British singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her Camden, London home Saturday afternoon. She was only 27 years old.
Winehouse burst onto the international music scene with her album Back to Black which included the smash hit “Rehab.” Sadly, the song became a theme of the singer’s troubled life as she made headlines with her substance abuse and failed attempts at rehab. Indeed, Winehouse had left a treatment program shortly before her death.
Amy Winehouse joins a long list of music superstars who died at the young age of 27. Here are some of the other great entertainers who left us at the height of their powers.
When the Rolling Stones formed in 1962, they were a blues band put together through a classified ad by Brian Jones. As the 1960’s progressed, the Stones became more of a rock band under the leadership of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
This change in tone left Jones increasingly on the sidelines. He began abusing drugs and behaving erratically, leading to Jones being dismissed by the group in 1969. Less than a month later, he was found dead in his swimming pool. To this day, fans and friends argue whether Jones was murdered or died “by misadventure,” as the coroner ruled. Either way, Brian Jones was dead at 27.
Jimi Hendrix labored as a backing musician for acts such as Sam Cooke, the Isley Brothers, and Little Richard before finding personal success in the U.K. Hendrix joined with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding to form the Jimi Hendrix Experience and quickly released several hit records, including “Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze.”
On September 18, 1970, Hendrix, staying at his girlfriend’s apartment, accidentally overdosed on very powerful sleeping pills, causing him to asphyxiate on his own vomit. The guitarist was only 27.
The Port Arthur, Texas-born Janis Joplin burst onto the music scene when her band Big Brother and the Holding Company played the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Joplin’s scratchy blues vocals and take-no-prisoners attitude on stage endeared her to audiences across the country.
In October, 1970, Joplin was in Los Angeles recording what would become her final album, Pearl . On the night of October 3, the singer overdosed on heroin that was too pure, her regular dealer being out of town. She was found the next day after failing to appear at the studio. Janis Joplin was 27.
The Doors found fame with their mixture of jazz, rock, and poetry. The band put together an incredible string of hits like “Light My Fire,” “Touch Me,” and “People Are Strange.” The focal point of the group was lead singer/poet Jim Morrison.
Morrison captivated audiences with his brooding good looks and bad behavior onstage, even getting arrested for supposedly exposing himself during a show. Soon, fame and substance abuse began to take their toll on the singer. He moved to Paris in 1971 to escape the pressures. It was here that he was found dead in his bathtub. Morrison was 27.
Nirvana changed the landscape of popular music in 1991 with their mega-hit “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” The driving grunge sound of the Seattle band was a welcome antidote to the synth-driven drivel of the previous decade.
The leader/songwriter/soul of Nirvana was Kurt Cobain. Cobain became the voice of a generation of disaffected youth. That kind of pressure would weigh on the strongest of people and the singer battled drug addiction and depression throughout his career.
On April 8, 1994, Cobain’s body was found in his garage. The singer had shot himself in the head with a shotgun. He was just 27.