The 27 Club

Last Saturday, singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London apartment, the cause of death not yet known.
Like many, I enjoyed her 2006 album, “Back To Black” and saw her life turn into a train wreck via magazines, tabloids and random YouTube videos.
Of course,  a lot of people are now throwing her tragedy into some legendary status due to the fact she died at the age of 27.
Many famous musicians have died at this age. Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Kurt Cobain.
Why people put a lot of stock into this number baffles me. Most of those on the list died as burn outs past their prime. Morrison was overweight and in a bathtub when he went.
Hendrix was in a downward spiral of booze and pills, as was Janis Joplin.
Brian Jones was kicked out of the Stones for his drinking and drug abuse. He got drunk and fell into his swimming pool after he was fired.
Nirvana was on its last legs when Cobain killed himself. He had been hinting at ending the band around the time he died, which if people remember, Nirvana’s popularity was wanning at the end of his days.
As much as I enjoyed Winehouse’s one hit album, I suspect that was all we were going to get from her. Which is sad, because she had the talent and potential to make many more great albums.
But like those on the 27 list, her final years were riddled with drugs, booze and self-destruction.
It’s not something people should romanticize. Dying at 27 is not a great achievement. It’s a waste.
Yet people have this romantic image of these people “burning out” instead of “fading away.”
Winehouse is not a legend and never will be. One album does not throw an artist into the “legend” category.
I’m weary of the fact Cobain is a legend. Three studio albums, one album of B-sides and a live album is not that impressive of an output of work.
There is no mystery to these deaths either. They got rich and famous in their early-to-mid 20s and over-indulged in narcotics.
Yes, there is the shame that the potential these people had were amazing, but things don’t always work out.
Not everyone can be a Keith Richards, somehow defying all the odds and somehow is still alive today. But he is an exception to the rule.
Yes, I see the irony in Winehouse’s hit “Rehab” and have read many posts on Facebook joking about that.
Yet, she had been in rehab. Her vices overtook her virtue and she became cannon fodder for the blood crazed European tabloids and America’s own Rolling Stone magazine.
My own reaction when I found out she died was not surprise, but dissapointment. She made a great record five years ago, and as far as I know, released one song in the proceeding years. It was cover song of “(It’s My Party) And I’ll Cry If I want To.”
So now she is in the 27 Club, a group of dead musicians who crashed and burned. Tragic? Yes. But it does not make them any greater than when they were alive.

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