Music is my go to, no matter what sort of mood I’m in. Music unites mankind, elevates the soul, and can transport us from despair to elation in mere seconds. Why have so many of the greatest musicians of all time died at the young age of twenty-seven. They all burned bright and hard, soared to fame, and spiraled out of control. What is it about age 27? It seems like more than coincidence to me.
I’ve heard it said that he died with a smile on his face. Did he know something we don’t? Whether we sit in church every Sunday thinking about the afterlife and singing hymns, or go to the desert and take peyote to connect with the universe and find truth, we all consider our own mortality and consider it often. Morrison seemed fascinated by his; did that fascination lead to an early death? Was he killing himself slowly on purpose because he was finished with this world and wanted the unknown? Dead at 27, in Paris, the world lost,” arguably one of the greatest singers of all time,” according to Rolling Stone Magazine.
Soulful and grave, wild and beautiful, troubled and vulnerable, Janis Joplin’s voice was one of a kind. She sang with her entire being and opened the doors of rock and roll for other women. Dead at 27, from a heroin overdose (states USA Today), we have to wonder what could have been. Joplin was a troubled soul from all accounts. Did life loose it’s fascination, it’s innocence, it’s joy? I truly think that creativity can turn to a sort of frenzied madness if the artist, who is so very sensitive to all that surrounds them, becomes disillusioned. Perhaps for Janice, the drugs and alcohol were her escape.
Four years, and Hendrix showed the world what true passion looks like. Watching him play guitar is mesmerizing and hypnotic. He didn’t have to sing a note to make you understand; he could say it all with his guitar. Hendrix died at 27, in Kensington, England only sixteen days apart from Joplin (says,Rolling Stone). Kathy Etchingham said, “”Like most acid-heads, Jimi had visions and he wanted to create music to express what he saw. He would try to explain this to people, but it didn’t make sense because it was not linked to reality in any way.” Maybe it wasn’t linked to her reality but one person’s truth is never the same as another’s. Did Hendrix, who also used drugs and alcohol feel unable to communicate his truth to the world?
Heroin addict, mentally ill, depressed; I’ve heard Cobain described as all of these things. They may be true, but he was obviously so much more. I don’t mean he was some sort of rock god, rather that he truly seemed to have an aversion to fame. He more often than not seemed uncomfortable and distraught in many interviews. Like others that came before him, Cobain seemed to be more interested in writing and singing his truth rather than fame and fortune. A true artist, sensitive and profound, the bright lights of fame seemed to destroy him bit by bit. Dead at 27, in Seattle (CNN Entertainment reports), Cobain joined Morrison, Joplin, and Hendrix.
There are other musicians who have died at the age of 27; Brian Jones, recently Amy Winehouse, Ron McKernon (Pigpen) of the Grateful Dead, and between 40 and 50 other popular musicians in the last hundred years or so that I’ve been able to count by reading The Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, and Billboard Magizines; there are very likely more. Is it disgust for fame, a desire for the unknown, a need to create that’s repressed, or a touch of madness unleashed for these brilliant artists? Maybe it’s a culmination, but they all seemed to burn too bright for this world.
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