Sinatra joins Cobain, Cohen, Drake and Curtis in top 10 of miserable records

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The Independent Culture

A chart of albums most played by tortured souls, the lovelorn and the downright miserable has been compiled, with four of the albums in the top 10 made by artists who have committed suicide.

A chart of albums most played by tortured souls, the lovelorn and the downright miserable has been compiled, with four of the albums in the top 10 made by artists who have committed suicide.

Leonard Cohen and Billie Holiday are obvious choices for the lugubrious list, but other performers, such as Frank Sinatra, have found a place in the chart with lesser known work. Sinatra is at number seven with In The Wee Small Hours. The album was recorded in 1955, when he is reputed to have attempted to take his own life as his marriage to Ava Gardner fell apart.

The list was inspired by the recent bestselling book by Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and is topped by Seventies US underground band Big Star. The group, led by Alex Chilton, won the dubious honour with their album Sister Lovers recorded in 1975. Among the top 10 artists whose personal demons led to them taking their own lives are Nick Drake, Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Joy Division's Ian Curtis. The Mancunian band managed to pick up two entries in the list of melancholic music. Other acts to make the top 30 but miss out on the top 10 included R.E.M. for Automatic For The People (11), Neil Young with Tonight's The Night (14) and The Verve's A Northern Soul. Perhaps surprisingly, the doom-laden Radiohead finish only at number 30, while The Smiths are nowhere to be seen.

The top 10 were chosen by writers on NME, whose editor, Ben Knowles, said: "Music can be the most incredibly positive and uplifting experience and these are all classics. But I wouldn't advise listening to too many of them in one sitting.

"The list is unsurprisingly filled with deeply, personally sad albums from desperately tortured souls like Kurt Cobain, Jeff Buckley, Gram Parsons, Ian Curtis and Richey Edwards - but it also shows heartbreak produces survivors and optimists like Frank Sinatra, P J Harvey and Richard Ashcroft."

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