For the music industry, passing away at the age of 27 is more than just a number. The artist becomes a member of the 27 Club.
Maybe its because the age of 27 is more likely to be at the height of their career, or at the point where the pressure of being in the spotlight has become unbearable. But addiction, overdose, suicide and violence have been the cause of death for some of the most famous and influential musicians of all time. For Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and Kurt Cobain, the coincidence of their age of death being 27 further strengthens the urban legend as they join a notable list of other musicians who died at the same age.
It goes without saying that musicians live in in a world where the rules are more like loose suggestions when it comes to their lifestyle. Whether its for fun, creative inspiration, anxiety relief or anything else, the accessibility to any substance legal and illegal is always a temptation. For actors, their public image tends to be easier to keep in check where there is a team who is in charge of keeping scandals at bay and being at the forefront of everything from who they date, what jobs they take and clearly defining the implications of their actions miles before they happen.
With the world telling them who they are and how they should act, it is probably hard for musicians to see how they may be hurting themselves, especially if they are surrounded by people encouraging it. This is especially true for those in their 20s. In may cases, the lyrics written about the 27 Club were a ominous foreshadowing. Maybe not the actual age, but the notion that the songwriters wrote about how they might die – and that it happens exactly the way they said they would.
Mac Miller (1992-2018) – Age 26
Mac Miller’s career started picking up speed when he was in high school with his track “The Spins” was released in 2010. Listening to his entire catalog was like reading a diary of his life, for the good and bad. A loveable high school kid dreaming of the rock star life of cars, money and girls with so much universally recognized talent is some pretty extreme pressure to live up to. In 2015, he released “Brand Name”, a track referencing both the 27 Club and what he would eventually die from. Mac Miller died at the age of 26 from an accidental overdose when he was sold fentanyl “mixed” into oxycodone pills.
“To everyone who sell me drugs: Don’t mix it with that b******t, I’m hopin’ not to join the 27 Club.”-Mac Miller
Juice WRLD (1998-2019) – Age 21
In an interview in 2018 with the New York Times, Juice WRLD talked about how was working on his admitted struggles with pills. “I have a lot going for me, I recognize it’s a lot of big things, a lot of big looks. I want to be there, and you don’t have to overdose to not be there.” After the death of rapper XXXTENTACION at the young age of 20, Juice WRLD wrote and released “Legends” within two days and dedicated the song to him and rapper Lil Peep, who passed away the year before at age 21. Six days after his 21st birthday, Juice WRLD died from a suspected overdose of Codeine and Oxycodone. The lyrics to his song “Legends” ended up being a foreshadowing of his own death.
“This time, it was so unexpected Last time, it was the drugs he was lacing All legends fall in the making Sorry truth, dying young, demon youth
What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21.”
Statistically speaking, 27 is just a number
The superstitions that are widely known as an omen in the music world shows that the 27 Club is just that – a superstition.
27 Club and Other Musicians Who Died Before Their Time (The List)
- XXXTENTACION, 20, Gunshot wounds
- Pop Smoke, 20, Gunshot wounds
- Juice Wrld, 21, Oxycodone & Codeine overdose
- Lil Peep, 21, Fentanyl
- Aaliyah, 22, Plane crash
- Selena Quintanilla, 23, Gunshot wounds
- The Notorious B.I.G., 24, Gunshot wounds
- Tupac Shakur, 25, Gunshot wounds
- Mac Miller, 26, Fentanyl
- Kurt Cobain, 27, S*****e
- Jim Morrison, 27, Drug overdose
- Jimi Hendrix, 27, Drug & alcohol related asphyxia
- Janis Joplin, 27, Drug overdose
- Amy Winehouse, 27, Alcohol poisoning
- Brian Jones, 27, Drowning
- Avicii, 28, S*****e
- Eazy-E, 30, AIDs-related pneumonia
- Nipsey Hussle, 33, Gunshot wounds
- Bob Marley, 36, Melanoma
- Prodigy of Mobb Deep, 42, Sickle Cell Anemia
- Freddie Mercury, 45, AIDS-related pneumonia
- Whitney Houston, 48, Drowning (Cocaine & heart condition)
- Michael Jackson, 50, Propofol
- Prince, 57, Fentanyl
Still, without looking at the age and instead the artist’s impact on a worldwide scale based on talent and influence, the legend of the 27 Club will live on. What is quite significant is the average age of death for musicians in general versus the total population. The list below is only a fraction of musicians who died before the end of their careers.
Dedicated to Taylor Hawkins
This article and the most recent Big Time Fresh podcast episode is dedicated to Taylor Hawkins, one of the most talented musicians, drummers and human beings that ever lived. The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert is taking place on two different dates in two different countries put on by the family along with the band Foo Fighters with an amazing lineup that will be streamed on Paramount +.
THE TAYLOR HAWKINS TRIBUTE CONCERTS
PARAMOUNT TO STREAM LIVE WORLDWIDE FROM WEMBLEY STADIUM SEPTEMBER 3rd
Livestreams & Concert Specials to Reach Global Audiences Across CBS, MTV Entertainment,
Paramount+ and Pluto TV
MORE SPECIAL GUESTS CONFIRMED FOR LONDON & L.A.
PROCEEDS TO BENEFIT MUSIC SUPPORT & MUSICARES
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, suicide or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org.