Shannon Hoon

Shannon Hoon

Infobox musical artist
Name = Shannon Hoon

Img_capt = Shannon Hoon in center
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Richard Shannon Hoon
Born = birth date|1967|9|26|mf=y
Lafayette, Indiana
Died = death date and age|1995|10|21|1967|9|26|mf=y
New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre = Alternative rock, Psychedelic, Jam band
Occupation = Singer-songwriter, Musician
Years_active = 1985–1995
Instrument = Vocals, Guitar
Label = Capitol Records
Associated_acts = Blind Melon, Guns N' Roses
URL = [ Blind Melon]

Richard Shannon Hoon (September 26, 1967 – October 21, 1995) was an American singer-songwriter and musician. He rose to fame as frontman and lead singer of the band Blind Melon.


Early Life

Hoon was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana with his sister Anna. Anna lived with Bob, Ann, Marty, and Debbie Prather for three years to finish school when the rest of the family moved to Dayton, Indiana. Hoon reportedly began using his middle name, Shannon, to avoid confusion with his father, who was also named Richard. In high school, Hoon was a promising athlete in football, wrestling and pole vaulting. However, he also gained local notoriety with the Lafayette police, following several arrests for misbehavior. Hoon graduated from McCutcheon High School in 1985. After graduation, Hoon joined a local band named Styff Kytten, which also featured guitarist Michael Kelsey. Hoon took on the role of frontman and lead singer for the band. It was around this time that Hoon wrote his first song, "Change". Shannon was also a member of the Lafayette band mank RAGE along with David Lank and Darren Mickler (briefly) during this time.

Blind Melon

Forming the Band

Hoon left Indiana for Los Angeles in hopes of making it in the music industry. After arriving there Hoon met musicians Brad Smith, and Rogers Stevens at a party. Smith and Stevens saw Hoon perform his song "Change" acoustically and invited Hoon to play with them. Christopher Thorn and Glen Graham were then brought into the fold and soon the five musicians decided to form Blind Melon. In 1991, the new bandmates produced a four song demo tape and subsequently signed a $500,000 recording contract with Capitol Records.

Connecting with Guns N'Roses

In Los Angeles, Hoon befriended his sister Anna's high school friend, Axl Rose. Rose invited Hoon to join him in the studio, where his band Guns N' Roses were recording their albums "Use Your Illusion I" and "Use Your Illusion II". Hoon sang backing vocals on several of the tracks, including "The Garden" and "Don't Cry". Rose also invited Hoon to appear in the video for "Don't Cry", giving Hoon his first real taste of stardom.

Commercial Success

In 1992, Blind Melon released their self-titled debut album. The album, produced by Pearl Jam producer Rick Parashar, garnered some positive reviews, but initially failed to make much of an impact. Blind Melon began touring to promote the album, supporting and opening for acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young, Guns N' Roses and Soundgarden over the course of 1992-1993. As their success increased, the members of Blind Melon became increasingly involved in drug abuse during the tour, with Hoon being the primary offender. In late 1992, when the video for the album track "No Rain" was released as a single, Blind Melon suddenly became huge stars. The quirky video for "No Rain" focused on a theme of the "normal" crowd versus the lonely outcast. It featured a young, pudgy girl in a strange bee costume tap dancing to an audience that booed her off the stage, who finally finds an entire crowd of people similarly dressed who welcome her. The video, often referred to as the 'Bee Girl' was wildly popular and was the driving force behind "Blind Melon" going multi-platinum.

Downward Spiral

Hoon and Blind Melon spent the next two years touring. The tours were frequently interrupted as Hoon spent time in a rehab or jail as his already serious drug use increased and his behavior became more bizarre. In 1993, Hoon was arrested for indecent exposure after he disrobed onstage and urinated on a fan at a show in Vancouver. In October of 1993 while opening for Lenny Kravitz, Hoon came onstage in Orlando, Florida brazenly smoking marijuana at an outdoor concert. In 1994, Blind Melon appeared at Woodstock '94. Hoon went onstage wearing his girlfriend's dress and was clearly intoxicated. Throughout the performance, Hoon baited the audience and ended the set by tossing a set of conga drums into the crowd. Also in 1994, Hoon went on a drug-induced rampage at the Billboard Music Awards when he attacked a security guard. After taking a hiatus from touring, Blind Melon returned to the studio to record the album "Soup" in New Orleans. Although producer Andy Wallace claimed that drugs were not a problem during the recording of "Soup", Hoon reportedly had no recollection of the album sessions. "Soup" was released in 1995, a darker album considerably different from their eponymous debut.

Fatherhood and Death

In 1995, Hoon and his longtime girlfriend Lisa Crouse had a daughter they named Nico Blue, named partly after Nico and because it was his favorite flower. After the birth of his daughter, Hoon entered rehab again. Blind Melon needed to tour to support their album "Soup" with heavy pressure from the record company, so Hoon negotiated an early release from his drug rehab program with the stipulation that his drug counselor would accompany him on the road. The counselor, however, was unable to keep Hoon from falling back into his pattern of drug use and was dismissed from the tour less than a month into it. Without the counselor to rein him in, Hoon's use of drugs escalated tremendously.

After a particularly disastrous performance in Houston, Hoon launched into an all-night cocaine binge. The next day, on October 21, 1995, Blind Melon was scheduled to play a show in New Orleans at Tipitina's. When one of the band's roadies went to the tour bus to wake Hoon up for a sound check, he was unable to arouse him. An ambulance was summoned and Hoon was pronounced dead on the scene near Bourbon Street, New Orleans, at the age of 28,cite web | url = | title = Tippecanoe Public Library Local Newspaper Birth, Death, Engagement and Marriage IndexGenealogy Resources |accessdate 04-01-2008] one month into Blind Melon's 1995 tour, mere blocks from where he recorded "Soup". The cause of death was attributed to an accidental cocaine overdose. [ [,,299375,00.html Obituary - THE TRAGIC DEATH OF SHANNON HOON ] ] Hoon dodged membership in the 27 Club by a mere few weeks, something he'd joked about before his death.Hoon was buried in Dayton, Indiana; his grave is inscribed with the words to the first song he wrote, "Change":cquote2|"I know we can't all stay here forever"

"So I want to write my words on the face of today"

"And they'll paint it" [ Shannon Hoon Biography] ]

On November 12, 1996, Blind Melon released their final album featuring Hoon, "Nico", as a tribute to him with all proceeds going to his daughter and to programs helping musicians deal with drug problems. The band also released a video called "Letters From A Porcupine" that was nominated for 'Best Long Form Music Video' at the Grammy Awards on February 25, 1998.


*Zakk Wylde wrote a song about Hoon, titled "Throwin' It All Away" on his album "Book of Shadows." [ Leo's Lyrics Lyrics to "Throwin' It All Away" (accessed 1 April, 2008] ]

*Econoline Crush released a song about Hoon, titled "Sparkle and Shine" on their 1997 album "The Devil You Know" (the song's lyrics are listed here [] ).

*Dream Theater cited Hoon in the song "Just Let Me Breathe" on their 1997 album "Falling Into Infinity" (the song's lyrics are listed here [] ).

*Hoon had made a necklace for Soundgarden's frontman, Chris Cornell; a bent fork, as a gift in the early 1990's. Cornell can be seen wearing the necklace in the music videos for "Black Hole Sun", and "Spoonman", however he stopped wearing the necklace shortly after Hoon's death.

* In The Avett Brothers song, "Smoke in our lights", a part of the chorus is "You're the words in a song, that Shannon Hoon sang to me."


In September of 2008, New York based music journalist Greg Prato released a book titled ‘A Devil on One Shoulder and an Angel on the Other: The Story of Shannon Hoon and Blind Melon’.

The book is available exclusively as a print-per-order via It contains never-before-seen photos and was put together from more than 50 exclusive interviews from surviving band members, members of bands they toured with, producers, friends and family members.

The title comes from a phrase that guitarist Rogers Stevens once used to describe Shannon Hoon.


External Links

*imdb name|id=0393697|name=Shannon Hoon
*amg|id=11:81rc283c055a|label=Shannon Hoon
* [ Blind Melon Official Website]
* [ Shannon Hoon biography]
* [ Shannon Hoon bio at Sleaze]
*Find A Grave|id=3501

NAME= Hoon, Shannon
ALTERNATIVE NAMES= Hoon, Richard Shannon
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Singer-songwriter
DATE OF BIRTH= September 26, 1967
PLACE OF BIRTH=Lafayette, Indiana
DATE OF DEATH= October 21, 1995
PLACE OF DEATH=New Orleans, Louisiana

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