This past week I’ve brought you a series of mini-bios on rock stars who died young: 60’s & 70’s hippie icons Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison; 80’s MTV generation star Michael Hutchence; 90’s grunge-rock star Kurt Cobain.

Each of these young people died at those youthful stages of their lives thanks to conditions largely brought on by themselves: illicit drug use, excessive alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity.

In general, they were killed by their full immersion into the ‘sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll’ lifestyle.

There really is not a lot of redeeming value, but there are plenty of valuable lessons to be learned. They all seemed to have some similarities in background including unusual or unstable family situations as youngsters.

Most were the loner, artistic types whose outwardly extroverted lifestyles belied a depressed introverted reality only made worse by their substance abuse. They simply couldn’t manage to face life squarely.

Many didn’t become parents themselves, never found the joy that raising a child and caring for something deeply outside your own self brings. They never grew up. And they often left a trail of death and destruction in their wakes.

They did each leave what remains a lasting legacy of their talents: film, writing, and most of all music that has stood the test of time. They were stars that burned brightly, and fell back to earth far too suddenly and early.

Are they in ‘Rock and Roll Heaven’, or did they end up going straight to hell?

That’s not for me to judge, but certainly a legitimate question for anyone to ponder. Perhaps the greatest lessons that we can take from their frantic lives and tragic demise is that we should obviously avoid illegal drugs, avoid the excesses in other areas of our lives, and when we do have kids, have them responsibly and provide them with a loving, stable upbringing.

These five mini-bios represent only the beginning of what will become an irregular but recurring ‘Rock & Roll Heaven’ series. Not all will highlight stars dying under controversial circumstances. But all will have been taken far too young.

If anyone out there has any person they would like particularly to see covered, feel free to submit the name. A few have asked about Elvis Presley. After all, were you awared that ‘The King’ was only 42 years of age when he died?

Click into the below Tag to visit more items in that topic. After receiving a great deal of positive commentary, the hope is that I will continue with more in this series as we move into the future.

To wrap here, a few lyrics from a Righteous Brothers’ classic tune: “If you believe in forever, and if life is just a one-night stand; if there’s a rock and roll heaven, then you know they got a hell of a band.”