JIMI Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Prince are among the legions of rock and pop legends who died without leaving a Will. It's a common problem. Only one in three of the UK adult population bothers to make a Will, but with musicians that figure is much lower. Garry Bushell explores ...
It's probably inevitable that an industry born of youth culture and driven by hedonism and lust should encourage a Peter Pan mentality among its practitioners.
Pete Townshend of The Who summed up the rock'n'roll attitude to death decades ago with 'My Generation'. That classic line, 'I hope I die before I get old' hits it right on the nut. I don't care about tomorrow, man! You won't tie me down with pensions, Wills and estate planning.
Eric Burden mined the same seam with '27 Forever': 'You'd sell your soul to the devil to stay at this level and be 27 forever...' Well you would if you could but you can't. Life doesn't work like that. Cock Sparrer sang 'What's It Like To Be Old?' and now they know every time they look in the mirror. Rock's Byronic cult of youth is a dangerous delusion.
'Live fast, die young?' Forget it. Whether performers die at 27, like Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin, or pop their clogs at 82 like Leonard Cohen, the chances are they will still leave loved ones behind.
More than likely they'll have kids, grandchildren, cars, property, magnificent memorabilia and a bank account. If they're popular, they'll have income coming in from publishing and performing rights for years to come.
They may, like Rick Parfitt, have the extra complication of ex-wives. They may have love children coming out of the woodwork, or aggrieved relatives, as did Michael Jackson.
The only way to make the right people get your stuff is to leave a Will. You owe it to the ones you love to make your wishes crystal clear, rather than prolong their misery with months — or in some case years — of draining legal battles. And that's just as true for a punk in a South Shields bedsit as it was for Keith Emerson in his luxury pad in Santa Monica.
“You owe it to the ones you love to make your wishes crystal clear, rather than prolong their misery with months -- or in some case years -- of draining legal battles.”
The good news is making a Will is easy. You can do it online in minutes. But experts say you should always leave a Letter Of Intent as additional insurance because it would help if there is any chance at all that your Will might be challenged by anyone you've deliberately cut out.
You might feel invulnerable when you're on stage but nobody lives forever. And in our game the odds are stacked against us. Elvis was 42, Keith Moon was 32, Malcolm Owen was 24. No-one escapes! That's why it's smart to think ahead. As Atomic Rooster once noted, whoever you are, death walks behind you...
Author: Garry Bushell