27 Forever: Amy Winehouse joins the tragic club alongside likes of Hendrix and Cobain

By Will De Nardo, Senior Music Correspondent

As speculation into the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death continues, MM take a look back at the other musicians who have already been inducted into the tragic 27 Forever Club…

On Saturday the world learned of the tragic, but arguably not so shocking news that Amy Winehouse had died.

Within the hour conjectures that the stars on-going battle with addiction had caused her death were already rife, however her family were quick to rubbish claims that a drug binge had caused her to die.

Earlier this week police confirmed they found no drugs at the singers Camden flat where her body was found, meaning the cause of death is still unknown. One thing that can be sure though is that the singer suffered the same eerie ill-fate that many of the cherished icons in the industry suffered before her, death at the tender age of 27.

Brian Jones

Born: 28 February 1942

Died: 3 July 1969

The Rolling Stones guitarist was one of the founding members of the band and is believed to have been the brains behind the band’s name.

Jones left the Stones in 1969, after it was claimed they needed a ‘more reliable guitarist’. He was discovered dead one month later at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home at Cotchford Farm by girl friend Anna Wohlin.

The coroners report stated cause as ‘death by misadventure’ further stating his liver and heart were enlarged by drug and alcohol abuse.

Wohlin however claimed that Jones was murdered by builder Frank Thorogood who was working on the house at the time. Although Thorogood allegedly confessed to the murder on his deathbed, it was later denied by witnesses.


Jimi Hendrix

Born: 27 November 1942

Died: 18 September 1970


Widely renowned as one of the greatest and most influential musicians of all times and a pioneer of the electric guitar, Hendrix is cited on almost every modern guitarists list of influences.

Hendrix was found dead by, his girlfriend who he’d known only for a few days, Monika Dannemann, in the early hours of 18 September at the Samarkand Hotel in London.

An autopsy revealed that Hendrix had choked after passing out, following a red wine binge and an over dose of sleeping pills, consequently ‘drowning’ in red wine and vomit.

In 2009 James ‘Tappy’ Wright, a former roadie for the Animals, claimed in his book that Hendrix had been murdered by his manager, Mike Jeffrey, for the insurance pay out, because he feared Hendrix would seek new management when his contract was up.

Janis Joplin

Born: 19 January 1943

Died: 4 October 1970

The death of Janis Joplin shocked the music world, not only had they lost a soul icon, like they’d never seen before, but also because news came just 16 days after Jimi Hendrix died.

Having had previous problems with drugs, the Queen of Rock and Roll made fellow Big Brother and the Holding Company members promise they wouldn’t use needles around her.

But this was short lived and after only a year of being in the band Joplin started using heroin again. By 1979, shortly after the split of Big Brother and the start of Joplin’s solo career, she was allegedly shooting around $200 of heroin a day.

Janis briefly stopped using, but this was short lived and it eventually led to her demise. She was found on the afternoon of 4 October by her band’s road manager at the Landmark Motor Hotel in Hollywood. The official cause of death was a heroin overdose.

Just days before her death Joplin finished her final recordings: Mercedes Benz and a happy birthday message for John Lennon, which didn’t arrive at Lennon’s home until after her death.

Jim Morrison

Born: 8 December 1943

Died: 3 July 1971

Like Amy Winehouse, the Lizard King’s excessive consumption of drugs and alcohol was no secret and like the recently deceased, we are still not sure if they did in fact lead to the end of his life.

The Doors frontman was found in the bathtub of the Paris flat where he had been living, the cause of death was believed to be heart failure.

However due to French law no autopsy was ever conducted on Morrison’s body meaning the official cause of death was never determined.


It is thought that Morrison had overdosed over after snorting heroin that he believed to be cocaine, but like many of the other Forever 27 hall of famers a crop of rumours and semi-believable conspiracies began to surface, stirred by the fact that no news of Morrison’s death was publicised until after he was buried.

To this day the internet is littered with evidence to suggest that Morrison in fact faked his own death.

At the time it was also suggested that Morrison actually did not die where his body was discovered, but in a Paris night club, and that his body was carried back to his home and dumped in the bathtub by two drug dealers who had supplied him with the lethal concoction.

Kurt Cobain

Born: 20 February 1967

Died: 5 April 1994

The death of the grunge rock pioneer is one that has sparked many a conspiracy and unanswered questions.

Throughout his career the Nirvana frontman had suffered from addiction to heroin (which he used to supress an undiagnosed stomach pain) and severe depression, which ran in his family.

A few days before his body was discovered, Cobain had escaped from a rehab centre in LA where he was being treated for his heroin addiction. After learning he had flown back to Seattle, wife Courtney Love hired a private investigator to try and find him.

On 7 April, Cobain’s body was discovered above the garage of his Lake Washington home by an electrician. Initially he thought Cobain was sleeping, claiming there were no initial signs of trauma. It was only when he noticed the shot gun resting on Cobain’s chest and the suicide note addressed to the singers childhood imaginary friend that he realised what had had happened.

Cobain was believed to have been listening to REM’s Automatic for the People album before he died. Cobain and REM singer Michael Stipe were good friends and had plans to record demos together of the next Nirvana album.

A coroners report stated that Cobain’s death was a result of a ‘contact perforating shotgun wound to the head’ and was therefore concluded as suicide, although it is widely believed by many that Kurt was actually murdered.

Richey James Edwards

Born: 22 December 1967

Disappeared: 1 February 1995 (presumed dead)

The circumstances surrounding Richey James Edwards are arguably the most mysterious of all the members of the Forever 27 Club.

The Manic Street Preacher’s roadie turned songwriter and idealistic spokesman was responsible for penning 80% of band’s seminal album The Holy Bible as well as some of the songs on Everything Must Go, despite often miming the guitar on stage.

The Manic’s 2009 album Journal For Plague Lovers was also comprised entirely of lyrics left behind by Edwards.

On 1 February 1995 Edwards and lead singer, James Dean Bradfield had planned to fly to US, but Edwards never showed up. It was later revealed that Edwards had been withdrawing large amounts of money daily from his bank account in the days leading up to the trip.

Two weeks later, Edwards car was found abandoned at a service station near the Severn Bridge, a renowned suicide spot. It is believed by some that Edwards took his own life but his body was never found.

His family and fans found this hard to believe. Despite suffering from depression, something that Edwards was open with, NME quoted him saying: “In terms of the ‘S’ word, that does not enter my mind. And it never has done, in terms of an attempt. Because I am stronger than that. I might be a weak person, but I can take pain.”

Since his disappearance Edwards has allegedly been sighted at a flea market in Goa and on the Canary Islands Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.

In 2002 Edwards family had the chance to officially declare him dead, but waited until 2008 before they declared his as ‘presumed dead’.

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