Music History

Why Have So Many Rock Stars Died at Age 27? Let’s Ask Science!

Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Amy Winehouse. They all died at the age of 27. Can science explain the so-called 27 Club? From

When Kurt Cobain committed suicide in a Seattle suburb 20 years ago, the idea of the 27 Club entered the public consciousness. “I told him not to join that stupid club,” his mother said at the time of death, and the quote was subsequently picked up and distributed worldwide by the Associated Press.

Writers and music fans started drawing the link between Cobain and a long line of equally talented artists and performers — ranging from Brian Jones, to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and more — who died at the same age.

In 2011, Amy Winehouse followed in Cobain’s wake. Her death immediately launched broad speculation about whether 27 was actually a cursed age. It started to seem like there was more to the club than mere coincidence. Now, two decades after we started mythologizing “the club,” science has shown that there’s more truth to the myth than anyone expected.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38446 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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