9 Strange Musical Curses
1The “Buddy Holly” Curse
February 3, 1959 is commonly referred to as The Day The Music Died, because bespectacled rocker Buddy Holly, Richie “La Bamba” Valens, and The Big Bopper (“Chantilly Lace”) died together in a plane crash during The Winter Dance Party tour. It also is known as the start of the “Buddy Holly Curse,” as many musicians and people associated with Holly and his music have also met untimely deaths. For example, Ronnie Smith, the vocalist hired to replace Holly on the tour, committed himself to a mental hospital right after the last performance, and hung himself a few years later. Then, David Box, a member of Holly's band The Crickets, also tried to start a solo career, but like Holly he died in a plane crash at the exact same age of 22. After Holly's death, his wife Maria miscarried their only child. From there, the curse spreads to Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran, who both had close ties with Holly and The Crickets, and even to Keith Moon, who reportedly went out to see The Buddy Holly Story on September 7, the night he died, which also happens to be Holly's birthday. R. Gary Patterson has delved into this and many other intriguing events with a book entitled “Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths, Legends and Curses” and through videos. Watch below:
2The “27” Curse
This is the alleged “curse” with which many people are familiar. Also known as The 27 Club, it refers to the age that many of contemporary music's most beloved musicians perished, specifically Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and even Robert Johnson (see #4). Of course, many famous musicians have the audacity to keep living beyond that magic number, but it's still pretty creepy to read down the list.
3The “Gloomy Sunday” Curse
Can a song be so sad and depressing that it encourages people to kill themselves? That is the theory behind the “Gloomy Sunday” curse. The song, written by Hungarians Rezs Seress and Ladislas Javor, was controversial from the start; it was written about Seress' girlfriend who committed suicide. When it was released in Hungary in 1933, authorities tied it to an increase in the number of suicides and promptly banned it from being played nationwide. It was also recorded by Paul Robeson and, most famously, by Billie Holiday in 1941. Each time it was released, it was held responsible for an uptick of suicides; the BBC banned Holiday's version from the airwaves. Songwriter Seress later committed suicide, as well. Nowadays, we don't believe a song can actually be cursed, do we? Listen to Billie Holliday's version below, but keep away from any weapons or windows.
4The “Robert Johnson” Curse
5The “My Way” Karaoke Curse
“And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain...” So begins one of the most famous - and apparently lethal - songs in existence, at least in the Karaoke world. “My Way” was written by Paul Anka for Frank Sinatra. However, its the ordinary person's interpretation of the song at karaoke clubs across the Phillippines that has been equated with death. So many people have died there after singing that song that it has its own crime category. Some say its because of the song's popularity mixed with the aggressive atmosphere at the clubs, and not the song itself, that leads to so many killings. Either way, many karaoke bars there are not taking any chances and have pulled it from their big blue binders.
6The “Spiderman Turn Off the Dark” Curse
7Jelly Roll Morton Cursed by Godmother
8The “Fleetwood Mac Guitarist" Curse
There have been stories of many cursed bands, such as Badfinger and Led Zeppelin. However, arguably the most famous of the cursed bands would have to be Fleetwood Mac, whose album Rumours sold over 19 million albums in the US alone. The band actually had a long history of troubles before this multi-platinum success. After all, this was Fleetwood Mac's 11th album.
Fleetwood Mac was actually founded by Peter Green, who took too much acid in 1970, left the band, and was committed to a mental hospital. Then, slide guitarist Jerry Spencer took too much mescaline in 1971 and joined a sex cult.
In 1972, then-guitarist Danny Kirwin started acting bizarrely during a gig on the eve of their tour, smashing his head on a wall and then taunting the band from the audience; he was later committed and ended up dying homeless. Do you see a pattern here? More recently, guitarist Bob Weston died of an aneurism in 2012, and later that same year guitarist Bob Welsh killed himself after receiving news that he would never walk again. All in all, there have been 15 members of Fleetwood Mac. Lindsay Buckingham seems to be doing fine, but you never know...
9The Curse of the Ninth
In the classical music world, there is something known as the Curse of the Ninth, since many composers who have written a Ninth Symphony died shortly thereafter. It's always been a well-known superstition, as Beethoven is the supposed curse's most famous victim. Gustav Mahler thought he had beaten the curse by starting upon a Tenth Symphony, but he died before its completion, thereby perpetuating the myth.
Interested in finding out if objects, people, or music can be infused with ‘“intentions” or perhaps “curses?” Find out more at Tiller.org where a man named Dr. William Tiller has made it his life's mission.
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