What is Up With the Age of 27?

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I am flummoxed, having just read the New York Times article about Amy Winehouse’s recent death. The end of the article states,

Ms. Winehouse is not the first singer who died at the age of 27. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones were the same age.

Are you kidding me? They all died at 27? That fact startles and disturbs me, and adds to my low-level sadness this weekend. Tomorrow my nephew Alex would be turning 28, if he hadn’t followed the template of tragic deaths at age 27.

Alex was a gifted musician too, and spent a few years getting good on the drums as well as guitar when he lived with us. One of my favorite memories of Alex was at a Rock ‘n’ Roll Summer Camp the year he turned 14. He was Mr. Cool on the drum kit for most of the bands that formed there, taking pride in being a kind of wild big brother to the younger kids. They all looked up to him, and it seemed like he had found the perfect outlet for his energy and his desire to lead.

The first year after somebody dies is full of “firsts,” and getting past the birthday is a big one. I don’t know what I will do tomorrow to commemorate the day, but it may involve playing lots of Janis, Jimi, Kurt, and Jim.

5 thoughts on “What is Up With the Age of 27?

  1. Beth

    I am so sorry for your loss, Anne. Your telling of it last year was heart-breaking.. I am sending you love and healing .. birthdays can be so tough..

    As to the strange 27-year old thing, there was also Ron McKernan (Pigpen) of the Grateful Dead.

    ~ Beth

  2. Sienna

    I’ll be thinking about you tomorrow. The first year may be the hardest, but truly the missing never goes away, just doesn’t hurt as much.

  3. Keith Campbell

    I was just wondering the same thing a few minutes ago. I find myself wondering if, for some reason, their impending Saturn return filled them with a sense of dread beyond their ability to cope, and their deaths were a reaction to that, somehow. It’s a very curious pattern.

    She was very good, and, as so often happens, very tortured. I hope she’s found some peace at last, on the far shore, or wherever she’s gotten herself to.

    Music from that list of died-at-twenty-seven (this article that named fifteen musicians, not including Amy) would make a pretty awesome playlist, come to think of it… if perhaps a bit morbid. Still, for the right mood…

    A candle for your loss, Anne. What is remembered lives.

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