It’s not news to say that rock ’n’ roll is a pretty dangerous lifestyle. From plane crashes, drug overdoses, murders, freak accidents, and even stage mishaps, it makes sense that many musicians contemplate their own premature demise a little more often than most folks. But some stars have had eerily specific visions that tragically came true.
Whether in song, interviews, or just in conversations with their loved ones, rockers, rappers and more foretold their deaths with some truly chilling accuracy. Legends like John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Tupac Shakur and even Michael Jackson all appeared to have premonitions about how they’d meet their end. Fate or coincidence? Read their stories above and decide for yourself.
Before exploding onto the international music scene two years later, Jimi Hendrix recorded the song “The Ballad of Jimi” in 1965. “Dedicated to the memory of…Jimi,” the tune has haunted fans due to the fact that the guitar god appears to lay out his own tragic demise. “Many things he would try/For he knew soon he’d die” he sang. “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone/His memory still lives on/Five years, this he said/He’s not gone, he’s just dead.” Five years later on September 18th 1970, Hendrix died of asphyxia related to drug overdose.
Former Beatle John Lennon took a break from the music industry in 1975 to care for his newborn son, but returned in 1980 to begin work on his album, Double Fantasy. One of the first songs he recorded was “Borrowed Time,” a title that proved prophetic. The lyrics showcased his “here and now” philosophy when he sang, “Living on borrowed time, without a thought for tomorrow.” The song would go unreleased until after his death on December 8th of that year, when he was shot in front of his apartment at Manhattan’s famous Dakota building by Mark David Chapman.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Street Survivors 1977 LP album cover depicted the band happily smiling while being engulfed by flames. “Say you’ll be alright come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you/Angel of darkness upon you,” the band sing in “That Smell,” one of the album’s most popular songs. “The smell of death surrounds you.” On October 20th 1977, three days after the release of the album, the band’s plane crashed and killed frontman Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, and others.
Glam rocker Marc Bolan’s fear of driving kept him from ever obtaining a license. Friends also claim that he fostered a life-long belief that he would never live to see 30. These two facts converged in a scary way when he died in a car accident on September 16th 1977, two weeks before his 30th birthday. Even stranger, the lyrics to his 1972 single “Solid Gold Easy Action” contain the lines, “Life is the same and it always will be/Easy as picking foxes from a tree.” The car in which he died had a license plate reading “FOX661L” when it crashed into a tree on the side of the road.
”] Jim Morrison was out with his friends at the L. A. watering hole Barney’s Beanery in October 1970, mourning the recent death of fellow musician and friend, Janis Joplin. Jimi Hendrix had died just a few weeks before, and the morbid vibe hit the group hard -especially Morrison. “You’re drinking with number three,” his friends remember him saying, in reference to the recent deaths. “That’s right, number three.” On July 3rd 1971 he died under murky circumstances in Paris, becoming the third member of their rock star coterie to die in less than a year.
Jeff Buckley eerily foreshadowed his death in the song “Dream Brother” in which he sang, “That dark angel he is shuffling in/Watching over them with his black feather wings unfurled/Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over/Dream brother, dream brother, dream, dream.” “Dream asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over.” Buckley and his friends went to the Wolf River Harbor in Memphis on May 29th, 1997 to swim, where Buckley drowned under cloudy circumstances. He was fully dressed when he went in the water, which has caused some fans to speculate whether it was a suicide.
In Tupac Shakur’s verse on Richie Rich’s “N-ggas Done Changed,” he raps, “I been shot and murdered, can tell you how it happened word for word.” In an unaired interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked where he sees himself in ten years, he responds, “Best case, in a cemetery. Not in a cemetery. Sprinkled in ashes smoked by my homies. I mean, that’s the worse case.” Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive-by in Las Vegas on September 7, 1996, and died from his wounds six days later. True to his wishes, members of Tupac’s hip hop group Outlawz claim to have smoked his ashes. The verdict is still out on whether or not this actually happened, or whether or not he even died… By the end of his life ’Pac had taken to calling himself Makaveli, inspired by the Italian war strategist who believed in faking ones death in order to “fool their enemies.” Tupac was a big fan, and many fans hypothesize that he’s still alive today.
The Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album Ready to Die also proved to be the last he issued while alive. The disc featured a song called ‘Suicidal Thoughts,’ in which Biggie raps, “I swear to God I feel like death is f—ing calling me.” Although he didn’t commit suicide, he was killed in an L.A. drive-by shooting just after midnight on March 9th 1997. His second album was released two weeks later, its title of Life After Death taking on a scary significance.
Ex-Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh took the bold step of predicting his death over Twitter. In October 2011 he tweeted: “Dreamt I died in Chicago next weekend (heart attack in my sleep). Need to write my will today. Correction – the weekend after next.” Also, when posting the price of an art piece he was selling on Facebook, he offered the caveat, “If I am still alive at time of purchase. Price to increase exponentially if I expire prematurely.” He died due to a drug overdose in his Chicago hotel room exactly two weeks later on the exact day that the dream warned.
As opening night for Michael Jackson’s This Is It 50-date concert series rapidly approached, the King of Pop was increasingly uneasy and supposedly kept trying to reschedule the dates. According to Ian Halperin’s book Unmasked: The Final Years of Michael Jackson, the singer told a close confidante, “It’s not working out” and “I’m better off dead. I don’t have anywhere left to turn. I’m done.” This same member of MJ’s entourage also claims that just two hours before he died on June 25th 2009, Jackson was saying that he was “tired of living.”