The 27 Club

Definition: a list of popular musicians, artists or actors that have died at age twenty seven, often as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, or violent means such as homicide, suicide, or transportation-related accidents.

Once you realize how many artists have died at the age of 27, it kind of gets a little distressing, particularly if you happen to be an artist and 26 (I am less than two months from turning 27).

Is it a conspiracy? Something more sinister? Fate? The curse of being a talented individual? 

Robert Johnson

Considered by many to be one of the most influential musicians of all time, blues singer Robert Johnson only recorded 29 songs. He never quite got famous during his life. He died age 27 and 100 days, murdered by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted.

What makes him my favorite in this list is the legend that he sold his soul to the Devil. I even wrote a short story about it here. Allegedly he sold his soul in exchange for talent, but he did not achieve fame nor become wealthy. Quite ironic, similar to how all of Brendan Fraser’s wishes turned out in Bedazzled.

Jimi Hendrix

Despite a career spanning only four years, the American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter is thought to be the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. On the morning of September 18, 1970, at the age of 27 years and 295 days, Hendrix took nine sleeping tablets, which left him so incapacitated that he choked on his own vomit and died.

Jim Morrison

The legendary lead singer of the Doors was found dead in his bathtub in his Paris apartment. No autopsy was performed.

Kurt Cobain

Rockstar. Drug addict. Composed a song called “I Hate Myself and Want to Die.” He shot himself with a shotgun on April 5, 1994. He was 27 years and 44 days old.

Amy Winehouse

Died at 27 years and 312 days from alcohol poisoning, the tragic conclusion of a life of excess.

Honorable Mentions

James Dean and Marilyn Monroe

James Dean, the rebel actor, died at the age of 24 in a car accident, while Marilyn Monroe died at the age of 36 from a drug overdose.

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