The 27 Club, also knows as the Forever 27 Club, Club 27 or the Curse of 27, is based on the concept that many popular musicians have died at the age of 27. The name “club” or 27 Club has often been used in music magazines, journals, the daily press and has been a popular topic of study.
The idea of the 27 Club was officially spread to the public after the death of Kurt Cobain. Although Brian Jones, Alan Wilson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison had all died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971, there had not been much connection between their same death-age reported in the public press until the Nirvana frontman pulled the trigger.
According to Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain’s biographer Charles R. Cross, it was “the growing importance of the media — internet, television and magazines — and the response to an interview of Cobain’s mother” that was responsible for name.
Soon after her son’s death, Cobain’s mother, Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O’Connor, made a statement saying “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.” Although many thought she was referring to the Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison dying at 27 “club”, others assumed she was referring to the death of his two uncles and his great uncle who had all committed suicide at the same age.
Although many others have joined this club, It wasn’t until 2011 when Singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning, that there was a large amount of media attention devoted to the 27 club once again.
Here are only some of the artists who belong to The 27 Club:
Rudy Lewis: (August 23, 1936 – May 20, 1964) was an American rhythm and blues singer, known for his work with The Drifters. He died of a drug overdose.
Brian Jones: (February 28, 1942 – July 3, 1969), was an English musician and a founder member of the Rolling Stones. Although it was reported that he died of a drowning incident, the coroner’s report stated “death by misadventure”, and noted his liver and heart were heavily enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.
Jimi Hendrix: (November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970) was an American musician and singer-songwriter. Died of asphyxia.
Janis Joplin: (January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970) was an American singer and songwriter best known for the song “Piece of my Heart” and “Me and Bobby McGee”. She died of a heroin overdose.
Jim Morrison: (December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971) was the lead singer and lyricist of the rock band The Doors, as well as a poet. His death was reported as a heart failure; although no autopsy was performed because according to French law no autopsy was to be performed if there was no evidence of foul play. However, Pamela Courson, Morrison’s long-term companion and the one who found him, stated that Morrison had died of a heroin overdose.
Kurt Cobain: (February 20, 1967 – April 5, 1994) was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana. He died of suicide by gunshot.
Kristen Marie Pfaff: (May 26, 1967 – June 16, 1994) was an American musician, best known as the bass guitarist for alternative rock band Hole, fronted by singer-songwriter and Cobain’s wife Courtney Love. She died of a heroin overdose.
Amy Winehouse: (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer and songwriter best known for the song “Rehab”. She died of alcohol poisoning.