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27 Club

As on 21 September 2013

Taken from: Wikipedia - 27 Club


The 27 Club is a term used to refer to popular musicians who have died at the age of 27,[1] often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse.[2] The number of musicians who have died at this age and the circumstances of many of those deaths have given rise to the idea that premature deaths at this age are unusually common.

The "club" has been repeatedly cited in music magazines, journals and the daily press. Several exhibitions have been devoted to the idea; as well as novels, films and stage plays. There have been many different theories and speculations about the causes of such early deaths and their possible connections. Cobain and Hendrix biographer Charles R. Cross writes "The number of musicians who died at 27 is truly remarkable by any standard. [Although] humans die regularly at all ages, there is a statistical spike for musicians who die at 27."[3]

However, a study published in the British Medical Journal in December 2011 concluded that there was no increase in the risk of death for musicians at the age of 27. Although the sampled musicians faced an increased risk of death in their 20s and 30s, this was not limited to the age of 27.[4]


Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison died between 1969 and 1971, although a possible connection between their same death-age was not reported in the public press. Although some relations were occasionally noticed,[5][6] those rather remained a side note. It was not until the death of Kurt Cobain, about two and a half decades after the last occurred, that the first idea of a "27 Club" was spread in the public perception.[3]

According to Hendrix and Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross, the growing importance of the media — internet, television and magazines — and the response to an interview of Cobain's mother were jointly responsible for such theories. An excerpt from a statement that Cobain's mother, Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O'Connor, made in the Aberdeen, Washington newspaper The Daily World — "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club." — referred to Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison dying at the same age, according to Cross.[7] Other authors share his view.[8] On the other hand, Josh Hunter and Eric Segalstad, writer of The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll, assumed that Cobain's mother referred to the death of his two uncles and his great uncle, who all committed suicide.[9] According to Cross, the events have led a "set of conspiracy theorists [to suggest] the absurd notion that Kurt Cobain intentionally timed his death so he could join the 27 Club".[3]

In 2011, seventeen years after Cobain's death, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, and there was a large amount of media attention devoted to the club once again. Three years earlier, she had expressed a fear of dying at that age.[10]

The song "28" by John Craigie off his album Montana Tale, is about the club. The three verses refer to the deaths of Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain respectively.

People identified as being in the 27 Club

Name Date of death Official cause of death Fame Age
Alexandre Levy[11] January 17, 1892 Unknown Composer, pianist and conductor 27 years, 98 days
Louis Chauvin[11][12] March 26, 1908 Neurosyphilitic sclerosis Ragtime musician 27 years, 13 days
Robert Johnson[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] August 16, 1938 Unknown, but typically attributed to strychnine poisoning Blues singer and musician who recorded a very famous and influential set of 29 songs. 27 years, 100 days
Nat Jaffe[11] August 5, 1945 Complications from high blood pressure Swing jazz pianist 27 years, 216 days
Jesse Belvin[11][12][14][15] February 6, 1960 Car accident R&B singer, pianist and songwriter 27 years, 53 days
Rudy Lewis[14][16] May 20, 1964 Drug overdose Vocalist of The Drifters 27 years, 271 days
Malcolm Hale[11][15] October 31, 1968 Carbon monoxide poisoning Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang 27 years, 166 days
Dickie Pride[14] March 26, 1969 Overdose of sleeping pills Rock and roll singer 27 years, 156 days
Brian Jones[11][12][14][15][16][17][18] July 3, 1969 Drowning[19] (coroner's report states "death by misadventure")[20] Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist 27 years, 125 days
Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson[11][12][14][15][16][17] September 3, 1970 Barbiturate overdose, possible suicide Leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat 27 years, 61 days
Jimi Hendrix[11][12][14][15][16][17][18] September 18, 1970 Asphyxiation[21] Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys 27 years, 295 days
Janis Joplin[11][12][14][15][16][17][22] October 4, 1970 Probable heroin overdose[23] Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band 27 years, 258 days
Arlester "Dyke" Christian[11] March 13, 1971 Murdered Frontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke & the Blazers 27 years, 273 days
Jim Morrison[11][12][14][15][16][17][18] July 3, 1971 Reported as heart failure[24] Lead singer, lyricist and video director for The Doors, and poet 27 years, 207 days
Linda Jones[14] March 14, 1972 Complications from diabetes Soul singer 27 years, 91 days
Leslie Harvey[12][15][17] May 3, 1972 Electrocution Guitarist for Stone the Crows and brother of Alex Harvey 27 years, 233 days
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan[11][12][14][15][16][17] March 8, 1973 Gastrointestinal hemorrhage associated with alcoholism Founding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead 27 years, 181 days
Roger Lee Durham[11][15] July 27, 1973 Fell off a horse and died from the injuries Singer and percussionist of Bloodstone 27 years, 163 days
Wallace Yohn[11] August 12, 1974 Plane crash Organ player of Chase 27 years, 212 days
Dave Alexander[11][12][14][15][16][17] February 10, 1975 Pulmonary edema Bassist for the Stooges 27 years, 252 days
Pete Ham[11][12][14][15][16][17] April 24, 1975 Suicide by hanging Keyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger 27 years, 362 days
Gary Thain[11][12][15][16] December 8, 1975 Heroin overdose Former bassist of Uriah Heep and The Keef Hartley Band 27 years, 207 days
Cecilia [25][26] August 2, 1976 Car accident Singer 27 years, 296 days
Helmut Köllen[11][15] May 3, 1977 Carbon monoxide poisoning Bassist for 1970s prog rock band Triumvirat 27 years, 62 days
Chris Bell[11][12][14][15] December 27, 1978 Car accident Singer-songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo 27 years, 349 days
Jacob Miller[12][16] March 23, 1980 Car accident Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle 27 years, 324 days
D. Boon[11][12][14][15][17] December 22, 1985 Van accident Guitarist, lead singer of punk band the Minutemen 27 years, 266 days
Alexander Bashlachev[25] February 17, 1988 Fall from a height, probable suicide Poet, rock musician and songwriter 27 years, 266 days
Jean-Michel Basquiat[14][15][16][17] August 12, 1988 Speedball overdose Painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray 27 years, 234 days
Pete de Freitas[11][12][14][15][16] June 14, 1989 Motorcycle accident Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen 27 years, 346 days
Mia Zapata[11][12][14] July 7, 1993 Murdered Lead singer of The Gits 27 years, 316 days
Kurt Cobain[11][12][14][15][16][17][22] April 5, 1994 Suicide by gunshot [27] Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana 27 years, 44 days
Kristen Pfaff[11][12][14][15][16][17] June 16, 1994 Heroin overdose Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe 27 years, 21 days
Richey Edwards[11][14][15][17] February 1, 1995 Disappeared; officially presumed dead November 23, 2008. No body has ever been found. Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers 27 years, 41 days
Fat Pat[11][12] February 3, 1998 Murdered Rapper and member of Screwed Up Click 27 years, 61 days
Freaky Tah[11] March 28, 1999 Murdered Rapper and member of the hip hop group Lost Boyz 27 years, 318 days
Rodrigo Bueno[25] June 24, 2000 Car accident Cuarteto singer 27 years, 31 days
Sean Patrick McCabe[11][12][14][15] August 28, 2000 Asphyxiation Lead singer of Ink & Dagger 27 years, 289 days
Maria Serrano Serrano[11] November 24, 2001 Plane crash Background singer for Passion Fruit 27 years, 363 days
Jeremy Michael Ward[11][12][14][15] May 25, 2003 Heroin overdose The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator 27 years, 20 days
Bryan Ottoson[11][12][15] April 19, 2005 Prescription drug overdose Guitarist for American Head Charge 27 years, 32 days
Valentín Elizalde[11] November 26, 2006 Murdered Mexican banda singer 27 years, 297 days
Amy Winehouse[12][14][15][16][17][18] July 23, 2011 Alcohol poisoning[28] Singer-songwriter 27 years, 312 days
Richard Turner[12] August 11, 2011 Cardiac arrest Trumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires[29] 27 years, 12 days
Nicole Bogner[30] January 6, 2012 Illness Austrian mezzo-soprano. Singer and founder of Visions of Atlantis 27 years, 290 days


1. "After Nirvana Show airs on Saturday 3rd April 2100 – 2200". BBC. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
2. Weiss, David. "Amy Winehouse & The 27 Club". Life Goes Strong. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
3. a b c Charles R. Cross (February 22, 2007). "P-I's Writer in Residence Charles R. Cross explores the darker side of 'only the good die young'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 18, 2010.
4. "Is 27 really a dangerous age for famous musicians? A retrospective cohort study" (Press release). British Medical Journal. December 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011.
5. Nesta Roberts (September 10, 1971). "Flower bower". The Guardian (UK). p. 13.
6. James Riordan; Jerry Prochnicky (1992). Break on Through: The Life and Death of Jim Morrison. It Books. pp. 416, 467. ISBN 978-0-688-11915-7.
7. Charles R. Cross (2002). Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain (2nd ed.). Hyperion. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-7868-8402-5.
8. R. Gary Patterson. Take a Walk on the Dark Side: Rock and Roll Myths, Legends, and Curses. p. 259.
9. Josh Hunter; Eric Segalstad (2008). The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll. Berkeley Lake: Samadhi Creations. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-615-18964-2. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
10. The Inquisitr: Stating the Obvious, Amy Winehouse, Dec 28 2008
11. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag "The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll". Retrieved September 9, 2011.
12. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Forever 27 Hall of Fame". Retrieved September 9, 2011.
13. Sullivan, James (May 27, 2011). "Robert Johnson Founds the '27 Club' With Devil Pact – Twisted Tales". Spinner. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
14. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Members of the 27 Club". Ranker. July 31, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
15. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z O'Connor, Rob (July 23, 2011). "Twenty-Seven Members of the 27 Club". Yahoo Music. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
16. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Blair, Kevin (July 24, 2011). "The Forever 27 Club – Music's Growing List of Stars Who Died at 27 Years Old". StarPulse. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
17. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Stopera, Dave. "The 27 Club: 15 Other Musicians Who Died at Age 27". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
18. a b c d Clements, Paul (July 24, 2011). "Amy Winehouse joins the 'Forever 27' club". The Daily Telegraph (London).
19. "All about Brian Jones, by Anthony Bruno – "Death by Misadventure" – Crime Library on". July 10, 1969. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
20. Wyman 2002, p. 329
21. Brown, Tony (1997). "The Doctor's Story", Jimi Hendrix: The Final Days. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
22. a b Schillaci, Sophie A. (July 23, 2011). "Amy Winehouse Joins Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin in '27 Club'". The Hollywood Reporter.
23. Hendrickson, Paul (May 5, 1992). "Janis Joplin: A Cry Cutting Through Time". Washington Post. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
24. Walt, Vivienne (July 19, 2007). "Postcard: Paris". Time. Archived from the original on 12 April 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
25. a b c Saunders, Christian (January 2012). "The Forever 27 Club", Fortean Times. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
26. "El coche nos los arrebató". Con Plomo. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
27. van Gelder, Lawrence (March 3, 1998). "Footlights". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
28. Davies, Caroline (October 26, 2011). "Amy Winehouse inquest records verdict of misadventure". The Guardian (London). Retrieved October 26, 2011.
29. Smith, K. Alexander. "Richard Turner of Friendly Fires: 1984–2011". Retrieved August 29, 2011.
30. "Nicole Bogner: Former Visions of Atlantis Singer Dead At 27". Forever 27. Retrieved September 6, 2013.