Amy Winehouse and the 27 Club

by Kara Kaloplastos

Last week, Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment, adding her name to the 27 Club. For those of you who don’t know, the 27 Club describes the group of influential musicians who all died at the age of 27. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and Kurt Cobain are included in this list. Although she was addicted to drugs and alcohol, Winehouse’s death still stunned many around the world and prompts us to consider the 27 Club myth once more. Is it really a curse? Is it intentional?

To me, the myth seems like a popular way of romanticizing, and perhaps justifying, the early deaths of talented young musicians. I don’t think it is anyone’s intention (suicide or not) to honor the curse and put the 27 stamp on their obituary. I do believe that everyone experiences a transition in their late twenties.  It’s an age where people feel pressure to “grow up” and figure out what they really want to do with their lives. It’s a time where college is well in the past and families and peers want you to settle down. For a talented musician or rock star however, life is transient and the pressure to mature or settle might be too much to deal with. However, it is important to note that people might feel depressed or have unsettled feelings regardless of their age. Kurt Cobain tried to kill himself at 17, 25, and 26, as well.

So, it seems to me that the 27 Club is a means of categorizing the tragic concept of talent lost at a young age. It is a way to honor and recognize this talent, and to make the musician’s art more memorable for those they left behind. Amy Winehouse is now a part of that list, and we will miss her powerful vocals and creative talent.