For the superstitious, “13″ is considered the unluckiest number. But if you’re an adored and acclaimed musician, that number is 27. There’s already a morbid moniker for the group of talented but troubled performers who expired long before their prime — “The 27 Club.” And now, tragically, the club has its newest member. Already eerily populated by such legendary artists as Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, an untimely death at 27 seems reserved for only the most unique, gifted, and tormented of stars — and the esteemed and beloved Amy Winehouse was certainly that. Read more below.
There are few names in the history of modern music bigger than the artists this once-mesmerizing live performer is joining. And there are few artists who, if they died today, would feel rightfully placed amongst such greats. Tragically, Amy Winehouse is a name that actually does fall in line with those above.
Blessed with a uniquely raspy (but no less beautiful for it) voice and a vibe that made her come across both retro and progressive at once, Amy Winehouse stood out from other modern-day musicians, pioneering the way for artists like Duffy and Adele whose similar sensibilities and sounds may not have gotten attention were it not for the success of Winehouse. She was her own artist through-and-through, no puppet of record labels and the media machine, and that’s what makes her addition to the 27 Club seem so fitting, and almost fated (sad as it is).
We can only speculate, for now, about what the cause of death was, but it was clear that in recent years, Amy was fighting a losing battle with drug and alcohol addiction. Her fellow 27 Club members similarly struggled — and if their deaths were not directly caused by drug use, it almost certainly had a hand in them.
It has been five years since Amy Winehouse released a new album, and though a follow-up was sometimes promised, it was never delivered. The bright star that won five Grammys for Back In Black was slowly fading over the years, to the extent that many fans gave up on hope that she would ever recover. Unlike the other 27 Clubbers, Amy did not bow out at the height of her popularity, but slowly faded from the limelight, culminating in a death that is distressing and painful — but not truly shocking.
Now as we look back, we are reminded of what we loved about her — and what potential there was for more brilliant songs, had she been able to kick her addictions and stay focused. We will never have new music from Amy Winehouse, but as she joins the hallowed 27 Club we can at least know that she left an indelible impression in music alongside some of the greatest artists we’ve ever known, troubles and all.