I Call Bullsh*t On The “27 Club”

Ok, so let me get this straight, any musician who dies under any circumstances and is 27 years old gets admitted to the “27 Club”, like it’s some sort of career achievement? And really people, a “club” for those who died? Would the media classify those who died serving our country in a war, part of a “club” or those who perished on 9/11 as part of a “club”, of course not. Those who fought in wars defending our freedom or those who senselessly were taken away from us are heroes and victims, not “club” members.

So let’s end this silliness about the “27 Club”, which was concocted by some stoner in the early 70’s, to bring forth a coincidence of four prominent rock figures who died in a two-year period, who all happened to be age 27.  All of which had achieved legendary status:

Brian Jones, founding member of the Rolling Stones.
Jimi Hendrix, one of the greatest guitarists of all time
Janis Joplin, groundbreaking female vocalist
Jim Morrison, the Doors

When Kurt Cobain killed himself, the media added him to this “club” as if it was some way to connect Cobain to the others. And ooh, here’s a coincidence, Kurt played a lefty guitar and was from Seattle, and so was Jimi Hendrix. Ooh, that’s freaky!

And 17 years after Cobain’s death, Amy Winehouse has died at age 27. And the comparisons to Janis Joplin have started. Based on this pattern in another 17 years some 10 year old kid who is somewhere learning guitar or writing poetry, will either end up as a founding member of a huge band as a guitarist, or he’ll front a different big band, but regardless, he’s dead at 27.

Yeah right.

The Amy Winehouse death has brought all sort of wacky commentary (thanks Twitter!) about how great she was and that Adele or even Lady Gaga wouldn’t exist without her? Really? Adele? I mean a british girl who could sing soul music, needed Amy Winehouse? Umm…no, Dusty Springfield did that for any white female singer with soul, and I’m happy Mark Ronson liked Dusty and saw that in Amy, but really, if he didn’t do someone else would have with another singer. And Adele would have still had talent. And by the way do you think Amy Winehouse would have enjoyed critics telling her that she sounds like Adele if her next album came out? It would have happened, and unfortunately Madonna will have to deal with that with Gaga, but the difference is Madonna never has to answer to any anyone, her status is carved in stone, she’s got nothing to prove. Amy on the other hand still did; which is why the Adele thing would matter to her, whereas the Gaga doesn’t matter to Madonna and never will.

It’s also been stated that Amy dying is a waste of talent. No it’s not, she didn’t waste her talent, we got to see it. A waste of talent would have been if Elvis remained a truck driver.

And finally this outpouring that she was an addict and that drug addiction is a disease and we should all feel sorry for her life. I call bullshit on the feel sorry part. Addiction is an illness and a disease, and personally I view alcohol addiction and drug addiction as two separate things; alcohol is legal so therefore we are bombarded with marketing of it and anyone of legal age can buy it, so when that person tries it and gets addicted, they had no idea it would do that to them, and at that point all of the resources and help to fight that addiction should be employed to get that person clean, with no stigmas whatsoever.

Non Prescription Drugs are a different situation, they are not legal, and when people get addicted to them, maybe the solution should be they automatically go to prison and put in a recovery program there. I wonder how seriously people would take their post treatments and meetings if they knew falling off the wagon puts them back in prison? Aren’t drugs in your system possession of an illegal substance?

And back to the disease part of it, addiction is a preventable disease that also has a cure, probably 100% curable if you get the treatment and stay clean, unlike cancer where there’s no sure way you get it and no sure way to 100% cure it, same with ALS and many other diseases.

Any Winehouse could have been clean, she chose not to, she had many chances and supposedly a support system that cared about her who obviously couldn’t get her to stay clean despite the inevitable consequences. She wasn’t a waste of talent, she’s waste of time.

And that by no means is meant to belittle the seriousness and effort of those who fight addiction of drugs or alcohol every second of every day, I can imagine how difficult it is to fight the demons and the temptations, and for any friends of mine that are battling, I have always made sure that I am always there for them and if they slip up, I’m always there to help them on the road back, one day at time. And all of them have lived past age 27.

The 27 club is bullshit. Amy Winehouse was a great singer. But great singers are a dime a dozen and there’s a line down the block to replace her, if she hadn’t been replaced already. There are people who died in wars and terror attacks that will never be replaced, and if each one of those were given a list of things to do to save their lives, they would have done it. Amy Winehouse had that list, she chose not to adhere to it.

If you liked Amy’s work, listen to her albums. Don’t worry about what age she was when she died, worry about what happened to her, and put that thought towards a friend who’s got an addiction and try to help them.

Visit Alcoholics Anonymous here

Visit Narcotics Anonymous here

  • Robin

    Funny I never even considered a comparison between Amy & Adele. I compared Amy more to Etta James & Billie Holiday. That true blues in their voices that you felt the pain they were feeling.

    as for her addiction, there's that turning point where the drugs completely over take everything. Her career, her family, her relationships & eventually her life, Like with any other addict famous or not. But losing someone so young, no matter the circumstance is still sad. Above anything elses she was still someone's daughter, someone's friend.

  • Fat Idiot who Smokes

    Kurt Cobain admitted himself to that "club". He shot himself in the head. It is lame. Its seems that people's bodies give up around 27 or some. I think that is why you never really see an old drug addict. Keith Richards is an exception to the rule. Anyways, there ARE other diseases that are totally preventable. If you don't want diabetes type 2 don't be a fat idiot. If you don't want cancer don't be a fat idiot who smokes. If you don't want to be an addict don't drink or use. Addiction is preventable just like diabetes type 2 and cancers. But unfortunately it happens because life happens. No one is immune from addiction. Just like no one is immune from cancer or diabetes there are just steps one can take to prevent it. Sometimes there is a genetic predispositions-like a family has had it- or there is environmental conditions that cause it- you like chocolate cake and flaming hot cheetos and smoke. Or a combo. Whatever it is no one is ever cured from addiction; they just have to manage their life on life's terms. It takes a strong person to say they are wrong, life is unmanageable, and they need help. And I think that happens with other diseases too.

  • HumanBein

    Good take on the ’27 club’, it romanticizes very unhealthy lifestyles, and is a complete coincidence. I’d like to point out your stance on addiction to drugs the government has made illegal is absurd, you say people addicted to them should be punished, whereas a drinker should be hugged, kissed and forgiven because (s)he saw some beer commercials (alcohol is covered extensively in high school health classes). The funny part is that when you click the links you have provided, it takes you to the same website. Your stance on addiction is poorly thought out, ruined a decent article.

  • ***

    I’m just going to be completely honest here. I understand what you’re getting at, however I think your take on the 27 club is completely and utterly ridiculous. This club is supposed to honor those people for their great music and the incredible mark they’ve left in history. It’s a shame that they had to die so young, but that’s the whole purpose of the “club” Is to simply recognize their life and tragedies. And it seems to me that you don’t know much about any of those artists because if you did, you would know that Amy Winehouse didn’t care about what people thought. She always said “I make music that I want to hear, I don’t care about anyone else” Which is one of the great things about her. Also, Kurt Cobain was a troubled man. It was not surprising that he took his own life. Basically, you’ve got the wrong idea on what the club is all about. No, it’s not about conspiracies or a celebration to drugs and alcohol. It is simply a reminder of all the great artists who lived too hard and died too young. So before you go saying things about subjects you don’t understand or really truly comprehend, you might want to do a bit more research. You really call bullshit on the 27 club? I call bullshit on your article.

    • Sigh

      Then what about all the most famous singers who died right before or after the age of 27 (or any time for that matter)?
      Why don’t we also make a club for talents who died at 17,18,19,20,21,22.. and so on?
      How are those who died at 27 somehow more worth the appreciation?

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