As an admirer of music I often ponder what the music industry would be like had we not lost some of its most promising musicians to drug or alcohol addictions. Some musicians have survived and are doing their best to hang on, among them are Toni Bennett and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day who both had highly publicized issues with substance abuse and have done one or several stents in rehab. Other musicians have not been so lucky and have died due to their addiction. This is not a new revelation by any means. In fact history continues to be on a repeat pattern.
Elvis Presley (1935-1977)-Drug of choice: anything and everything-ethinamate, methaqualone, codeine and various barbiturates
Billie Holiday (1915-1959)-Addicted to alcohol
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)-Drug of choice: barbiturates and addicted to alcohol
Janis Joplin (1943-1970)-Drug of choice: heroin
More recent tragedies:
Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)-Addicted to alcohol
Whitney Houston (1963-2012)-Drug of choice: cocaine, marijuana and a mixture of over the counter and prescription pills
Pimp C (1973-2007) -Drug of choice: promethazine and codeine
Dj Screw (1971-2000) -Drug of choice: promethazine and codeine
Old Dirty Bastard (1968-2004) -Drug of choice: cocaine
Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)-Drug of choice: heroin
Michael Jackson (1958-2009)-Drug of choice: anything and everything-propfol, lorazepam, diazepam and midazolam
Some may argue that drugs it was drugs that led them to create some of their biggest hits. I believe that in some cases in might have heightened the creativity level but at what price?
Songs inspired by drugs:
Hotel California- The Eagles
Under The Bridge- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Semi-Charmed Life- Third Eye Blind
Fire and Rain-James Taylor
Is it possible for Rock n Roll to be the same without the outlandish drug use and promiscuity?
These 3 sober musicians would argue that it’s not only the same but better!
The question we must ask ourselves is what is causing these individuals to use? Could it be the environment, our celebrity obsessed society or the stressors we all face? The answer is all of the above, musicians are on the road constantly and are often socializing at parties and bars (environment), social media, reality TV and tabloids are giving us our celebrity fix (society) and when you are in the limelight mistakes will be highlighted (stressors).
Being famous gives you a pass to the underground world of drugs although you may not need this pass you can simply visit your local LA doctor’s office and pay them to keep your name and “prescriptions” on the DL. The “doc dealer” claimed the life of the King of the Pop, not to say he didn’t play a part in his own demise but the drugs were prescribed in excessive amounts because of who he was. Addiction is a hard habit to kick, once you are down that windy road you begin lying to the ones you love to save yourself from embarrassment or to keep those you love in the dark so they will not be disappointed in you. Lying will work for a while but eventually mistakes will be revealed, by that time a slip-up may have caused you your life and if you’re famous this is guaranteed to make the nightly news.