Monday 8 February 2016 – Numbers Explained: 27 – “The 27 Club” – Musicians & Singers who have died at the age of 27

27CLUBHEADER

This is the first in what I hope will become a series of blog posts on numbers and what significance they have in our lives – whether that be in film, TV, literature, politics, history, religion or, as in this first blog post on numbers – in music. When Amy Winehouse died in 2011 – aged 27 – she became the latest member of the so-called “27 Club” of musicians and singers, all of whom have died aged just 27!  Some people suggest the fact that so many (I have found 18 while researching this post) have died at that young age must mean there is some sort of conspiracy behind their deaths. The fact that many of the artists were superstars in the music world – the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain – added fuel to the conspiracy theories, probably stemming  from an inability to come to terms with the sudden deaths of famous people and having to give their deaths meaning. I don’t believe in these conspiracy theories. Why so many should die at 27 is just a coincidence, perhaps with the added possibility that 27 is a common age at which many musicians and singers are at their peak.  Most of the deaths listed below  were suicides or the result of accidental or deliberate overdoses of one sort or another. Many died because they had easy access to drugs and alcohol – something that so often comes along with life in music, especially at the top where many of these people were when they died.  Many were leading turbulent lives – both professionally and personally and drugs and alcohol only exasperated their problems. Despite rumours of murder and other conspiracies behind their deaths, no meaningful or verifiable evidence has been offered to back up these conspiracies. Even the death of Robert Johnson – who was possibly poisoned – is more likely to have been caused by syphilis. People want to believe there is more meaning to death when usually it is the sad truth that most of the these deaths were suicide or as a consequence of drug and alcohol abuse.  As I have said, I found 18 examples of deaths of musicians and singers at 27. To find out more about the artists, Google them or click on the Wiki link given. NOTE: links to SoundCloud.com perform a search for the artist and may bring up other artists with similar names or songs using the name of the artist. Artists in his post with no link to SoundCloud came up blank when I did a search for tracks by them. All links were correct as of Friday 5 February 2016.

 

Robert_JohnsonNo. 1 – ROBERT JOHNSON

Singer/songwriter/musician

Born:  8 May 1911 (Hazlehurst, Mississippi, USA)

Died:  16 August 1938 (Greenwood, Mississippi, USA)

Cause of Death: Uncertain. Some say he died of syphilis, others that he was poisoned

Wiki Link | Robert Johnson on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

rudy lewis

No.2 – RUDY LEWIS

Singer with THE DRIFTERS

Born: 23 August 1936 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)

Died: 20 May 1964 (Harlem, New York, USA)

Cause of Death: No autopsy. Probable drug overdose (possibly asphyxiation or heart attack)

Wiki Link | The Drifters on SoundCloud.com

 

 

brian jones

No.3 – BRIAN JONES

Musician/founder, original leader of THE ROLLING STONES

Born: 28 February 1942 (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, UK)

Died: 3 July 1969 (Hartfield, Sussex, England, UK)

Cause of Death: Death by Misadventure (Drowning linked to drug and alcohol abuse)

Wiki Link | The Rolling Stones on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

alan wilson

No. 4 – ALAN “BLIND OWL” WILSON

Musician/songwriter, founder/member of CANNED HEAT

Born: 4 July 1943 (Arlington, Massachusetts, USA)

Died: 3 September 1970 (Topanga, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Accidental barbiturate intoxication. Had attempted suicide earlier.

Wiki Link  | Canned Heat on SoundCloud.com

 

jimi hendrix

No. 5 – JIMMI HENDRIX

Guitarist/singer/songwriter

Born: 27 November 1942  (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Died: 18 September 1970 (Kensington, London, UK)

Cause of Death: Open verdict. Asphyxia (linked to barbiturates and aspirating his own vomit)

Wiki Link | Jimi Hendrix on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

janis joplin

No. 6 – JANIS JOPLIN

Singer/songwriter, lead singer with BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY

Born: 19 January 1943 (Port Arthur, Texas, USA)

Died: 4 October 1970 (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Overdose of heroin (linked to alcohol)

Wiki Link | Janis Joplin on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

jim morrison

No. 7 – JIM MORRISON

Singer/songwriter/poet, Lead Singer of THE DOORS

Born: 8 December 1943 (Melbourne, Florida, USA)

Died: 3 July 1971 (Le Marais, Paris, France)

Cause of Death: Accidental heroin overdose

Wiki Link | The Doors/Jim Morrison on SoundCloud.com

 

 

les harvey

No. 8 – LES HARVEY

Musician, guitarist with STONE THE CROWS. Brother of Alex Harvey

Born: 13 September 1944 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK)

Died: 3 May 1972 (Swansea, Wales, UK)

Cause of Death:  Electrocution after touching a microphone that was not grounded

Wiki Link | Stone The Crows on SoundCloud.com

 

Ron__Pigpen__McKernan

No. 9 – RON “PIGPEN” McKERNAN

Singer/musician, founder member of GRATEFUL DEAD

Born: 8 September 1945 (San Bruno, California, USA)

Died: 8 March 1973 (Corte Madera, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage (linked to alcoholism)

Wiki Link | Grateful Dead on SoundCloud.com

 

Dave_Alexander_Stooges

No. 10 – DAVE ALEXANDER

Musician, bassist with THE STOOGES

Born: 3 June 1947

Died: 10 February 1975 (Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA)

Cause of Death: Pulmonary edema (had been hospitalised with pancreatitis due to drinking)

Wiki Link  | The Stooges (Iggy Pop) on SoundCloud.com

 

Peteham

No. 11 – PETE HAM

Singer/songwriter/guitarist, member of BADFINGER. Wrote “Without You” by Harry Nilsson

Born: 27 April 1947 (Swansea, Wales, UK)

Died: 28 April 1975 (Surrey, England, UK)

Cause of Death:  Suicide

Wiki Link | Badfinger on SoundCloud.com | Harry Nilsson “Without You” on SoundCloud.com

 

gary thain

No. 12 – GARY THAIN

Musician, bassist with URIAH HEAP

Born: 15 May 1948 (Christchurch, New Zealand)

Died: 8 December 1975 (Norwood Green, London, UK)

Cause of Death: Respiratory failure due to heroin overdose

Wiki Link | Uriah Heep on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

chris bell

No. 13 – CHRIS BELL

Singer/songwriter/guitarist, lead singer of BIG STAR with Alex Chilton

Born: 12 January 1952 (Memphis, Tennessee, USA)

Died 27 December 1978

Cause of Death: Accidental death in car crash

Wiki Link

 

 

d. boon

No. 14 – “D” BOON

Musician/songwriter/producer, singer with/co-founder of MINUTEMEN

Born: 1 April 1958 (San Pedro, California, USA)

Died: 22 December 1985 (Tucson, Arizona, USA)

Cause of Death: Accidental death in van crash

Wiki Link | Minutemen on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

pete de freitas

No. 15 – PETE de FREITAS

Musician/producer, drummer with ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN

Born: 2 August 1961 (Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago)

Died: 14 June 1989 (Longdon Green, Staffordshire, England, UK)

Cause of Death: Motorcycle accident

Wiki Link | Echo & The Bunnymen on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

kurt cobain

No. 16 – KURT COBAIN

Lead singer of NIRVANA

Born: 20 February 1967 (Aberdeen, Washington, USA)

Died:  5 April 1984 (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Cause of Death: Suicide (gunshot to the head)

Wiki Link | Nirvana on SoundCloud.com

 

Kristen_Pfaff

No. 17 – KRISTEN PFAFF

Musician/songwriter/member of HOLE

Born: 26 May 1967 (Buffalo, New York, USA)

Died: 16 July 1994 (Seattle, Washington, USA)

Cause of Death: Acute opiate intoxication

Wiki Link 

 

 

amy winehouse

No. 18 – AMY WINEHOUSE

Singer/Songwriter

Born: 14 September 1983 (Southgate, London, UK)

Died: 23 July 2011 (Camden, London, UK)

Cause of Death: Alcohol poisoning

 Wiki Link | Amy Winehouse on SoundCloud.com

 

 

 

 

Do you know any more musicians or singers who have died at the age of 27? Email me at stevenulty@hotmail.com or leave a comment to this post.

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