The 27 Club is that infamous list of extremely talented and popular musicians who all died at twenty-seven years of age. There are currently forty-nine known members of the club, (which is listed on PPcorn below). These deaths at a young age were often caused by drug or alcohol overdoses although some were more nefarious, caused by murder, suicide, or freak accident. Although scientific statistics state that there is no significant risk of death at specifically age twenty-seven for musicians, studies do show that musicians within their twenties and thirties have an increased risk of death.
The origin of the 27 Club goes back to the end of the peace and love era, when Alan Wilson, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died between 1969 and 1971 at age twenty-seven. At that time the press made no note of the age commonality between them. Almost twenty-five years later, twenty-seven year old Kurt Cobain committed suicide and suddenly the press had inducted him into this 27 Club. They took a quote from an interview with Cobain’s mother, who had said, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.” She was referring to the suicides of his two uncles and his great uncle, but the press assumed she was referring to the other musicians who had all died at the same age.
Millennials and younger were reminded of the legacy of the 27 Club when Amy Winehouse died at age twenty-seven in 2011, after having expressed a fear of dying at that age three years earlier. Since its establishment, the list of members has been expanded to its current forty-nine members. Whoever tragically joins as the fiftieth is sure to receive a great deal of press on the matter. Below is PPcorn’s list of 27 Club members.
Alexandre Levy. A composer, pianist and conductor, died of unknown causes in 1892.
Louis Chauvin. A ragtime musician died of neurosyphilitic sclerosis in 1908.
Robert Johnson. A blues singer and recording artist died of poisoning in 1938.
Nat Jaffe. A swing jazz pianist died of high blood pressure complications in 1945.
Jesse Belvin. A pianist, R&B singer and songwriter, died of a car crash in 1960.
Rudy Lewis. A vocalist with the Drifters died of a drug overdose in 1964.
Joe Henderson. An R&B and gospel singer died of a heart attack in 1964.
Malcolm Hale. Guitarist for Spanky and Our Gang died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1968.
Dickie Pride. A rock n roll singer, died of an overdose of sleeping pills in 1969.
Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Died of drowning in 1969.
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson of Canned Heat. Died of drug overdose or suicide in 1970.
Jimi Hendrix. Died of asphyxiation in 1970.
Janis Joplin. Died of a drug overdose (possibly heroine) in 1970.
Arlester “Dyke” Christian of Dyke and the Blazers. He was murdered in 1971.
Jim Morrison of The Doors. Died of heart failure in 1971.
Linda Jones. A soul singer died of diabetes complications in 1972.
Leslie Harvey. Died of electrocution in 1972.
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan of the Grateful Dead. Died of hemorrhage in 1973.
Roger Lee Durham of Bloodstone. Died from a horse fall in 1973.
Wallace Yohn of Chase. Died in a plane crash in 1974.
Dave Alexander of the Stooges. Died of a pulmonary edema in 1975.
Pete Ham of Badfinger. Died by suicide in 1975.
Gary Thain. Died of a drug overdose in 1975.
Cecelia. A singer died of a car crash in 1976.
Helmut Kollen of Triumvirat. Died of carbon monoxide poisoning in 1976.
Chris Bell of Big Star. Died on a car crash.
Jacob Miller of Inner circle. Died of a car crash in 1980.
D. Boon of Minutemen. Died of a car crash in 1985.
Alexander Bashlachev. A singer, songwriter, died from a fall, possibly suicide, in 1988.
Jean-Michel Basquiat of the Gray. Died of a drug overdose in 1988.
Pete de Freitas of Echo and the Bunnymen. Died of a car crash in 1989.
Mia Zapata of the Grits. Was murdered in 1993.
Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Died of suicide in 1994.
Kristen Pfaff of Hole and Janitor Joe. Died of a drug overdose in 1994.
Richey Edwards of Manic Street Preachers. Disappeared in 1995 and was declared dead in 2008.
Fat Pat of Screwed Up Click. Was murdered in 1998.
Freaky Tah of Lost Boyz. Was murdered in 1999.
Kami of Malice Mizer. Died of Subarachnoid hemorrhage in 1999.
Rodrigo Bueno. A Cuarteto singer, died of a car crash in 2000.
Sean Patrick McCabe of Ink and Dagger. Died of Asphyxiation in 2000.
Maria Serrano of Passion Fruit. Died of a plane crash in 2001.
Jeremy Michael Ward of The Mars Volta and De Facto. Died of a drug overdose in 2003.
Bryan Ottoson of American Head Charge. Died of a drug overdose in 2005.
Valentín Elizalde. A Mexican band singer was murdered in 2006.
Amy Winehouse. Died of alcohol poisoning in 2011.
Richard Turner of Friendly Fires. Died of cardiac arrest in 2011.
Nicole Bogner of Visions of Atlantis. Died of an undisclosed illness in 2012.
Soroush “Looloosh” Farazmand of the Yellow Dogs. Was murdered in 2013.
Monkey Black. A rapper and singer, was murdered in 2014.