Does the 27 club exist?

After the sad death of Amy Winehouse last weekend, all the hacks in the media jumped on the fact that she was 27 to fill up some space on their papers, but is there any truth to it? I had a quick look at it, and used this web site to generate my list. There’s far more names on the list than I had ever heard of, so there is obviously a problem with what constitutes a rock star! This I sorted by only taking the names of people that I had heard before. Easy enough but pretty subjective, I will admit! My second assumption is that over 50 and you’re fair game for the Reaper. Only exception I made is John Denver, as a plane crash is always a good rock star death.

I would say that a lot of the names associated with the 27 club, just aren’t that famous! Of the names widely used, Brian Jones had a very small part to play in the history of the Rolling Stones, when was the last time you heard Janis Joplin on the radio and Amy herself only really had one good album! I won’t argue with Morrisson, Cobain or Hendrix though.

The most dangerous age to be for a rockstar? Well, it’s actually just past your 32nd birthday! Not quite as exciting as 27, but I guess some of the older rock stars dragged the average up a little. The most frequent number on the list? It’s 27, closely followed by 32 and 30, with a few at 21.

‘Better to burn out, than to fade away’ said Neil Young in his song ‘Hey Hey My My’. Neil Young was born in 1945, so is now 66!

Year Band Cause
Chris Bell 78 Big Star Car Accident 27
Kurt Cobain 94 Nirvana Suicide 27
Jimi Hendrix 70 Drug Overdose 27
Brian Jones 69 Rolling Stones Drowned 27
Janis Joplin 70 Drug Overdose 27
Jim Morrison 71 Doors Heart Attack 27
Amy Winehouse 11 Drug Overdose 27
Florence Ballard 76 Supremes Medical 32
Duane Allman 71 Allman Brothers Motorcycle Accident 24
Marc Bolan 77 T-Rex Car Accident 30
John Bonham 80 Led Zeppelin Alcohol Overdose 32
Jeff Buckley 97 Drowned 30
Tim Buckley 75 Drug Overdose 28
Cliff Burton 87 Metallica Traffic Accident 25
Karen Carpenter 83 Carpenters Anorexia 33
Nat ‘King’ Cole 65 Cancer 48
Sam Cooke 64 Murdered 33
Ian Curtis 80 Joy Division  Suicide 23
John Denver 97  Plane Crash 53
Nick Drake 74 Suicide 26
Cass Elliot 74 Mamas and Papas Heart Attack 32
Marvin Gaye 84 Murderd 44
Andy Gibb 88 Medical 30
Buddy Holly 59 Airplane Crash 22
Shannon Hoon 95 Blind Melon Drug Overdose 28
Michael Hutchence 97 INXS Suicide 37
John Lennon 80 Beatles Murderd 40
Phil Lynott 86 Thin Lizzy Drug Overdose 35
Bob Marley 81 Cancer 36
Freddie Mercury 91 Queen Aids 45
Nico 88 Velvet Underground Medical 44
Notorious BIG 97 Murderd 24
Joey Ramone 01 Ramones Cancer 49
Gram Parsons 73 Byrds Drug Overdose 26
Robert Pilatus 98 Milli Vanili Medical 32
Elvis Presley 77 Drug Overdose 42
Bon Scott 80 AC/DC Alcohol 33
Tupac Shakur 96 Murderd 25
Elliott Smith 03 Suicide 34
Stu Sutcliff 62 Beatles Medical 21
Sid Vicious 79 Sex Pistols Drug Overdose 21
Gene Vincent 71 Alcohol 36
Dennis Wilson 83 Beach Boys Drowned 39
Average 32.12
Median 30
Most Frequent No 27

Categories: Lists, Music

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