Rock Stars and Musicians that died at age 27, very bizarre

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The number of rockers who were taken from us too early in life — whether by accident, violence or misadventure — is obviously far too large. The fact that so many of the biggest and most influential talents in rock history died at the age of 27 is even more bizarre, and when you think about it, downright creepy.

Over the years, the stories behind the deaths of the members of this so called “27 club” have grown more and more inflated and outrageous, with everything from legal cover-ups to elaborate hoaxes and even deals with the devil trotted out to try and make some sense of these tragic losses.

Together with our friends at Loudwire, we try to distinguish fact from fiction regarding these sad stories on the following list of Rockers Who Died at Age 27.

 Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971. At the time, the coincidence gave rise to some comment but it was not until the death of Kurt Cobain, about two and a half decades later, that the idea of a “27 Club” began to catch on in public perception.

According to Hendrix and Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross, the growing importance of the media—Internet, television and magazines—and the response to an interview of Cobain’s mother were jointly responsible for such theories. An excerpt from a statement that Cobain’s mother, Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O’Connor, made in the Aberdeen, Washington newspaper The Daily World—”Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.”—referred to Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison dying at the same age, according to Cross. Other authors share his view. On the other hand, Josh Hunter and Eric Segalstad, writer of The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll, assumed that Cobain’s mother referred to the death of his two uncles and his great uncle, who all committed suicide. According to Cross, the events have led a “set of conspiracy theorists [to suggest] the absurd notion that Kurt Cobain intentionally timed his death so he could join the 27 Club”.

In 2011, seventeen years after Cobain’s death, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, and there was a large amount of media attention devoted to the club once again. Three years earlier, she had expressed a fear of dying at that age.

People identified as being in the 27 Club

Name Date of death Official cause of death Fame Age
Levy, Alexandre January 17, 1892 Unknown Composer, pianist and conductor 27 years, days  
Chauvin, Louis March 26, 1908 Neurosyphilitic sclerosis Ragtime musician 27 years, 13 days  
Johnson, Robert August 16, 1938 Poisoning (Strychnine) Blues singer and musician who recorded a very influential set of 29 songs. 27 years, 100 days  
Nat Jaffe August 5, 1945 Complications from high blood pressure Swing jazz pianist 27 years, 216 days  
Jesse Belvin February 6, 1960 Traffic collision (car) R&B singer, pianist and songwriter 27 years, 53 days  
Lewis, Rudy 01964-05-20-0000May 20, 1964 Drug overdose Vocalist of the Drifters 27 years, 271 days  
Henderson, Joe October 24, 1964 Heart attack R&B and gospel singer 27 years, 183 days  
Hale, Malcolm ! 01968-10-31-0000October 31, 1968 Poisoning (carbon monoxide) Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang 27 years, 166 days  
Pride, Dickie March 26, 1969 Drug overdose (sleeping pills) Rock and roll singer 27 years, 156 days  
Jones, Brian 01969-07-03-0000July 3, 1969 Drowning(coroner’s report states “death by misadventure”) Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist 27 years, 125 days  
Wilson, Alan “Blind Owl” 01970-09-03-0000September 3, 1970 Drug overdose (barbiturate), possible suicide Leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat 27 years, 61 days  
Hendrix, Jimi September 18, 1970 Asphyxiation Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys 27 years, 295 days  
Joplin, Janis October 4, 1970 Drug overdose (probable, heroin) Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band 27 years, 258 days  
Arlester “Dyke” Christian March 13, 1971 Murdered Frontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke and the Blazers 27 years, 273 days  
Morrison, Jim 01971-07-03-0000July 3, 1971 Heart failure Singer, lyricist, and leader of the Doors 27 years, 207 days  
Jones, Linda March 14, 1972 Complications from diabetes Soul singer 27 years, 91 days  
Harvey, Leslie May 3, 1972 Electrocution Guitarist for Stone the Crows and brother of Alex Harvey 27 years, 233 days  
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan March 8, 1973 Gastrointestinal hemorrhage Founding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead 27 years, 181 days  
Roger Lee Durham July 27, 1973 Fell off a horse and died from the injuries Singer and percussionist of Bloodstone 27 years, 163 days  
Yohn, Wallace !Wallace Yohn 01974-08-12-0000August 12, 1974 Plane crash Organ player of Chase 27 years, 212 days  
Alexander, Dave February 10, 1975 Pulmonary edema Bassist for the Stooges 27 years, 252 days  
Ham, Pete April 24, 1975 Suicide by hanging Keyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger 27 years, 362 days  
Thain, Gary December 8, 1975 Drug overdose (heroin) Former bassist of Uriah Heep and the Keef Hartley Band 27 years, 207 days  
Cecilia August 2, 1976 Traffic collision (car) Singer 27 years, 296 days  
Köllen, Helmut May 3, 1977 Poisoning (carbon monoxide) Bassist for 1970s prog rock band Triumvirat 27 years, 27 days  
Bell, Chris December 27, 1978 Traffic collision (car) Singer-songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo 27 years, 349 days  
Miller, Jacob March 23, 1980 Traffic collision (car) Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle 27 years, 324 days  
Boon, D. December 22, 1985 Traffic collision (van) Guitarist, lead singer of punk band the Minutemen 27 years 266 days  
Bashlachev, Alexander February 17, 1988 Fall from a height, probable suicide Poet, rock musician and songwriter 27 years 266 days  
Basquiat, Jean-Michel August 12, 1988 Drug overdose (Speedball) Painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray 27 years, 234 days  
de Freitas, Pete June 14, 1989 Traffic collision (motorcycle) Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen 27 years, 346 days  
Zapata, Mia July 7, 1993 Murdered Lead singer of the Gits 27 years, 316 days  
Cobain, Kurt April 5, 1994 c. Suicide by gunshot Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana 27 years, 44 days  
Pfaff, Kristen June 16, 1994 Drug overdose (heroin) Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe 27 years, 21 days  
Edwards, Richey February 1, 1995 Disappeared; officially presumed dead November 23, 2008 Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers 27 years, 41 days  
Pat, Fat February 3, 1998 Murdered American rapper and member of Screwed Up Click 27 years, 61 days  
Tah, Freaky 01999-03-28-0000March 28, 1999 Murdered American rapper and member of the hip hop group Lost Boyz 27 years, 318 days  
Kami June 21, 1999 Subarachnoid hemorrhage Drummer for Malice Mizer 27 years, 140 days  
Bueno, Rodrigo June 24, 2000 Traffic collision (car) Cuarteto singer 27 years, 31 days  
Sean Patrick McCabe August 28, 2000 Asphyxiation Lead singer of Ink & Dagger 27 years, 289 days  
Maria Serrano Serrano November 24, 2001 Plane crash (Crossair Flight 3597) Background singer for Passion Fruit 27 years, 363 days  
Ward, Jeremy Michael May 25, 2003 Drug overdose (heroin) The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator 27 years, 20 days  
Ottoson, Bryan !Bryan Ottoson 02005-04-19-0000April 19, 2005 Drug overdose (prescription medication) Guitarist for American Head Charge 27 years, 32 days  
Elizalde, Valentín November 26, 2006 Murdered Mexican banda singer 27 years, 297 days  
Winehouse, Amy 02011-07-23-0000July 23, 2011 Poisoning (alcohol) Singer-songwriter 27 years, 312 days  
Richard Turner August 11, 2011 Cardiac arrest Trumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires 27 years, 12 days  
Nicole Bogner January 6, 2012 Undisclosed illness Singer for Visions of Atlantis 27 years 290 days  
Soroush “Looloosh” Farazmand November 11, 2013 Murdered Guitarist for the Yellow Dogs 27 years, 11 days  
Monkey Black April 30, 2014 Murdered Dominican rapper and singer 27 years  278 days  
Slađa Guduraš ! December 10, 2014 Road accident Bosnian pop singer and actress 27 years, 121 day

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