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Amy Winehouse Joins the 27 Club

Dying at the age of 27 has placed Amy Winehouse in a line-up of music greats who died tragically young.

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Outside Winehouse’s home in Camden, north London, neighbor Jann Meyer, 33, said: “It’s not really a shock, it was to be expected sooner or later. She was 27, and all good rock stars go at 27. She was very talented, she was amazing.”

The club in question is the 27 Club. Also known as the Forever 27 Club or Club 27, it is a name for a group of influential rock music artists who died at the age of 27.

Their premature deaths have often been associated with troubled lives and hard living, with a lot of physical abuse in between, usually involving drink or drugs, or both.

Jimi Hendrix By Evening Standard Getty Images

Jimi Hendrix died in London in the early hours of September 18, 1970. He had spent the previous evening at a party, and it was estimated that he died at some point after 3am. The official cause of death of this guitar great was asphyxiation on vomit. Although stories abound about his consumption of red wine and sleeping pills the autopsy found very little alcohol in his system, and mentioned only vomited matter.

Often regarded as the greatest electric guitarist in musical history, the Hendrix legacy did not die with him.

Dying young is by no means the preserve of hard rock: blues man Robert Johnson, who died on August 16, 1938, was another great musician whose talent was so marked by the time of his death at 27 that he has been cited – by Eric Clapton, no less – as “the most important blues singer that ever lived”.

Johnson’s death was not self-inflicted, and there are a number of differing accounts, but the likelihood is that he was poisoned with strychnine – by a lover’s jealous husband.

Brian Jones, the guitarist with the Rolling Stones, drowned in a swimming pool in 1969. The coroner’s report said it was “death by misadventure”.

Janis Joplin died of a probable heroin overdose on October 4, 1970.

The Doors Getty Images by Express Newspapers

Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors, and no stranger to controversy, died of “heart failure” in 1971. There was, however, no autopsy and questions remain over his death in a Paris apartment bathtub.

The keyboardist for legendary rockers the Grateful Dead, Roger “Pigpen” McKernan died of a hemorrhage brought on by alcoholism in March 1973.

Kurt Cobain Getty Image by Frank Micelotta

And Kurt Cobain, lead singer and guitarist of Nirvana, joined this unfortunate group in April 1994. He had committed suicide by shotgun. His body had been lying at his Lake Washington home for days. The coroner’s report estimated that Cobain had died on April 5, 1994.

Afterwards his mother Wendy was quoted as saying: “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club.”

 

 

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