Securing a spot in the “Forever 27 Club” or the “27 Club” is not something any musician should aspire to do, but Amy Winehouse’s death on Saturday July 23, 2011 makes her a permanent member, alongside some of the most famous, influential, insanely talented, extremely troubled artists of our time.
Amy joins the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones (guitarist/founding member or The Rolling Stones), Ron”Pigpen” McKernan (keyboardist, singer, founding member of The Grateful Dead),and Kurt Cobain to name but a few.
The parallels you can draw between Amy and Janis are extreme. Both were powerful women, with strong voices and a stand alone act. Both paved the way for a new sound in their respective generations, with Janis making room for groups like Jefferson Airplane, and Amy leading the way for artists like Adele. While its unfortunate, what each of these women will more than likely be remembered for is their deep involvement with drugs and alcohol. So much so, that to call it substance abuse would be putting it mildly.
In fact, while the cause of Amy Winehouse’s death has yet to be determined and released, what all of the above artists have in common, is that drugs and alcohol played a part, if they were not the cause, in each of their untimely deaths. With each passing, huge holes were left within the rock and roll community, and with each of these talents, it was not their deaths that made them famous, but the music that came before. Maybe the limelight is incredibly unbearable.
Either way it is a complete shame, and an eerie coincidental forewarning to musicians, both aspiring and those already on the stage. As public figures, these people should have used their time to promote a better way of living. Surely their resources would have allowed them to walk a different path.
“With great power comes great responsibility”(Ben Parker). The abuse that each of these people inflicted upon themselves should be a lesson to people everywhere, no one is invincible. Amy, may you finally find peace when you get to where you are going and may you always rock out.