Mystery of the 27 year-old Dying Rockers
Brian Jones, a founding member of The Rolling Stones; legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist Jimi Hendrix; singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger Janis Joplin; Jim Morrison, the lead singer of The Doors; grunge pioneer and Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain; and Amy Winehouse, one of the only two female artists to ever win five Grammy Awards in one night. Is this the all-star lineup for some kind of holiday mix CD? No folks, it’s a list of the six most famous musicians to die at the young age of 27. Death at this young age seems to be a pretty consistent happening in the music business; in fact, dozens of musicians, even enough that it’s become a statistical probability, have died at that age. Amongst the others who have perished so early are famed painter and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the man who many believe to have started this trend; Rock & Roll forefather Robert Johnson. How did Johnson start this dying-young-a-thon? Simple, by making a deal with the devil…duh.
Legend has it that Johnson wasn’t always the guitar picking, blues crooning juke-jointer that inspired every rock act from Eric Clapton to The Rolling Stones. There was a time when Johnson followed a hero of his by the name of ‘Son House’ all over the Tennessee/Mississippi area, trying his best to emulate the popular musician’s blues stylings. However, Johnson just didn’t have the natural ability that House did, and when it came to performing, he just couldn’t cut it. So Johnson hoped and prayed and wished that he could have the talent it takes to rock & roll…and someone apparently heard him. They say that he heard a voice in his head that told him to go to the crossroads by Dockery’s Plantation ( a famous spot in Mississippi where it’s thought that Delta Blues, the style that Johnson wanted to master, was born), and that once there, he met a man who took his guitar and tuned it. They say that man was the devil, and that he gave Johnson his guitar back under the condition that Johnson give him his soul, and that it be collected during his 28th year of living. The next time he got up on stage, he brought the house down and put himself in the history books; strangely though, he sang songs about having “hell hounds” on his tail, and about a certain crossroads. A few years of fame later, he was dead from a “poisoning”…people believe that the devil had collected on the debt.
The story of Robert Johnson’s early demise, coupled with the somehow less-believable stories of some satanists who claim that rock & roll truly is “the devil’s music”, have led many people to one conclusion. They’ve decided that the early deaths of all these members of the “Forever 27 Club” (that’s also what we want to name our mid-life crisis themed restaurant; we’d have fifty year old waiters in Affliction shirts, invest now!) are the result of some shady dealings being made with Satan himself. So you have to ask yourself folks: were these icons of music all naturally gifted? Or did they have a little help from their friends…who were from hell? We don’t know, and unless one of them comes back and tells us, The Forever 27 Club will remain…an Otherworld Mystery.