Tombstone Blues

1,161 rock stars were fatally injured in the making of The Encyclopedia of Rock Obituaries

Roland Alphonso (3.5 points)

Saxophonist for the Skatalites, Alphonso collapsed onstage, went into a coma and died two weeks later. Although he was probably moving around vigorously before seizing up, the lag time between collapse, coma and rigor mortis is just too long to suit our callous judges.

Honorable Mentions:

From aced Johnny Ace right on through to zapped Frank Zappa.
From aced Johnny Ace right on through to zapped Frank Zappa.

Lek Leckenby (2 points)

The original guitarist for Herman's Hermits didn't die onstage, but he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1992 and ignored his doctor's advice to stop touring, expiring two years later all because he thought the world was champing at the bit to hear a Hermanless Herman's Hermits.

Carolyn Leigh (2 points)

This composer suffered a heart attack while working with Marvin Hamlisch on a musical adaptation of Smiles. That's gotta be worth at least 2 points.

Steve Douglas (3 points)

This busy sax sessionist started out playing Phil Spector dates while still in high school and hardly let up afterward. He died of heart failure during a Ry Cooder recording session. Sadly, his final squawks were left on the cutting-room floor.

Suicide Is Pointless:

Michael Holliday (0 points)

Who'd have thought the first intentional rock 'n' roll suicide would be a British lite-pop balladeer? Holliday had a hit covering Marty Robbins' "The Story of My Life," but with the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" rising to number one, Holliday overdosed rather than witness his own chart obsolescence in late October 1963. What a lad, oh, what a night.

Carlos Vega (0 points)

Cuban drummer for James Taylor, Vega committed suicide by gunshot rather than appear with Taylor on The Oprah Winfrey Show the following day.

Yogi Horton (0 points)

Drummer who jumped out of a 17th-floor hotel window after performing at Madison Square Garden with Luther Vandross. Yes, another soft-rock-related death.

Timothy Leary (0 points)

This Tibetan Book of the Dead and acid advocate had inoperable prostate cancer. He planned to commit suicide and broadcast the images over the Internet, but he died in his sleep. Somehow, turn in, turn off and drop dead just doesn't cut it.

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