The 27 Club

Damian Walk, Writer

Who does Not know about the 27 Club? The tragic and dumbfounding set of coincidental deaths of some of music’s most talented. The death of the musicians Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrision within a two year period brought some comment, but the term “21 Club” came to prominence in popular culture after the death of Kurt Cobain. The list of 27 Club members go all the way back to the death of Louis Chauvin’s in 1908. The death of singer Amy Winehouse was the most recent in 2011. There are two most notable periods of deaths when it comes to the deaths in the 27 Club. The first period is the nearly year long period of September 1970 to July 1971. This first period struck a major blow to the rock community of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The second period is 22 years later and another nearly year long period of July 1993 to June 1994. This second period saw a hard hit delivered to the grunge scene of the 1990’s. 


But there is a question that needs to be answered. Is 27 the age with the most fatalities of musicians?


The following information was retrieved from


The results in the article presenting the comparison of the deaths of musicians at the age of 27 with those of different age groups was astonishing. The sample from the Independent included musicians who died from the 1950’s to the 2010’s. The sample included 11,054 dead musicians from in between the 1950’s and the 2010’s. So the 27 club is infamous, but did you know more musicians die at the age of 28. 1.4 percent (153) died at the age of 28, when 1.3 percent (144) died at the age of 27. Did you also know that the highest fatality rate of musicians is the age of 56? 239 musicians died at the age of 56. So why isn’t the 56 Club a thing? I believe that it is because those who died older had lived a full life and gave a lot. Members of the 27 Club were so young. They had a lot left to give. So I can say case closed on mystery of the existence of the 27 Club.


List of the 27 Club’s Most Notable Members:

  1. Brian Jones (founding member of the Rolling Stones) Death: July 3, 1969
  2. Alan Wilson (Canned Heat guitarist) Death: September 3, 1970
  3. Jimi Hendrix Death: September 18, 1970
  4. Janis Joplin Death: October 4, 1970
  5. Jim Morrison Death: July 3, 1971
  6. Ron McKernan (Grateful Dead frontman) Death: March 8, 1973
  7. Dave Alexander (bassist for The Stooges) Death: February 10, 1975
  8. Pete Ham (Badfinger frontman) Death: April 24, 1975
  9. Gary Thain (Uriah Heep bassist) Death: December 8, 1975
  10. Chris Bell (songwriter and guitarist of Big Star) Death: December 27, 1978
  11. D Boon (Minutemen guitarist and frontman) Death: December 22, 1985
  12. Pete de Freitas (drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen) Death: June 14, 1989
  13. Mia Zapata (Gits frontwoman) Death: July 7, 1993
  14. Kurt Cobain Death: April 5, 1994
  15. Kristen Pfaff (bassist for Hole) Death: June 16, 1994
  16. Richey Edwards (Manic Street Preachers guitarist) Death: February 1, 1995
  17. Stretch (rapper) Death: November 30, 1995