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20 Otherworldly Curses in the Music Industry

Updated March 18, 2020 29.7k votes 6.5k voters 498.4k views20 items

It shouldn’t be surprising that there are a bevy of curses, superstitions, and creepy coincidences interwoven into the fabric of the music industry. Stardom is a strange and fickle mistress that exists in the world in between the corporeal world and the land of the unknown. And while we don’t want to totally spook you out, some of the curses on this list are super demonic in nature, but most of them are just creepy coincidences that seem to end up occurring over and over again.

Whether you’re a best new artist winner at the Grammys, or a contestant on La Voz de Mexico, you’ve been on the receiving end of a classic music industry curse. Some of the other extra creepy curses on this list will chill you to your darkest bone and they may even keep you from carrying a white lighter or consulting any Ouija boards until you make it out of your 30s. Others will have you questioning what really went down during prominent events. 

We present to you this list of curses and superstitions that run rampant through the music industry. So have a glass of water and try not to freak out when you read through this list of the creepiest curses to ever hit the musical world, whether it’s a haunted shepherd’s pie or a karaoke song that drives its singers to do bad things! Vote up the musician myths that take the creepy cake.

  • Photo: Chillin662 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

    Iconic Delta Bluesman Robert Johnson is almost as much known for his curse almost as his music. The story is that Johnson met The Devil at a crossroads on the outskirts of some unknown southern town and exchanged his soul in order to become a mythological blues performer. But when you're dealing with The Devil, you have to expect some kind of shenanigans. In this case, Johnson went down in music history, but not until long after his passing at 27 years of age. 
    Specifically, some think that Johnson's song Crossroads is cursed, as are many 
    artists who have covered it on their albums. Both Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers had tragedies among their ranks, and Eric Clapton, who recorded the song both with Cream and in his solo career, lost his son to a fall from a window. 

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    The "27 Club"

    The so-called "27 Club" of musicians, who burned brightly but passed too soon, was coined after the passing in the ‘60s and ’70s of some of the giants of the music scene.

    The first was Brian Jones; the Rolling Stones guitarist was found deceased in his pool in 1969.

    This was followed by electric guitar hero Jimi Hendrix, who was felled by an overdose in London in 1970.

    A month later tragic singer Janis Joplin met the same fate as Hendrix, and less than a year later, Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors, suffered fatal heart failure in Paris. 

    Even after the free-spirited days of the late ‘60s, though, the "27 Club" continued to grow as a surprising number of top musicians were lost at that age. Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994 at age 27 and in 2011, 27-year-old singer Amy Winehouse passed as well.


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  • Photo: Warner Bros. Records / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Fleetwood Mac's Guitarist Curse

    Fleetwood Mac has been through so many guitarists that this is less of a curse as it is an inevitability. Thee group founded by guitarist Peter Green who left the band to deal with his mental health. Then, slide guitarist Jerry Spencer left soon after. 

    In 1972, then-guitarist Danny Kirwan 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 later passed after extensive issues with his mental illness. Recently, guitarist Bob Weston suffered a fatal aneurysm in 2012, and later that same year guitarist Bob Welch ended his life after receiving news that he would never walk again. 

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  • Photo: Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The “Gloomy Sunday” Curse

    Can a song be so sad and depressing that it encourages people to end their lives? The song in question is by Hungarians Rezs Seress and Ladislas Javor, and it was written about Seress's girlfriend who took her own life. When it was released in 1933, authorities reported a rise in people taking their lives and promptly banned it from being played nationwide. It was also recorded by Paul Robeson and Billie Holiday in 1941. Each time it was released, it was held responsible for an uptick of untimely passings.

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