NBC broke the news of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s death over the weekend – but it seems whoever wrote the obit had been listening to a little too much Harvest. NBC News’ online story initially stated that “astronaut Neil Young” had died in the headline, the Atlantic reports.
The story was quickly fixed, and it wasn’t the first time a famous rocker has been wrongly reported dead by the press or rumored to be dead. In honor of NBC’s Neil mix-up this weekend, here are five other rock star death rumors through the years.
Jon Bon Jovi
Last December, rumors swirled across Twitter and Facebook that Jon Bon Jovi had died unexpectedly from cardiac arrest. The Bon Jovi took to his Facebook to clear up the confusion, posting the above photo and the following caption: “Rest assured that Jon is alive and well! This photo was just taken.” Gives new meaning to “Wanted Dead or Alive.”
The “Paul is Dead” conspiracy is not without its convincing clues, from the symbolism of the Sgt. Pepper’s and Abbey Road album covers to lyrical nods like “the walrus was Paul” (“Glass Onion”) and “turn me on, dead man” (“Revolution 9”) and more. As the urban legend goes, McCartney was killed in a car crash in 1967, replaced by a lookalike. The myth gained credibility when, in 1969, radio DJs in Detroit (WKNR-FM) and New York (WABC) dedicated on-air time to discussing its validity with callers. The Beatles’ press office finally issued a statement denying the rumors, and McCartney appeared on the cover of Life magazine with the following tagline: “Paul is still with us.”
After U.K. music magazine Melody Maker published an Alice Cooper review penned as a mock obituary, many took it was as fact rather than satire. Cooper issued a statement to alert fans that he had not died: “I’m alive, and drunk as usual.”
In 2001, hundreds of members of the media received a news blast – masquerading as a news brief from Reuters wire – stating that the Velvet Underground’s Lou Reed was found dead of an overdose in his NYC apartment. Reed’s publicist quickly debunked the hoax.
CNN reported Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain dead in 1994 – a month before he actually died in April of that year. Cobain apparently awoke from a drug and alcohol-induced coma in Rome just moments after CNN broadcast its breaking news report of his death.
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local; photos by Getty Images