I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that many young people believe they'll never make it to 30. In their teens and early 20s, their 30s sound like a ridiculously long way off. But they aren't. And I can assure you there isn't a person over the age of 30 who thinks they should have already checked out. We now scoff at the notion that we would have done all the necessary living by 29. Living well is still the best revenge.
"27" is a magical age in rock. It is approximately around the time that songwriters need to learn to do consciously what they used to unconsciously, as Bob Dylan once explained regarding the change in his writing process. It is also an age that many artists never make it past.
Of course, the "24 Club" is pretty well-stocked: Duane Allman, Berry Oakley, Tammi Terrell, the Notorious B.I.G., Nicholas "Razzle" Dingley of Hanoi Rocks (with an assist from Vince Neil), Andrew Wood, Peter Laughner of Rocket From the Tombs, and Metallica's Cliff Burton.
And the "26 Club" has some real quality, too: Otis Redding, Gram Parsons, Nick Drake, Jimmy McCulloch of Wings, and Hillel Slovak of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
John Keats leads the "25 Club." But 27 remains the "gold standard" for tragic death.
I'd much rather be writing the list for "Rockers Who Are 80."
Here are 27 rockers who died at 27.
27) Amy Winehouse - Many young people desire fame having no idea what it truly entails. Once there, they will do anything to avoid its pressures. Throw in the illness of addiction and you've got a staggering, slurring Molotov cocktail waiting to explode.
26) Les Harvey - Harvey was the co-founding guitarist for Stone The Crows and a member of the Alex Harvey Soul Band, the Blues Council, and the Scottish group Cartoone, who opened for Led Zeppelin. He was electrocuted by an ungrounded microphone.
25) Sean McCabe - Lead singer for the alternative rock band Ink And Dagger, McCabe pulled a John Bonham/Bon Scott and choked to death on his own vomit.
24) Helmut Kollen - Bassist and singer for German progressive rock band Triumvirat, Kollen died from carbon monoxide poisoning while listening to studio mixes in his car while running the engine with the garage door shut. Especially odd, since Kollen was an auto mechanic and race car driver.
23) Roger Durham - Percussionist for American R&B group Bloodstone, Durham fell off a horse.
22) Jesse Belvin - Belvin was an American R&B singer who wrote the classic tunes "Earth Angel" and "Goodnight My Love." He was killed in a head-on collision in the ironically named Hope, Arkansas.
21) Gary Thain - Bassist for the Keef Hartley Band and Uriah Heep, Thain died of a heroin overdose.
20) Richey Edwards - The rhythm guitar player for the Manic Street Preachers is said to have committed suicide, though not everyone agrees. He has been missing since 1995.
19) Malcolm Hale - Lead guitarist and trombonist for Spanky & Our Gang, whose hits included "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" and "Lazy Day," Hale died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a crappy space heater.
18) Bryan Ottoson - Guitarist for American Head Charge, Ottoson died from an accidental prescription drug overdose.
17) Mia Zappata - Singer for the Gits, Zappata was raped, beaten, and strangled to death. Her assailant was convicted and sentenced to 36 years in prison.
16) Kristen Pfaff - Pfaff became the bassist for Hole in 1993 and died from a heroin overdose in 1994.
15) Jeremy Michael Ward - The "sound technician" and "vocal operator" for the Mars Volta and the dub group De Facto, Ward died of a heroin overdose.
14) Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson - The singer, guitarist, and harmonica player for the blues band Canned Heat, Wilson sang that "Going Up The Country" song and died of a drug overdose, though the two are not linked. Many suppose it was suicide.
13) Pete de Freitas - Replacing the drum machine, de Freitas became Echo & The Bunnymen's first drummer. He died in 1989 in a motorcycle accident.
12) Jean-Michel Basquiat - A member of the noise-rock band Gray, Basquiat went on to appear in the video for Blondie's "Rapture" and to briefly date Madonna. He was also a successful modern painter who died of a heroin overdose at his art studio.
11) Pete Ham - Depressed over being screwed out of the money he earned as a member of Badfinger, guitarist Pete Ham hanged himself in 1975. His bandmate, Tom Evans, also depressed over missing money, followed suit and hanged himself in 1983.
10) Ron "Pigpen" McKernan - Keyboardist and founding member of the Grateful Dead, McKernan died of a stomach hemorrhage caused by years of heavy drinking. He had left the band the previous year.
9) Dave Alexander - The original bassist for the Stooges, Alexander died of pulmonary edema after being admitted to the hospital for pancreatitis brought on from years of drinking. Mike Watt of the Minutemen replaced him in the reformed Stooges.
8) D. Boon - A broken neck killed the singer-guitarist-songwriter for the Minutemen when the van he was sleeping in ran off the road. The band disbanded immediately.
7) Chris Bell - The guitarist for the legendary cult-pop-rock band Big Star had left the group and struggled to begin a recording career. He worked in his father's restaurant. His car struck a pole and killed him instantly.
6) Jim Morrison - Is he really dead? He was "allegedly" found dead in a bathtub in Paris. Listed cause of death was heart failure, but others have suggested otherwise.
5) Brian Jones - "Death By Misadventure," aka he drowned in a swimming pool. Others say it was a conspiracy and he was left to die in the pool.
4) Kurt Cobain - Shot by his own gun. Cobain killed himself after battling heroin addiction and not feeling it like Freddie Mercury.
3) Robert Johnson - Legendary bluesman who inspired British boys to play blues. The legend says he was poisoned by a jealous husband.
2) Janis Joplin - Said to be a heroin overdose. Joplin was also noted for downing staggering amounts of alcohol.
1) Jimi Hendrix - Hendrix choked on his own vomit while being brought to the hospital to be saved from a mix of drugs and alcohol.