Wednesday, April 26, 2006

27—The Unluckiest Number in Rock ’n’ Roll

Born on December 8, the day that would become better known as the anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, Jim Morrison, founder of the Doors, died at age 27—as did Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Kurt Cobain.


Though Cheiro said that 27 is “a fortunate number” promising “reward…authority, power, and command,” it appears to be an especially unlucky number for rock stars—and not just because Mark Chapman wanted to write Chapter 27, the missing chapter of The Catcher in the Rye, in John Lennon’s blood. It’s as if 27, the triple 9, formed a numerological Bermuda Triangle that has swallowed at least five great musicians.

Here are the birth and death days of rock stars whose lives ended at age 27:

Brian Jones, founding member of the Rolling Stones
Born: February 28, 1942, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
Died: July 2, 1969, Hartfield, Sussex, England
Cause of Death: Found dead in his swimming pool. “Death by misadventure,” the coroner’s report said.
Age: 27

Jimi Hendrix
Born: November 27, 1942, Seattle, Washington
Died: September 18, 1970, London, England
Cause of Death: Apparently drowned in his own vomit after drinking wine and taking 9 sleeping pills.
Age: 27

Janis Joplin
Born: January 19, 1943, Port Arthur, Texas
Died: October 4, 1970, Hollywood, California
Cause of Death: Overdose of heroin and alcohol.
Age: 27

Jim Morrison, founder of The Doors
Born: December 8, 1943, Melbourne, Florida
Died: July 3, 1971, Paris, France
Cause of Death: Heart failure, according to the official report.
Age 27

Kurt Cobain, founder of Nirvana
Born: February 20, 1967, Aberdeen, Washington
Died: April 5, 1994, Lake Washington, Washington
Cause of Death: Self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head, according to Seattle police.
Age: 27

If I’m leaving anybody out, please let me know.

(Thank you Trickyhappyelf on IMDB.)


Though a number of people have asked me to post more often (and I appreciate the encouragement), I still intend to limit what I say here to my thoughts on Chapter 27, the movie, and its connection to “Chapter 27” in my John Lennon biography, Nowhere Man, which is the inspiration for the movie’s title. In other words, I see this blog as a database, not a place to post my daily stream of consciousness. (If I feel like doing that, I’ll start another blog.)

In my first entry, “The Roots of Chapter 27,” I said that I’d post when I had time to write. That appears to be happening every 3 to 4 weeks, though I always respond as soon as possible to e-mail and to people who post comments. (Please do check out the ongoing and often provocative dialogues in the “Comments” sections of various postings, especially “Astute Readers.”)

In the spirit of this blog, I will try to post new material around the 9th, 18th, or 27th of each month. But I also want to let everybody know that I’m into keeping this blog for the long haul, and I will continue posting at least until the release of Chapter 27 in 2007.