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Overdoses, Electrocutions, And Other Times Musicians Nearly Died On Stage

Updated January 23, 2019 14.9k views10 items

Some musicians have nine lives. There are stories of performers who've died while performing and legendary tales of rock stars who've supposedly died and come back to life. Others are seemingly un-killable, as the true stories about Keith Richards prove. Music history is filled with terrifying stories about artists who have been electrocuted, collapsed, or experienced other near-death scenarios while performing for fans.

Some of these musicians ultimately died after being transported offstage, while others barely made it out alive. Whether it's an overdose on tranquilizers or a brain aneurysm, musicians have had some truly unthinkable on-stage experiences over the years. 

  • Nick Lowe Was Electrocuted
    Photo: Juan Gonzalez Andres / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Singer/songwriter Nick Lowe was performing with the band Brinsley Schwarz when an un-grounded microphone nearly cost him his life. The story goes that Lowe's bandmate attempted to kick the microphone stand away from him, but ended up kicking the singer instead. 

    That kick saved Lowe's life, and prevented an unimaginable tragedy from taking place in front of a crowd of fans. 

  • Col. Bruce Hampton Collapsed On Stage At His Birthday Party
    Photo: Roger Gupta / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    During the encore song of his 70th birthday celebration, legendary jam rock pioneer Col. Bruce Hampton collapsed on stage surrounded by a group of his famous friends and fellow rock stars. Hampton was rushed off stage and later died. 

    Former bandmate Jeff Mosier said he "could have never imagined a more joyful departure" for Hampton, who enjoyed a storied career alongside names like the Grateful Dead and inspired a new generation of jam bands that followed. 


  • Megadeth Drummer Nick Menza's Heart Gave Out During A Concert
    Photo: Ingo Hoffmann / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza was performing in Studio City, California, in 2016 when he suddenly collapsed behind the drum kit. He was rushed to the hospital but died upon arrival, despite efforts to revive him. Menza's management confirmed his passing in a statement at the time.

    "Nick collapsed during the third song into a set with his band OHM. Earliest reports indicate he suffered a massive heart attack and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital," the statement read

  • Leslie Harvey, best known as a member of the Scottish band Stone the Crows, was tuning up before starting a show in Wales in 1972 when he was electrocuted by a microphone and collapsed on stage. He was taken to the hospital and died a short time later.

    The band soldiered on after Harvey's death, but ultimately broke up and members went on to other projects.

    "The band continued for a while, then we agreed it was the end of an era. Colin Allen, our drummer, was offered a job with Focus and Jimmy joined Wings," singer Maggie Bell recalled