The 27 Club: 50 Years Since the Deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin

Sep 10, 2020

By Gene Stevens

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We’re approaching the 50th anniversaries of the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin in September and October 1970. They were just two of the many musicians who died at the age of 27 – leading to a strange notion that there may be a ‘curse’ affecting these individuals. Or, more likely, it was mere coincidence. Nevertheless, ‘The 27 Club’ became ‘a thing’ … and with so many fascinating ‘members’ I wanted to spotlight a few of them in my upcoming edition of ‘Vintage Favourites’.

I’ll start with one of the earliest, and most notorious and mysterious, of the ’27 Club’ deaths – Robert Johnson, the legendary blues guitarist who died in 1938 – shortly after re-appearing on the Mississippi Delta blues scene, playing guitar like he never had before. The legend grew that Johnson had ‘sold his soul’ to the Devil at ‘the crossroads’, and it was his time to pay up, for the talent he had only briefly enjoyed.

We’ll visit with some R&B stars of the early 60s, a Rolling Stone found in his pool, the legendary trio of Jimi, Janis and Jim Morrison, a founder of the aptly titled ‘Grateful Dead’, and the sad end to Amy Winehouse’s brilliant potential. ‘The 27 Club’ sometimes referred to as ‘Forever 27’ – in the next Vintage Favourites spotlight.

I’ll also have a birthday salute to a Canadian legend – thankfully very much alive – and turning 79 on Sunday: David Clayton-Thomas. As for our first-hour feature: ‘This Week in Zoomer Music’ – it’s another variety-packed banquet that’ll take us from crooners to rock’n’rollers, country and soul stars, a Cricket, a Beatle and a Monkee, not to mention a ‘disco queen’ and a ‘madman drummer’, who set the high-bar for rock drummers – although no need to wreck hotel rooms the way he did. Imagine an hour that’ll take us from Harry Connick Jr. to Rush, and a magic moment in Toronto concert history – the day a Beatle came to play rock’n’roll at Varsity Stadium.

Please join me for another edition of ‘Vintage Favourites’ this Sunday at 1 (Sep.13), on Zoomer Radio.

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