What is the 27 Club?
The 27 Club is a sort of conspiracy theory that exists in the music world, due to the high number of famous musicians that have all died at the age of twenty seven. The deaths of these musicians in this club are also rather bizarre or tragic, usually as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, adding to the hype of the idea of the age of twenty seven being a precursor for death for musicians.
Some of the more noted musicians to join the 27 club include Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. While it had been noted in past deaths, it wasn’t until Kurt Cobain’s famous suicide in 1994 that people and the media really started to capitalise on the theory and speculation of the idea of the 27 club, and possible connections to other musicians who had died at the same age. There were some who thought that Cobain had deliberately committed suicide at the age of 27 to join the famous club. According to conspiracy theorists, the notion of musicians deliberately dying at the age of 27 is further strengthened by the high number of deaths from suicide or overdoses.
In an interview in 2008, Amy Winehouse, a singer and songwriter was asked about the 27 club, and stated that she was fearful of dying at that age. She went on to die at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning.
When it comes to the 27 club, there are many different theories and speculations about the causes of such early deaths and their possible connections. Charles R. Cross, a biographer wrote that "The number of musicians who died at 27 is truly remarkable by any standard. [Although] humans die regularly at all ages, there is a statistical spike for musicians who die at 27."
Members of the 27 Club
A List of Musicians Belonging to the 27 Club
The list of people below are all members of the 27 club, having been musicians that died at the age of twenty seven. Also listed are the day they died and how they died.
Alexandre Levy: Composer, pianist and conductor, died on January 17, 1892. It is unknown how he died.
Louis Chauvin: Ragtime musician, died on March 26, 1908. Cause of death: Neurosyphilitic sclerosis
Robert Johnson: Blues singer and musician, died on August 16, 1938. Cause of death: Believed to be strychnine poisoning.
Nat Jaffe: Swing Jazz pianist, died on August 5, 1945. Cause of death: Complications from high blood pressure.
Jesse Belvin: R&B singer, pianist and songwriter, died on February 6, 1960. Died in a car accident.
Rudy Lewis: Singer for The Drifters, died on May 20, 1964. Cause of death: Drug overdose.
Malcolm Hale: Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang, died on October 31, 1968. Cause of death: Carbon monoxide poisoning.
Dickie Pride: Rock and Roll singer, died on March 26, 1969. Cause of death: Overdose of sleeping pills.
Brian Jones: Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, died on July 3, 1969. Cause of death: Drowned.
Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson: Leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat, died on September 3, 1970. Cause of death: Barbiturate overdose, possible suicide.
Jimi Hendrix: Revolutionary electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys, died on September 18, 1970. Cause of death: Asphyxiation
Janis Joplin: Singer and Songwriter Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band, died on October 4, 1970. Cause of death: Heroin overdose.
Arlester "Dyke" Christian: Frontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke & the Blazers, died on March 13, 1971. He was murdered.
Jim Morrison: Lead singer, lyricist and video director for The Doors, died on July 3, 1971. Cause of death: Reported as heart failure.
Linda Jones: Soul singer, died on March 14, 1972. Cause of death: Complications from diabetes.
Leslie Harvey: Guitarist for Stone the Crows, died on May 3, 1972. Cause of death: Electrocution.
Ron "Pigpen" McKernan: Founding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead, died on March 8, 1973. Cause of death: Gastrointestinal haemorrhage associated with alcoholism.
Roger Lee Durham: Singer and percussionist of Bloodstone, died on July 27, 1973. He fell off a horse and died from the resulting injuries.
Wallace Yohn: Organ player of Chase, died on August 12, 1974. Died in a plane crash.
Dave Alexander: Bassist for the Stooges, died on February 10, 1975. Cause of death: Pulmonary edema.
Pete Ham: Keyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger, died on April 24, 1975. Cause of death: Suicide by hanging.
Gary Thain: Former bassist of Uriah Heep and The Keef Hartley Band, died on December 8, 1975. Cause of death: Heroin overdose.
Cecilia: Singer, died on August 2, 1976. Died in a car accident.
Helmut Köllen: Bassist for Triumvirat, died on May 3, 1977. Cause of death: Carbon monoxide poisoning.
Chris Bell: Singer-songwriter and guitarist of Big Star, died on December 27, 1978. Died in a car accident.
Jacob Miller: Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle, died on March 23, 1980. Died in a car accident.
D. Boon: Lead Singer and Guitarist of The Minutemen, died on December 22, 1985. Died in a van accident.
Alexander Bashlachev: Poet, rock musician and songwriter, died on February 17, 1988. Cause of death: Fall from a height, probable suicide.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Founding member of the band Gray, died on [August 12, 1988. Cause of death: Speedball overdose.
Pete de Freitas: Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen, died on June 14, 1989. Died in a motorcycle accident.
Mia Zapata: Lead singer of The Gits, died on July 7, 1993. She was murdered
Kurt Cobain: Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana, died on April 5, 1994. Cause of death: Suicide by gunshot.
Kristen Pfaff: Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe, died on June 16, 1994. Cause of death: Heroin overdose.
Richey Edwards: Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers. Edwards disappeared on February 1, 1995. Presumed dead as of November 23,
Fat Pat: Rapper and member of Screwed Up Click, died on February 3, 1998. He was murdered.
Freaky Tah: Rapper and member of Lost Boyz, died on March 28, 1999. He was murdered.
Rodrigo Bueno: Cuarteto singer, died on June 24, 2000. Died in a car accident.
Sean Patrick McCabe: Lead singer of Ink & Dagger, died on August 28, 2000. Cause of death: Asphyxiation.
Maria Serrano Serrano: Background singer for Passion Fruit, died on November 24, 2001. Cause of death: Plane crash.
Jeremy Michael Ward: The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator, died on May 25, 2003. Cause of death: Heroin overdose.
Bryan Ottoson: Guitarist for American Head Charge, died on April 19, 2005. Cause of death: Prescription drug overdose.
Valentín Elizalde: Mexican banda singer, died on November 26, 2006. Cause of death: Murdered.
Amy Winehouse: Singer and Songwriter, died on July 23, 2011. Cause of death: Alcohol poisoning.
Richard Turner: Trumpet player, died on August 11, 2011. Cause of death: Cardiac arrest.