Published August 6, 2011 by Tony

27 CLUB &  J27

Around and over the centuries there have been many curses, beginning with those mentioned in the Bible.

The curse of 27 , called 27 Club (Club 27) or Forever 27, just is a  recent one.

The name of the singer Amy Winehouse, died a few days ago, has been added to the list of the 27 Club, an ideal club created to collect the names of rock stars, who, oddly, like a curse, have died before the achievement of their twenty-eighth year of age. In truth, there is another curse called J27, which in addition to the parameter of the age, adds the letter J, as a constant, in the first or last names of the artists disappeared prematurely. Given the young age, most cases concern a non-natural death, due to abuse of alcohol, drugs, suicide or traffic accidents. The curse of 27 is the belief that 27 is an unlucky number because of the number of artists who have died at the age of 27!
This curse, as the J27,  started in the years 1969-1971, after the death of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones and Janis Joplin, the first names to join the Club 27 and J27 lists, because they all died at the age of twenty-seven years and with the consonant J in the name or surname. On that time, somebody also thought that the next names to take part of the J27 list could be John Lennon and Mick Jagger ones; and, in fact,  Lennon died, but it was a murder when he was 40. Other artists were not included in the list as John Denver, who died in a plane crash at age 53, John Bonham, who, also if for choking and asphyxiation, died at 32 years; Jeff Buckley, drowned in Mississippi at 30, Joe Strummer, died of a heart attack at the age of 50 years, Jaco Pastorius, beaten to death by a bouncer at 36 and Michael Jackson died of a heart attack at 50 years. Another example is Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan, drummer of Avenged Sevenfold, the American metal band who, despite died for a cardiac arrest due to the mix of drugs and alcohol, had already reached 28 years of age.
In the following years many artists have been included in the list, people known internationally in the field of music and art and whose death (27 years) was not natural. Many names included in the list after the first 5 official ones, are being questioned by the creators of the club, like the blues singer Robert Leroy Johnson, because the mysterious death occurred in 1937 happened before the creation of the club. On  the contrary, when the leader of Nirvana died, almost twenty years after the death of Morrison, his popularity and the outcry from his suicide brought his name to be included officially in the club, while his sister declared that when younger, Kurt had expressed willingness to join the list.

Here’s the official list:

Brian Jones



Drowned (coroner’s report states "death by misadventure")

Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist

Jimi Hendrix




Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys

Janis Joplin



Probable heroin overdose

Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band

Jim Morrison



Heart failure (although no autopsy was performed)

Lead singer, lyricist and video director for The Doors, and poet.

Kurt Cobain




Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana


With the passing of time, many other artists have been added:
Jesse Belvin, Malcolm Hale, Alan Wilson, Linda Jones, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Dave Alexander, Peter Ham, Gary Thain, Cecilia, Helmut Köllen, Chris Bell, Dennes Boon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pete de Freitas, Mia Zapata, Kristen Pfaff, Richard James Edwards, Fat Pat, Freaky Tah, Sean Patrick McCabe, Jonathan Brandis, Jeremy Michael Ward, Bryan Ottoson, Dash Snow, Amy Winehouse.


Curiously, there are other characters in the story, although not part of the music world, that have the letter J in their name and died at 28 years of age as: Ana Maria Ribeiro da Silva of Jesus, better known as Anita Garibaldi;  Joseph Merrick, better known by the name of Elephant Man, the Finnish rider Jarno Saarinen died in 1973 together Renzo Pasolini during the Grand Prix of Nations at Monza, and the American painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, an exponent American graffiti, died of AIDS.


What else add, if I were a well-known artist under 27 years old, I certainly couldn’t rest easy, and more if the letter J was part of my name!


12 comments on “THE CURSE OF 27

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