At the age of 27, Amy Winehouse’s so-called ‘untimely’ death (I’m not sure what constitutes a timely one) affords her lifetime membership to the 27 Club – a group of notable musicians who also died at the age of 27.
And she’s in good company: the 27 Club, which should really be called the Stupid Club contains some important musical names from the last 40 years. Members include:
(1942 – 1969)
Age if alive today: 69
Rolling Stones guitarist, Jones was a notorious drug user at the height of the swinging sixties during the golden era of the band where drugs such as LSD and Speed were also enjoying their heyday.
Cause of death: drowned in a swimming pool, verdict of death by misadventure. Death by bad swimming more like.
(1942 – 1970)
Age if alive today: 68
Seminal psychedelic guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, is one of the most influential musicians of the last forty years.
Cause of death: imbibed a delicious but deadly wine and sleeping pills combo and choked on his own vomit.
(1943 – 1971)
Age if alive today: 67
Lead singer of the doors and famous for improvising poetry during live performances. Also known as Mr Mojo Risin (an anagram of Jim Morrison). Later referred to himself as ‘the lizard king’.
Cause of death: suspected heroin overdose.
(1967 – 1994)
Age if alive today: 44
Singer in grunge band Nirvana. Known as the spokesmen of a generation – apparently. Famously uncomfortable with media attention. Struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression.
Cause of death: successfully managed to impale himself through the head with a bullet;
(1943 – 1970)
Age if alive today: 68
Known as the ‘queen of rock n roll’ or the ‘queen of psychedelic soul’. Famous soulful vocals and a gravelly voice.
Cause of death: finished herself off on a heroin and alcohol sandwich.
Perhaps influential musician types approaching the age of 27 should think about taking a year off for detoxification instead of marinating themselves in booze and drugs or tinkling about with firearms or swimming underwater without the use of oxygen. Although they’d probably be half as famous as they are now had they continued living.
Whether this dead-by-27 is a phenomena or whether it is more a reflection of the general age that rock musicians achieve success and the trajectory of their burgeoning addiction, I’m not sure. But as of 23rd July, the club inducted a new member.
These artists may have all died young and stayed pretty, but they are still dead.
You must help a heroin addict if you don’t want that person to suffer the same tragic fate as many other heroin addicts.
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Images: harrygoodwin.com, flickr.com, grubstreet.ca, clashmusic.com, rollingstone.com.mx, lateralaction.com, duduki.net.