October’s theme was Pretty in Pink. It was not a discussion of the Molly Ringwald movie, but female musicians that had an impact on the music scene. This month’s ‘Gone To Soon’ Spotify Playlist I am going to highlight those musicians that passed away at a young age.
I knew most of the musicians in this playlist had died younger, but it really didn’t synch in how many had died early in life until I started selecting the songs. Some may look at musicians like John Lennon and say “he was 40, that wasn’t that young”. But when I think about some much older musicians that were prolifically writing top hits and performing much past 40, I had no problem selecting artists into their 40s. I wonder sometimes how much more music we would have been blessed with from those artists who are gone too soon.
Something I discovered when writing this article was how 27 is an infamous age for people in the music industry. There is a statistical increase of musicians that have died at the age of 27. This came into the public’s eye first during the early 70’s when Jim Morrison (disputed cause of death), Janis Joplin (heroin overdose), Brian Jones (drowning) and Jimi Hendrix (possible overdose) all died at the age of 27 within two years of each other.
This rose again in the public eye after Kurt Cobain’s tragic suicide in 1994 when the ‘27 Club’ name appeared to have been coined. Some sources theorize that Cobain timed his suicide to be a part of the ‘27 Club’, with Cobain’s own mother making a statement “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.” Another later member of the ‘27 Club’, Amy Winehouse (alcohol poisoning), told people when she was 24 that she was afraid of dying when she turned 27. The last list I saw contained 60 different musicians that died at the age of 27. But this article is not only about musicians that died at that young age.
Another artists on this playlist, John Lennon (40), has a special place in my heart. I was an avid Beatles fan growing up even though I really didn’t start listening to their music until a few years after they broke up in 1970. Lennon’s singing & songwriting didn’t stop with the Beatles though, but continued on strong. He took a brief break from music in 1975 to raise his infant son. Lennon then returned in 1980 to release ‘Double Fantasy’ with his wife Yoko Ono. I had been living in Germany for a little less than a year when the heartbreaking news came out that Lennon had been shot and killed in the archway of his apartment. To make this even more of a tragedy, his killer was “supposedly” a fan of Lennon.
A different way that musicians were killed that surprised me when I writing this article was airplane crashes. I wasn’t surprised by the names, but I really didn’t think about the number until I was selecting the songs. For those of you that don’t know here are the artists from my playlist who made that list.
• Lynyrd Skynyrd members Ronnie Van Zant (29), Steve Gaines (28), and his sister, backup singer Cassie Gaines (29)
• Aaliyah (22)
• Buddy Holly (22)
• Rand Rhoads (25)
• Stevie Ray Vaughn (35)
• Jim Croce (30)
I always encourage you to go out and read about the artists in my playlist. Below are the remaining artists that made my playlist for all the wrong reasons.
• Chester Bennington (41 – Suicide)
• 2Pac (25 – Homicide)
• Ian Curtis (23 – Suicide)
• Shannon Hoon (28 – Overdose)
• Frankie Lymon (25 – Overdose)
• Marvin Gaye (44 – Homicide)
• Selena (23 – Homicide)
• Cliff Burton (24 – Bus Crash)
• Brian Jones (27 – Drowned)
• Duane Allman (24 – Motorcycle crash)
• Eva Cassidy (33 – Cancer)
Being November and the month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the music these artists were able to share before they left us too soon. Even though there is a lot of sadness in these artists’ stories, I hope you find some joy in their music. Next month being Christmas, I promise to liven up the mood some with rocking Christmas music in my ‘Who’s Kissin’ Santa Now’ Spotify playlist.