The Last Meals Of Famous Rock Stars

Food is probably the most universal of all human experiences. We literally need it to live, and every culture across the planet and history has taken enormous pride in the unique dishes they create and serve with the ingredients, talents, and techniques available to them. Food sustains, food provides nutrients, and food is a social thing. Everybody eats, even those extraordinary specimens among us — the super-talented and amazingly skilled performers and musicians whose ability to create enduring works of art makes it seem almost strange they'd have to buy, cook, order, and chew three meals a day like the rest of us.

But rock stars and singers do eat, and for many of the most iconic and deceased ones, the final thing they ate in the earthly realm gathers significance, simply because it's the last, whether it was a conscious choice or just wound up being their concluding eating experience. Here are the final meals of some famous dead musicians.

John Lennon

In the 1960s, John Lennon was one of the four most famous musicians in the world, as one of the lead singers and songwriters of the Beatles, the bestselling musical act of all time, according to the RIAA. After the Beatles broke up in 1970, Lennon forged a successful solo career, churning out singles like "Imagine," "Give Peace a Chance," and "Instant Karma!" before taking a five-year break in 1975 (per UCR) to focus on raising his son, Sean.

According to "Killing the Legends: The Lethal Danger of Celebrity," December 8, 1980, was an eventful day for Lennon. Before heading out for a Rolling Stone photo shoot with photographer Annie Leibovitz and a three-hour radio interview to promote his latest album, "Double Fantasy" (which he learned that morning had been certified gold for sales of half a million copies), Lennon ate breakfast at Café La Fortuna, a restaurant near his apartment in Manhattan's Dakota building, where he ordered the eggs Benedict. After his work activities, Lennon grabbed lunch at the Stage Deli, and according to his manager, Gill Kashkin, in "Last Suppers," he had a corned beef sandwich.

That night, according to History, Lennon was about to walk into the Dakota when Mark David Chapman, for whom Lennon had autographed an album earlier that day, shot four bullets at Lennon at short range with a .38-caliber handgun. Lennon died of his wounds on the way to the hospital. He was 40.

Kurt Cobain

As the singer, main guitarist, and chief songwriter of the Washington state trio Nirvana, Kurt Cobain launched a rock revolution in the early 1990s. The Seattle sound, or grunge, defined guitar music in the 1990s, a style pioneered by the down-tuned, punk-meets-metal melodies and meandering, poetic lyrics of massive Nirvana hits like "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Heart-Shaped Box."

The Madison Park outpost of Cactus, a small chain of restaurants in the Seattle area, was the place where Kurt Cobain ate his last documented meal. On the night of April 3, 1994, according to the Seattle Times, Cobain sat in the outdoor seating area, despite the cold weather, with some friends. The party started their meal with dessert and ordered Cactus' signature specialty sweet: Bananas Dulce, in which the fruit is sautéed with brown sugar and rum. Cobain and friends dined, and went to a movie theater to see "The Piano."

Five days later on April 8, per Biography, Cobain's body was found at his Seattle home by an electrician hired to work the property. Rolling Stone reported a shotgun sat on Cobain's chest and a suicide note was found nearby. Cobain's autopsy found he had heroin and the painkiller valium in his system, and that he'd actually died a couple of days before the discovery; Cobain was 27.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix's period on top of rock music lasted barely four years, but he did a lot in that time, combining blues and rock with innovative guitar playing and amplification to create a wholly original and psychedelic sound, as heard in songs like "All Along the Watchtower" and "Purple Haze," and seen during memorable performances at Woodstock and that night when he set his own instrument on fire.

Hendrix drank a lot of red wine at a party held in London by former Monkee Michael Nesmith, according to "Rock Obituaries: Knocking On Heaven's Door," and in the early morning hours of September 18, 1970, returned to the basement apartment at the Samarkand Hotel, rented out to Monika Danneman, Hendrix's supposed fiancée. There, Hendrix ate a tuna sandwich, consumed nine barbiturate pills (18 times the regular dosage), talked with Danneman for a few hours, and then fell asleep. In the morning, Danneman discovered Hendrix's dead body, and while already deceased, his death was pronounced at a hospital. The cause of death: The 27-year-old guitarist overdosed on barbiturates, his body attempted to expel the drugs via vomit, and Hendrix asphyxiated on it.

Karen Carpenter of Carpenters

As half of Carpenters, with her brother, pianist, and arranger Richard Carpenter, drummer and singer Karen Carpenter ruled the world of soft rock in the 1970s. Her melancholy love songs and heartbreaking ballads like "(They Long to Be) Close to You," "Yesterday Once More," "Superstar," and "Rainy Days and Mondays" were the smoothest things on the radio. Meanwhile, Carpenter struggled with body image and an eating disorder, and she was diagnosed with and treated for anorexia nervosa in the early 1980s.

According to "Why Karen Carpenter Matters," Carpenter went out to dinner with her parents in her hometown of Downey, California, on February 3, 1983. They went to Bob's Big Boy, and she ate a shrimp salad. On the way home, she stopped at a local Mexican takeout place and ordered a couple of tacos to eat while watching that night's broadcast of the miniseries "Shogun." In the early morning hours the following day, according to History, Carpenter suffered a heart attack. Her system, and her heart especially, had been weakened and stressed by years of damage from anorexia nervosa. Carpenter was 32.

Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley was known as "The King of Rock n' Roll," and he was certainly the genre's first superstar, shocking and delighting in equal measure with his country-influenced drawl and hip-swiveling dance moves. After selling millions of albums and scoring dozens of hit songs, Presley settled into a role as an elder statesman of rock in the 1970s, frequently performing bombastic shows in Las Vegas in sparkly jumpsuits and spending most of his time at his Graceland estate in Memphis.

By August 1977, according to "Elvis: Caught in a Trap," the singer's weight had climbed to 250 pounds, and he'd been placed on a restrictive diet to lose weight before a tour. He was known to regularly eat multiple hot fudge sundaes in one sitting, and, on August 16, he ordered some ice cream from the kitchen. With his diet in mind, staff sent a small-for-Presley portion of four scoops of ice cream and six cookies.

Hours later and unable to sleep while laying in bed with partner Ginger Alden, (per "PBS NewsHour") while also purportedly dealing with a severe constipation episode (per the Daily Express), Presley went into his bathroom to move things along, bringing the book "A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus" to read while the time passed. While sitting on the toilet, Presley suffered a heart attack and Alden found him face down on the floor, unresponsive. Rushed to Baptist Memorial Hospital, doctors couldn't revive Presley and he was pronounced dead at the age of 42.

Keith Moon of The Who

The Who earned a reputation as one of the loudest bands on earth (via UCR), and that noisy, propulsive hard rock was what it was in major part because of Keith Moon, who provided frenetic, difficult, and technically precise drumming on the band's songs in the 1960s and 1970s. According to Rolling Stone and "Good Morning America," Moon was also a vociferous consumer of alcohol, and he attempted to reign in his hard-partying ways in the late 1970s by going on Heminevrin, a medication to treat alcoholism, per "Dead Boy: The Life of Keith Moon."

On September 6, 1978, according to Classic Rock, Moon attended a party thrown by Paul McCartney at a diner in the Covent Garden area of London to celebrate the birthday of deceased early rock star Buddy Holly, in advance of the premiere of "The Buddy Holly Story" film later that evening. Moon, trying to limit his alcohol intake, cut himself off at two glasses of champagne, and upon returning home in the middle of the night, asked girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax to prepare a meal, and she cooked up some lamb cutlets. Around 4 a.m., he took a large dose of Heminevrin and fell asleep, woke up at 7:30 a.m. and demanded more lamb chops. He ate those, took some more pulls, and fell asleep again. He never woke up and was pronounced dead at around 6 p.m. on September 7.

Jerry Garcia

For 30 years, and for thousands of shows, singer and guitarist Jerry Garcia led the Grateful Dead, a sprawling San Francisco-based musical collective that combined the folk, pop, and psychedelia of the '60s to create a wholly new, groovy, danceable, improv-heavy style that earned the band the designation of the first major "jam band." Garcia also sat atop a massive subculture, with the group's vast army of tie-dye-clad "Deadheads" following the Dead from tour stop to tour stop.

Garcia suffered from a host of medical problems, including Type 2 diabetes and substance addiction, and according to TheWrap, he wrapped up a Grateful Dead tour in the summer of 1995 and checked into Serenity Knolls, a Northern California health spa and rehabilitation center, around the time of his 53rd birthday. On August 8, 1995, Garcia's wife, Deborah, checked him out of Serenity Knolls, took him out to dinner at an Italian restaurant, and returned him to the facility. The next morning, a staffer checked in on Garcia and saw him lying atop his bed linens cradling an apple in his hands. Later that day, at Serenity Knolls, Garcia died of a heart attack, according to CNN.

Jim Morrison of the Doors

According to The Guardian, poet, singer, and commanding stage presence Jim Morrison left his popular psychedelic rock band the Doors, best known for quintessential late '60s tunes like "Break On Through (To the Other Side)" and "Light My Fire," in 1971 to live in Paris with his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. Taking a break from music, Morrison reportedly wanted to break free from his substance abuse issues.

According to Classic Rock, Courson was feeling under the weather on July 2, 1971, so Morrison went out to dinner alone at Le Quattier, a restaurant on the Rue Saint-Antoine, where the Doors frontman consumed a sweet and sour Chinese-style dish and multiple beers. After seeing a movie, he returned to his apartment, began drinking whiskey, watched some home movies with Courson, then fell asleep, waking at some point to take a bath. He threw up three times and fell back asleep in the bath, dying at some point in the night. Morrison was 27.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was just 11 when he burst onto the music scene with his brothers in 1969 as the lead singer of the Jackson 5. Jackson reinvented himself as a grown-up performer in the late 1970s and became the biggest act on the planet in the 1980s, the self-proclaimed "King of Pop" after releasing the 1982 global juggernaut "Thriller," the best-selling album ever. After a series of personal problems and allegations of child abuse, Jackson's star diminished in the '90s and 2000s, but in 2009, he agreed to a series of comeback concerts at London's O2 Arena, for which he entered into extensive rehearsals.

On the afternoon of June 24, Jackson emerged from the upstairs bedroom of a rented mansion near Beverly Hills, California, and joined his children for a meal, according to The Associated Press (via MassLive). Jackson requested his personal chef, Kai Chase, make a light but nutritious meal, and he made a dish of seared ahi tuna, organic salad, and a glass of orange and carrot juice.

Jackson returned home after midnight, and unable to sleep, his doctor, Conrad Murray administered several doses of powerful narcotics throughout the night. At 10:40 a.m. on June 25, with Jackson still awake, Murray catered to Jackson's demand to administer propofol, a surgical anesthetic. Two minutes later, Jackson quit breathing. Jackson didn't respond to revival attempts by Murray, paramedics, or doctors at UCLA Medical Center, and the 50-year-old pop star was pronounced dead.

Freddie Mercury of Queen

Through the 1970s and 1980s, Queen was among the biggest bands on earth, in terms of record sales, the number of fans it could draw to its concerts, and its sound — built around the emotionally powerful and near-operatic vocals of frontman Freddie Mercury, who was as comfortable belting out ballads like "Somebody to Love" and "We Are the Champions" as he was rockers like "Another One Bites the Dust" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."

On November 23, 1991, Freddie Mercury announced in a press release (via Far Out) that he'd contracted the AIDS virus, and was in the late stages of the disease. About 24 hours later, Mercury was dead. As he lay dying in bed that last night, his partner, Jim Hutton, tried to feed him a mango, according to "Somebody to Love." The singer had trouble swallowing, and he nearly choked on the fruit, which had caught in his throat. Mercury was 45 years old.

Michael Hutchence of INXS

With his breathy, soulful vocals and charismatic performances of songs like "Need You Tonight," "Never Tear Us Apart," and "Devil Inside," singer Michael Hutchence brought his pop-rock band INXS from Australia to success around the world, becoming one of the most consistently hit-making bands of the 1980s.

On November 21, 1997, according to the Daily Mail, Hutchence dined at Flavour of India, an Indian restaurant in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Head chef Hayat Mahamud personally cooked the meal for Hutchence, a regular at the restaurant, dining there every few months since 1991. Arriving with his father and stepmother, Hutchence ordered a dish consisting of crab meat mixed with shredded ginger, chilis, and onions served inside the skins of a potato, along with butter chicken, chicken tikka filets, and mushroom saag aloo.

Per theDaily Mail, Hutchence's body was discovered in his room at the Ritz-Carlton in Double Bay, Sydney, the following day on November 22. Suffering from family problems and depression, and surrounded by empty alcohol bottles, investigators ruled that Hutchence died by suicide. The INXS singer was 37.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Sid Vicious

London rock n' roll clothing shop owner Malcolm McLaren assembled the Sex Pistols, one of the first bands to embrace the look and sound that would define punk rock, with a bunch of amateur teenage musicians who hung around his store. According to AllMusic, completely inexperienced John Simon Ritchie, aka Sid Vicious, replaced original bassist Glen Matlock in time to record the band's first album, 1977's "Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols." Vicious developed a severe dependency on heroin and a relationship with band fan Nancy Spungen, and when she was found murdered in a hotel, Vicious was a suspect, per Rolling Stone.

After Spungen's death, according to Salon, Vicious connected with actor Michelle Robinson, and she held him a celebration dinner at her apartment in New York City on February 1, 1979, hours after the musician was released from the Rikers Island jail after a two-month stay for attacking a man in a club with a beer glass. Along with Robinson, Anne Beverley (his mother), and a few friends, Vicious ate a plate of spaghetti Bolognese. Both Vicious and Beverley were heroin addicts, and after dining, he asked her to go find him some drugs. He took those, wanted more, and a friend supplied him with almost-pure heroin, which he injected and then immediately collapsed. Revived by Robinson and Beverley, Vicious injected heroin one more time overnight and was found dead in the morning. Vicious was 21.