27 Club: Are Musicians Really More likely To Die At 27? The Data Says Yes

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Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain: members of the infamous '27 club'

You’ve probably heard of the ‘27 Club‘ – which refers to the commonly held belief that an unusual number of musicians died at that age. Famous members of the ‘club’ include Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, who all tragically died prematurely at 27. We wanted to find out if the data supported the belief, so we gathered statistics on notable ‘Rock n Roll’ (read popular music) deaths under age 50 from the 1950s to date – including musicians, producers and songwriters. Here are our findings:

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As you can see, it turns out that 27 is indeed the most common age of death for notable figures in the ‘Rock n Roll’ industry – with 6 more musicians having died at that age than the second most common age (39).

As we had the data to hand, we also took a look at causes of early death for musicians and notable figures in the ‘Rock n Roll’ industry.

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So heart problems are the leading cause of premature death among musicians. This is unsurprising, as cardiovascular problems account for around 30% of all global deaths. If however we collect all drug and alcohol relate deaths together, they become the second leading cause of death (68).

A particularly grim statistic is the number of suicides is almost double the total number of murders (49 v 30).

For a full list of all ‘Rock n Roll’ deaths – see the wikipedia page.

Finally, to lighten the mood… here’s one of our favorite ever performances from a 27 club member. The great Amy Winehouse performing ‘Don’t Go To Strangers’ alongside the (happily) still going strong Paul Weller at the BBC Electric Proms in 2006.

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