What do Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse all have in common? Other than being fiercly talented musicians, they all share a common tragic link. All were cut down in their prime; all drew their last breath at age 27, at the height of their fame. The 27 club is a term coined to represent the growing trend of musicians whose lives were cut down at age 27. Read on for a look at the life and achievements of some of the ill fated members of the 27 club.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an American who has not heard of the name Jimi Hendrix. The enigmatic and widely popular singer and guitarist came into the world on November 27, 1942, and left the world greatly changed 27 years later. Hendrix was incomparable on the electric guitar. Many have tried to replicate his talent on the instrument, but few have come close. Some of Hendrix’s hits include “All Along the Watch Tower,” “Purple Haze” and “Wind Cries Mary.” Jimi Hendrix left the world at the age of 27 on September 18, 1970 in a shroud of mystery. The circumstances surrounding his death are still not clear 41 years later.
Jim Morrison was best known as the lead singer of “The Doors,” but was also a song writer and poet. Born on December 8, 1943, Morrison was considered one of the most unique and visionary of rock stars of his time. Some of Morrison’s hits include “Light my Fire,” “L.A. Woman” and “Riders on the Storm.” Jim Morrison departed from this world on July 3, 1971 when he was found dead in his bathtub. The cause of death was said to be heart failure, though coroners suggested it may be from alcohol or drug abuse.
Many music fans could recognize Janis Joplin’s voice in a crowd of singers. The ill-fated singer had an inate talent of pouring every once of her soul into her music. Her voice, though a bit rough around the edges, mixed well with her bluesy quality. Born on January 19, 1943, Joplin is most famous for her hits “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Mercedez Benz” and “Trust Me.” Janis Joplin was found dead of a drug overdose from heroin on October 4, 1970.
Kurt Cobain was the angsty, rebellious lead singer of Nirvana. Cobain’s music played as the soundtrack to a generation, with hits like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Heart Shaped Box” and “Come As You Are.” Cobain was born on February 20, 1967 and lived a rocky life. Though success came, he never seemed truly happy about it.
The end was treacherous for Cobain and those he loved. It is believed that Kurt Cobain barricaded himself in the apartment behind his mansion on April 5, 1994 and killed himself by putting the shot gun in his mouth and subsequently pulling the trigger. A suicide note surfaced, but there are many skeptics who believe it was not Cobain’s handwriting. Still, 17 years later, there is much skepticism around the final moments of Kurt Cobain.
The newest member of the 27 club is the undeniably talented Amy Winehouse. Born on Septemer 14, 1983, Winehouse lived a tumultous life. Most famous for her songs “Back to Black,” “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab,” Winehouse’s voice was R&B gold, while her personal life was tabloid fodder.
On July 23, 2011, Amy Winehouse was found dead in her apartment. Sources close to the star believe the star died because she had quit drinking very abruptly, and her body could not handle the transition.Though many music fans say she wasn’t in the same “league” as others mentioned above such as Hendrix or Morrison, it should be said that her music affected many people and the nature of her death is just as tragic.