What is the 27 Club?

atkins bookshelf musicMost people are familiar with the old joke about the mortuary or graveyard: it’s so popular that people are dying to get in. Unfortunately, the 27 Club is no joke — people literally have to die to get in. Specifically, the 27 Club refers to the group of famous musicians that died at the young age of 27. When Kurt Cobain’s mother, Wendy O’Connor, learned of his death by suicide, she remarked: “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.”

Charles Cross, who wrote biographies of Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix, noted in an interview: “The number of musicians who died at 27 is truly remarkable by any standard. [Even though] humans die regularly at all ages, there is a statistical spike for musicians who die at 27.” As you can imagine, the cause of death at such an early age, is due mainly to drug overdose, alcohol abuse, suicide, or homicide. Here are famous musicians who died at 27.

Alexandre Levy: Composer, pianist and conductor
Louis Chauvin: Ragtime musician
Robert Johnson: Blues singer and musician
Nat Jaffe: Swing jazz pianist
Jesse Belvin: R&B singer, pianist, and songwriter
Rudy Lewis: Vocalist of the Drifters
Joe Henderson: R&B and gospel singer
Malcolm Hale: Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang
Dickie Pride: Rock n’ roll singer
Brian Jones: Rolling Stones founder, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist
Alexandra: German schlager vocalist
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson: Leader, singer, and primary composer of Canned Heat
Jimi Hendrix: Electric guitarist, singer, and songwriter for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys
Janis Joplin: Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band, and Full Tilt Boogie Band
Arlester “Dyke” Christian: Frontman, vocalist, and bassist of Dyke and the Blazers
Jim Morrison: Singer, lyricist, and leader of the Doors
Linda Jones: Soul singer
Leslie Harvey: Guitarist for Stone the Crows
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan: Founding member, keyboardist, and singer of the Grateful Dead
Roger Lee Durham: Singer and percussionist of Bloodstone
Wallace “Wally” Yohn: Organ player of Chase
Dave Alexander: Bassist for the Stooges
Pete Ham: Keyboardist, guitarist, and leader of Badfinger
Gary Thain: Former bassist of Uriah Heep and the Keef Hartley Band
Cecilia: Singer
Helmut Köllen: Bassist for Triumvirat
Chris Bell: Guitarist and singer-songwriter Big Star and solo
Zenon De Fleur: Guitarist for the Count Bishops
Jacob Miller: Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle
D. Boon: Guitarist and lead singer of the Minutemen
Alexander Bashlachev: Poet, rock musician, and songwriter
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Painter, graffiti artist, and founder of Gray
Pete de Freitas: Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen
Chris Austin: Singer for Reba McEntire
Joey Cigainero: Keyboardist for Reba McEntire
Dimitar Voev: Founder of New Generation
Mia Zapata: Lead singer of the Gits
Kurt Cobain: Founding member, guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter for Nirvana
Kristen Pfaff: Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe
Richey Edwards: Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers
Stretch: Rapper
Fat Pat: American rapper and member of Screwed Up Click
Freaky Tah: American rapper and member of Lost Boyz
Kami: Drummer for Malice Mizer
Rodrigo Bueno: Cuarteto singer
Sean Patrick McCabe: Lead singer of Ink & Dagger
Maria Serrano Serrano: Background singer for Passion Fruit
Jeremy Michael Ward: Sound manipulator for Mars Volta and De Facto
Bryan Ottoson: Guitarist for American Head Charge
Valentín Elizalde: Singer
Amy Winehouse: Singer-songwriter
Richard Turner: Trumpet player
Nicole Bogner: Singer for Visions of Atlantis
Soroush “Looloosh” Farazmand: Guitarist for the Yellow Dogs
Slađa Guduraš: Pop singer and actress
Tomas Lowe: Bassist for Viola Beach
Thomas Fekete: Guitarist for Surfer Blood
Anton Yelchin: Actor, guitarist for The Hammerheads

Read related posts: How Famous Singers Got Their Names
How Rock Bands Got Their Names

Origins of the Beatles Name
The Dark Side of the Moon Turns 40
Best Books for Music Lovers
How Many Music Genres Exist?

For further reading: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/27-club-famous-musicians-died-age-27-article-1.2501832

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