Amy Winehouse and The 27 Club

By Adam Frazier With the untimely passing of singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, you may have heard mention of The 27 Club. The term is used to refer to the remarkably high statistical spike of musicians who have died at the age of 27. The term was first coined in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s with the death of four influential musicians.

Guitarist and founding member of The Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, drowned in a swimming pool on July 3, 1969 at the age of 27. On September 18, 1970, legendary electric guitarist Jimi Hendrix died. The autopsy showed he asphyxiated on vomit after a deadly cocktail of sleeping pills and wine. His age was 27 years and 295 days.

Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose a month later on October 4, 1970. She was 27. Jim Morrison (lead singer/songwriter for The Doors) died on July 3, 1971 (the exact same day, three years later, as Brian Jones) from an apparent heart failure, though no autopsy was performed.

More recently, the most notable addition to The 27 Club was Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, whose death was ruled as a suicide by shotgun. There have been an alarming amount of musicians and artists who have passed away at the age of 27 from plane crashes, drug overdoses, diabetic comas, car crashes, gunshots, and even Carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution.

The latest to join this long list of talented individuals gone too soon is Amy Winehouse, whose cause of death is still undetermined but speculated to be drug-related.

Author Eric Segalstad wrote “The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll,” a non-fiction narrative that tells the history of rock & roll seen through the lives and legacies of 34 musicians who each died at the age of 27. The book was published in 2008, however, since Winehouse’s passing, the author has updated the official Web site with the following note:

“People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable,” Janis told rock critic and biographer David Dalton. “Maybe my audience can enjoy my music more if they think I’m destroying myself.” Cue Amy Winehouse.

Amy, you were a bright burning star.
Thanks for sharing your life and soul with us.
Josh & Eric

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