7 Musicians and Their Unfortunately Unusual Demises

  • January 21, 2011
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Gram Parsons


After dropping out of Harvard University, Parsons hopped between bands, releasing albums and being generally influential. Known best for his contributions to the Byrds during their “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” phase, he was also in several other obviously drug inspired groups such as the International Submarine Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

The End:

Parsons also had a fondness for Joshua Tree National Monument, which encompasses parts of the Mojave and Colorado deserts in southeast California. Naturally, he would spend his time there high on psychedelics, looking for UFOs. Unfortunately, in September of 1973, Parsons misjudged his tolerance and boarded the proverbial mothership after washing down three times the lethal dose of morphine with a significant amount of booze. His friends showed they cared in the only way they knew how: by stealing his corpse from the airport in a rented hearse, driving it out into the desert and torching it, coffin and all, using several gallons of gas before fleeing from the cops.


Keith Relf


Born in merry old England, Relf is best known as the lead singer, harmonica player and founding member of the band “The Yardbirds”. The group had several hit songs including “For Your Love” and “Over Under Sideways Down” and was a defining sound of the mid-sixties. He also refused to let the whole “mop top” thing go without a fight. He later played with several other groups, including “Together”, “Renaissance” and “Armageddon”.

The End:

Throughout much of his life, Relf was plagued with medical problems, most notably asthma which had almost killed him several times. By age 33, he had also developed emphysema, but both respiratory illnesses were only partially responsible for his unfortunate demise. In May of 1976, Relf was playing electric guitar in his cellar-turned-home studio. His system was not properly grounded and as he stood on an old gas pipe, an electrical fault resulted in his electrocution. Owing to his poor health, he did not survive the incident.


Jeff Porcaro


While his name is virtually unknown by the general public, Jeff Porcaro is one of the most prolific drummers in rock history. Though he was a founding member of the band “Toto” and a noted member of Steely Dan, it’s his work as a session musician that truly showcased his talent. He’s appeared on hundreds of albums, with artists as diverse as Madonna, Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson.

In August of 1992, Porcaro was hanging out at home in Hidden Hills, California, the house that non-stop drumming built. He’d already recorded an album with his band that year, as well as appearing on songs with Bruce Springsteen and 10cc. He was working in his garden and had been spraying a volume of pesticide. While the amount ingested would not normally be lethal, Porcaro was found to have had an undiagnosed heart condition. The result was a heart attack at the age of 38.

Written by Kevin Mack – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com Image Sources

Image sources:

  • - Selena: http://www.celebrity-autopsies.com/Autopsy_photo_of_selena-quintanilla-perez.jpg
  • - Terry Kath: http://www.philbrodieband.com/muso_terry_kath5.jpg
  • - Robert Johnson: http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e11/jamieks9/robert-johnson-formal-shot.jpg
  • - Jeff Buckley: http://citizendick.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/jeff-buckley2.jpg
  • - Gram Parsons: http://die-augenweide.de/byrds/pic/parsons.jpg
  • - Keith Relf: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.spinner.com/media/2008/02/keith-relf-200-020808.jpg
  • - Jeff Porcaro: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9a/Jeff_Porcaro_Toto_Fahrenheit_World_Tour_1986.jpg/220px-Jeff_Porcaro_Toto_Fahrenheit_World_Tour_1986.jpg