The Infamous 23 Rock Stars That Died at Age 27

So Young To Die!

This is not a comprehensive list - it is a list of rock stars who died infamously at the age of 27. The list includes blues artists such as Robert Johnson, as well as performers of rhythm and blues, since rock ‘n' roll grew from these genres, but does not include artists from other genres such as jazz or country, etc. The list also doesn’t include rockers who died of natural causes or accidents. Lastly, the artists are listed chronologically by the dates of their demise.

1. As the legend goes, blues artist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads so he could attain virtuosity with the guitar. Well, somehow Johnson got his wish, recording 29 songs - many of them classics - during a short career. Perhaps Johnson’s greatest tunes were “Come on in My Kitchen,” “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Crossroad Blues,” famously covered by the rock group Cream on their double album set Wheels of Fire.

Many consider Johnson the father of modern rock ‘n’ roll. (Incidentally, an actor portrays a Johnson-like character in the movie Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?) It is generally accepted that Johnson was poisoned – perhaps given some tainted rye moonshine - by a jealous husband or girlfriend while playing at a juke joint near Greenwood, Mississippi. Johnson took days to die and was buried in an unmarked grave. Robert Johnson passed on August 16, 1938

The Drifters, circa 1964
The Drifters, circa 1964

2. Rudy Lewis, singer in the legendary R&B group the Drifters from 1960 to 1964, sang the lead on such hits as “On Broadway” (a top ten hit) and “Up on the Roof.” Formerly of the Clara Ward Singers, Lewis’ silky sweet voice was compared to that of Ben E. King. Just before the recording of mega hit “Under the Boardwalk,” Lewis was found dead in his apartment, and the cause of death has never been ascertained. Authorities think he died of a drug overdose, though friends think Lewis, a binge-eater, probably choked to death on food. (Why didn’t the cops perform an autopsy? If and when I find out, I’ll let you know.) Rudy Lewis died on May 20, 1964.

3. Brian Jones was a rhythm guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who brought together members of the Rolling Stones, who began performing in 1962. Jones figured prominently in the Rolling Stones' early albums, playing rhythm and slide guitar, harmonica and doing background vocals. Jones’ relationship with other band members became strained when they learned that Jones was actually making more money - £5.00 per week – according to the management contract that Jones had signed for all band members in early 1963. Aside from his musical career, Jones was a man about town who may have fathered as many as five illegitimate children.

But from 1968 onward Jones' contributions to the Rolling Stones diminished steadily, perhaps because of his increasing use of mind-altering substances, and by mid 1969 Jones was expelled from the band. Jones planned to start his own band, but this never happened. Circumstances regarding Jones' death remain cloudy to this day. Jones was found motionless at the bottom of his swimming pool and declared dead by authorities. Friends said that Jones had been drinking and taking pills. The coroner's report showed "death by misadventure." Some think Jones committed suicide; others think he was murdered. Fellow Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards didn't attend Jones' funeral. Brian Jones died on July 3, 1969.

4. Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson was one of the seminal members of Canned Heat, a Sixties blues-revival band. Wilson was a rhythm guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and virtuosic harmonica player. Blues legend John Lee Hooker called Wilson the best harmonica player he had ever seen. Wilson sang the lead on two of Canned Heat’s greatest hits - “Going Up the Country” and “On the Road Again.” Wilson had emotional problems and attempted suicide numerous times. Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson died of a drug overdose - widely considered a suicide - on September 3, 1970.

In memory of Jimi!
In memory of Jimi!
Jimi Hendrix (right)
Jimi Hendrix (right)

5. Jimi Hendrix became an overnight sensation after an eruptive performance at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June 1967, where he played his guitar behind his back, with his teeth and later set it aflame and then bashed it into the stage. During Hendrix’s short, three-and-a-half-year recording career, he became rock’s number one guitarist, and is still considered such by many rock purists. In 2003 Rolling Stone voted him the greatest guitarist of all time. Hendrix’s tour de force was the double-album set Electric Ladyland, featuring hits such as “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return),” “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” and “House Burning Down.” This album is an exemplar of Hendrix’s inventiveness, guitar genius and versatility. Not bad for a high school dropout who couldn’t read music!

Fortunately, Hendrix toured almost constantly and many of those performances, including an iconic one at Woodstock, were recorded in some fashion. Moreover, Hendrix jammed with just about every notable lead guitarist of the era, except Jimmy Page. What a shame! Jimi Hendrix died of drug complications – mixing alcohol with barbiturates, a very dangerous combination - on September 18, 1970.

Janis and her psychedelic Porsche
Janis and her psychedelic Porsche

6. Janis Joplin started her singing career with the psychedelic rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. Joplin’s raucous, bluesy voice fit in well with the San Francisco acid rock sound emerging at the time. Like Hendrix, Joplin blew people’s minds at Monterey in 1967, singing such hits as “Down on Me” and “Ball and Chain.” Joplin eventually left Big Brother and formed two more bands. After having given up drugs for awhile - except for perhaps her beloved alcohol - Joplin obtained a potent batch of heroin that hadn’t been cut and died of an overdose on October 4, 1970. (Other junkies died from the same load of H.) Possible biographical movie projects have been in the works for years. The movie, The Rose, starring Bette Midler, is often considered a Joplin biopic. However, Joplin was no pop singer!

7. Arlester “Dyke” Christian formed a soul and funk band in 1966, calling it Dyke and the Blazers, which soon toured with the O’Jays. Arlester played bass but was the lead singer of the Blazers. The first single the band released was titled “Funky Broadway,” a song Arlester had written, which eventually became a big hit by Wilson Pickett in 1967. The Blazers, which changed personnel a number of times over the years, disbanded on March 13, 1971, when Arlester was shot and killed on the streets of Phoenix, Arizona. The authorities considered the shooting an act of self-defense, perhaps brought about by a bad drug deal, although Arlester had no drugs in his system at the time.

8. Jim Morrison, mystic, poet, shaman, filmmaker and, oh yes, lead singer for the rock group the Doors, which splashed upon the music scene in Los Angeles in 1967. Perhaps Morrison’s greatest work came on “The End,” a protracted ode to Greek tragedy laced with obscenities, the singing of which got the band thrown out of their gig at The Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. Morrison’s risqué antics got the band in trouble many times. Perhaps to avoid jail time for an indecent exposure conviction in Miami, Florida, Morrison moved to Paris in March 1971. One morning at dawn, Morrison began spitting up blood, took a bath and died of an apparent heart attack (an autopsy was never performed.) Since Morrison’s drinking and drugging were legendary, even for the standards of the time, his death probably didn’t surprise many. Some think Morrison faked his death and went to Africa. Jim Morrison died on July 3, 1971 (two years to the day after Brian Jones).

9. Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, keyboardist, singer and harmonica player,was one of the founding members of the Grateful Dead, a prominent San Francisco Bay Area band. McKernan was known for his thick, weathered vocals on such tunes as “Midnight Hour” and “Death Don’t Have No Mercy.” McKernan once had a fling with fellow boozer Janis Joplin and sang with her at some gigs. (According to singer Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, McKernan introduced Joplin to Southern Comfort.) When McKernan’s health began deteriorating, he left the Grateful Dead in 1972. On March 8, 1973 Ron “Pigpen” McKernan was found dead of a stomach hemorrhage brought on by years of heavy drinking.

10. Peter Ham was a guitarist and songwriter for Badfinger, an early Seventies rock group that some called the new Beatles. Appropriately, Badfinger’s first hit “Come and Get It,” was written by Beatle bassist Paul McCartney. The band continued churning out cutting-edge material, seemingly making lots of money; however, nobody knew where the money was going. Distraught over financial matters, Peter Ham hanged himself on April 23, 1975. Allegedly, Ham left a suicide note that named Stan Polley, his booking agent, as the cause of the suicide. But Polley denied the existence of such a note. Tragically, Badfinger’s Tom Evans, upset regarding what he considered the band’s missing income, also hanged himself in 1983!

11. Bassist and songwriter Gary Thain played with the Keef Hartley Band at Woodstock and later became the third bassist for British rock group Uriah Heep. Primarily a blues and jazz player, Uriah Heep was Thain’s first plunge into rock. Thain also wrote some of Uriah Heep’s material, notably “Chrystal Ball” and “Gary’s Song.” Gary Thain died of a heroin overdose on December 8, 1975.

12. Alexander Bashlachev was a Russian rock guitarist and singer-songwriter. Throughout the 1980s, Bashlachev wrote songs and composed music. He also performed whenever he could, but usually for small audiences, since rock and roll was considered counterrevolutionary in Russia (at that time known as the U.S.S.R.) during the 1970s and ‘80s. In 1985 and again in 1987, Bashlachev played at the Leningrad Rock Festival, a gathering comprising about 600 people. Suffering from depression and alcoholism, Bashlachev died after falling from the balcony of a ninth-floor apartment building. The death was considered a suicide. Bashlachev went to the Promised Land on February 17, 1988.

13. Mia Zapata formed the punk rock band the Gits while attending college in Ohio. Zapata was heavily influenced by blues singers such as Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday. Joan Jett compared Zapata’s talent to that of blues legend Janis Joplin. But Zapata’s singing career didn’t get rolling until 1989 when the group relocated to Seattle, Washington, where “grunge” was slowly gaining nationwide popularity. The Gits first album was Frenching the Bull, released in 1992. Tragically, just when the Gits were finding an audience, Zapata was found dead near the Comet Tavern in Seattle. Zapata had been raped, badly beaten and strangled to death. Using DNA evidence, Zapata’s assailant was eventually apprehended, convicted and then sentenced to 36 years in prison. Mia Zapata died on July 7, 1993.

14. Troubled genius Kurt Cobain formed the grunge group Nirvana in 1986. Led by Cobain’s songwriting, singing and lead guitar, Nirvana’s second album Nevermind hit the top of the charts in 1991, making the band superstars and netting them truckloads of money. But Cobain, a quiet, reclusive fellow, never enjoyed the limelight of celebrity. Nirvana’s mega hit single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” is considered one of the greatest rock tunes of all time. In 2007 VH1 voted it the top rock song of the 1990s. The tune is still popular; even college marching bands play it.

As Nirvana gained popularity, Cobain started using heroin in the early 1990s. He may have started taking heroin to relieve pain from chronic back and stomach trouble. Cobain said his stomach pain was so bad at times that he sometimes considered committing suicide. In March of 1994 Cobain attempted suicide by gobbling painkillers washed down with champagne. But on April 5, 1994 Kurt Cobain succeeded in ending his life with a shotgun blast to the head. But some people think Cobain was murdered. They say Cobain couldn’t have used the shotgun to shoot himself because he had a large amount of heroin in his system. Could the heroin have killed him anyway? Experts can only speculate . . . .

15. In 1993 Kristen Pfaff became the bassist for Hole, the band Courtney Love had formed before the death of husband Kurt Cobain. Pfaff played on Live Through This, the only album she recorded with Hole (certainly an ironic title for Pfaff.). As many musicians have done in past decades, Pfaff began using heroin. On June 16, 1994 Kristen Pfaff died of a heroin overdose.

16. Richey Edwards sang, wrote songs and played rhythm guitar for the alternative rock band the Manic Street Preachers. A native of the United Kingdom, Edwards wrote most of the band’s songs and was considered a primary inspiration for their sound. Unfortunately, as well as having a creative bent, Edwards suffered from bouts of depression, anorexia and self-mutilation, once using a razor to carve “4-Real” on his left forearm. Edwards disappeared on February 1, 1995, the cause of which has often been considered a suicide, though many of his friends disagree. The authorities announced in November 2008 that Edwards was still missing and presumed dead.

17. Fat Pat was a hip-hop artist whose birth name was Patrick Lamark Hawkins. Fat Pat was associated with Screwed Up Click and recorded for Wreckshop Records. The first album he performed on was Ghetto Dreams, released in 1998. It featured the hit rap tune, “Tops Drop.” Interestingly, All of Fat Pat’s albums were released posthumously. Fat Pat was shot to death on February 3, 1998. Tragically, his brother “Big Hawk” was also shot to death eight years later.

18. Raymond Rogers, known professionally as Freaky Tah, was a rapper who performed with the hip-hop group Lost Boyz. Other members of the group were Mr. Cheeks, DJ Spigg Nice and Pretty Lou. Tah’s work with Lost Boyz produced two certified gold records, Legal Drug Money and Love, Peace & Nappiness. Freaky Tah was shot in the back of the head and died on March 28, 1999.

19. Sean Patrick McCabe was the lead singer/song writer for the hard rock band Ink and Dagger. Brought together in 1996, this Philadelphia alternative rock band used vampire shtick in their live performances, developing a large following in Philly’s underground music scene. Their first album was Drive This Seven Inch Wooden Stake Through My Philadelphia Heart. Sean Patrick McCabe choked to death on his own vomit while swilling alcohol on August 28, 2000.

20. Levi Kereama was a contestant on the first season of Australian Idol in 2003, but he only made it to sixth place. Later, Levi, along with his brothers, formed the rhythm and blues group Lethbridge, at times supporting top-rated talent such as Boyz II Men and Shaggy. Levi’s sweet voice brought to mind the crooning of Michael Jackson and Jeffrey Osborne. On October 4, 2008, Levi fell to his death from a 20-story hotel window. Authorities believe his death was a suicide, but family members say it was an accident.

21. Amy Winehouse may have been as well known for her singing prowess as for her party-hardy lifestyle, bad behavior and mental problems. The pop and jazz singer/songwriter won five Grammy Awards in 2008, perhaps her peak year, and her best song at the time may have been “Rehab,” certainly an apt title given her trials in that arena. As with many pop stars over the years, Winehouse often consumed alcohol before a gig, leading to numerous bad performances and reviews.

Winehouse also admitted using hard drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin. And, sadly, her list of confrontations with the police is as lengthy as that of any pop star in recent memory. Amy Winehouse died on July 23, 2011.

In October 2011 the Coroner in London, England stated that Winehouse died of accidental alcohol poisoning; she had five times the legal limit of alcohol in her system at the time of her demise.

22. Soroush Farazmand didn’t exactly have a household name in the United States, and he probably didn’t have one in his native Iran either. Farazmand, a rock guitarist, and the rest of his band, the Yellow Dogs, came to America seeking the freedom to play whatever music they wanted, which they couldn’t do in Iran, a repressive place. Unfortunately, they came to a country with lots of freedom, including one to bear arms. Soroush Farazmand and his brother and bandmate, Arash, were shot and killed by another Iranian musician who was distraught after being kicked out of the Free Keys, another Iranian band. The killer, wielding an assault rifle purchased in the U.S. some years before, killed three people and then committed suicide. Soroush Farazmand died on November 11, 2013.

23. Monkey Black, whose real name was Leonardo Michael Flores Ozuna, started his hip-hop career in 2006. Black produced the popular song “Tienen Miedo” and wrote many others. A Dominican living in Barcelona, Spain, Black, while in a bar, had an argument with two people, who then stabbed him numerous times. Later, Black died at the hospital. Monkey Black passed on May 1, 2014.

There’s a statistical probability that some young rockers will die at 27, and some of those will die infamously. They have to die sometime and somehow, right? Let’s hope it’s a long time – if ever – before more rockers are added to this tragic list.

© 2008 Kelley

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Comments 116 comments

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 21 months ago from California Author

Hey, Nick, D. Boon and Chris Bell died in car accidents. These wouldn't be "infamous" deaths unless they were DUI at the time of death. Only rockers who die of drug overdoses, murder or suicide or some other infamous act are included on this list. But, someday I may change the rules. Later!

Nick 21 months ago

D. Boon and Chris Bell both should be on here...

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Hey, Gregg, I'll bet you couldn't find as many infamous deaths at 28, 32, 34 or whatever. If you think your theory is true, prove it. I dare you. Later!

Gregg 2 years ago

Please. If one were to look hard enough, one could find just as many "infamous" musical deaths at age 28, or 22, or 33, or 42, or any other age. Quit wasting people's time.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, bat115. I've always loved this story, my first hub, in fact. Others have liked it too, and at least one other person liked it enough to steal it. Later!

bat115 profile image

bat115 2 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Nice overview of the 27 club!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Shinkicker. I haven't heard from you in a long time. Later!

Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 2 years ago from Scotland

Fascinating Hub

So sad that they all died so young. With all that talent. But they left their mark and we are all glad they did.

Voted up

grungeplunge 2 years ago

Oh, I am sooooo using this for my report. This is perfect. c':

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, pjay1980. I don't know about the good dying young. At any rate, this list certainly represents lots of wasted talent. Later!

peejay1980 profile image

peejay1980 2 years ago from Neston, UK

'Only the good die young' Never a truer word spoke!

J.L. 2 years ago

Amy Winehouse's music will live on for generations to come. Long live the Queen of Camden Town.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, redfive. I will keep writing about rock and roll, and I'll continue adding rockers to this list as well. Later!

redfive profile image

redfive 2 years ago from California, USA

I've always been intrigued by the 27 club -- so, massive thanks for writing this hub -- AND PLEASE KEEP WRITING MUSIC HUBS! Voted up ;-)

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Tupac was 25 when he died and Biggie was 24. Sorry, they can't be here. Later!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, avinesHP. This is my oldest and most successful hub. What a deal! Later!

AvineshP profile image

AvineshP 2 years ago from Chandigarh

As I am a huge fan of music, I can read such hubs over and over again. Really enjoyed reading this hub, thanks for the hub.

Keep up the good work !!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 2 years ago from California Author

Ya know, Nelson, I haven't put rappers on this list, and there are two that "qualify." But maybe I should - whatdoya think? Later!

Nelson 2 years ago

Tupac? Biggie?

gsurvivor 3 years ago

Ah the infamous Club 27, always a fun topic to read about. I somehow thought that you might miss Robert Johnson, glad to see you didn't. Loved the hub, a vote up from here:)

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Ali Torabi. Believe it or not, this is my very first story with Hubpages. Later!

Ali Torabi profile image

Ali Torabi 3 years ago from NY

That was very useful for me.


Anonymous 3 years ago

I just watched Amy Winehouse's performance of "Love Is A Losing Game" at the Mercury Prize Awards, and I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face. A voice like hers will never be forgotten.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, KenWu. You're right - nobody should mix alcohol with downers. When will they learn? Later!

KenWu profile image

KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

Man, I coulde never understand why most famous people indulging in drugs and alcohol! I hope they all can find peace now.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 3 years ago from California Author

Hey, AlexDrinkH2o, thanks for telling me about Frankie Lymon and Johnny Ace, both of whom died infamously - Lymon a heroin overdose and Ace a suicide - but both were also only 25. Darn, I was ready to add them ASAP. Maybe next time. Later!

AlexDrinkH2O profile image

AlexDrinkH2O 3 years ago from Southern New England, USA

How about Frankie Lymon, and Johnny Ace?

Anonymous 4 years ago

The truth: Would you care to elaborate?

The Truth 4 years ago

God saves no one who commits suicide no matter how famous

Anonymous 4 years ago

Stars shine brightest in the dark.

Kassapi 4 years ago

I feel truly honored to have lived in the same era as Amy Winehouse and her legacy will without a doubt live on through her music. She changed my life, and for that I am forever grateful. May God rest her beautiful soul.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Catfish33. This one was my first hub produced. Later!

catfish33 profile image

catfish33 4 years ago from Maryland

I enjoyed reading this very much. Good job!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, Lizzi. Some 27-year-old rockers have died in accidents or of natural causes. I could include them on this list, but I won't. Other Internet lists includes them, and that's good enough for me. However, I will check out Jacob Miller, and if his death seems infamous, you'll see him here very soon. Later!

Lizzi 4 years ago

I think Jacob Miller - Jamaican reggae artist should be on there. He died at 27 in a car crash - still infamous circumstances. I think you should include accidents as well as drug overdoses - that is an accident too?



Shannon S 4 years ago

Um Jeff Buckley died at the age of 30 NOT 27 and Freddie Mercury was 45!! DUH!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, princesswithapen. Many writers have covered the rockers dead at 27 story. Later!

princesswithapen profile image

princesswithapen 4 years ago

I remember reading a similar article about this dreaded number when Amy WInehouse earlier this year. This hub too, made for an interesting read.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 4 years ago from California Author

Hey, somethingblue, I like the idea of God singing the universe into being. Such a theory is even better than the Big Bang. Thanks for checking out this hub - my very first one and the most successful. Later!

somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 4 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

I saw a book one time called the The Murder of Rock n roll or something like that and was going to buy it but didn't for some reason anyway, I think it was about all the the great musicians that have died under mysterious circumstances.

The Criminals In Action were primarily to blame as, the premise of the book is related to The Infinite Harmony a book that had been censored from America for a long time, but I believe now can be purchased, the cheapest copy I could find was 200 dollars.

Anyway the idea is that great musicians learn the truth about the true nature of mankind from their connection to music and tend to awaken quicker than the sheeple and that is dangerous and could prevent the mind control of the masses.

I believe that God sung the Universe into creation, so perhaps there is some truth to it?!

Dr Rockpile profile image

Dr Rockpile 5 years ago from USA

So many I hadn't heard of. Sad.

Jimbo 5 years ago

So if 27 is the 'cycle' for saturns return, then wouldn't it also make sense for a bunch of infamous deaths at age 54? or the Club Double-27? Just curious what that list may look like?

JasonPLittleton profile image

JasonPLittleton 5 years ago

Sad to hear they died young.Glad to know 'bout them.

Vernie 5 years ago

Dont know if you are aware, but when a person reaches the age of 27, the planets have come around to the same position they were in when that individual was born- it's called 'saturns return'. It's considered to be a time of destiny (u meet who u need to meet (soulmates or potential partners, opportunities arise...). Due to the great mass of the planets taking there own sweet time to keep on moving, for those who live, that period of 'chaos' and 'intense change' goes on till about 32, and doesn't reappear for another 27 years. All so very interconnected.......

Guest 5 years ago

And Michael Hutchence died at 37, he got ten extra years. And man he was sexy. I notice that no musicians passed away during the 80s at 27 (at least not on this list).

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Hey, Liz, Jason Thirsk was 28 when he died. Sorry, but not close enough to join the Forever 27 club. Later!

liz 5 years ago

You forgot Jason Thirsk from Pennywise. Shot himself in the stomach 7/29/96 at the ripe old age of 27.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Hey, dude, James Honeymoon Scott was 25 when he passed. Thanks for the comment. Later!

steve 5 years ago

you forgot james honeymoon scott of the Pretenders

archimedes1971 5 years ago

If you believe in numerology, 9 stands for the end as 1 stands for the beginning. As previously mentioned, the sum of 27 is 9. I myself almost went at 27 in a car crash, drunk and depressed. I got a second chance somehow. The name should be changed from 'the 27 club' to 'the stupid club'. To all you out there, MAN UP!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA

Wow! I was going to write a hub based on the same theme! I didn't know there were so many who died at 27 - so much waste!

ValerieA. 5 years ago

In reference to Greeno's claim that abusing drugs & alcohol for 10 years will, according to most doctors, kill most people ... I beg to differ. I am 49 and started shooting dope and coke and taking anything I could get my hands on when I was around 17. I kept it up until I hit 30, stopped for a bit, and don't tell anyone but I still do a little (or a lot) quite frequently - I have slowed down significantly. I don't have the money most of these people had and I didn't have fans and sycophants handing me free stuff but any addict who wants money will get it. As for the question about the number of 60 year old addicts? I know too many to even count. I wouldn't recommend this way of life but the truth is that death is random in most cases (except suicide) and if you are careful and clean, it's possible to live a long, often miserable, life as an addict. Alcohol, by the way, is by far the worse substance of abuse - if effects every single organ from the skin on in so why is that the legal one? I hope the list ends now and people both famous and not accept the fact that life is all about suffering and every moment of true happiness and wonder should be valued. Enough babbling from me ...

raxit02 profile image

raxit02 5 years ago from Amsterdam, The Netherlands

It's a case of suicide--that Amy choose much before. A big shock to the entertainment world. I regret as we loose such a great performing artist.


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks for the comment, tony0724, Winehouse certainly seemed to be headed for an early demise, as did many others on this list. Thanks for the comment. Later!

tony0724 profile image

tony0724 5 years ago from san diego calif

Kosmo I do not know what it is about the number 27. But it sure does seem like the most creative minds in music seem to have a proclivity towards their own self destruction. Amy Winehouse was not a matter of if but when. To bad because she could sing really well. Nice job here.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Hey, Stef, since I've never seen Kristen Pfaff, I simply used a photo that was supposed to be of her. Auf der Maur, another bassist, certainly could have been in that photo - both pretty white ladies, ya know. So I changed Pfaff's photo. Kewl? Later!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

The word "infamous" in the title refers to the way these rockers "died." Infamous essentially means famous but for negative reasons. Dying of a drug overdose or committing suicide is therefore dying infamously, as far as I'm concerned anyway. So, Boon in the Minutemen wouldn't qualify since he died in a car accident - an accident that wasn't caused by him. If he'd caused the accident, I probably would have put him on this list. Also, if the cause of death is listed as unknown, I tend to put them on the list anyway. As for Mia Zapata, she was murdered. Does that mean she died infamously. You tell me. Hey, since I'm my own editor, I get to do what I want in these articles - for better or worse. Thanks for the comments. Later!

Flaps 5 years ago

Elvis was 42

DD 5 years ago

Slightly odd title to your article - I don't consider any of these musicians to be 'infamous'


? ?[in-fuh-muhs]



having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.


deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.

Stef 5 years ago

The picture of Kristen Pfaff is not her... That's Melissa Auf der Maur just saying...

chico mccarthy 5 years ago

if you really want to count the deaths of musicians you have to go back to 19o8 45 artist have died at 27 all these artist were 27 not 26 and 360 days not 28 . devil lore i guess

Lol 5 years ago

Justin has 10 more years

JC 5 years ago

how old is justin bieber??

Drewseff 5 years ago

D. Boooooooooooooooon! Don't let Mike Watt see this list.

Juda 5 years ago

That is not actually the confirmed cause of death for Sean McCabe. The cause of death is actually still unknown.

Jesse 5 years ago

Dennes Dale Boon of Minutemen rocks anyone on this list, with maybe the exception of Hendrix! I'm shocked he ain't on here!

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Wow! Outstanding hub, Kosmo - sadly updated rather recently. . .

Kim 5 years ago

D. Boon from the Minutemen should absolutely be included on this list! The Minutemen were one of the most brilliant and distinctive punk bands in music history. He was only 27 when he was tragically killed in a car accident.

MeganTheKat 5 years ago

Zackski: Sid Vicious, although I adore him, doesn't belong on this list ('57-'79).

Matty 5 years ago

How could you exclude D. Boon, vocalist/guitarist from The Minutemen?

Seriously, watch the 'We Jam Econo' DVD if you're unconvinced of his worth.

Sarah 5 years ago

Jeff Buckley was 30. Sid Vicious was only 21. Thanks for the article & recent update.

Curt 5 years ago

I believe Tommy Bolin of James Gang and Deep Purple fame was also 27 when he died of a herion overdose.

Farley 5 years ago

Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) was 28. But close enough.

zackski 5 years ago

Sorry to add another to the list:Sid Vicious

Tes 5 years ago

FYI, that picture of Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles is not from Woodstock. Buddy didn't play drums for Jimi at Woodstock; Mitch Mitchell did. Also he wasn't wearing that blue outfit at Woodstock, he was wearing a Daniel Boone style leather jacket with tassels.

Greeno 5 years ago

It´s not a coincidence... must rockstars drop out from school at 17 or 18... they take alcohol and drugs daily for ten years and they die or start feeling like crap and kill themselves. Ask any doctor you can´t take drugs and alcohol for ten years... and most of them don´t even eat. How many 60 year old drunk, consumer of meth, coke, pot, prostitutes... I was an anorexic person for ten years and the doctor told me i was gonna crack if I didn´t start to eat... 29 and still breathing!!!!

bnshfr 5 years ago

No Jeff Buckley? You must be kidding me.

paula 5 years ago

There was an episode about this very subject years ago on VH1. It was on a show called VH1 Confidential. It was about coincidences, etc. concerning singers. I really liked the show, wish they would bring it back.

GrenReaper 5 years ago

The original Paul McCartney supposedly died at 27 as well. Turn me on, dead man....

zachary 5 years ago

Every seven years in ur life there is a calamity . God breaks you so you can find him and yourself. If they would've live three more years I guarantee they would've turned their lives around

Bransy 5 years ago

What??? Shannon Hoon didn't make the list?

robert 5 years ago

it is also 27 to 28 years of age when people will be struck with major depression or other mental type illness. behavioral health experts believe this happens even after a life up till that point without any signs of illness.

sid desalvo 5 years ago

Its not just rockers and music makers but pleanty of painters and poets to. The 27 club was my ambition in life till I turned about 25.

EK 5 years ago

Otis Redding was not 27, but 26, but he almost made it to 27. only 9 months.

Tragic for Ami

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Yes, I will add Amy Winehouse to this infamous list posthaste. What a mind-blower, eh? This list just keeps on growing . . . ! Later!

kathy 5 years ago

Add: Amy Winehouse See TMZ

Lenka 5 years ago

You can add Amy Winehouse to the list...

RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I really liked this and yep - Janis Joplin died on 10/4/70 at the age of 27. Tragedy - she was a trail blazer! I am a huge fan of hers for so many reasons! Thanks!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Also, Lane Staley was 34 when he died. Thanks for the compliment anyway, Jenipfer. If you can find any other 27-year-old rockers who died infamously - that is, not in car accidents or whatever, let me know. Later!

Jenipfer 5 years ago

Sorry, let me stand corrected. Shannon Hoon died on October 21st, 2005 almost one month after his 28th birthday on September 26th. So he was a close call. Another close call is Bradley Nowell from Sublime who died on May 25th, 1996 3 months 3 days after his 28th birthday on February 22nd.

Jenipfer 5 years ago

You forgot a very important person Shannon Hoon formally the lead singer of Blind Melon also tragically died at age 27 of an overdose of cocaine & heroin on his tour bus in New Orleans. I'm sorry to say I can't rember the date. Also don't forget Lane Staley formally the lead singer of Alice in Chains. He also died of a heroin overdose at age 27.

donnatru profile image

donnatru 5 years ago from Danville, IL


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California Author

Okay, Chris, I've added Richey Edwards to this infamous list. May Richey rest in peace. Later!

6 String Veteran profile image

6 String Veteran 5 years ago

Interesting post...for folks into numerology, the sum of those two numbers, 2 and 7, is 9. So is 9 an 'evil' number? Hmmmm

Chris 5 years ago

Richie Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers - disappeared age 27, possibly murdered or suicide.

Fullerman5000 profile image

Fullerman5000 6 years ago from Louisiana, USA

Wow there are a lot more artists on this than i thought there would be. i learned some new things from this hub. thanks.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 6 years ago from California Author

This is one of my first hubs and also one of the most successful in terms of clicks or whatever. Come on, let's add more 27-year-olds to this bunch. Sorry. Later!

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

..because the epigramman is a master musicologist of the highest order ..... he MUST tell you kind sir that your music hubs are ESSENTIAL!!!!! Obviously you have done your homework on this one and very well I might add - actually I am so impressed that I must 'gush' like a pre-teen hearing great rock 'n roll for the first time - your hubs are that good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 6 years ago from California Author

Gram Parsons was 26 when he died; he was approximately two months short of his 27th birthday. Check your facts. Later!

D. Van Thomas 6 years ago

How could you possibly forget Gram Parsons???

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 6 years ago from California Author

Freddie Mercury didn't die at 27; he was 45. Thanks for the comment. Later!

Ashwyn 6 years ago

umm wheres freddie mercury

Sian 6 years ago

What Stan polley did to Pete and Tom was beyond cruel.

Keith Moonshine 6 years ago

Jim Morrison is by no means a shaman. A psychonaut...yeah.

Jim Strutzin profile image

Jim Strutzin 6 years ago

Wow, great hub. Half of these great musicians I did not know died at such a young age. Thanks for an interesting hub.

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 7 years ago from California Author

That's right - there aren't many photos of Robert Johnson on the Internet. The one I have now is only the second I've seen. It's in color too! Later!

Life of Bryan 7 years ago

Great hub!

If I'm not mistaken, I think the photo of Robert Johnson is the only one known to be in existence. Those lucky folks that braved the crossroads to see him play! Makes one wonder if they knew what they were witnessing at the time?

Chloe Comfort profile image

Chloe Comfort 7 years ago from Long Island

Cool hub! I've heard it said that there is some type of curse about dying at the age of 27. Not only did a number of rock stars die at that age but I think there were a number of big celebraties (actors, etc) that died at the age of 27 too. Maybe you'll do a follow-up/sequel hub on the subject :-)

Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 7 years ago from California Author

Finding photos of Robert Johnson is very difficult; you'll have to check the library. Good luck on your search! As for him being the devil, I don't believe in such foolishness. Later!

gusripper profile image

gusripper 7 years ago

Killer hub,if you have any other photos of ROBERT JOHNSON mail or hub them i think the guy was the devil himself while he was playing,maybe he was the buyer not the seller if you know what i mean.

AmpMan profile image

AmpMan 7 years ago from London, UK.

Janis..27...jeez. Most of these guys found tone - now it is down to us to keep searching.

marmmoo 7 years ago from MEQUON, WI.

Totally informative, You really know how to put out some darn good articles, looking forward to reading more. Thank You.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

Interesting I never knew that Janis Joplin was 27 nor any of the other how coincidental, what a wonderful article.!!!:)

Josh Hunter 8 years ago

So good to see Sean McCabe here - Cheers Kosmo, JH @ The 27s

Klassik57 8 years ago

Is that why they say "Only the good die young?"

I hope that Jimi, Morrison, Janis, Stevie Ray and John Lennon are all having a JAM SESSION in Heaven for GOD!

Poetic Knight profile image

Poetic Knight 8 years ago from Ottawa

this was very educational for me. I knew some of the facts but you filled in a great manjy gaps that were really blank. thanks

oh and BTW i put love me do because it was my favourite song by them from that era. yes i know it's a little biased. lol but it is my list and i did ask for other people to add their list in the comments section of "20th Century's Greatest Rock Songs"


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