Remembering The 27 Club


Being in a club is usually pretty cool. It’s like that exclusive thing, and once you’re in, you’ve got it going on. Have you ever rolled up to a place, then the bouncer looks at a list and lets you in? Me neither.

The 27 Club, however, is a pretty crappy club to be a part of. It’s the collection of many amazing musicians that have all died at the age of 27. Being that I turn 27 today, I got to thinking about 10 musicians that left us way too damn early.

10. Alan Wilson

Bandleader of Canned Heat

The falsetto singing leader of Canned Heat died far too young, with some speculating suicide. He was the voice of the great “Going Up The Country” and “On The Road Again.” Canned Heat were purists and one of the most authentic of the Blues Revival bands. I mean, they got their name from a Tommy Johnson song and received accolades from John Lee Hooker, so I say that equals legit.

9. Jeremy Michael Ward

Sound Manipulator for The Mars Volta

Before their albums sucked, The Mars Volta was kicking out some of the most exciting music around. Their first Tremulant EP and then De-loused in the Comatorium were mind bending originals, and much can be credited to their sound manipulator. Sadly he succumbed to heroin, but his music will remain timeless.

8. Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

Founding Member of The Grateful Dead

If you founded The Dead, you mean business in the music world. Many forget ol’ Pigpen, who passed away in ’73 after years of battling the bottle. But any Deadhead will tell you that dude with the killer ‘stache and rocking cowboy hat knew how to jam with the best of them, and for that, we’re grateful. See what I did there?

7. Dave Alexander

Bassist for The Stooges

Man do I love The Stooges. I’m talking about top ten right here. The Proto Punks couldn’t have done it without bassist Dave Alexander, who’s signature sound and help in the songwriting department lead to many of the best known tracks on their self-titled debut and the legendary Fun House.

6. Janis Joplin

Legendary Singer

Janis could wail, no doubt about it. She also died too young and is one of the more famous members of The 27 Club. They reasoned a heroin overdose did Janis in, but it was quite the shock to the music world, as she passed away a couple of weeks after Jimi Hendrix (spoiler alert).

5. Brian Jones

Founding Member of The Rolling Stones

The original bandleader of the greatest living Rock N Roll band was found dead in his pool. The coroner’s report gave the most badass reasoning for his death, calling it, “Death by misadventure.” Hey, if we’re going to have to lose a Rock legend, then at least we can be happy he went out like a boss. And that his band is still rocking around the world today. How is Keith Richards still alive by the way?

4. Jim Morrison

Lead Singer for The Doors

The Doors had just broken up, which was a travesty considering their high level of awesomeness. Morrison moved to Francais with his special lady and in ’71 was found dead in his bathtub. An autopsy was never performed, so there’s been some controversy surrounding the cause of death, but the police ruled it as a heart attack. Considering his wild lifestyle, it’s amazing he made it to 27, but then again, did I mention Keith Richards is still alive?

3. Kurt Cobain

Bandleader of Nirvana

Surely the most tragic on the list was Kurt Cobain taking his own life in ’94, succumbing to mental illness, drug addiction, and the pressures of his newfound fame. His music is still so alive today, it’s hard to believe he died almost 20 years ago. He’s been battling Elvis for the top spot as the top earning deceased musician, but so far I have seen way more Elvis impersonators in Vegas.

2. Robert Johnson

Delta Blues Legend

The man that started it all was the mysterious King of the Delta Blues. The cause of his death is unknown, but most reports suggest he was poisoned for fooling around with the wrong dude’s special lady. Of course his early and mysterious death fueled the legend that he sold his soul at the crossroads to The Devil in exchange for musical prowess. Have you heard that dude play? Probably true.

1. Jimi Hendrix

Greatest Guitarist Ever, Duh

At the top of the list is one of the most prolific, making me think Hendrix might have had the brightest future of all. He was busy working on some awesome new music until his final days. His death was the grossest, as he passed away technically by asphyxiation, but what really happened is that he chocked on his own spew. Ewwwww. The overworked and exhausted guitarist took too one too many sleeping pills, despite legend stating a dirty drug overdose. It’s such a bummer, because Hendrix was one of the coolest dudes of all time. Couldn’t he have died while riding a dragon into a hurricane or something?

So let’s take a moment to honor all of these great musicians. A moment of silence? Hell no, we honor rocking musicians the right way here at TRR. Crank up your speakers and blast their tunes loud and proud!

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