Category Archives: music education

The 27 Club

With the sad and too soon passing of Amy Winehouse last week, the world again loses rock and roll to sex and drugs.

Amy joins the exclusive ’27 Club’, a “phemonemon” of musicians who die at 27. Some theorists  point to a sort of supernatural rock and roll grim reaper, claiming our musically gifted, slowly but surely in the night. While other schools of thought claim that these musicans are actually werewolves with a shelf life of 324 moons before they self destruct.

Or just maybe one can only party that hard for say…27 years before the human body it calls it day. Keith Richards may disprove this theory but after seeing this Rolling Stone Cover, I’m fairly certain he also died at 27 and was replaced by a muppet covered with an excessive amount of human skin.  Jim Hansen his creator was not.

But the man muppet and bee-hived one are not the only members who made earth shatteringly good tunes, check out the classics of the 27 club below.

Some say Robert Johnson kicked off the 27 club when he kicked the bucket.  If you took Music 103, you’ll know that Johnson pretty much invented the blues.

Johnson is the original hipster. Playing music that had never been played before and not making a dime and dying young, possibly poisoned. Oh and there was that rumour that he sold his soul to the devil. Well the devil tuned his guitar at least.

He influenced the likes of Clapton, joined the rock and roll hall of fame and was named the 5th best guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone. All after he was gone though, so he couldn’t help it he went mainstream. Legit.

Speaking of weird deaths, Jim Morrison of the Doors also populates the 27 club.

Jim’s death was shrouded in mystery and conspiracy for the last 30 years.  How is it that a 27 year old man just drop dead of “natural causes” while chilling in his Paris apartment?  Was he murdered? Did he off himself? Was it a hoax? Was it the Zionist Jews who killed him? (wanna kill some braincells? Head here)

It doesnt help that no official autopsy was done and that his gf of the time who was with him was super nutty, saying all sorts of things, like it was a drug overdose one day or that she killed him the next. Weird thing is, she died 3 years later too, at the age of 27.  Oh and I read one time that she cuddled his dead body for like 3 days before calling the cops, but now I can’t find that Rolling Stone article anywhere (curse you internets!)

All of the mystery lifted when in 2007 when people finally came out and said that they had sold him bad heroin at a club, found him dead in bathroom and then moved him to his bathtub to avoid bad press for the club.  Marianne Faithful was in on this too, but I forget how. So turns out, you can’t trust a dealer or club owners. Weird.

Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin joined Jim by attaining 27 club membership in the 70’s. Brian Johnson (original Rolling Stone guitarist) was close, by kicking it in 1969.

Brian drowned in his pool. The actual coroners report says “death by misadventure”.  You think about that Dora the Explorer the next time you set out on one of your “adventures”.

Jimi took way too many of his girlfriend’s sleeping pills after a night out on Londontown and choked on his own vomit in his sleep.

Janis od’d on some bad heroin, apparently it took out some of her dealers other clients that week too.

One of the last things Janis recorded was a birthday greeting for John Lennon.

Kurt commited in 1994.

And sadly, the newest member;

Her cause of death is unknown at this point, but I don’t think we’re set up for any shockers here. I really hope they release the tunes Amy was working on in the Bahamas’s a few years ago. As troubled as she was, she was an amazing talent. I really love this song she did with Mark Ronson. But even at this point in her career, she was too messed up to show up for the video shoot, hence the Amy wannabes:

Some other notables of the 27 club include Dave Alexander, the bassist of The Stooges, Ron McKeran of The Grateful Dead, Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers, Jeremy Ward of The Mars Volta and quite a few others.

Man 27 is really young. I’m only 17 moons away from 27. Thankfully I have no musical talent whatsoever. But it definitely makes you wonder how the music landscape would be different if these artists were still around today.  Well this was informative, but morbid, I’m gonna go out and seize the day or give Lindsey Lohan a hug or something!