Rock n’ Roll has lost some of its great ones through suicide over the years. The first half of the ’90s brought devastation to the rock community and fans were heartbroken when three of the music industries finest committed suicide.
These musicians – Michael Hutchence, Kurt Cobain, and Doug Hopkins – had everything going for them; they certainly had everything to live for. Whatever demons held them hostage did so until they couldn’t take anymore. This is something anyone battling depression experiences and deals with on an almost daily basis. To them, suicide is a relief valve, an escape from the suffering, and a way to end the hopelessness that envelops them.
These rockers seemingly led the quintessential rock star lifestyle. They had fame, money to burn, and the adoration of fans. But they had their secrets. In many cases, a combination of depression and drugs or alcohol led them down the path of no return.
In a matter of four years, the music industry lost three of its brightest entertainers through suicide:
Michael Hutchence (INXS):
INXS frontman Michael Hutchence was extremely talented and seriously good-looking. He had the kind of voice that was somehow soothing, a voice that left female fans swooning. I’m thinking about INXS’ hit song, The One Thing released in 1983. Gives me shivers!
On November 22, 1997, Hutchence, 37, hung himself with a leather belt in his Ritz-Carlton hotel room in his native Sydney, Australia. A maid who stopped in to clean found his body. There were, for some time, rumors the musician’s death was caused by autoerotic asphyxiation but the coroner ruled Hutchence’s death a suicide.
When I think about Michael Hutchence’s death, I think about what a waste it was. There was never any indication that he intended to take his own life, though this isn’t uncommon. He was preparing to marry his girlfriend in January 1998, and he had a beautiful little girl. To top it off, INXS was about to embark on their 20th anniversary tour in Australia.
Find A Grave has a really nice photo of Hutchence’s memorial in Sydney.
Kurt Cobain (Nirvana):
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain was a tortured soul and that was evident in his overall demeanor. He was depressed and, according to his suicide note located at Find A Death, lost all excitement for listening to or writing music. He compared himself to Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in that hearing the roar of the crowd before a show or the love and adoration of fans simply didn’t affect him as it had Mercury who was very flamboyant and thrived on the attention he got.
On April 8, 1994, Kurt Cobain’s body was found in a greenhouse situated above the garage at the home he shared with his wife, Courtney Love, and their daughter, Frances Bean. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and had been deceased three days. He was 27-years old.
According to In Music We Trust, there are theories abound to this day that Cobain didn’t die at his own hand but was murdered. The alleged suicide note found at the scene is also questionable since it never specifically mentions suicide and comes off as having been written by two people. Many theories point to Cobain’s wife as a likely culprit as it had been rumored she tried to pay someone to kill her husband.
The day Kurt Cobain died was a sad day indeed. In my case, my sister came over – we cried and mourned the day away. Cobain had so much talent and was headed for true greatness. Like so many others before him, Kurt Cobain will live on forever in the music he gave us and will be sorely missed by a generation that called him our own.
Doug Hopkins (Gin Blossoms):
Gin Blossoms co-founder and guitarist Doug Hopkins, who just so happens to be the writer of Hey Jealousy and Found Out About You, battled alcoholism and chronic depression. On top of that, he was fired from the Gin Blossoms in 1992 and, according to Lost Horizons, had become increasingly despondent as the group became more successful without him, playing the songs he wrote.
Of Hopkins’ music, a critic once wrote, “With music as exhilarating as this, misery has rarely sounded so good.”
On December 4, 1993, Hopkins purchased a .38 caliber pistol and committed suicide the following day. He was just 32-years old.
A woman approached band members at his memorial service with a message from Hopkins. She asked them if they remembered when someone poured sugar into the gas tank of their tour van in 1992. Through her, Hopkins fessed up to the act.
Gin Blossoms‘ Robin Wilson said, “Hearing that at the funeral sorta made me feel good. Doug was always good at getting the last laugh, that’s for sure.”
Michael Kelland Hutchence (1960 – 1997) – Find A Grave Photos
In Music We Trust – The Apparent “Suicide” of Kurt Cobain
Cobain note.jpg (JPEG Image, 477×764 pixels), Find A Death
Lost Horizons – A Tribute To Doug Hopkins :: Articles