Dubai: "Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club", Kurt Cobain’s mother said to a reporter, referring to the 27 Club. "I told him not to join that stupid club."
I’ve often wondered what the music world, that I love so very much, would be like had artists Hendrix, Morrison, Cobain or Winehouse, lived longer.
Crazy thought, but that’s just me, the wishful thinker.
All of them died at their prime, when they were making the most amazing music. And tragically, all of them died at the age of 27, which rock historians refer to as the “27 Club”.
Jimmy Hendrix’s without doubt the greatest rock ‘n’ roll guitarist the world has ever seen. With all due respect to Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Steve Ray Vaughan, Hendrix was in a totally different league. His career only spanned four years during which he recorded just three studio albums, but the impact he had during that time, and in subsequent years was monumental.
Joe Satriani, another virtuoso guitarist, perhaps summed Hendrix up best in his iconic tribute – ‘What he chose to play is what we chose to love. All great players play according to the music they are playing, it’s not like it’s a self-promotion vehicle. “
As font man with The Doors, Jim Morrison, a thin, ridiculously handsome singer broke away from established convention to fashion an image that appealed to the love generation the time.
Even the famed Hollywood director Oliver Stone would be moved to take on his most ambitious project and make a biopic about Morrison’s Doors, such was the impact he had on the cultural scene.
Both Hendrix and Morrison tragically died in the 70s, as did the legendary rock, soul and blues singer, Janis Joplin, another member of the 27 Club.
But it Kurt Cobain, who really added some eerie credibility to it when he chose to take away his life in 1994, at the age of 27. In Cobain’s case he wanted to immortalize himself by joining Hendrix, Morrison and Joplin.
Crazy as it may seem the age 27 had become a major landmark in the music business, all for the wrong reasons and the glorification of sameness.
Just last month, it marked eight years since Amy Winehouse also died at the age of 27 following a wonderful career during which she wrote: ‘Over futile odds And laughed at by the gods And now the final frame. Love is a losing game’ (from the song Love Is a Loosing Game).
Perhaps, just perhaps, the 27 Club may receive more members in the years to come… but I pray and hope not!