New Delhi: There is an infamous club known as the '27 Club' and it includes famous figures like Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, and Janis Joplin. The 27 Club has become one of the most elusive and remarkably tragic coincidences in rock & roll history.
The term became widely known after Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994, with rock fans connecting his age to that of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones and Jimi Hendrix – though it was notable to fans in the early 1970s when those four visionaries died within just two years.
When Amy Winehouse passed away at age 27 in 2011, it attracted even more attention to the significance of the age. While the club has been largely connected to musicians, it has expanded as many young actors and artists have also lost their lives due to everything from drug addiction to suicide to freak accidents.
Here are some of the unfortunate and untimely losses connected to the club:
1. Jim Morrison (1943-1971)
A poet and avid reader of philosophy, Jim Morrison rose to prominence as the lead singer and lyricist of The Doors, a band he founded with a friend in 1965, and however, elements of blues were soon added. Elongated guitar riffs and aggressive drumming complemented in ushering in a new genre. Every major rock band needed a standout front man. Jim Morrison was this guy for The Doors and frankly was the prototype front man for every aspiring group. His ability to write good lyrics was phenomenal. He also had an infectious energy with which he performed. Unfortunately, Morrison passed away at the cursed age of 27.
2. Kurt Cobain (1967-1994)
An icon of the Seattle grunge scene, Kurt Cobain formed Nirvana with a friend in 1985; the band achieved mainstream success in the early 1990s. Kurt Cobain is from the grunge era of music. A native of Washington, Cobain was the front man of the band Nirvana. A free spirit, Cobain often marched to the beat of his own drums. His magnetic talent was plainly visible for anyone who’s ever heard or seen him perform. However, Cobain had a darker side lying beneath the surface. Struggling with both mental health and drug addiction, Cobain committed suicide in 1994. He was 27 years of age.
3. Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970)
Born November 27, 1942, Hendrix would go on to become one of the most influential guitarists in history. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described Hendrix as the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. Though his active career as a featured artist lasted a mere four years, Hendrix altered the course of popular music and became one of the most successful and influential musicians of his era. He also was the most charismatic in-concert performer of his generation. He simply was an absolute joy to watch play. From a young age, Hendrix demonstrated a true proficiency in terms of playing the guitar. He eventually made big-time classics such as “Purple Haze” and “The Wind Cries Mary.” Sadly at age 27, Hendrix passed away from a suspected drug overdose in London.
4. Amy Winehouse (1983-2011)
Born September 14, 1983 in north London, throughout her life, she was a beautiful singer and songwriter. In 2003, this powerhouse vocalist released her debut album Frank while she was only 20 years old. But while the jazz-influenced album would become a massive success, the acclaim was nothing compared to that of Amy Winehouse’s follow-up in 2006, Back in Black. Not only did the album led to five Grammy Awards – including Best New Artist – but it also established Amy as one of the most admired vocalists of her time. Even so, this was to be her last studio release as the following years were filled with scandals and alcohol abuse. On the afternoon of July 23, 2011, Amy’s blood-alcohol content reached 0.416, the toxicity of which ultimately caused her death at the age of 27.
5. Janis Joplin (1943-1970)
Born on January 19, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas, she rose to fame as a singer after her appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. In a world full of rock legends, one particular female vocalist stood out in the late 60s and early 70s. As the singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin first emerged in the bay area scene but despite her versatility both in and out of the studio, the music often took a backseat to the more recreational activities of the day. Just three months before the release of her iconic Pearl album, which includes many of her best known songs, her final album, “Pearl,” was released and shot straight to the top of the Billboard charts. Janis Joplin was found dead of heroine overdose in a Hollywood hotel. It was known that she was involved in multiple substance use. Even with Joplin deceased, her impact on the current rock genre is vast.
On World Music Day, let’s remember these beautiful artists. Happy World Music Day!!