Among the many influential cultural figures that have encompassed our lives over time, there exists an exclusive club: The 27 Club. With only a handful of members, it’s not exactly the type of club that reigns popular in the Hollywood Hills, or anywhere else for that matter. The 27 Club refers to the legendary artists, musicians, and icons who all met their untimely demise at the ripe age of twenty-seven years old, with an overwhelming amount of ‘members’ citing drugs and alcohol abuse as the cause of death.
The club spans generations, and its members include a long list of famous faces including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and more. While there is no known scientific connection to these stars and their age of death, there are plenty of fan theories and conspiracies surrounding the phenomenon.
One such theory suggests that Cobain, who commited suicide in 1994, intentionally timed his death precisely at the age of twenty-seven. His mother, Wendy, is famously quoted as saying, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club”, referring to The 27 Club. Amy Winehouse, whose death shocked the world in 2011, allegedly expressed in the years prior to her death that she had a fear of joining the not-so-coveted club. That same year, a study was published in the British Medical Journal concluding that there is no evidence correlating the lives of musicians to an increase in risk of death at the age of twenty-seven.
While each death was tragic in its own right, fans believe the true tragedy is the incredible talent that was taken from this Earth far too soon. Each member of the club provided his or her own unique artistic contributions to society with legacies that will live on well beyond their young twenty-seven years of life. Instead, they become the definitions for what we determine to be true talent; the standard by which we compare all other similar artists. Had these artists lived past their untimely expiration, it’s likely that the world could be a completely different place.
We’ll never have another voice like Amy, no one will ever write such hard-hitting lyrics like Kurt, Jimi will forever be known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, and the pattern will go on and on. Fans will forever be in debt to the artists that influenced their lives, and in that way, we are able to keep The 27 Club alive as long as they are in our hearts and in our minds. Here’s to an incredible twenty-seven years of life, and to all the iconic contributions left behind.