Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin have plenty of things in common. Sure, they’re musicians but more so, they’re known to be part of the 27 Club. After the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994, rock fans noticed an unexplainable coincidence. The similarity was that most rock singers seemingly died when they were near 27 years of age. However, when news outlets announced that Amy Winehouse passed away in 2011, more theories about the 27 club emerged. But there are some things we perhaps have never known about the 27 club, and here they are:
1. Rolling Stone has reported that there are 71 members of the club.
2. The original name ‘27 Club’ can also be referred to as ‘Forever 27 Club.’
3. There’s even an astrology theory behind the 27 club. Around the age of 27, the moon and Saturn move to the same position that they were during the person’s birth, which can bring a lot of emotional turmoil. Fans say that may be the reason why musicians fall into the habit of emotional breakdowns and drugs during that particular age.
4. Alex Haines, Amy Winehouse’s formal personal assistant, told the British class in 2008 that Winehouse feared that she would die when she reached 27 years of age. Winehouse was 25 years of age when Haines revealed her concerns.
5. Scientists believe that the 27 club is merely a coincidence. Statistics indicate that 56 is actually the age with the highest celebrity death rate.
6. Many deaths were results of risky lifestyles, including but not exempt to suicide, homicide, and drug and alcohol abuse.
7. Most of the deaths were also suspicious and unclear. For example, Jim Morrison was found dead in a bathtub from a hotel in Paris, but no one knows the cause or the motive.
8. Different reports say that the term ‘27 club’ was coined when the lead singer of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, died. However, others deem that the media actually coined the term in 1969, when guitarist Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones passed away.
9. Despite other statistics saying that the 27 club is a myth, a study conducted by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) in 2011 concluded that “the risk of death for famous musicians in their 20s to 30s was two to three times higher than the general UK population.”
10. Dianna Theodora Kenny, a professor focusing on music and psychology, has investigated and published articles about the death of musicians. One of her findings concluded that more musicians die at the age of 28 than 27.
11. However Kenny did state that there were more famous musicians who died at 27.
12. Kenny also observed from her research that musicians who died young are more likely to belong to a newer genre.
13. Although we may believe that many of the musicians in the 27 club had similar lifestyles, Howard Sounes, the author of 27: A History of the 27 Club Through the Lives of Brian Jones, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse, noted that the majority of musicians had one thing in common: “very difficult childhoods.”
14. An unexplainable trend occurs between the club members’ relationships: most members were romantically involved with a partner involved in drugs.
15. Additionally, studies did notice that the risk of death by suicide or an accident did increase slightly for the general population for people aged 25 to 32 years, but there was no difference for musicians.
16. A strange myth surrounding the ‘27 club’ is that most musicians who died at 27 years of age carry a white lighter with them. Musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain were some examples. However, this myth has since been debunked as disposable lighters weren’t sold until 1973.
17. Though it is believed that Robert Johnson, a blues musician, was the earliest recorded member, the information cannot be further from the truth. Alexandre Levy, a composer, was the earliest recorded member and he passed away on January 17, 1892.
18. A horror movie The 27 Club was inspired by the concept and tries to decipher the mystery behind the 27 club by analyzing conspiracy theories.
19. Some conspiracy theorists believe that Kurt Cobain committed suicide to purposely join the 27 Club. But Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain refuted the statement.
20. People believe that the 27 Club is cursed due to Robert Johnson’s decision. Legend says that Johnson met the devil at the crossroad as he referenced him a lot throughout his music. Illuminati much?
21. Mac Miller referenced in his 2015 album GO:OD AM that he didn’t want to be part of the 27 Club: “Don’t mix it with that bullshit/I’m hoping not to join the 27 club.” The rapper passed away in 2018, when he was 26-years-old, just a few months before he turned 27.
22. Some conspiracy theorists continue to speculate that Amy Winehouse’s death was planned by the secret Illuminati society.
23. Over five artists and bands have written about the 27 Club in their songs, including Halsey, Fall Out Boy, and Pete Wentz.
24. Jimi Hendrix told one of his friends, Sharon Lawrence, who happened to also be a journalist, “I’m almost gone” when he was too intoxicated to perform.
25. Some fans continue to believe that Jim Morrison is alive, while others say that he didn’t die in a bathtub.
26. Since Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin passed away at 27 all within two years of each other’s deaths, some speculated that there was a CIA operation to assassinate popular alternative music artists in the ‘60s.
27. When Kurt Cobain died, his mother told a reporter “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club.” She continued mentioning that she didn’t want him to join the “stupid club.” However, Cobain’s mother never specified what type of club she meant, and moreover, Cobain’s relatives had a long history of mental illnesses. So now, the question lingers on: did Kurt Cobain’s mom know about The Forever 27 club long before it became publicly speculated?