Hitmaker Billy Joel famously uttered “only the good die young” in his song of the same name. Although that thought was immortalized in song, it also seems to have truth to it, especially in regards to a group of performers who all became members of the “27 Club” after their unfortunately early deaths at that age. Is it just a coincidence that, by some accounts, approximately 50 performers have died at that age?
Keep reading to learn more about this interesting pop culture phenomenon, immortalized in a new infographic by Clarity Way Rehab.
Death Rates Higher in the Entertainment Business
Scientists have done research and discovered that, on average, entertainers and athletes have a shorter lifespan than peers in other career paths such as business and academia. People who entertain for a living have a lifespan that’s at least a year shorter than people in other lines of work.
Drug Usage is Often a Factor
A number of famous musicians, including Kurt Cobain, Jumi Hendrix and Amy Winehouse, became members of the infamous “club” of people who met untimely demises. Prior to her death, it was mentioned in the media how Winehouse confessed to her mother that she didn’t think she’d have a long life, maybe because she was aware of how much-publicized battles with drugs and alcohol were catching up with her.
Guitar shredder Jimi Hendrix was found to have nine powerful sleeping pills in his system on the night he died by asphyxiating on his own vomit. The last person to see Hendrix alive was Monika Dannemann, a German figure skater.
She has her own version of what happened on the fateful night of Hendrix’s death, but the official autopsy results ruled the cause was a mixture of red wine and the aforementioned sleeping pills. Besides drinking heavily, Hendrix was also a known user of LSD, marijuana and heroin, among other illegal substances.
Musicians Had Sometimes Sought Treatment Prior to Death
Jim Morrison, singer and songwriter for The Doors, also died at age 27, and he was often known for having erratic behavior on stage, so his demons were far from private. Also, Winehouse had entered treatment programs several times in an effort to get her life back on track. Although these artists were ultimately unable to conquer their problems, the issue is not that people in their circles of friends were unaware the challenges existed.
Rather, it could have been more closely linked to the high percentage of drug users who have contributing mental problems. According to statistics from the infographic above, over 40 percentage of people who have substance abuse problems also struggle with mental illness, including Kurt Cobain, another key person in the “27 Club.”
All these intricate components make it incredibly difficult to pinpoint the genuine causes behind a young musician’s death, even with the assistance of autopsy reports. With that in mind, perhaps it’s best to steer clear of making assumptions about what caused these people to meet their ends and instead focus on the beautiful art they created before passing away.
Adrienne is a designer with a great love of rock ‘n’ roll. To see more of her work, check out her personal blog Pongra.