Steve's Dead Rock Stars

deadrockstars.info

1970s
HOME
1950s


*** 1960's ***

Date
Age
Name
Claim to Fame
Cause of Death
Location
12/06/196918Meredith Huntermusic fanStabbedAltamont, California

Meredith Hunter
October 24, 1951 - December 6, 1969

Merideth Hunter was an 18 year-old black man who was stabbed to death during the tragic concert at Altamont Speedway. The incident is documented in the movie Gimme Shelter. The Hells Angels had been hired to provide security at the concert - some reports they were paid with $500 worth of beer.

As the Rolling Stones played "Under My Thumb", Merideth pulled out a revolver and approached the stage. A 21 year-old Angel named Alan Passaro grabbed the gun and stabbed Hunter 5 times. Passaro was arrested and tried for murder in the summer of 1972, but was acquitted after a jury concluded that he had acted in self-defense.

Three others also died at the Altamont concert: Two were victims of a hit-and-run vehicle accident as they slept and one drowned in an irrigation canal.

12/01/196932Magic Samblues guitaristHeart AttackChicago
10/21/196947Jack KerouacwriterAlcoholismSt. Petersburg, FL
10/16/196952Leonard Chessfounder of Chess RecordsHeart Attack
10/03/196967Skip Jamesblues musician Philadelphia
09/30/1969Christine HintonDavid Crosby's girlfriendCar Accident

Christine Hinton
Died September 30, 1969

Christine Hinton was David Crosby's long-time girlfriend and founder and head of The Byrd’s fan club. She was killed in a tragic accident while driving David Crosby's Volkswagen bus. Transporting her two cats to the veterinarian, one of the cats pounced on Christine, causing the Volkswagen to lose control and crash into a school bus.

Devastated by her death, Crosby recorded the song "I Could Swear There Was Somebody Here" as a tribute to her. The song appears on his 1971 album If I Could Only Remember My Name.

Crosby spread Christine's ashes in the ocean from onboard his sailing vessel, the Mayan. It was on this voyage that "Wooden Ships" (a signature song of Crobsy, Stills, Nash & Young) was written.

09/05/196955Josh Whiteblues guitaristHeart FailureManhasset, New York

Josh White
February 11, 1914 - September 5, 1969

Josh White (Born Joshua Daniel White) was an influential blues singer and guitarist and a civil rights activist.

07/27/196934Gary Allen HinmanMurderedLos Angeles

Rest in Peace
Gary Allen Hinman
December 24, 1934 - July 27, 1969

Gary Allen Hinman was an intellectual, a UCLA Ph.D. candidate in sociology, and a talented musician who worked at music store teaching bagpipes, piano, trombone and drums.

Gary's Topanga Canyon home was used as a crash pad by friends. He befriended the Manson family, the associates of the notorious Charles Manson. On July 25, 1969, Manson family members Bobby Beausoleil, Susan Atkins, and Mary Brunner paid Gary a visit. A 3-day argument ensued, perhaps over drugs or in an attempt to Gary's $20,000 inheritance. Finally, Charles Manson dropped by. Yelling at Gary, Manson swung his sword, struck Gary in the head and sliced off his left ear. Manson fled the scene, stealing one of Gary's cars and instructing Bobby and the girls to take car of Hinman.

On the 27th, Gary Allen Hinman was murdered by 21-year-old Robert Kenneth "Bobby" Beausoleil, a somewhat successful musician and part-time actor. Susan and Mary took turns holding a pillow over Gary's face while he was stabbed twice in the chest by Bobby. Beausoleil wrote the words "POLITICAL PIGGY" on the wall using Hinman's blood. He then ransacked Gary's home and stole his remaining car, a Fiat wagon. Bobby was arrested on August 6th, found asleep in Hinman's Fiat wagon, broken down on the freeway in San Louis Obispo. The knife used to kill Gary Hinman was found in the car.

On August 9th, 1969, the Manson family visited 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles and murdered actress Sharon Tate and her guests. The 1974 book (and later movie) Helter Skelter gives more details of the grisly Manson murder spree.

07/03/196927Brian JonesRolling Stones, guitaristDrowned, Drug relatedHartfield, Sussex, England

Rest in Peace
Brian Jones
February 28, 1942 - July 3, 1969

Brian Jones was a founding member of The Rolling Stones. His main instrument was the guitar, but he also played a variety of other instruments including sitar, harmonica, autoharp, recorder, dulcimer, organ, and trumpet.

Born Lewis Brian Hopkin Jones, he exhibited an early interest in music and came from a musical family. His mother, Louisa, was a piano teacher, and his father, Lewis, played piano and organ and led the choir at a local church. Jones eventually took up the clarinet, becoming first clarinet in his school orchestra at 14. Due to his interest in Jazz, especially Cannonball Adderley's Music, he was able to persuade his parents to buy him a saxophone, and then, for his 17th birthday, he received an acoustic guitar.

Jones placed an advertisement in the May 2, 1962 issue of Jazz News, seeking musicians to audition for a new group; pianist Ian "Stu" Stewart was the first to respond. Later singer Mick Jagger also joined this band; Jagger and his childhood friend Keith Richards had met Jones when he and Paul Jones were playing Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" with Korner's band at The Ealing Club. Jagger brought guitarist Richards to rehearsals; Richards then joined the band. Jones's and Stewart's acceptance of Richards and the Chuck Berry songs he wanted to play coincided with the departure of blues purists Geoff Bradford and Brian Knight, who had no tolerance for Chuck Berry

At around midnight on the night of July 2, 1969, Jones was discovered motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm, his residence once owned by Winnie-the-Pooh author A. A. Milne. His Swedish girlfriend, Anna Wohlin, claims he was alive when pulled out of the pool. However, by the time the doctors arrived, it was too late, and he was pronounced dead. The coroner's report stated "Death by misadventure", and noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.

Wohlin claimed in 1999 that Jones had been murdered by a builder who had been renovating the house the couple shared. The builder, Frank Thorogood, allegedly confessed to the murder on his deathbed to the Rolling Stones' driver, Tom Keylock; Keylock later denied this. In the book The Murder of Brian Jones, Wohlin alleges that Thorogood behaved suspiciously and showed little sympathy when Jones was discovered lifeless at the bottom of the pool.

His death at age 27 qualifies him as a member of the "Forever 27" Club.

06/22/196947Judy Garlandsinger/actress, mother of Liza MinnelliOverdoseLondon
05/13/196919Martin LambleFairport Convention, drummerCar CrashEngland
03/26/196927Dickie PrideBritish singerDrug OverdoseEngland
10/30/196827Malcolm HaleSpanky and Our Gang, guitar/tromboneCarbon Monoxide PoisoningChicago
09/28/196842Dewey PhillipsFirst DJ to play Elvis PresleyHeart FailureMemphis
08/05/196840Luther Perkinsguitarist for Johnny CashHouse FireNashville
06/15/196845Wes Montgomeryjazz guitaristHeart FailureIndianapolis
02/28/196825Frankie Lymon"Why do Fools Fall in Love"Heroin OverdoseNew York City
02/15/196837Little Walterblues harmonica playerFight
12/10/196726Otis Reddingsoul singerPlane CrashMadison, Wisconsin

Rest in Peace
Otis Redding
September 9, 1941 - December 10, 1967

Otis Redding was a soul singer with a commanding voice. In only 4 years of recording, he left a musical legacy that continues to attract listeners to this day.

Born Otis Ray Redding, Jr. in the small town of Dawson, Georgia, his musical ability emerged early. He sang in the church choir and, as a teenager, won many local talent show contests.

Redding was discovered while singing with Macon guitarist Johnny Jenkins' band, the Pinetoppers, and first recorded as a member of that group for the tiny Confederate label in 1960. His manager was a fellow Georgian, Phil Walden (who later co-founded Capricorn Records).

Redding performed at Hollywood's Whisky a Go Go in 1966 - recordings from some of his sets at the Whisky were commercially released by Stax Records. In the summer 1967, Redding performed at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Redding was killed when his twin-engine Beechcraft crashed into Wisconsin’s Lake Monona on December 10, 1967, killing him and members of his touring band, the Bar-Kays.

His landmark song "(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” was recorded just four days before Redding’s death. The song broke through to be a #1 hit and stayed there for four weeks in early 1968. Redding felt the song was unfinished, and whistled the tune of one verse for which he intended to later write lyrics.

Otis Redding was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

12/10/196718Ronnie CaldwellBar-Keys, keyboardistPlane CrashMadison, Wisconsin
12/10/196718Phalon JonesBar-Keys, saxophonistPlane CrashMadison, Wisconsin
10/03/196755Woody Guthriefolk singerHuntington's Disease
08/27/196732Brian EpsteinBeatles, managerDrug OverdoseLondon

Rest in Peace
Brian Epstein
September 19, 1934 - August 27, 1967

Brian Epstein was the manager of the Beatles and several other musical acts including Gerry & the Pacemakers, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas and Cyrkle.

Epstein likely first learned of the Beatles from issues of Mersey Beat, a paper devoted to the local music scene around Liverpool and which featured a cover photo on the Beatles in issue #2. The Epstein family owned NEMS (North End Music Stores), which carried the paper. NEMS also once sold a piano to Paul McCartney's father.

Epstein, along with his friend Alistair Taylor, first saw the Beatles play at Liverpool's Cavern Club on November 9, 1961. He was impressed and paid for The Beatles to record a demo in Decca's studios on January 1, 1962. The demo, known as the Decca audition, was rejected by Decca Records, cetainly one of the biggest mistakes in music history. Months later, Epstein persuaded George Martin to listen to the tape, resulting in the Beatles being signed to the small Parlophone label.

Epstein died of an accidental drug overdose at his home in London in August 1967.

07/17/196740John ColtraneJazz saxophonistLiver CancerHuntington, New York
06/29/196734Jayne MansfieldactressCar AccidentSlidell, Louisiana

Rest in Peace
Jayne Mansfield
April 19, 1933 - June 29, 1967

Jayne Mansfield (Born Vera Jayne Mansfield) an American actress, singer, and a leading sex symbol of the 1950s.

She had roles in two dozen films in the 1950s and 1960s, including The Girl Can't Help It (1956), Kiss Them For Me (1957, with Cary Grant) and Promises! Promises! (1963).

In addition to singing in films, in 1964 Mansfield released a novelty album called Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me, on which she recited poetry and Shakespearean sonnets.

Interestingly, Jimi Hendrix played bass and lead guitar for Mansfield in 1965 on two songs, "As The Clouds Drift By" and "Suey", released together on two sides of a 45 RPM record. On April 14, 1967 Mansfield attended a Jimi Hendrix Concert in Bolton England.

At one point, Mansfield was offered the role of Ginger on TV's Gilligan's Island, but rejected the offer (later accepted by Tina Louise).

Her home, nicknamed the Pink Palace, was located at 10100 Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California. The house was built for Rudy Vallee, and Jayne and her then husband Mickey Hargitay had it painted pink. After Jayne's death, the Pink Palace was sold and its subsequent owners have included Ringo Starr, Cass Elliot, and Engelbert Humperdinck. In 2002, Humperdinck sold it to developers, and the house was demolished in November of that year.

Jayne Mansfield died in a tragic automobile accident on US Highway 90 near Slidell, Louisiana. Her 1966 Buick Electra collided with the rear of a slow moving tractor-trailer and underrode it. The roof of the car was peeled back like a piece of aluminum foil. The three adults in the front seat (Jayne Mansfield, her husband lawyer Samuel S. Brody, and driver Ron Harrison) were killed instantly, while the Mansfield children in the back seat all survived with minor injuries.

One of Jayne Mansfield's children, Mariska Hargitay, has gone on to a successful movie and television career, including a co-starring role in the TV series Law and Order; Special Victims Unit.

04/29/196738J. B. Lenoirblues musicianCar AccidentUrbana, IL
12/18/196625Tara BrowneLondon socialiteCar AccidentLondon

Tara Browne
Tara Browne
March 4, 1945- December 18, 1966

Tara Browne was a young London socialite and heir to the Guinness beer fortune. According to some sources, he was the inspiration for the Beatles song "A Day in the Life". He died in a London automobile accident.

One of his older brothers was a founding member of the traditional Irish music group, The Chieftains.

11/02/196673Mississippi John Hurtblues musicianHeart AttackGrenada, MS
08/03/196640Lenny BruceComedianOverdoseLos Angeles
07/18/196623Bobby FullerBobby Fuller Four Suicide?Los Angeles

Bobby Fuller
Bobby Fuller

On July 18, 1966, Bobby Fuller's body was found lying across the front seat of his mother's 1962 Oldsmobile parked in front of his apartment near Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood -- dead, apparently from swallowing gasoline. The fact that he had been beaten up and had ingested gasoline was not released to the public. Although police ruled his death a suicide, friends speculated that he was murdered, possibly by mobsters.

06/??/1966 Reginald CalvertThe Fortunes, managerMurderedUK
04/30/196629Richard FariñafolksingerMotorcycle AccidentCarmel, California

Rest in Peace
Richard Fariña
March 8, 1937 - April 30, 1966

Richard Fariña was a folksinger, writer and dulcimer player from Brooklyn. He earned an academic scholarship to Cornell University, but was suspended for participation in a student demonstration against the university's segregation policy. He dropped out of college in 1959 and moved back to New York.

In Greenwich Village, Richard met folksinger Carolyn Hester, and married her after a whirlwind 18-day romance. Carolyn taught Richard how to play the dulcimer.

Fariña was present when Hester recorded her third album at Columbia studios in September 1961, where a then-unknown Bob Dylan played harmonica on several tracks. Upon hearing Dylan play, Carolyn's producer, John H. Hammond, quickly signed Dylan to the Columbia label. Fariña became a close friend of Dylan's; their friendship is a central topic of David Hajdu's excellent book Positively 4th Street.

In the spring of 1962, while in Europe, Fariña met Mimi Baez, the teenage sister of Joan Baez. Hester and Fariña soon divorced. Richard and the 17-year-old Mimi married in April 1963. They moved to California and debuted their act as "Richard & Mimi Fariña" at the Big Sur Folk Festival in 1964. They recorded their first album, Celebrations for a Grey Day with the help of Bruce Langhorne, who had previously played for Dylan. They released a second album Reflections in a Crystal Wind in 1966, also on Vanguard Records.

Fariña is also known for his 1966 novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me.

Richard died in a tragic motorcycle accident just two days after the publication of his book. Leaving at a party to celebrate Mimi's 21st birthday, Fariña hitched a ride on a motorcycle. The driver lost control at an S-turn; Richard was thrown from the bike and killed instantly.

05/25/1965 Sonny Boy Williamson IIBlues SingerTuberculosisHelena, Arkansas
05/01/196553Spike Jonessatirical singer/drummerEmphysema
02/15/196546Nat King ColeJazz/Pop SingerLung CancerSanta Monica
01/22/196543Alan FreedRock 'n' Roll DJAlcoholismPalm Springs

Alan Freed
Alan Freed
December 15, 1921 - January 20, 1965

Albert James "Alan" Freed (AKA "Moondog"), was a disc-jockey who became internationally known for promoting African-American rhythm and blues music under the name of "rock and roll." His career was destroyed by the payola scandal that hit the broadcasting industry in the early 1960s.

In 1986, Freed was posthumously inducted as a charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was also inducted in the Radio Hall of Fame and recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Freed died in a Palm Springs, California hospital from cirrhosis of the liver brought on by alcoholism. Freed was initially interred in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York; his ashes were later moved to their present location at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 21, 2002.

Trivia: Dire Straits produced a song about a band called Sultans of Swing, named for Freed's first band.

Alan Freed official website.

12/11/196433Sam CookeR&B singer/songwriterMurderedLos Angeles

Sam Cooke
Sam Cooke
January 22, 1931 - December 11, 1964

Sam Cooke was a talented R&B singer/songwriter and is considered to be one of the pioneers and founders of soul music.

The exact circumstances of Cooke's mysterious death may never be known. What we do know is that Cooke died at the age of 33 on December 11, 1964 at the Hacienda Motel at 9137 South Figueroa in Los Angeles, California. The building has been torn down.

Bertha Franklin, manager of the motel, told police that she shot and killed Cooke in self-defense because he had threatened her after demanding to know the whereabouts of a woman who had accompanied him to the hotel. Police found Cooke's body in Franklin's office, clad only in a sports jacket and shoes, but no shirt, pants or underwear.

Apparently, Sam Cooke had left a local nightclub with a woman named Elisa Boyer. She accompanied him back to his hotel room. She claimed that once in one of the motel's rooms, Cooke physically forced her onto the bed and that she was certain he was going to rape her. According to Boyer, when Cooke stepped into the bathroom for a moment, she quickly grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. She claimed that in her haste, she had also scooped up most of Cooke's clothing by mistake. She said that she ran first to the manager's office and knocked on the door seeking help. However, she said that the manager took too long in responding, so, fearing Cooke would soon be coming after her, she fled the motel altogether before the manager ever opened the door. She claimed she then put her own clothing back on, stashed Cooke's clothing away and went to a phone booth from which she called the police.

Cooke is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California.

07/31/196439Jim Reevescountry starPlane CrashNashville, TN

Jim Reeves
Jim Reeves
August 20, 1923 - July 31, 1964

Country superstar Jim Reeves died when the small aircraft he was piloting crashed during in a thunderstorm near Nashville, Tennessee. His business partner and manager Dean Manuel (who was also the pianist in Reeves' backing group) was also killed in the crash.

05/20/196427Rudy LewisThe Drifters, singerDrug Overdose
01/07/196431Cyril DaviesBritish blues musicianendocarditis
12/14/196339Dinah Washington"Queen of the Blues"Alcohol & Pills
11/22/196369Aldous Huxleyauthor and pacifistLos Angeles
05/24/196345Elmore Jamesblues slide guitaristHeart FailureChicago
03/08/196348Jack Anglincountry singerCar CrashMadison, TN

Jack Anglin
May 13, 1916 - March 8, 1963

Country star Jack Anglin, of the duo Johnny and Jack, was killed driving to Patsy Cline's funeral. He apparently lost control in a curve and plunged down an embankment while driving alone at a high rate of speed.

03/05/196330Patsy Clinecountry singerPlane CrashCamden, TN

Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline
September 8, 1932 - March 5, 1963

Country singer Patsy Cline is noted for her pop-crossover hits "Crazy" (written by Willie Nelson). "Walkin' After Midnight" and "I Fall to Pieces".

Patsy Cline died March 5, 1963 when her plane crashed 2 miles west of Camden, Tennessee. She was en route to Nashville following a benefit concert in Kansas City. The pilot, Randy Hughes (also Patsy's manager), was not trained to fly on instruments. They headed out in Randy's 4 seat Piper Comanche. Flying through a storm, he became disoriented and flew the plane into the ground. Also on board and killed in the crash are Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas.

Patsy's Funeral was March 10, 1963 in Winchester, Virginia. She is interred in Shenandoah Memorial Park.

02/09/196351Hattie CarrollbarmaidBrain HemorrhageBaltimore

Hattie Carroll

Hattie Carroll is immortalized in the Bob Dylan song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll", which appears on Dylan's 1964 album The Times They Are A-Changin'. The song portrays a largely accurate tale of actual events.

Hattie Carroll was a Baltimore barmaid working at the Spinster's Ball at the Emerson Hotel. Early in the morning of Feb. 9, 1963, she was assaulted by a wealthy young tobacco farmer named William Zantzinger. Zantzinger, who was quite drunk at the time, hit Hattie using a toy cane he was carrying. He called Hattie a "nigger" after she did not immediately bring him a bourbon that he had ordered.

Soon after the blow to the head, Carroll told her co-workers "I feel deathly ill, that man has upset me so." She collapsed and died eight hours later in a hospital.

Zantzinger was found guilty of manslaughter and assault. He served six months in a county jail.

04/10/196221Stuart SutcliffeBeatlesBrain HemorrhageLondon
04/29/196142Cisco HoustonfolksingerStomach CancerSan Bernardino, California
04/17/196021Eddie CochranCar AccidentLondon

Eddie Cochran
Eddie Cochran
October 3, 1938 - April 17, 1960

On Saturday April 16 1960, at about 11:50 p.m. while on tour in Britain, Cochran died in a traffic accident in a taxi while traveling through Chippenham, Wiltshire, on the A4 Motorway. He was 21. The taxi crashed into a lamppost on Rowden Hill. A plaque erected there shows the actual spot. He was taken to St. Martin's Hospital, Bath, but died at 4:10 p.m. the following day.

Songwriter Sharon Sheeley (Cochran's fiancée) and singer Gene Vincent survived the crash. The taxi driver, George Martin, was convicted of dangerous driving, fined £50, disqualified from driving for fifteen years and sent to prison for six months.

Eddie Cochran is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.


1970s
HOME
1950s

© Steve Covault, all rights reserved.
E-MAIL for information.