No group has been more prone to tragedy than young music icons.
The death of Amy Winehouse this past Saturday, as shocking as it was, came as no surprise to many people. Her continued spiral into excessive drug binges had only two possible conclusions and she showed no sign of cleaning up anytime in the near future.
Her death at age 27 puts her with an extraordinary group of music stars, Hendrix, Joplin, Kobain, Jim Morrison and even the legendary Robert Johnson, all died at 27.
So what is it about music, fame and fortune, and the age 27 that claims these young icons long before their time?
I think it’s about that same emotion, turmoil and inner demons that came out through their music. When Janis sang you could wring the sadness from her voice. When Hendrix twisted guitar strings into a stretched symphony of feedback and noise the emotion dripped from his fingers as the pain of his childhood played out in his music. When Morrison penned songs and he talked about death, pain and a ‘killer on the road – his brain is squirming like a toad,’ you knew his mind went places nobody else did.
I believe the same thing that drove their success drove their death. It was that “all or nothing” thing. It was that, “I want what I want and I want it now,” thing. It was that “Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead,” thing. The common thread between the members of the 27 club is the success, the tragedy and the age.
From Janis to Amy it hasn’t gotten any easier.