The 27 Club: Its History and 5 Musicians Who Have Claimed Membership

The 27 Club

Death is an unavoidable part of life. It is inevitable. Yet, there are also many individuals who are taken before their time. The 27 Club has become a myth among pop culture and the annals of rock & roll history. The members of the 27 Club have all met untimely deaths at the age of 27, often as a result of either drug and alcohol abuse, or some other violent circumstances, such as accidental death, trauma, homicide, or suicide. While some might consider the legacy of the 27 Club a myth, others deem it a curse similar to the Kennedy Curse.

The term was introduced in the 1970s when four acclaimed musicians of the time–Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Brian Jones–died within just two years of each other and all of them were 27 years old when they perished. The speculation about the club was reignited and became well-known in public circles following the death of Nirvana’s 27-year-old Kurt Cobain in 1994. By the time 27-year-old rocker Amy Winehouse succumbed to her alcohol-fueled lifestyle in 2011, the significance of the age and history of the club was once again intensely scrutinized by the media. Whether it is the result of addiction, illness, accident, or unforeseen circumstances, the death of talented performers in their prime is always a tragedy. That being said, here are five musicians who have claimed membership in the 27 Club.

The 27 Club

1. Janis Joplin (1943–1970)–To this day, the iconic U.S. singer still has one of the most recognizable vocals in the rock and roll pantheon. Her vocal stylings and chaotic lifestyle rocketed the tormented artist to stardom and has left an indelible mark on music. At the time of her death in 1970, the 27-year-old rocker had only released three albums. Imagine what her impact might have been if she had not joined the ranks of the 27 Club via succumbing to a drug overdose and lived to see her fourth album, “Pearl,” released, as well as reach the number 1 spot on the charts?

2. Kurt Cobain (1967–1994)–The Seattle-based rocker was best-known as the co-founding member, guitarist, lyricist, and frontman of the band, Nirvana. Cobain formed Nirvana with fellow musician, Krist Novoselic, in 1987 and established it as part of the alternative rock and grunge music scene. The performer’s