Some Clubs are Killing for Members

by M-Gillies

Call it pop culture phenomenon, weird curses, coincidental trivia, or dub it a statistical anomaly on par with the number 23 enigma, but unlike the Mile High Club or the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the 27 Club seems to find its members literally dying for a membership.

Anyone who is a fan of music, particularly fans of rock and blues oriented music, understands that excess and tragedy go hand-in-hand. It’s a trademark label, branded to iconify those musical legends, the ones who lived the rock star stereotype.

The last big concert of Jimi Hendrix before he died in London on September 18, 1970 was in Germany only 12 days before he died.

However, it is only in hindsight, after the band has left the stage, that a deeper pattern begins to emerge surrounding the tragic deaths of musical icons, which can only be attributed to the 27anomaly.

In 1994, the death of Kurt Cobain, front man of the band Nirvana, shocked the world. At the peak of his career, his death ended the brute force of Seattle’s grunge scene and prompted everyone’s attention to the 27 Club.

In a New York Times report, Wendy O’Connor, mother of Cobain said, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club.”

It was the 27 Club, that got its name from a group of musicians throughout the years, who died at the age of 27, generally during the height of their careers.

While Cobain’s death marked a resurgence of the popularity with the 27 Club, the most famous members of this group all died within a two year period, from 1969-1971, with memberships consisting of: Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison.

Coincidentally enough, Jones and Morrison both died on July 3, albeit two years apart from one another.

Despite their well documented deaths, the famous 5 are not the first and only members of the club. It can be traced as far back as 1908, when a ragtime musician named Louis Chauvin died of neurosyphilitic sclerosis.

The newest member to the 27 club is troubled singer Amy Winehouse, who was found dead in her London home on July 23 2011.

However, as one clinical psychologist said for the Sunday Times, “We spend an awful lot of our twenties defining ourselves with our jobs, with our relationships. When we reach 27 we’ve been trying so hard to reach certain goals – fame, money, success – that we might suddenly realize for the first time that we’re not that happy after all.”

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