A woman looks up at a tribute mural to John Lennon. (Bertrand Moritz)
A woman looks up at a tribute mural to John Lennon.

Bertrand Moritz

TRAGIC DEATHS IN THE ROCK COMMUNITY

ROCK N’ ROLL AIN’T NO NOISE POLLUTION

October 21, 2021

Deaths are always tragic, whether one knows the individual or not. Even if it’s expected, it’s never something that is easy to cope with. The following deaths came unexpectedly, out of nowhere, making it hit harder and deeper. One moment these musicians are rocking the stage, and the next they’re tragically ripped away. If these artists hadn’t become so successful, they might still be alive today. 

 

John Lennon, one fourth of perhaps the greatest band of all time, The Beatles, was reported dead on December 8th, 1980. It came as a shock to everyone around the world. Beatles fans were devastated. Lennon was perfectly healthy, only having his 40th birthday 2 months prior.

 

The morning of his death, he had gone about his day as he always would have. He put in some time at the recording studio and even signed an autograph for a fan. Everything went awry when he went home. Walking into his apartment building, Lennon was fatally shot by the very fan who he signed the autograph for only hours prior. Four of the five bullets fired by Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, hit him in the back. After being rushed to the hospital, John Lennon was pronounced dead. The Fab Four were now three.

 

Another devastating loss in the rock community came only 6 years later, on an icy road in Sweden. The thrash band Metallica was at the peak of their careers, dominating the rock scene with their three studio albums, Kill Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets. As the band rode on their tour bus, bassist Cliff Burton and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett played a game. The simple game entails whoever draws the higher card gets the choice of which bunk he prefers. Burton drew the Ace of Spades, allowing him to choose which bunk he desired, which happened to be Hammett’s throughout the tour.

 

Early on the 27th of September, 1986 and shortly before 7 a.m., the bus began to swerve all over the road and then flipped on its side. Everyone on the bus was left practically unharmed. The only exception being Cliff Burton, who was thrown out the window. After being thrown out the window, Burton was crushed under the weight of the tour bus, killing him instantly. The hard-hitting, heavy metal thrash band had lost their core instrumentalist and one of their main song writers. 

 

Unfortunately, the trend of fans murdering their idols didn’t stop at Mark David Chapman and John Lennon. During the 90s, the grunge scene became prevalent all around the United States. Rock bands from the previous years were changing up their sound, the rock community needed a headbanging savior: enter Pantera. Previously a Glam Metal band, Pantera wasn’t getting much success until they hired singer Phil Anselmo and changed up their style.

 

With Anselmo, bassist Rex Brown, and brother duo Darrell and Vinnie Abbott, Pantera changed the game. Guitarist Darrell, who went by Dimebag Darrell, was a machine, generating memorable riff after memorable riff. Unfortunately, the band went their separate ways, ready for new projects and opportunities. Dimebag Darrell and brother Vinnie started up a new band, titled Damageplan. During a small show in a club in Columbus, Ohio, a fan by the name of Nathan Gale rushed the stage with a pistol. He killed the band’s head of security, another fan, and an employee at the club as well as wounding three others. His target was Dimebag Darrell, who he shot and killed. 

 

Crazed fans and freak accidents don’t happen often, but when they do, it shocks entire nations. These rock stars influenced thousands and their deaths left a hole in millions of peoples lives.

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About the Writer
Photo of OLIVIA TIMKO
OLIVIA TIMKO, Staff Writer
Olivia Timko is a Senior at Lincoln Park, majoring in Writing and Publishing. She resides in Burgettstown. This is her second year at LPPACS and her first year writing for the Siren.

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