Soloists Die Young More Often Than Band Members

Plus: European rockers less likely to die prematurely
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2012 4:22 AM CST
Soloists Die Young More Often Than Band Members
In this Feb. 24, 1988 file photo, Michael Jackson dances in Kansas City.   (AP Photo/Cliff Schiappa, File)

Hey, pop stars: Want to live a long and healthy life? You're better off joining a band, a study finds. Famous solo musicians suffer double the early-death risk that band members face, say researchers who reviewed the lives of 1,400 stars active between 1956 and 2006. As of early 2012, some 137 of the stars, ranging from Elvis Presley to Amy Winehouse, had died young. Why the difference? Solo artists "can find themselves in a situation where everyone around them are paid employees ... all interested in them from a financial point of view and not in their personal needs," notes a researcher.

"It's hard for the artist to know who to trust." But band "members can stop an individual spiraling into self-destruction and pull them back into the group." Another tip for musicians: Be European. Those from North America face a 20% risk of early death, twice the European rate, the BBC reports. Researchers chalk that up to longer tours in North America, as well as differences in drug culture and access to health care. Still, North American musicians who died young tended to be six years older, on average, than Europeans, whose average age of premature death was 39. (More musician stories.)

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