A couple of years ago, I heard about the mysterious 27 Club, which is comprised of prominent musicians, artists, and other creative types who, for some reason or other, passed away at age 27. Most of them seem to have died from overdoses, but many, like Jacob Miller of Inner Circle, died from accidents; others killed themselves, expired due to health issues (probably from drug and/or alcohol abuse), and a few, such as Mia Zapata, were even murdered.
Statisticians claim that celebrities dying at the age of 27 are no higher than those that die at other ages but it does make one wonder when looking at the list of those generally well-known people who died so relatively young. I never even imagined, when I was 18, that a person could die from heart failure at 27 – as Jim Morrison did – because even at that age, I thought mostly old people passed on. Young people either died in accidents or from cancer or maybe suicide. Other ways of dying such as murder or even drug overdoses simply did not cross my mind.
When researching this 27 Club for my own peace of mind, I came across countless articles that often listed blues legend Robert Johnson as the first member of this unsettling, and unearthly, club. Yet if you look at other sites, you will find that there were at least 2 others who died before Johnson at age 27: pianist and composer Alexandre Levy, and ragtime musician Louis Chauvin. For some reason(s) or other(s), Johnson is also credited by some as being the first ‘rock n roll’ musician though there are a great many fans that don’t view him that way.
Among the more well-known members of the 27 Club are: Rudy Lewis (the Drifters), Brian Jones (the Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mia Zapata (The Gits), Kurt Cobain, actor Jonathan Brandis, and Amy Winehouse. Lesser known members include: jazz musician Nat Jaffe, Alan ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson (Canned Heat), soul singer Linda Jones, Spanish singer Cecelia, Pete De Freitas (Echo & The Bunnymen), hip hop artist Freaky Tah, Mexican banda singer Valentin Elizalde, and Bosnian singer Sladana ‘Slada’ Guduras.
Whilst it may not be entirely proven that this mythical 27 Club has claimed the lives of many celebs before their time, it is certainly food for thought and there will be many more to join that ‘stupid club’ as Cobain’s mother referred to it, in the years to come. You can bet your bottom dollar on that.