chapter
Myth and reality
Pages 9

The association of death with the heroic, which was triggered by the god-like status conferred on Morrison and Hendrix, remains a powerful signifier within rock culture. It confirms the creed that ‘sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll is all my brain and body need’ (Ian Dury) and situates death as the ultimate form of excess: ‘live fast, die young’. By 1972, the deaths of Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix had provided a chilling testimony to the morbid extremes of rock culture. The year also marked another rock ’n’ roll suicide, when David Bowie unveiled Ziggy Stardust, his pop alter ego.