3 Notable Members of the 27 Club

So, you are asking yourself “What is the 27 Club?” Well, the 27 club is a term used to refer to popular musicians who have died at the age of 27 (often from alcohol or substance abuse). Many people are of the opinion that these folks were taken before their time.

There are many members of this club. Even though 5 rockstars died between 1969 and 1971 when they were 27 years old, the connection between their same death-age was not note by the press until the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994.

Today I’d like to feature 3 Notable Members of the so-called 27 Club. The music of today simply would not be the same without their contribution to it.

Kurt Cobain: For those of you who did not know, Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of the grunge rock band Nirvana from 1985 to 1994. He started learning to play guitar when he was only 14 years old (after receiving a second hand guitar as a birthday present).

Cobain was born in 1967 in Aberdeen, Washington in the United States. After Nirvana burst onto the music scene in 1991 with their single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Kurt Cobain was hailed as the “spokesman of a generation”.

He was often uncomfortable and frustrated. He believed that his message and artistic vision had been misinterpreted by the public. His personal attention was often subject to media attention.

In the last year’s of his life Cobain struggled with a heroin addiction and suffered from depression. He had problems coping with fame and his image in public. Cobain also struggled coping with the professional and personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife Courtney Love.

He took his own life on the 5th of April 1994. He was found (with a suicide note and a gunshot wound to his head) in his home in Seattle on the 8th of April 1994. Since their debut album in 1987 Nirvana has sold over 75 million records globally (25 million in the United States alone). Cobain has been quoted as saying “I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.” at some or other point of his existence.

Jim Morrison: He was born as James Douglas Morrison in 1943 in Florida in the United States. Jim Morrison was the lead singer of the rock band, The Doors. 

Besides being a notable singer-songwriter Morrison was also hailed as a composer and poet. The Doors were formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California in the United States.

Jim Morrison developed a dependency for alcohol and drugs after The Doors became extremely popular in 1967.  He was known for improvising spoken word poetry passages while his band performed live.

Morrison has been quoted as saying “”If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it’s to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”

He died in Paris, France in 1971. It’s alleged that he died of a heroin overdose, but no autopsy was ever performed on his body. To date The Doors have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Jimi Hendrix: For those of you who might not have known, Jimi Hendrix is widely considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in music history. No one could play electric guitar like Jimi Hendrix did at the time (if you ask me).

He was born in 1942 in Seattle, Washington in the United States. His favorite guitar was a Fender Stratocaster.

Jimi Hendrix became famous in the USA after performing at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Before this he had achieved some success with this band The Jimi Hendrix Experience. He headlined the now legendary Woodstock festival in 1969.

He also headlined the 1970 Isle of Wright festival. Jimi Hendrix favored over-driven guitar amps with a high gain and treble. He was very influential and instrumental in developing the technique of guitar amplifier feedback (which wasn’t really popular before he burst onto the music scene).

Jimi Hendrix was widely known for using psychedelic drugs (mostly LSD). He also smoked cannabis and drank a lot of alcohol. He died early on September 18th 1970 in London (in the United Kingdom). He had drank too much red wine and had choked to death.

Jimi Hendrix has been quoted as saying “Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” at some point during his 27 years on Earth.

Other members of the 27 club are  Robert Johnson (a famous American Blues Guitarist), Brian Jones (from the Rolling Stones) and Janis Joplin. The most recently member of the 27 Club is Amy Winehouse (who died in July 2011).

If you’re an aspiring musician, try not to walk the same road as these musicians, it’s not worth it. Life is a gift that should be cherished, not something that should end in only 27 years. Just imagine how different the music scene would be if these Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix were still alive today.

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Watch this space for regular updates on the Junk Mail blog in the Fun Corner category.


Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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