The 27 Club: The age that marked death for so many great musicians
From Amy Winehouse to Jimi Hendrix, there are many great musicians who had one tragic thing in common: Dying at age 27.
July 25th, 2011
06:53 AM ET

The 27 Club: The age that marked death for so many great musicians

As most people know by now, incredibly talented singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment over the weekend. She joins an unfortunate club of singers who led troubled lives, some who struggled with drugs, and died at age 27.

The so-called "27s" is part of the title of a book published a few years ago that examines the deaths of many of these young musicians and the tragic number they have in common.

Considered the greatest electric guitarist of all time and an icon of his generation, Jimi Hendrix died in London in 1970 at age 27. He was well known for boozing and drugs, though according to the London Telegraph, the autopsy on him found that he died due to choking on his own vomit but there was little alcohol in his system.

Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose at the same age in the same year.  Jim Morrison, at age 27, died in 1971. He would be considered a pioneer not just for his music but poetry.

An earlier guitar great, a man regarded as the one of the best blues performers of all time, Robert Johnson died in 1938 at 27. It's unclear how he died but reports have circled that a lover poisoned him.

The Rolling Stones founder and guitarist Brian Jones died at 27 of what a coroner reportedly termed "misadventure" in 1969. He was a musician with many talents, playing the harmonica, sitar and marimba. Jones left the band shortly before his death. He was replaced by Mick Taylor.

Kurt Cobain died at 27 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in Seattle, Washington, in 1994. The frontman for the hit making, grunge-generation defining Nirvana is the stuff of legend.

In 1995, Freaky Tah of the emerging rap group The Lost Boyz passed away at 27. He was shot in the head as he left a party in New York.

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Filed under: Music
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. MARK

    Freaky Tah? Really? First of all, getting caught in the crossfire at a gang party hardly qualifies. Shame he (she?) died, hate to hear unfortunate news, but to include a nobody gangsta (just assuming...) rapper in with the pantheon of greats, problems maybe but still greats, just shows how shallow and liberal CNN truly is...stop pandering

    July 25, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • humble horrace

      We need more dead rappers.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • mike

      I concur sir !!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • H

      add country music to that list

      July 25, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Suzy

    Kurt was murdered.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Alexis

      agreed Suzy

      July 25, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Anders

      Yep, Courtney solicited "Il Duce" (Eldon Hoke) from the Mentors to kill him, he refused, and she never forgot. He told Drew Gallagher that story and turned up dead a few days later... Everybody in the seattle music scene knows that, some people were even at the party when it happened.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. humble horrace

    The biggest shame of all is that it wasnt Bono from U2 that died.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. humble horrace

    If we are lucky the entire group "boyz 2 men" will get wiped out in a drive-by.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gufmar.

    40 years after their deaths, Hendrix, Morrison, and Joplin are still remembered even by some youngsters. 40 years from now, I doubt it will be the same case for Winehouse.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Scott

    Amy Winehouse had talent?

    July 25, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Yo ma ma

      Horaces mother Getz food stamps for her services

      July 25, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Gufmar.

      Ouch!!!!!!!!!

      July 25, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. ryan

    not just musicians- Basquiat died of a heroin overdose at 27.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. hippypoet

    toilet water is cleaner then a dogs mouth and people let them lick there faces!

    July 25, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Princess Diana

    Myself, the Kennedys and MLK await Amys arrival in Hell.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • H

      Hell has internet?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mister Greep

    Arguing on the internet is like running in the special olympics. Even if you win you're still retarted.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • humble horrace

      Ya, and you should know.

      July 25, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • H

      +1 all the dead beats are home trolling

      July 25, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Phil

    The writer left out one. Robert Johnson, the "King of Delta Blues," died in 1938 at age 27.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Clapton Is God

      Errrrr.... ummmmm... methinks someone didn't read the article?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      No they didn't. "An earlier guitar great, a man regarded as the one of the best blues performers of all time, Robert Johnson died in 1938 at 27"

      July 25, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. Katmoondaddy

    Amy Winehouse was a flash in the pan. She had a short-lived career and did not have the mass appeal that Hendrix and other members of the 27 Club did. She was a great singer but threw it all away.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dimebag Winehouse

    Incredibly talented singer Amy Winehouse ? This where I stopped reading this article.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. bachmanntwit

    This is what happens when you doosh with drano.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  15. greg

    Really???? Well, that's the only link Winehouse has to those talented artists. She was a complete zero in every way.

    July 25, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • H

      That zero sold alot more records than you. So what does that make you?

      July 25, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
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