I turned 27 last month and, like anyone else starting a new year with their life, I wonder, “What will 27 be like?” Friends and family always have an opinion they believe to be universal. “Oh, 25 is the worst.” “Suck it up, 29 is the end of your life.” “It’s all down-hill after 21, nothing to look forward to.” Etc.
What I forgot about this year was the historic danger of being 27. I’ve heard this many times before but it hasn’t registered this year: many of our biggest rock star legends have died at 27. Among their rank, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain who died in 1994, The Door’s Jim Morrison in 1971, and then Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix both died in 1970. And earlier today, it was announced that Amy Winehouse died of an overdose… at 27.
What is it about the age 27 that corresponds so well with rock history? Is it a coincidence? Is it the magic number that fame takes its toll? Or perhaps, with over half of the rock-stars dying of suicide or overdose, is it self actualizing? And yes, it is my opinion that excessive drug use to the point of fatal dosage is a passive form of suicide.
Amy Winehouse was one of my favorite musicians and in the following years, I hope to keep the reasons WHY I liked her in perspective. Her smoky voice. Her choice to follow a jazzy quality and make it as big as conventional top 4o. Her emoting on every track with every crack and blemish of her insecurity. It’s going to be hard to remember why we liked her now her music will be likened to martyrdom. Today, we lost a great modern musician and, I suspect, added another legendary rockstar to the ranks of Joplin, Hendrix and Morrison.