27 Club

What better way to see in 2017 than to look back over the total shitstorm that was 2016. It did seem that not a week would go by without a significant celebrity death.

While this gave us the chance to dig out the old "but yet Bieber/Kanye/Honey G is still alive" jokes, it isn't the first time that we've encountered the idea of curses around rock and roll.

McDonnell, M. J. (2017, January 6). 27 Club vs The 2016 Curse: Are They Real & Which Is Worse? Retrieved from www.hitthefloor.com

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Social media has been abuzz the last few weeks, mourning what seems like an unusual number of rock star deaths. It started with the demise of Scott Weiland (Dec. 3, 2015) and has continued unabated through Lemmy Kilmister (Dec. 28), Natalie Cole (Dec. 31), David Bowie (Jan. 10, 2016), Mic Gillette (trumpeter for Tower of Power, Jan. 17), Dale Griffin (drummer for Mott the Hoople, Jan. 17), and Glenn Frey (Jan. 18). Heck, by the time this column goes to press, Keith Richards may have also mounted the Big Escalator to the Sky.

Wait, strike that. He’s either already dead or will never die. No one really knows for sure.

Citrone, J. E. (2016, January 27). Stairway To Heaven. Retrieved from www.folioweekly.com

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For music fans, the second half of September 1970 was a bastard of a time. First came the news that Jimi Hendrix had died, then, barely a fortnight later, the young queen of blues, Janis Joplin, followed suit.

A similar sense of despair suffused the air these past few weeks, during which at least five famous musos have met their end. Scott Weiland, from Stone Temple Pilots, John Bradbury from The Specials, Australia's own Stevie Wright, Lemmy from Motorhead, and singer Natalie Cole (daughter of Nat King Cole), whether through illness or misadventure, all passed away.

Masterson, A. (2016, January 9). You Don't Need It, You Got Talent!. Retrieved from www.smh.com.au

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The 27 Club is that infamous list of extremely talented and popular musicians who all died at twenty-seven years of age. There are currently forty-nine known members of the club, (which is listed below). These deaths at a young age were often caused by drug or alcohol overdoses although some were more nefarious, caused by murder, suicide, or freak accident. Although scientific statistics state that there is no significant risk of death at specifically age twenty-seven for musicians, studies do show that musicians within their twenties and thirties have an increased risk of death.

The origin of the 27 Club goes back to the end of the peace and love era, when Alan Wilson, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison all died between 1969 and 1971 at age twenty-seven. At that time the press made no note of the age commonality between them. Almost twenty-five years later, twenty-seven year old Kurt Cobain committed suicide and suddenly the press had inducted him into this 27 Club. They took a quote from an interview with Cobain’s mother, who had said, "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club." She was referring to the suicides of his two uncles and his great uncle, but the press assumed she was referring to the other musicians who had all died at the same age.

PPcorn. (n.d.). Musicians Who Are Members of the 27 Club. Retrieved from www.ppcorn.com

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Sir Elton John has urged young singers to stay off cocaine.

The 68-year-old singer—who has suffered with drug problems in the past—has implored artists of today to get their highs from music, rather than turning to narcotics.

Bang Showbiz (2016, January 3). You Don't Need It, You Got Talent!. Retrieved from www.iol.co.za

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Jim Morrison by Stephan Beauvais

Jim Morrison Project

The Jim Morrison Project is an audio & visual anthology detailing the life of Jim Morrison through his poetry, films, art, spoken word & music with The Doors.