In light of the tragedy in Norway, the death of Amy Winehouse seems so much less like news to me than it otherwise would. Maybe. I've never been a big Amy Winehouse fan but being that she was so young and obviously so talented, her death does seem like a loss. The thing is, she was 27 when she died, like a lot of other musicians who died young. A lot.

I can still remember where I was when Kurt Cobain died at 27. I was in a bar in Mississippi and I saw it on the silent tvs above the bar. CNN was an accurate source of information at the time and I spent the rest of that summer vacation kind of in disbelief and trying to comprehend the loss. I mean, Kurt Cobain might have been one of the most amazing artists of our generation and at only 14 (yes, kids are allowed to hang with their parents in bars in Mississippi) it felt huge. The more I watch old Nirvana videos the more I realize that it was huge. Look at that guy. I still love him.

Shannon Hoon followed shortly in 1995. Also 27. I was not a big Blind Melon fan, but I was starting to wonder what was going on. I suppose this is the video to share. This song was GIGANTIC when I was in junior high.

But the thing with musicians and 27 has been going on a lot longer than I've been around. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison (who I prefer to call Old Jim) also all died at 27.

Wasn't Janis amazing? I mean, is it possible to hear her sing and not get shivers? And as for Jimi Hendrix... There's a Hendrix shrine here in Vancouver, and, of course, a big Pacific Northwest connection there, too. It's totally impossible to dislike this song. I've never been a big fan of The Doors, either, but I do share some amazing memories with my best woman, Heather, that involve Jim Morrison. When Jeff and I were in Paris we made the trek to the cemetary that he and just about every other famous person who died in Paris is buried in. It felt good to be that close to Old Jim for once. I took pictures for Heather and will share one here with you. The fan-dalism at his grave has really been all but eliminated these days.

Then, today, there's Amy Winehouse. Trying to find a video to post made me realize there is a lot of sad irony in her catalogue. Sorry if this video seems crass now. It's a pretty great song.

And among the almost-made-it-to-27 club? Gram Parsons and Tupac. Just past 27? Nick Drake. Jeff Buckley. It's sad adding up all of these lost years and wondering what kind of magic could've been made if these people had stuck around a little longer. Gram Parsons gets the last word:


  1. So many talented artists that we'll never see how much more amazing they could have been. Here's a quote from another artist that died too soon, Mitch Hedberg, "I was walking by a dry cleaner at 3 a.m., and it said "Sorry, we're closed." You don't have to be sorry. It's 3 a.m., and you're a dry cleaner. It would be ridiculous for me to expect you to be open. I'm not gonna walk by at 10 a.m. and say, "Hey, I walked by at 3, you guys were closed. Someone owes me an apology. This jacket would be halfway done!."

  2. I have NO IDEA that Tupac was 27! Wow, this is a great post. Poor struggling artists. I guess Russell Brand wrote a post on her death too...since yah know, back to black...black = heroine & he's a recovered addict I'm sure it's very heartfelt & sincere.

  3. There's a "Forever 27" mural in the Haight Ashbury to remember all these legends. It really is sad! I thought Amy Winehouse was a major talent--powerhouse voice!--and Back to Black is, incidentally, my very favorite song of hers.

    Ohhhhhh how I cried when Kurt Cobain died! I was 13. It was a very big deal.


  4. Wow, I had no idea about this 27 thing. That's bizarre. It's so sad to see so much talented cut off so early.


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