What other area of culture can support such a blasé attitude toward mortality? Disciples of sport and the movies develop a dewy-eyed respect when recalling the untimely demises of their idols, and even the cynical world of comedy maintains a dignified air when confronted by such an event. Nope, it's the domain we call rock 'n' roll that spawns inhabitants hoping to die before they get old, behind them a tribe of followers positively gloating in their heroes' excesses, even if this results in the ultimate sacrifice - and a house residency at the eternal nightclub.
So, don't you go blaming the storyteller. If legendary DJ Alan Freed is going to tell us to "live fast, die young and have a good looking corpse," then expect us to come along for the ride - or, at least, watch open-mouthed from the sidewalk as the casualties rack up. However, it's not always fast-living that accounts for fast-dying - sometimes, even the most mundane events in the rock star's diary can prove to be his - or her - final entry.
Jeremy Simmonds is the author of The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns and Ham Sandwiches [Chicago Review Press, $22.95].