the forever 27 club.

Today marks my 27th birthday. Growing up, a friend and I would occasionally talk about the Forever 27 club, a group of rock musicians who died all at the age of 27. We were intrigued by the mystery  of  how Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison died within a ten month period of one another, and were  devastated and shocked by the early untimely death of Kurt Cobain.  We believed deeply in those lyrics from an old Billy Joel song that maybe “only the good die young” and figured it was our mission to become everything that we could be by the age of 27, before it was too late.

In contemplating the realization of our idea back then, it was easy to put so much pressure on the thought of death, that we didn’t see past how much it would take to actually get to our own personal levels of satisfaction.  So many times, it was hard to pretend that a wish didn’t often cross with certain acts and goals that could properly change the world. But now, instead of maintaining the old dream, Forever 27 begins to present itself as something shiny and brand new. Taking on a different role, almost like a milestone or a time-line that challenges every mental and meta-physical place ever known, this year allows past memories to crawl into a warm hiding place and prepares the long lost future to properly take flight.

Jimi Hendrix
(November 27, 1942 – September 18, 1970)

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

Death: Asphyxiated on vomit
after accidental overdose of sleeping pills

Listen: All Along the Watchtower [Best of, 1967]

Kurt Cobain
(February 20, 1967 – April 8, 1994)

Fame: Lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter for Nirvana

Death: Officially recorded as suicide by self inflicted gun shot,
although there remains much speculation

Listen: Something In the Way [Nevermind, 1991]

Jim Morrison
(December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971)

Fame: Poet, lead singer, songwriter, and video director for The Doors

Death: Listed as “heart failure” but, as no autopsy was performed, the actual cause remains mysterious. Possible accidental overdose

Listen: Peace Frog [Best of, 1970]

Janis Joplin
(January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970)

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

Death: Possible heroin overdose

Listen: Move Over (Pearl, 1970)

Brian Jones
(February 28, 1942 – July 3, 1969)

Fame: Rolling Stones founder and rhythm guitarist/multi-instrumentalist

Death: Drowned in swimming pool

Listen: You Can’t Always Get What You Want (Best of, 1969)

Artwork by Deluca/Russo, John Koehn, and Martin Torsleff

About The Author


“One glimpse is all it takes to tell you that Music Is Art is something special. You can start by judging this blog by its cover—it’s one of the best-designed, most aesthetically aware music blogs around—but there’s much more to it than just a pretty template. For one, Danielle Maree, the “dreamer/designer” behind MIA, focuses not only on excellent music, but on art, photography and writing and how they all intersect and inform the music. By sharing the sounds and sights that inspire her, she’s inspiring a growing number of readers on a daily basis. By documenting artists’ creative processes, she’s, in the process, creating a pretty substantial, always-evolving work of art herself.” - Nerd Litter

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12 Responses

  1. Meghan

    This is a bad ass web page. My friends and I want to live to be 127. At 27 you just don’t get to full experience life.

  2. Annie

    Just so you know, Brian didn’t appear on the song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” In fact, it was released as a single two days after his death. “Ruby Tuesday”, “Under My Thumb” or “Paint it Black” would be great choices that he had a lot to do with.

  3. Josh Clark

    Happy Birthday

    A few other members of the club:
    Robert Johnson (died August 1938)
    Dave Alexander (died feb. 1975) The Stooges
    Pete De Freitas (died June 1989 ) Echo and the BunnyMen
    Jeremy M. Ward (died May 2003) Mars Volta
    Audie Pitre (died Jan. 1997) AcidBath
    Kristen Pfaff (died June 16 1994) Hole
    Ron Mckernan (died March 1973) The Grateful Dead
    D. Boon (died Dec. 1985) The Minutemen

  4. alexandria

    this is such a strange but possible idea. tomorrow is kurt kobains b-day. i think i will celebrate it. i was born the year after he was born and one month before.

  5. Yuri

    Nice piece…..

    don’t forget the tragic death of Nick Drake (aged 26) as part of your ‘club’….

    happy birthday
    wonderful blog


  6. Daniel Edlen

    This and the fact that so many J’s died early are just weird. And that most of them were from the same era. Strange.

    Thanks for adding me on FB!


  7. Eric

    Congrats on your bday! If you like The 27s, you should check out the book! Your blog looks great btw. Thanks for letting me post.