Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Is Death More Likely to Come in Groups of Three?

I'd like to say tomorrow that today the subject was roses, but once again, it's death. Today's sub-topic: Does it really come in threes?

I'm not talking about famous people dying in groups of three. I've never seen any consistent, compelling evidence to support this theory/urban myth. I'm talking about threesomes. What is it about them? If one is the loneliest number and two's company, is three totally unlucky?

Consider musical trios, like Beastie Boys. Too often, it seems, one member gets taken from us way to soon. The latest example of the law of numerical disadvantage, would be Beastie Boys, the threesome that lost original member Adam "MCA" Yauch on May 4.

But there were so many, too many, before him. Among them...

Florence Ballard, an original member of the Supremes: Died February 2, 1976, at age 32, of a heart attack 

William Powell of the O'Jays: Died May 26, 1977, at age 35, of cancer

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana: Died April 4, 1994, at age 27, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of TLC: Died April 25, 2002, at age 30, of injuries suffered in a car accident in Honduras

Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell of Run-D.M.C.: Shot to death on October 30, 2002, at age 37

Maurice Gibb of Bee Gees: Died January 12, 2003, at age 53, of complications from a twisted intestine

June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters (originally a quartet but best known as a trio): Died April 11, 2006, at age 52, of cancer

Marvin Isley of Isley-Jasper-Isley: Died June 6, 2010, at age 56, of complications from diabetes

Dan Peek, an original member of America: Died in his sleep on July 24, 2011, at age 60

Thank God, David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash saw fit to include Neil Young in their Crosby, Stills and Nash line-up off and on. In making them a quartet, he saved their music (from occasional tweeness, most spectacularly on "Ohio," a song about, yes, death), and possibly their lives. I'm happy to say that all four are still with us.

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