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Posts Tagged ‘27 Club’

Died On This Date (August 16, 1938) Robert Johnson / Blues Icon

Posted by themusicsover on August 16, 2010

Robert Johnson
May 11, 1911 – August 16, 1938

Member of the 27 Club

Although his recording career remarkably spanned roughly one year, Robert Johnson is considered by many to be the most influential blues artists of all time.  And although his entire catalog of recordings fill just two compact discs, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him #5 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.  He minimal recording output couldn’t deny the considerable vocal, guitar-playing and songwriting talent he possessed.  And that fact that not much is known about his history coupled with the fact that only two photographs of him even exist, add to a legend that is as big as any in popular music.  Even the most respected historians of music could, at best, find sources who claimed they heard “this” or “that” about Johnson’s life in and around Clarksdale, Mississippi.  A popular legend has it that he went to a darkened Mississippi crossroad with his guitar and met a man representing the devil who tuned his guitar and played a few songs on it, there bequeathing Johnson phenomenal guitar skills in exchange for is soul.   True or not, Johnson has been called the “grandfather of rock ‘n roll,” a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and has been cited as a direct influence on the likes of Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan and Jeff Beck to name just a very few.  Robert Johnson’s death is as mysterious as his life,with the most popular, though disputed story being that he drank whiskey that had been laced with strychnine by the jealous husband of a woman Johnson is said to have flirted with at a juke joint.  He allegedly died a slow and painful death from the poison a few days later, at the age of just 27.  A further testament to the overall mystery surrounding Johnson’s life is the fact there are three separate tombstones said to mark his place of burial.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings - Robert Johnson

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Died On This Date (July 3, 1971) Jim Morrison / The Doors

Posted by themusicsover on July 3, 2010

Jim Morrison
December 8, 1943 – July 3, 1971

Member of the 27 Club

As the charismatic front man for the Doors, Jim Morrison exemplified all that is rock music. In life and in death, his impact on popular culture cannot be denied. Moving to Los Angeles in 1964, Morrison enrolled in UCLA’s film school where he met Ray Manzarek. The following year they formed the Doors with Robbie Krieger and John Densmore. In 1967, the Doors signed with Elektra Records and were soon invited to perform on the Ed Sullivan Show where Morrison’s use of the lyric “higher” instead of “better” maddened Sullivan enough to forever ban them from the show. If anything, that only added momentum to the Doors’ ascent, and by the time of their second release, they were one of the most popular bands in the world. The Doors continued to record several now-classic rock albums and blow away concert audiences along the way. By 1969 though, Morrison’s physical appearance had dramatically changed…the once leather-wearing rock god was now a husky bearded mountain-of-a-man more closely resembling a lumberjack than a rock star. And his performances were becoming more erratic as well. One concert in Miami ended with a warrant out for Morrison’s arrest on indecent exposure charges after he tried to incite a riot out of the crowd. He was later exonerated of those charges. Morrison moved to Paris in April of 1971 with long-time companion Pamela Courson. On July 3, 1971, Courson found Morrison dead in his bathtub, but under French law, no autopsy was conducted. The coroner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play and ruled it heart failure. Of course, there have been numerous articles and books written about Morrison’s mysterious death. Some say suicide, while others claim that Courson was responsible either accidentally or intentionally. While still others believe he staged the whole thing and is alive and well somewhere.

What You Should Own

The Doors - The Doors

Posted in 27 Club, Musician, Rock, Singer, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (June 14, 1989) Pete de Freitas / Echo and the Bunnymen

Posted by themusicsover on June 14, 2010

Pete de Freitas
August 2, 1961 – June 14, 1989

Member of the 27 Club

Besides being a respected producer, Pete de Freitas was best known as the drummer for the popular ’80s band, Echo & the Bunnymen. It was with Echo & the Bunnymen that de Freitas reached an international audience, thanks to such post-punk hits as “The Cutter” “Lips Like Sugar,” and “The Killing Moon.” They took the US by storm in 1984 with the release of Ocean Rain thanks in part to heavy video rotation on MTV. Sadly, de Freitas passed away on June 14, 1989 of injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident while on his way home from filming Julian Cope’s “China Doll” video.

What You Should Own

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Echo & The Bunnymen


Posted in 27 Club, Musician, Producer, Rock | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (May 25, 2003) Jeremy Michael Ward / The Mars Volta

Posted by themusicsover on May 25, 2010

Jeremy Michael Ward
May 5, 1976 – May 25, 2003

Member of the 27 Club

Jeremy Michael Ward was best known for his work with progressive alternative rock band, The Mars Volta, with whom he worked as a sound technician.  The band’s  2003 De-Loused in the Comatorium benefited from Ward’s obvious talent.  When not working with the band or its splinter projects, Ward was a pen and ink artist.  On May 25, 2003, roughly one month after the release of De-Loused, Jeremy Michael Ward was found dead in his apartment of an apparent heroin overdose.  He was 27 years old.

Posted in 27 Club, Musician, Rock | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Died On This Date (April 5, 1994) Kurt Cobain / Nirvana

Posted by themusicsover on April 5, 2010

Kurt Cobain
February 27, 1967 – April 5, 1994

Member of the 27 Club

Kurt Cobain and his band Nirvana were unleashed in 1989 and many say they, along with Pearl Jam, almost single-handedly changed what the world then knew as rock music. They created a dirty, flannel and jean-wearing beautiful mess that combined equal parts punk, metal, alternative rock, disillusionment and apathy. It would become know as “grunge” and dealt a fatal blow to “hair metal,” the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the last days of disco. Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in 1987. They were signed to Sub Pop Records who released their debut,  Bleach in 1989. Their drummer at the time was Chad Channing but he was soon replaced by Dave Grohl whose pounding assault was exactly what the band needed to take their message beyond the dimly lit clubs of Seattle. Two years later, the band released their amazing Nevermind album which included the radio and video hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a song so revered that it even earned a parody from Weird Al Yankovic.  While all this was going on, Cobain met and fell in love with Courtney Love of the band, Hole. They were wed on February 24, 1992 and had their first and only child later that year. Cobain appeared to be in a very happy place even though many Nirvana fans resented his relationship with Love, some comparing her to Yoko Ono and her perceived role in breaking up the Beatles. Needless to say, Cobain continued to struggle with his own internal demons (both mental and physical) in spite of, or perhaps because of all the “positive” changes in his life. His drug problems are already well documented, so need to go into them here.   On March 1, 1994 while on tour in Munich, Love woke up one morning to find Cobain had overdosed on champagne and Rohypnol. Love later declared that this was Cobain’s first attempt at suicide. After apparent struggles (he claimed he was fine) back home in Seattle, Cobain agreed to go to rehab in Los Angeles. He checked in on March 30th, but just one day later, he hopped the fence and took a plane back home to Seattle. Over the next couple of days there were various Cobain sightings in Seattle clubs, but his family had no idea where he was. Love reached out to a private detective to help find him. On April 8th, Cobain was found dead.  The police ruled his death a suicide by shotgun wound. The date of death was declared to be April 5, 1994.

What You Should Own

Click to find at

Nevermind - Nirvana

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