Rock-n-Roll Divas are bad-ass. Some were destined to be legend material no matter how long or short their career; others grew as rock and roll took them into directions far beyond their dreams and capacity to cope with the fame and fortune. Rock and Roll in its true roots, does not accommodate the normal female psyche, as it has no place for drama.
The women in rock and roll are usually tough as nails on stage and soft as whipped cream in the confinements of their own minds.
Archived in years of passing:
• Janis Joplin 1943 to 1970 – Janis is probably the most well known female rock star who has passed. She was an amazing talent but had problems with drugs and alcohol for most of her active years. Janis died from a heroine overdose in 1970.
• Cass Elliot 1941 to 1974 – Also known as Mama Cass, Cass was best known for singing with the Mama and Papa’s. She died in her sleep in London apparently from a heart attack. There were rumors for years that Cass died from choking on a sandwich which were most likely started from a cruel rumor relating to her obesity. Cass left behind two daughters.
• Sandy Denny 1947 to 1978 – was a folk singer who also sang on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore.” Sandy died from a brain hemorrhage after a fall down a flight of steps.
• Big Mama Thornton 1928 to 1984 – Willie Mae Thornton was the original singer of the song “Hound Dog,” which was later covered by Elvis. After years of alcohol abuse,”Mama” died from a heart attack at age fifty-seven.
• Nico 1938 to 1988 – Nico, was a German model, actress, singer, and songwriter. 16 October 1938 – 18 July 1988. She was born Christa Päffgen in Cologne, Germany and as an Andy Warhol prodigy she’s known mostly from her work with the band The Velvet Underground. Nico started a successful career as a model in Berlin and Paris, studied acting at Lee Strasberg’s New York Actor Studio. She then became part of the Swinging London scene, and had a short relationship with The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and she recorded her first record in London in 1965, the single I’m Not Saying/The Last Mile, produced by Jimmy Page, for Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham’s label Immediate Records.
Nico died of a severe cerebral hemorrhage after a slight heart attack and fall while riding her bike in Ibiza, Spain. The heart attack was initially overlooked due to the head injury Nico sustained during the accident. She is buried in Berlin, next to her mother.
• Kristen Pfaff 1967 to 1994 – Kristen was the bass player for the group Hole. After moving to Seattle in 1993, her recreational drug use became a chronic habit. Kristen died of a heroin overdose in June of 1994.
• Laura Nyro 1947 to 1997 – was an accomplished singer, pianist and lyricist and was probably best known for her song “Wedding Bell Blues” and “And when I die”. Her songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Carmen McCrae, Suzanne Vega, Phoebe Snow, Roseane Cash, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jane Siberry, Mongo Santamaria, Junior Walker and the All Stars, Chet Atkins, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, George Duke, Maynard Ferguson, Thelma Houston, Patti Larkin, The Roches, and many, many others. Laura Nyro died of ovarian cancer when she was forty nine years old.
• Wendy O Williams 1949 to 1998 – Wendy was the lead singer of the Punk Rock band, the Plasmatics. She died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Wendy attempted to commit suicide three times in her life.
• Kirsty MacColl 1959 to 2000 – Kristy was an English musician who was killed by a power boat while scuba diving. She was best known for collaborating with the Pogues. Kristy died a hero, as she saved the life of her partner and son by pushing them out of the path of the boat before getting struck herself.
• Aaliyah Dana Haughton 1979 – 2001 – Aaliyah was an American singer, dancer, actress, and model. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She died in a small plane crash on Abaco Island, the Bahamas. Her song “Try Again” earned her a Grammy nomination in 2001 for her best female R&B vocalist. In 1996, she released her second album and the single “If Your Girl Only Knew” went double platinum.
• Laura Brannigan 1957 to 2004 – Laura was a popular singer songwriter with a number of hits including “Gloria” in the early eighties during the height of the disco era. Laura died of a brain aneurysm.
• Mariska Veres 1947 – 2006 – Dutch popular rock/pop band Shocking Blue penned a song in the late sixties that became a world hit in 1970, called Venus. Copied by a flood of musicians and pop stars in years since, Venus has become a brand name attachment to Gillette Razors. Mariska was of German/Hungarian gypsy descent and her father Lajos, a famous violinist.
• Amy Winehouse 1983 – 2011 – British Rhythm & Blues/Soul sensation Amy Winehouse was just getting her “feet wet” as a superstar, when the rug was pulled from underneath her in an alcohol related medication overdose.
• Chrissy Amphlett, 1959 – 2013 – Chrissy was the raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit “I Touch Myself” brought her international fame in the early 1990s, died at her home in New York City. She was 53 years old. “Christine Joy Amphlett succumbed to the effects of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, diseases she vigorously fought with exceptional bravery and dignity,” her musician husband Charley Drayton said in a statement.