Entertainment | Music

Singer Winehouse joins the tragic '27 Club'

Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin also passed away at the age of 27

  • Agencies
  • Published: 23:04 July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse
  • Image Credit: AP
  • British singer Amy Winehouse poses for photographs after being interviewed by The Associated Press at a studio in north London on February 16, 2007.

London: Singer Amy Winehouse, who died in London on Saturday, has joined a tragic group of famous rock stars who passed away at the age of 27 - the notorious '27 Club'.

In pictures: Amy Winehouse

Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones, guitarist Jimi Hendrix, singer Janis Joplin, The Doors singer Jim Morrison and Nirvana frontman are the other major "members" of the ill-fated club.

The first to die was Jones, who left the Stones after disagreements with other members. He had problems with drugs and alcohol.

Jones drowned in the swimming pool of his estate in Sussex, southern England, in July 1969, and his body was found by his girlfriend. An inquest recorded a verdict of death by misadventure but speculation has continued that he was murdered.

Hendrix, the pioneering US guitar wizard whose whose hits included Purple Haze and Hey Joe, followed one year later.

Hendrix choked on his own vomit in a hotel in London on September 18, 1970 after swallowing sleeping pills and drinking red wine.

Less than a month later, on October 4, 1970, Joplin was dead at the same age. Known for her bluesy vocal style, the US singer died of a suspected heroin overdose. Her album Pearl was released posthumously and became her biggest seller.

In 1971 Morrison became the next to perish. The US singer of the hits Light My Fire and the brooding masterpiece The End died in his bathtub in his Paris flat on July 3, 1971, alcoholic and obese.

The cause of The Lizard King's death was a suspected heart attack - but there was never an autopsy, giving rise to multiple conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile Cobain, who died in early April 1994, had his own well-documented struggles with heroin during his brief career with US grunge rockers Nirvana. But it was not drugs that claimed his life, but his own hand.

Just weeks after taking an overdose of tranquilisers in Rome, Cobain, who was married to troubled rocker Courtney Love and best known for the hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, killed himself with a shotgun at his house in Seattle.

Afterwards his mother Wendy was quoted as saying: "Now he's gone and joined that stupid club, I told him not to join that stupid club."

A host of other, lesser known musicians also died at the same age.

The keyboardist for legendary rockers the Grateful Dead, Roger "Pigpen" McKernan died of a haemorrhage brought on by alcoholism in March 1973.

And Richey Edwards, the guitarist and lyricist of the Welsh alternative rock band "Manic Street Preachers" disappeared in February 1995 after spiralling into depression.

His car was found abandoned near a notorious suicide spot and he was officially pronounced dead in 2008.

The life and times of Amy Winehouse

Early life:

  • Amy Winehouse was born on September 14 1983 to a Jewish family with a history of jazz musicians.
  • She was discovered by soul singer Tyler James at the age of 16 and in 2003 her debut album Frank was released, to general acclaim.
  • Her second album Back to Black was released in October 2006 and reached the No.1 spot.

Mixed fortunes:

  • The album's hit single Rehab, with the prescient line: "They tried to make me go to rehab. I said 'no, no, no'" has been called the anthem of celebrity trash culture.
  • In October 2007, she and her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil were arrested at a Norwegian hotel for marijuana possession, and soon afterward fans booed her on stage as she slurred her way through her gigs.They divorced in 2009.
  • Two months later she was photographed wandering barefoot on a London street, wearing only jeans and a bra and looking confused.
  • Despite being refused entrance to the United States, Winehouse won five Grammy awards in February 2008.
  • April 2008 saw her with mixed fortunes. She was nominated three times for the Ivor Novello awards in May and joined the elite ranks of music millionaires in the Sunday Times rich list with an estimated fortune of 10 million pounds ($16.3 million).
  • In 2010, she pleaded guilty to common assault and public order charges at Milton Keynes Magistrates' Court. Winehouse had assaulted theatre manager Richard Pound after disrupting a performance of Cinderella at the Milton Keynes Theatre in central England on December 19. She was arrested four days later.
  • In 2011, it was announced the on-again, off-again follow-up to Winehouse's seminal Back to Black album of 2006 could be on again. Recent sightings of her looking healthier after a trip to Brazil in January 2011 did raise hopes of a new release in 2011.
  • Also in 2011 she had been slated to sing with Tony Bennett and a laundry list of pop stars on Tony Bennett: Duets II, the follow-up to his 2006 release Duets: An American Classic.
  • For Winehouse, who had released scant material since her 2006 breakout Back to Black, the duet would have been her first recorded appearance since her cover of Lesley Gore's It's My Party for Quincy Jones' compilation Q: Soul Bossa Nostra in 2010.
  • The British singer performed Boulevard of Broken Dreams, a song from the 1934 film Moulin Rouge that has been covered most famously by Bennett, at one of her Brazil tour dates in January 2011.

Cancelled tour:

  • In June 2011, Winehouse cancelled all her scheduled concerts after she was jeered by fans in Serbia recently for a shambolic performance.
  • Winehouse sporting her trademark beehive hairdo and figure-hugging dress, struggled to perform her songs and keep her balance at the gig in the Serbian capital Belgrade, and on some tunes the audience did most of the singing.
  • The news was a major setback for the artist and her entourage. At the start of last month she had checked out of a rehab clinic and confidently looked forward to her upcoming tour.

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