Countdown to retirement: 27 days

The 27 Club, also occasionally known as the Forever 27 Club, is a popular culture name for a group of influential rock and blues musicians who all died at the age of 27, sometimes under mysterious circumstances. In astrology, 27 years of age is the beginning of the period known as Saturn return.

The statistical anomaly of some of our greatest musicians dying at the age of 27 has created mystery and intrigue. One thing is for sure: this incredible group of people changed the world.
Some of the Hall of Famers (these were not a bunch of happy campers):

Brian Jones - Rolling Stones founder and rhythm guitarist/multi-instrumentalist. Died: 3 July 1969 - Drowned in swimming pool.

Jimi Hendrix - Pioneering electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Band of Gypsys. Died: 18 September 1970 - Asphyxiated on vomit after accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

Janis Joplin - Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother & The Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band. Died: 4 October 1970 - Possible heroin overdose.

Jim Morrison - Poet, lead singer, songwriter, and video director for The Doors. Died: 3 July 1971 - Official cause of death listed as "heart failure" but, as no autopsy was performed, the actual cause remains mysterious. Possible accidental overdose.

Kurt Cobain - Lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Nirvana. Died: 8 April 1994 - Officially recorded as suicide by self inflicted gun shot, although there remains much speculation.

Louis Chauvin - Ragtime musician. Died: 26 March 1908 - Syphilis.

Robert Johnson - Bluesman. Recorded very famous and influential set of 29 songs that influenced many famous musicians after him including Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. Died: 16 August 1938 - Unknown, but typically credited to strychnine poisoning. Possibly shot.

Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson - Leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat. Died: 3 September 1970 - Barbiturate overdose, possible suicide.

Les Harvey - Guitarist of Stone the Crows. Died: 2 May 1972 - Electrocuted by a microphone. (Bummer.)

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - Founding member and keyboardist of the Grateful Dead. Died: 8 March 1973 - Gastrointestinal hemorrhage associated with alcoholism.

Peter Ham - Keyboardist/Guitarist, leader of Badfinger. Died: 24 April 1975 - Suicide by hanging.

Gary Thain - Former bassist of Uriah Heep. Died: 8 December 1975 - Drug overdose.



Jill said...

This is a tragic list - but how interesting is it that so many of these musical pioneers died at 27? I never knew.

Morrison is my fave of this group.

Terri said...

I have a soft spot for Janis. I have fun attempting to sing her songs! Take another little piece of my heart... It was also rare for a woman to be among the rockers back then -- sick as they all were!

Amanda said...

I miss Cobain. While he may not have been the most talented on this list, he certainly changed the face of music in the 90s, and went right along with my early high school years.

Josh and Eric @ said...

It's an interesting topic indeed. Check out the complete list of 27s here.
The 27s book is coming out October 27!