Music stars in bands are better at staying alive

Share this article
Have your say

Famous solo artists are twice as likely to die prematurely as stars in bands, researchers said.

Rock and pop fame has already been associated with risk-taking, substance use and premature mortality. Researchers looked at whether the effect was more profound in solo singers or band members.

In recent years, a number of high-profile solo artists have suffered premature death, including Amy Winehouse, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson.

The researchers, from Liverpool, found that solo rock and pop artists from North America have a 22.8 per cent increased risk of dying early, compared with a 10.2 per cent increased risk for band members.

They said European solo performers had a 9.8 per cent increased risk compared with 5.4 per cent for band members.

The researchers raised the question of whether the support of bandmates may be protective.

“Rock and pop star survival also seems to relate to whether they have pursued successful solo careers,” they wrote.

“While this may simply be a proxy for level of fame, with solo performers often attracting more attention than, for instance, a drummer in a band, it also raises the issue of peer support as a protective factor.

“Further research should address whether bands provide a mutual support mechanism that offers protective health effects.”