Fade To Black: 15 Hard Rock Heroes Who Miraculously Cheated Death

Rock 'n' roll is a dangerous business.

We’ve mentioned many times that rock ’n’ roll is a dangerous business. Whether it’s through plane crashes, drug overdoses, murders, freak accidents, and even stage mishaps, many of music’s finest have tragically been taken from us long before their time. But then there are some rockers who narrowly dodged the reaper, escaping with some crazy stories to tell!

  • 1 Nikki Sixx
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    The Motley Crue bassist suffered a heroin overdose in 1987, stopping his heart for two minutes. After being declared legally dead, paramedics were able to revive him with two shots of adrenaline -inspiring the song “Kickstart My Heart” in the process.

  • 2 James Hetfield
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    The Metallica co-founder was playing a Montreal gig in 1992 when a pyrotechnic device struck him in the middle of “Fade To Black.” He suffered second and third degree burns, and the band’s drummer Lars Ulrich claimed that he “looked like the torch that they carry up the stairs to light the Olympic fire.” He remarkably was back on onstage once again in just three weeks.

  • 3 Ozzy Osbourne
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    Despite his years of hard living, it wasn’t drugs or alcohol that nearly took down the Prince of F-cking Darkness. In December 2003, he flipped an ATV while cruising his estate in England. The vehicle landed on top of him, breaking his collarbone, eight ribs and a vertebra in his neck. He was comatose for eight days, and later claims to have seen “a white light shining through the darkness, but no f*cking angels.”

  • 4 Keith Richards
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    How his Keef still alive?! He was electrocuted and knocked unconscious during a gig in 1965, got caught at a deadly fray during the Stones’ infamous performance at Altamont in ’69, set his bed on fire with a lit cigarette in ’71, got caught in ANOTHER house fire two years later, was unwittingly poisoned with syrychnine-laced dope in the mid ’70s, and endured brain surgery following a fall from a coconut tree in 2006.

  • 5 Robert Plant
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    The Led Zep screamer lost control of his rented car in 1975 while on a Greek holiday with his family. The crash resulted in a series of serious injuries, including a broken ankle and elbow that would take two years to recover. Plant spent time in a wheelchair, and tour plans were delayed.

  • 6 Ace Frehley
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    The KISS Spaceman almost met an untimely end during a Florida show on December 12th, 1976. As the band were descending from a set piece following “Detroit Rock City,” he grabbed a metal rail to steady himself. The metal in the rail completed an electrical circuit with his guitar, and Ace was electrocuted. At first he was unable to release his grasp, but finally broke free and fell to the stage floor.

  • 7 Slash
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    During a 2004 Guardian interview, he opened up about just one of them that took place in San Francisco. “These drug dealers came to my hotel room at 5am. They had everything and I took all of it. I started down the hallway and I ran into a maid, and I asked where the elevator was and then bam! I collapsed. I’ve experienced it a bunch of times. They took me to the hospital but I said, ’I’m fine’, signed myself out, went back to the hotel and we flew to the next gig.”

  • 8 Steven Adler
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    In the case of the ex-Guns ’N Roses drummer, it’s quantity over quality of near death experiences. According to his memoir, My Appetite For Destruction, Adler has overdosed on drugs an incredible 28 TIMES!

  • 9 Taylor Hawkins
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    The Foo Fighters’ drummer suffered a heroin overdose in 2001 that landed him in a 2-week coma. Bandmate Dave Grohl reportedly waited by his side until he woke up.

  • 10 Phil Anselmo
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    The former Pantera lead singer went into a heroin-induced cardiac arrest following a show in Texas. Paramedics were able to revive him, and four days later he issued the following press release: “I, Philip H. Anselmo…injected a lethal dose of heroin into my arm, and died for four to five minutes.”

  • 11 Bret Michaels
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    In 2010, Michaels was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered that he was suffering from a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage that landed him in critical condition. It’s unclear what really caused the hemorrhage, but it has been blamed on an accident during the 2009 Tony Award telecast, during which a large piece of a descending set struck him in the back of the head.

  • 12 Josh Homme
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    The Queens of the Stone Age guitarist had two close calls in recent years. In 2010 he suffered complications from anesthesia during knee surgery and was declared dead for a short time on the operating table.nIn 2013, his car was run off the road by an errant Ranger Rover (which was apparently driven by an unnamed One Tree Hill actress). Homme slammed into a fence of a home where a barbecue was taking place!

  • 13 Al Jourgensen
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    The singer is no stranger to intensity and depravity thanks to his years front the industrial metal band, Ministry. He has been declared dead three times due to drug overdoses, and multiple ulcers lead him to collapse in 2007, losing 65% of his blood in the process.

  • 14 Aerosmith
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    Steven Tyler and the rest of the boys from Boston narrowly avoided a tragic fate in 1977 when they nearly rented the same Convair CV-300 that crashed later that year due to technical problems, killing several members of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

  • 15 Lemmy Kilmister
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    The Motorhead leader was forced to cancel tour dates in 2013 following a blood clot. A year earlier he had a defibrillator installed in his chest to control his irregular heartbeat.

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast