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Whether dead at 27 or 42, pop stars die too young

British singer Amy Winehouse | AP Photo/Keystone Steffen Schmidt File

British singer Amy Winehouse | AP Photo/Keystone, Steffen Schmidt, File

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Updated: August 4, 2011 10:32AM



Dead, man — just really dead ... and young.

The “Forever 27 Club” has membership you don’t want to emulate.

Much has been made of Amy Winehouse’s death last month, which came at the age of 27.

Also 27 years old when death came a knockin’ were other notable rock stars, namely, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

27.

It seems like a cool sharp number, not one that should be associated with the Grim Reaper.

When you’re 27, you’re young, but hopefully not “stupid young” anymore.

Some things have been learned, right?

After all, you’re closer to 30 than to 21.

Yet, that dreadful age of 30 is still far enough in the distance to provide some breathing room.

Whew! You’re not that close to 30, after all.

As far as famous folks checking out at 27, I have a theory as to why the breaking point comes then.

Maybe — from a physical and/or psychological standpoint — that’s about the age when your body is just likely to break down.

Perhaps it’s nature’s loose deadline.

Enough is enough, already!

The psyche has had it.

The body has had it.

Drugs, booze and an excessive lifestyle take their toll.

So does, I guess, the pressure of being famous.

Of course, I have no scientific data to back up my educated guess, but I suppose it’s as good a one as any.

However, living life recklessly doesn’t always mean you’re gonna depart this world in your 20s.

Submitted as evidence: Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Other famous rockers weren’t so lucky, but they made it into their 30s.

The Who’s manic Keith Moon, who was no stranger to booze and drugs, died at the age of 31.

Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham — known for his stratospheric alcohol consumption — checked out of this world at 32.

In another vein, Buddy Holly’s death at 22 wasn’t related to self-destructive behavior. Holly — whose potential was boundless — died in a 1959 plane crash.

Yep, 22 is oh-so young, but 27 holds the attraction in pop culture right now.

Another notable musician who died at the age of 27 is Robert Johnson, the influential bluesman who left his mark on Eric Clapton.

The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll ties Johnson’s death to strychnine poisoning and pneumonia.

Also unpleasant was the passing of Elvis Presley at the age of 42.

His diet was atrocious, and he popped way too many pills: Prescription drugs helped ruin his life. Presley’s body, including his heart, just gave out on him.

It may not seem like it to younger folks, but 42 is, indeed, young.

It’s just as tragic as 27.

Bob Kostanczuk talks entertainment with Steve “The Preacher” Glover from 4:15 to 5 p.m. each Friday on WJOB-AM (1230) and online at WJOB1230.com.



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