Karen Carpenter, 3/2/50 – 2/4/83. Born in New Haven, Connecticut Karen was one half of the multi-gold record winning duo, The Carpenters. She is known mostly for her voice and also played drums for the group. Karen struggled with anorexia nervosa and died of a heart attack related to complications. She was 32.

My father was a big fan of The Carpenters so I heard many hours of there music as a child growing up. Karen's voice was extraordinary, it was so clear and so easy to listen to and sing along with. I believe her struggle with anorexia brought a very misunderstood and tragic disease into the public's eye. Its painful to look at this beautiful woman in the last years of her life, so very thin and unhappy.

The Carpenters - Close To You
via FoxyTunes

Pete Farndon, 6/6/52 - 4/14/83. Born in Hereford, England Pete was the bassist for and founding member of The Pretenders. A year after his bandmate James Honeyman Scott’s death, Pete’s drug habit would take his life as well. He was fired from the band when he became intolerable to work with. Two days later he drowned in his bathtub after a heroin overdose. Pete was 30.

They say we usually learn from our own mistakes rather than those of others. I'm
remined of t hat when I think of Pete Farndon so closely following the footsteps of his bandmate. Here is a quote on his influence on The Pretenders image, "
Farndon played a large role in shaping The Pretenders' tough image, often wearing his biker clothing, or later, samurai gear onstage. Hynde later acknowledged that two Pretenders' songs, "Biker" and "Samurai" had "references to a Pete Farndon type of character". Heroin seems to own people and not many escape her hold vicious hold on their lives. Its horrifying to think about as the mother of a young addict. I can show all of these deaths to my son and he would say "it will never happen to me", I hope he's right.

The Pretenders - Mystery Achievement
via FoxyTunes

Chris Wood
, (Christopher Gordon Blandford Wood), 6/24/44 - 7/12/83. Born in Birmingham, England Chris was a founding member of the group Traffic. He played saxophone and flute. He also appeared on Jimi Hendrix’s record “Electric Ladyland”. Chris died of pneumonia while working on his first solo album. He was 39.

Chris taught himself how to play sax and flute at the age of 15! In addition to be a founding member of the super rock group, Traffic, he lent his talent to many projects and groups and musicians including: Christine McVie, Carl Palmer, Blue, Locomotive, Wooden Frog, Dr. John, Ginger Baker's Air Force. Its very sad that this talented musician lost his life so young.

Traffic - The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys
via FoxyTunes

Dennis Wilson, 12/4/44 – 12/28/83. Born in Inglewood, California, Dennis was the drummer and a vocalist for The Beach Boys. He struggled with alcoholism and often felt like the least appreciated of his brothers. He drowned after diving off a friend's boat, apparently intoxicated. Dennis was 39.

Like many Southern California girls, I grew up feeling like the Wilson brothers were "my band", especially when they sang songs about me (smile) and Dennis was the one I had a crush on. My grandparents lived in the same city they grew up in but I never had a Beach boy siting until years later when I was in a bar in Newport Beach. I met Dennis and talked to him, he was very handsome and very drunk. I felt sad for him. It was just a year or so later that he drowned. We all have our demons and his were very heavy.

The Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
via FoxyTunes


Katie said...

I'm really glad I stumbled upon this list. Well done!

I just thought I would point out that under Chris Wood, it says that "Christ died of pneumonia while working on his first solo album. He was 39."

I'm not nitpicking, I just think he deserves to have that sorted out. :)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Katie! Thank you so much for pointing that out, kind of an embarrassing typo!

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully informative and interesting list!
May I correct a fact in your entry for Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys?
He died while diving from a friend's boat. He was diving in the empty space in the Marina Del Ray where his own boat used to be moored. His own yacht "Harmony" had been repossessed some 2-3 years earlier.
Thanks and keep up the great site!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Anonymous, thank you so much for this corrected info. I want this info to be accurate and rely on people out there to point things out when I have an error. Thanks again!

Perplexio said...

It's in moderately poor taste but I once heard a joke stating that if only Mama Cass had shared her sandwich with Karen Carpenter they might both still be alive today.