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Famous Musicians Who Were Murdered

Famous Musicians Who Were Murdered

The music industry, especially pop music influenced by youth culture, not infrequently has points of contact with fast money, drugs and the demimonde. Also, especially the stars of the scene are often objects of desire of their fans, but also objects of envy and hatred. The reality of life for music stars, especially real stars, often forces them to isolate themselves and surround themselves with bodyguards. In many tragic cases, however, well-known musicians have repeatedly fallen victim to assassination.

1. John Lennon

(1940 – 1980)

John Lennon, the intellectual head of the English Beat group The Beatles became world famous with his group in the 1960s as a singer, guitarist and composer with hits such as “Love Me Do” (1962), “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (1963), “Yesterday” (1965), “Michelle” (1966) and “Hey Jude” (1968). After the gradual separation from the Beatles (finally in 1970), the Briton increasingly approached avant-garde art and soft protest culture. He remained successful as a solo musician and member of the Plastic Ono Band. His “Give Peace A Chance” became the anthem of the protest generation in 1969. In 1971, Lennon scored his biggest solo hit with “Imagine.”

In 1975, Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono moved into the Dakota Building in New York. The artist was killed there in 1980 by Texan David Chapman. Chapman was an avowed Beatles fan whose love for Lennon had become such a hatred after the latter’s departure from the Beatles that he wanted to kill Lennon. On the afternoon of December 8, 1980, outside the Dakota, Chapman asked the musician to sign Lennon’s LP “Double Fantasy” for him, which Lennon graciously did. Chapman was so surprised by this response that he postponed the planned attack. But when Lennon and Ono got back out in front of the Dakota at about 11 p.m., Chapman, who was waiting there, pulled out a revolver and hit Lennon four times, including once in the carotid artery. The musician died a few minutes later at Roosevelt General Hospital. Chapman allowed himself to be arrested without resistance. His motive was to become famous. The murderer, who is still in prison today and was diagnosed with psychosis, received a prison sentence of 20 years to life.

2. Marvin Gaye

(1939 -1984)

Born in Washington on April 2, 1939, African-American Marvin Gaye was one of the great singers and songwriters of the US soul and R&B scene of his time. He later changed his birth name “Gay” to “Gaye”. Gaye was the son of the evangelical preacher Marvin Gay sr. His violent father bullied Marvin and his siblings with brutal means.

In the mid-1950s Gaye began his career as a singer. His first big hit was “Pride And Joy” (1963). It was followed by “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”(1967)”, “You’re All I Need To Get By” (1968), among others. Perhaps his most famous song became “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (1966). He sang it as a duet with his close friend Tammi Terrel.

The early death from cancer of 24-year-old Tammi Terrel in 1970 hit Gaye hard and plunged him into depression from which he never really recovered.

In 1973, he released what was probably his best album, “Let’s Get It On*.” In 1981 Gaye, who was struggling with financial problems and a cocaine addiction, moved to Belgium. Here he wrote the huge hit “Sexual Healing”.

In 1985 he returned to Los Angeles, to the house he had given to his parents. At first, family life was quite harmonious, then Gaye clashed with his father more and more often. On April 1, 1984, an argument in which Gaye wanted to protect his mother from her husband turned into a brawl between father and son. Marvin Gay finally killed his son by shooting him in the heart. The murder weapon had been given to him by Marvin Gaye for Christmas.

The perpetrator, suffering from various diseases, received a suspended prison sentence for manslaughter.

3. Tupac Shakur

(1971 – 1996)

Born in 1971 in New York as “Lesane Parish Cooks,” singer Tupac Shakur was one of the most important representatives of the African-American rap scene in the 1990s. His father had once been a member of the radical black organization Black Panthers. Cook’s stage name “Tupac Shakur” refers to the tradition of the Black Panthers.

In 1988, his mother moved to California with her two children. Here he came into contact with the crime and rapper scene and was eventually discovered as a rapper. In 1991, he made his breakthrough with the album “2Pacalypse Now*”. This was followed by the successful albums “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z..*” (1993) and “Me Against The World*” (1995). Tupac Shakur, who also appeared in films and was involved in social projects, made a name for himself not only for his music but also for his violence. Thus, he had to go to prison several times for assault and rape.

Against the backdrop of the dispute between the opposing music companies Bad Boy Records (East Coast) and Death Row Records (West Coast), to which Tupac Shakur was signed, the “ghetto poet” was hit by five bullets in 1994. He survived. Tupac Shakur suspected his ex-buddy, the bad boy rapper The Notorious B.I.G. What followed was an escalation of the label dispute that went down in history as the “East Coast-West Coast War.” Musically, Tupac Shukur took massive action against The Notorious B. I. G with the hip-hop song “Hit Em’ Up.” In this song, he claimed to have slept with his rival’s wife.

On September 7, 1996, a brawl broke out at a Las Vegas hotel in which Shakur and his bodyguard beat up the member of a street gang. A short time later, at an intersection in Las Vegas, the limousine Shakur was in was shot at from another car. Shakur was fatally shot. Who had murdered him remained unexplained until today. The Notorious B.I.G., suspected as a possible instigator, was also murdered two years later.

4. The Notorious B. I. G.

(1972 – 1996)

Born in New York on May 21, 1972, hardcore rapper Christopher Wallace (stage name from 1992: The Notorious B. I. G.) was the son of Jamaican immigrants. He attracted attention several times as a student for criminal activity. At that time, the singer, conspicuous by considerable corpulence, had already gained a local reputation as a rapper in Brooklyn. In 1992, he was discovered by music producer Puff Daddy and thus launched his professional career. With Puff Daddy, he founded the Death Row Records label. In 1994 he finally had his breakthrough with the song “Juicy” and the album “Ready To Die”.

Rap star Tupac Shakur was friends with The Notorious B. I. G for a long time. An assassination attempt on Tupac Shakur in 1994 turned friends into enemies: Tupac Shakur accused Wallace of having had something to do with the crime. When Tupac was murdered in Las Vegas two years later, Wallace was again suspected of being involved in the crime. On March 9, 1997, The Notorious B. I. G. fell victim to an assassination attempt in Los Angeles in a similar manner to Tupac Shakur. The 24-year-old sitting in his car was killed from another car with four shots. The murder was never solved.

5. Proof

(1973 – 2006)

Born DeShaun Dupree Holton in Detroit on October 2, 1973, the African-American rapper Proof founded the hip-hop music group D-12 (Dirty Dozen) in his native city in 1996. The most prominent member of this group was the later mega-star Eminem. D-12 had two hits in 2004 with “How Come” and “My Band.” From 2005 Proof was also successful as a solo performer.

On April 11, 2006, an altercation occurred between Proof and bouncer Keith Bender at a Detroit nightclub. At the later trial, it was determined that Proof had shot Bender during the course of the altercation. At the same time, the bouncer’s cousin, Mario Etheridge, had shot Proof in self-defense, killing him. A version later circulated claimed that there had been a panic in the bar during the altercation and that Etheridge had purposefully or accidentally shot both his cousin and Proof.

6. Jam Master Jay

(1965 – 2002)

Jam Master Jay was born Jason William Mizell in New York on January 21, 1965. At the age of 13, he already made a name for himself as a talented DJ. After finishing high school, he was one of the co-founders of the successful hip-hop band Run-D.M.C. The group soon became one of the most important bands in its genre. The Run-D.M.C. hit “Ghostbusters” (1984) also became an earworm among music lovers of other styles. Jam Master Jay was also not insignificantly involved in the promotion of talents like 50 Cent.

On the morning of October 30, 2002, Jam Master Jay was in a record studio in the Queens neighborhood of New York on Merrick Road. It was here that the famous musician was shot in the head by an unknown assailant. Although several suspects were arrested in the course of the murder investigation, the perpetrator was never identified for lack of solid evidence.

7. Sam Cooke

(1931 – 1964)

Black U.S. singer Sam Cooke was among the most influential singers, songwriters and composers of the soul genre.

The singer, who was also active in the American civil rights movement, was born (probably) on January 22, 1931, as Samuel Cook in the Mississippi town of Clarksdale. The priest’s son grew up in Chicago. He gained important musical stage experience from 1950 to 1956 in the well-known gospel choir The Soul Stirrers.

Cooke went on to world fame as a solo singer with about three dozen hits including “You Send Me” (1957), “What A Wonderful World” (1960), “Another Saturday Night” (1963) and “Twistin’ The Night Away” (1962).

The charismatic singer’s life ended on December 11, 1964, in a Los Angeles motel. Police found his body lying in the office of motel manager Bertha Franklin, shot through the heart. The woman stated that Cooke had entered her office half-naked. He had angrily asked her the whereabouts of his companion, Elisa Boyer. Franklin was unable to give him the requested information, whereupon he attacked her, according to Franklin’s testimony, later accepted by the court. She shot him in self-defense. Elias Boyer stated she was forcibly taken to the hotel by Cooke and sexually assaulted before escaping. Cooke fan doubted the testimony of the two women.

8. XXXTentacion

(1998 – 2018)

XXXTentacion was an American rapper, singer, songwriter and musician. Although XXXTentacion was a controversial figure due to myriad legal issues, he developed a sizable young fan base during his short career and gained widespread popularity. He was often praised by critics and fans for his musical versatility. His music was composed of the musical genres of trap, R&B, rock and emo.

He started writing music after his release from a juvenile detention center and launched his music career on SoundCloud in 2013. There he soon became a popular figure of SoundCloud rap. XXXTentacion rose to the mainstream with the single “Look at Me.” His debut album “17” (2017) reached number two on the Billboard 200 chart and his second album “?” (2018) debuted at number one on the US charts. Both albums went platinum. In the week following his death, XXXTentacion’s highest-ranking single “Sad” rose from No. 52 to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 posthumously since 1997.

On June 18, 2018, XXXTentacion, age 20, was fatally shot during a robbery at a motorcycle store in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The assailants fled the scene in an SUV after stealing a Louis Vuitton bag from him that contained $50,000. Four suspects have been arrested and are currently awaiting trial.

9. Christina Grimmie

(1994 – 2016)

Born on March 12, 1994 in the New Jersey town of Marlton, the US singer and songwriter Christina Grimmie became known in particular for covering well-known songs on YouTube. The extremely successful Youtuber also released her own albums and gave concerts. Her participation in the sixth season of the singing casting show The Voice contributed to her popularity. Grimmie placed third there with the 1961 Elvis Presley song “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

After one of her concerts, Christian Grimmie gave an autograph session for her fans on June 10, 2016 in the Florida city of Orlando. In the process, she was fatally shot in the head by 27-year-old Kevin Loibl. The singer died a short time later in a hospital. Loibl committed suicide immediately after the murder. The official investigation concluded that Loibl had been pathologically fixated on Christina Grimmie.

As not only the fortunately failed assassination attempt on rapper king Troy Ave at Christmas 2016 makes us assume, it is unfortunately more than likely that the current list of famous musician murder victims will not be exhaustive.

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