Though we may have seen it coming, none of us wanted to acknowledge it. After all, a talented artist with “demons” is nothing new – it’s almost expected. Despite it all, who wasn’t shocked today at news that singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home at just 27 years of age; another singer, another person gone too soon.
In the pantheon of iconic recording artists, the age of 27, as noted by authors Eric Segalstad and Josh Hunter in their 2008 book, “The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll,” has a long history of tragedy. That includes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, Kurt Cobain. Why?
One clue might come from a quote from Joplin herself who battled substance abuse for years: “People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singers miserable. Maybe my audience can enjoy my music more if they think I’m destroying myself.”
Considering the level of fame these particular individuals had attained, might it be more a matter of trying to cope with the pressure that that fame entails, in particular at such an early age? Or is it too much money and too much free time in the hands of those trying to figure out who they are in an industry where the interjection of drugs often leads to a tragic trifecta.
Once again, living “the lifestyle” is too often fatally flawed.