A Closer Look: The Role Of Drugs In Making The Infamous 27 Club [Infographic]
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It seems we are often more fascinated with the young, glamorous, tragic, and ultra-talented in death than we were in life. Perhaps because losing such persons with so much promise crystalizes their legend. They will never fade just as they will never release new music beyond their era. For members of the “infamous 27 Club,” time freezes in a very morbid fashion at a fixed age. Persons that are part of this group all died at age 27, none of them of natural causes.
In this new infographic by Clarity Way Rehab, one can learn a few tidbits about the VIPs of the so-called 27 club. Yet, there may be more to consider than either the age or the fact that these individuals are no longer with us. Each had their own unique history, with facts that may not have been known by the average person or even bizarre coincidences.
Jimi Hendrix And The Fatal Mixing Of Depressants
Jimi Hendrix is considered by many the greatest guitar virtuoso to have lived. Despite being so young when he died, his style of music left a lasting influence on the industry. Unfortunately, as was quite common for persons of his age and profession, Hendrix was an avid drug user. Ironically, it was not illegal drugs that resulted in his death. An autopsy ruled that Hendrix had ingested a combination of Vesperax sleeping pills and alcohol. Even though he died of asphyxiation, it seems inevitable that the cause would have been the fatal mixture of medications and alcohol. Many people have died from mixing depressants. What many people do not know is that alcohol is itself a depressant. It is never safe to combine powerful depressants, whether legal or illegal.
The unfortunate death of Jimi Hendrix is a reminder that too often abuse of medications can indeed play a role in the loss life. Just because a substance is legally obtained does not make it safe to abuse. Remember to drink responsibly, and to never mix alcohol with other depressants.
Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain's Heroin Connection
Both Janis Joplin and Kurt Cobain were world-famous rock musicians. They were both known for using heroin. Heroin is considered one of the most addictive illegal substances and is a habit that is extremely hard to break.
Joplin would die as a result of an overdose on the drug, the mixture of which was far more potent than she was aware of and too strong for her. Cobain had also experienced an overdose as part of a suicide attempt.
It is a fact that substance abuse not only increases the risk of unintended death, it also increases the likelihood the user will attempt suicide. The sad connection that these two talented souls share is that one intended to die and the other did not. But both may have lived had it not been for the negative influence that drug abuse had on their lives.
Amy Winehouse Attends Her Own Funeral?
The newest talent to join the 27 Club, there were some whispers that Amy inadvertently predicted her untimely demise. Her last album before her death was “Back To Black.” The title song featured the singer preparing for a funeral. What's so strange is that the album also features references to the drugs and alcohol usage she struggled with. The combination of funeral and drug references make some believe that in her own way Amy was not expecting to live much longer. While this is speculation at best, what is true is that her fans were deeply touched by her music. Fans congregated to remember her when news of her death first spread and her album soared to the top of the charts. Though much of her popular songs seemed tied to a time period in keeping with other members of the 27 Club, Amy Winehouse was very much a modern singer. She is credited with paving the way for other modern women musicians such as Adele, Lady Gaga and Duffy.
Jim Morrison's Health Negatively Impacted By Years Of Drug Abuse
It was not suicide nor an overdose that is directly credited for causing the death of Jim Morrison. Morrison is said to have died of a heart attack in the bathtub of a Paris apartment. Eerily enough it was two years to the day after the death of Brian Jones, another member of the “27 Club.” As for Jim Morrison, there remains some controversy as to the exact manner of his death due to a lack of an autopsy. Some believe he had overdosed on heroin. It is also believed this is in doubt due to an alleged “clean bill of health” given by his physician before leaving for Paris.
Regardless of the uncertainty surrounding how Morrison died, one thing that is agreed on is the negative impact that alcohol had on his health. Morrison's behavior often took a strange and violent turn when he was under the influence of various substances or drinking. Alcohol is proven to impact mood and behavior, and unfortunately Morrison's antics at times upstaged his brilliance.
In the end, the lasting legacy of all of these souls will forever be competing with the drug-fueled nature of their deaths. Some deaths remain controversial and others confound with strange coincidences. Overall, it is simply a sad series of examples of how the abuse of various substances resulted in beloved musical figures being taken away far too soon. As for those left behind, it is generally preferred to remember the music that they gave us than how they died. Though it is necessary to see these deaths as a morbid reminder that longer and healthier lives are lived when combined with avoiding dangerous substances. Some believe that it's romantic or “rock & roll” to leave at a young age, especially by overdosing. To those persons, it must be asked whether this ideal can outweigh the music we'll never know of from these individuals because they didn't live to make it.
Other notable mentions of the Infamous 27 Club (who were around the age of 27):
Bradly Nowell of Sublime (drug overdose).
Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones (drug and alcohol: death by misadventure).
Tim Buckley of the Wings (acute heroin/morphine and ethanol intoxication due to inhalation and ingestion of overdose).
Hillel Slovak of the Red Hot Chili Peppers (speedball overdose).
Shannon Hood of Blind Melon (speedball overdose).
Gram Parsons of the Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers (combination of morphine and alcohol).
Hank Williams (morphine and vitamin B12 combination).
Nick Drake of Pink Moon (possible accidental overdose on antidepressant amitriptyline).
Peter Ham of Badfinger (alcohol-related suicide).
Alan Wilson of Canned Heat (drug overdose).
Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols (heroin overdose).
Darby Crash of The Germs (heroin overdose).
Chuck Wagon of The Dickies (drug abuse, but committed suicide).
Frankie Lymon of the Teenagers (heroin overdose).
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Infamous VIPs of the 27 Club
50: The Approximate Number of Musicians that Died at the Age of 27
Famous Musicians have a Higher Death Rate than Non-Famous People in the same Age Groups
Average Lifespans by Profession
Entertainment/Sports: 77.2 Years
Creative Workers: 81.7 Years
Academics/Professionals: 78.5 Years
Business/Political: 83 Years
The 5 Most Famous Members of the 27 Club
1. Jimi Hendrix
- died in 1970 by asphyxiating on his own vomit
- one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century
9: The number of Vesperax sleeping pills Hendrix took with alcohol the night he died
70%: The percentage of recreational prescription drug users who combine opioids with other drugs
Rx Drug Mixing Statistics
Substances Most Commonly Co-ingested
- Marijuana: 58.5%
- Alcohol: 52.1%
- Cocaine: 10.6%
- Tranquilizers: 10.3%
- Amphetamines: 9.5%
Teens who reported co-ingestion of Rx opioids with other drugs were:
- 8x more likely to report abusing marijuana
- 4x more likely to report drunk over 10 times
Hendrix not only drank heavily, but also used LSD, Amphetamines, Heroin, and Marijuana
3,000: The number of young adults who died from prescription drug overdoses in 2010
250%: The increase in prescription drug overdose deaths since 1999
Hendrix's mother was an Alcoholic
50%: The percentage of a person's genetic risk for becoming an alcoholic
2. Janis Joplin
- Died in 1970 of a heroin overdose
- Singer for psychedelic rock group Big Brother and the Holding Company
- She was also legally drunk when she died
Joplin was lying dead in a Los Angeles hotel room for 18 hours before she was finally found
13.5 million: The estimated number of people in the world who take opium-like substances
9.2 million: The estimated number of people who use heroin
18%: The percentage of drug and alcohol related hospital admissions that opiates cause
3. Jim Morrison
- died in 1971
- was found dead in his bathtub of an apparent heart attack
- Singer and Songwriter for the Rock Band The Doors
- Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol
Morrison was remembered for his Erratic and often Violent On-Stage Behavior
40%: The percentage of all violent crimes in which alcohol is a contributing factor
A nightclub owner said Morrison had overdosed on heroin the night of his death
100: The approximate number of people in the United States who die from drug overdoses everyday.
Overdose death rates in the United States have increase by 3 times since 1990 alone
4. Kurt Kobain
- died in 1994
- committed suicide by putting a gun in his mouth and firing
- Singer for Grunge Band and Nirvana
- Attempted suicide by overdosing on drugs one month before his actual death
Cobain had a tumultuous and violent, drug-dependent relationship with Courtney Love
The increase in likelihood of suicide by people with substance use disorder:
- 6.5X for women
- 2.3X for men
Out of all the suicides in the United States in 2009
- 33.3% tested positive for ALCOHOL
- 23% tested positive for anti-depressants
- 20.8% for OPIATES like HEROIN & RX DRUGS
5. Amy Winehouse
- died in 2011 of alcohol poisoning
- Critically-Acclaimed Singer and Songwriter
- Relationship fraught with drugs, alcohol, abuse, and self-harm
Four years before her death, Winehouse went into a coma after overdosing on a mix of Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Hetamine, Whisky, and Vodka
An Eating Disorder may also have played a role in her death
2.5 million: The number of people treated for alcohol abuse in 2005
42.3%: The percentage of substance abusers who also had a co-occurring mental illness in 2011
Adrienne is a music-obsessed blogger.
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- It seems we are often more fascinated with the young, glamorous, tragic, and ultra-talented in death than we were in life. Perhaps because losing such persons with so much promise crystalizes their legend. They will never fade just as they will never release new music beyond their era. For members of the “infamous 27 Club,” time freezes in a very morbid fashion at a fixed age. Persons that are part of this group all died at age 27, none of them of natural causes.
- In the end, the lasting legacy of all of these souls will forever be competing with the drug-fueled nature of their deaths.