Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison all died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971. At the time, the coincidence gave rise to some comment, but it was not until the death of Kurt Cobain, about two and a half decades later, that the idea of a "27 Club" began to catch on in public perception.

According to Hendrix and Cobain biographer Charles R. Cross, the growing importance of the media—Internet, television and magazines—and the response to an interview of Cobain's mother were jointly responsible for such theories. An excerpt from a statement that Cobain's mother, Wendy Fradenburg Cobain O'Connor, made in the Aberdeen, Washington newspaper The Daily World—"Now he's gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club."—referred to Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison dying at the same age, according to Cross. Other authors share his view. On the other hand, Josh Hunter and Eric Segalstad, writer of The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll, assumed that Cobain's mother referred to the death of his two uncles and his great uncle, who all committed suicide.According to Cross, the events have led a "set of conspiracy theorists [to suggest] the absurd notion that Kurt Cobain intentionally timed his death so he could join the 27 Club".

In 2011, seventeen years after Cobain's death, Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27, and there was a large amount of media attention devoted to the club once again. Three years earlier, she had expressed a fear of dying at that age.

 

People identified as being in the 27 Club

NameDate of deathOfficial cause of deathFameAge
Levy, AlexandreAlexandre LevyJanuary 17, 1892UnknownComposer, pianist and conductor27 years, 98 days
Chauvin, LouisLouis ChauvinMarch 26, 1908Neurosyphilitic sclerosisRagtime musician27 years, 13 days
Johnson, RobertRobert JohnsonAugust 16, 1938Poisoning (strychnine [unattributed])Blues singer and musician who recorded a very influential set of 29 songs.27 years, 100 days
Jaffe, NatNat JaffeAugust 5, 1945Complications from high blood pressureSwing jazz pianist27 years, 216 days
Belvin, JesseJesse BelvinFebruary 6, 1960Traffic collision (car)R&B singer, pianist and songwriter27 years, 53 days
Rudy LewisMay 20, 1964Drug overdoseVocalist of the Drifters27 years, 271 days
Joe HendersonOctober 24, 1964Heart attackR&B and gospel singer27 years, 183 days
Malcolm HaleOctober 31, 1968Poisoning (carbon monoxide)Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang27 years, 166 days
Pride, DickieDickie PrideMarch 26, 1969Drug overdose (sleeping pills)Rock and roll singer27 years, 156 days
Jones, BrianBrian JonesJuly 3, 1969Drowning[29] (coroner's report states "death by misadventure")[30]Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist27 years, 125 days
Wilson, Alan "Blind Owl"Alan "Blind Owl" WilsonSeptember 3, 1970Drug overdose (barbiturate), possible suicideLeader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat27 years, 61 days
Hendrix, JimiJimi HendrixSeptember 18, 1970Asphyxiation[32]Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys27 years, 295 days
Joplin, JanisJanis JoplinOctober 4, 1970Drug overdose (probably heroin)[33]Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band27 years, 258 days
Arlester "Dyke" ChristianMarch 13, 1971MurderedFrontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke and the Blazers27 years, 273 days
Morrison, JimJim MorrisonJuly 3, 1971Heart failure[35]Singer, lyricist, and leader of the Doors27 years, 207 days
Jones, LindaLinda JonesMarch 14, 1972Complications from diabetesSoul singer27 years, 91 days
Harvey, LeslieLeslie HarveyMay 3, 1972ElectrocutionGuitarist for Stone the Crows and brother of Alex Harvey27 years, 233 days
McKernan, Ron "Pigpen"Ron "Pigpen" McKernanMarch 8, 1973Gastrointestinal hemorrhageFounding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead27 years, 181 days
Roger Lee DurhamJuly 27, 1973Fell off a horse and died from the injuriesSinger and percussionist of Bloodstone27 years, 163 days
Wallace YohnAugust 12, 1974Plane crashOrgan player of Chase27 years, 212 days
Alexander, DaveDave AlexanderFebruary 10, 1975Pulmonary edemaBassist for the Stooges27 years, 252 days
Ham, PetePete HamApril 24, 1975Suicide by hangingKeyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger27 years, 362 days
Thain, GaryGary ThainDecember 8, 1975Drug overdose (heroin)Former bassist of Uriah Heep and the Keef Hartley Band27 years, 207 days
CeciliaCeciliaAugust 2, 1976Traffic collision (car)Singer27 years, 296 days
Köllen, HelmutHelmut KöllenMay 3, 1977Poisoning (carbon monoxide)Bassist for 1970s prog rock band Triumvirat27 years, 62 days
Bell, ChrisChris BellDecember 27, 1978Traffic collision (car)Singer-songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo27 years, 349 days
Miller, JacobJacob MillerMarch 23, 1980Traffic collision (car)Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle27 years, 324 days
Boon, D.D. BoonDecember 22, 1985Traffic collision (van)Guitarist, lead singer of punk band the Minutemen27 years, 266 days
Bashlachev, AlexanderAlexander BashlachevFebruary 17, 1988Fall from a height, probable suicidePoet, rock musician and songwriter27 years, 266 days
Basquiat, Jean-MichelJean-Michel BasquiatAugust 12, 1988Drug overdose (Speedball)Painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray27 years, 234 days
de Freitas, PetePete de FreitasJune 14, 1989Traffic collision (motorcycle)Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen27 years, 346 days
Dimitar VoevSeptember 5, 1992CancerFounder of the Bulgarian group New Generation27 years, 107 days
Zapata, MiaMia ZapataJuly 7, 1993MurderedLead singer of the Gits27 years, 316 days
Cobain, KurtKurt CobainApril 5, 1994 c.Suicide by gunshot[39]Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana27 years, 44 days
Pfaff, KristenKristen PfaffJune 16, 1994Drug overdose (heroin)Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe27 years, 21 days
Edwards, RicheyRichey EdwardsFebruary 1, 1995Disappeared; officially presumed dead November 23, 2008Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers27 years, 41 days
Pat, FatFat PatFebruary 3, 1998MurderedAmerican rapper and member of Screwed Up Click27 years, 61 days
Tah, FreakyFreaky TahMarch 28, 1999MurderedAmerican rapper and member of the hip hop group Lost Boyz27 years, 318 days
KamiKamiJune 21, 1999Subarachnoid hemorrhageDrummer for Malice Mizer27 years, 140 days
Bueno, RodrigoRodrigo BuenoJune 24, 2000Traffic collision (car)Cuarteto singer27 years, 31 days
Sean Patrick McCabeAugust 28, 2000AsphyxiationLead singer of Ink & Dagger27 years, 289 days
Maria Serrano SerranoNovember 24, 2001Plane crash (Crossair Flight 3597)Background singer for Passion Fruit27 years, 363 days
Ward, Jeremy MichaelJeremy Michael WardMay 25, 2003Drug overdose (heroin)The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator27 years, 20 days
Bryan OttosonApril 19, 2005Drug overdose (prescription medication)Guitarist for American Head Charge27 years, 32 days
Elizalde, ValentínValentín ElizaldeNovember 26, 2006MurderedMexican banda singer27 years, 297 days
Winehouse, AmyAmy WinehouseJuly 23, 2011Alcohol poisoning[41]Singer-songwriter27 years, 312 days
Richard TurnerAugust 11, 2011Cardiac arrestTrumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires[42]27 years, 12 days
Nicole BognerJanuary 6, 2012Undisclosed illnessSinger for Visions of Atlantis27 years, 290 days
Soroush "Looloosh" FarazmandNovember 11, 2013MurderedGuitarist for the Yellow Dogs27 years, 11 days
Slađa GudurašDecember 10, 2014Road accidentBosnian pop singer and actress27 years, 213 days