For some reason, 27 is a dangerous age for rock stars. A lot of seriously talented musicians have died during that year of their lives, most of them due either directly or indirectly to substance abuse.
Sure, it's mostly just a coincidence. But it's happened enough times that we actually have a snappy name for the victims: The 27 Club. (Not terribly creative, I realize. If you have a better idea, let's toss it out there. Maybe we can make it stick.)
Here are the 27 Club's biggest members, and the years they died:
Legendary blues guitarist Robert Johnson, 1938
Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, 1969
Jimi Hendrix, 1970
Janis Joplin, 1970
Jim Morrison, 1971
Grateful Dead keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, 1973
Hole bassist Kristen Pfaff, 1994
Kurt Cobain, 1994*
And now, Amy Winehouse, 2011
(There are more. You might recognize some of them, but not most. You can see the list here.)
The reason Kurt Cobain got an asterisk is because he committed SUICIDE. And people close to him over the years have mentioned that he was aware of the 27 Club and the fact he'd become part of it if he offed himself before his next birthday.
In a way, it seems kind of cheesy to include somebody who may have joined the club ON PURPOSE. Still, he WAS 27 when he died and he's one of the biggest names, so he's always going to be part of the Club.
One last note: There are plenty of people on the complete list who did NOT die from drugs or alcohol. But the only person WE mentioned besides Cobain who falls into that category is Robert Johnson.
Johnson was reportedly MURDERED at a juke joint in Mississippi for flirting with someone else's old lady. The word is that the woman's jealous husband laced a bottle of whiskey with strychnine and got Johnson to drink out of it.