangerous, as the chances of dying are multiplied by a third. Yet, after 25 years of success, the study shows that chances of death are back to normal.

The media and the music industry are partly to blame for this fact, as well as the common belief that one can be more creative with excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs. Pop or rock stars are known to attract excessive media attention, while being manipulated by producers, since media attention generates better album sales.

Another fact is that many musicians die in poverty and are not able to afford healthcare, especially in the US. Therefore, famous musicians should focus on their art, but also on their way of life, as they should be advised by psychologists and managers on how to deal with emotional and money issues.

The sad fact is that musicians are often spoiled and addicted to fame, and face huge blows once they retrieve anonymousness. That often leads to depression and the rest. Though people claim that since people are now aware of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, the rock star related death rates are likely to fall. There are claims that rock stars living hedonistic life styles have reduced over the past few years. That may be true, as the study shows that the number of musicians who died few years after their first hit today is divided by two compared to thirty years ago. Yet, pressure on artists might have been multiplied by a lot more than that, as competition in the field has gone wild and artists may get kicked out by their record companies as soon as sales go down.

Therefore, the media, rather than promoting such as reality shows that promise to make people rock stars within a few months, should also inform potential artists about the dangers related to their job.


   
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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-09 16:07:27
Intriguing article. Obviously there is some kind of nexus between hubris and loss of hope and meaning in life (or as the philosophers say, nihilism) which has little to do with material prosperity and affluence, or the lack of sunlight leading to depression.

Consider the following statistics as provided by the World Psychiatry Association in 2005:

The European suicide rate per 100,000 young persons (15 to 19)in the years 1965-1999 was 4.75

Finland has the dubious distinction of having the highest rate: 15.51 (three times the European average)

Portugal has the lowest rate: 2.29 (half the European average)

Food for thought.


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