Sunday, July 24, 2011

Amy Winehouse and the Forever 27 Club

Now, I'm not a avid fan of Amy Winehouse myself but her death yesterday (23 July 2011) has given me reasons to pause. For one, I'm also 27 this year. Two, there is something about the age of 27 that claims the life of of musicians.

For those unfamiliar with the Forever 27 Club:
Between 1969 and 1971, four famous artists died at the age of 27, Brian Jones of the rolling stones (3 July 1969), Jimi Hendrix (18 September 1970), Janis Joplin (4 October 1970), and Jim Morrison of The Doors (3 July, 1971). The coincidence of their deaths lead to the creation of the Forever 27 Club. Years later, Kurt Cobain killed himself and joined the club also (5 April, 1994). One thing all these member have in common is rock & roll and drugs. With the exception of Morrison, all the members were known heavy drug users. Some speculate that even Morrison was under the influence of drugs during his death - no autopsy was preformed in his case but some conflicting reports suggest he was using at the time of death.

Undoubtedly, some will try to induct Amy Winehouse into the Forever 27 club. She was a talent, famous singer-songwriter. Winehouse was known for heavy drug use and, most importantly, she died at 27. However, the Forever 27 Club is not for any musician that dies at 27 - it is reserved for Rock musicians. If you were to include Winehouse, classified as a R&B/soul/jazz singer, you would then have to include a large number of musicians from other genres who all died at age 27.

I'm not attempting to say who belongs in the Club and who doesn't. Some include more musicians; some include only the four from the early 70s. There are however numerous musicians who have died at the age of 27. If you look at the graph to the right, you can see that there is nothing out of the ordinary for the age 27. Yet, there is a statical spike at 27 for musicians. Perhaps an early death is just the product of the rock & roll lifestyle. You can read about the 30 or so musicians that have died at 27 here.

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