As a student of rock music since he was born and sat in front of MTV and VH1, Craig's Hlist has grown up hearing constant aching throb of the number 27, the end-marker for a collection of rockers who died at that hallowed age, due mostly to their own chemical and/or personal misadventures.
Yesterday CHL turned 28 years old, beating the 27 Club and crossing an imaginary line we had in our heads since last April. It was a fun, sad, and altogether productive year. The closest we probably got to dying at 27 was probably our birthday party, gun-range visits, and the hellish death-ride that we take every morning on Highway 290 coming in to work.
Seriously, learn to use your turn signals.
It's not even that CHL lives some grandiose fate-tempting lifestyle, but 27 was a big number. Look at it again in its printed form. It looks mean, like two scythes lined up together. The sharp edges of the seven, and the grim hook of the two lashing out at you and your young, dumb mortality.
Of all the saddest stories on this list, the one that strikes CHL the most, besides Cobain selfishly leaving his daughter without a father and Mr. Mojo Risin' dying bearded and chubby in a French bathtub, is Minutemen front man D. Boon falling out his tour van and breaking his neck.
Most folks on this list, like Robert Johnson and Jimi Hendrix, got deservedly lionized in death, but as time and decades pass, others have been reevaluated less as geniuses and more as reckless kid. Today, original Rolling Stone Brian Jones comes off more as a petulant shit than the angel he seemed in 1969.
Drunk, Badfinger's Pete Ham hung himself, essentially because his band wasn't as successful as he wished. Odd, since even today people are buying Badfinger records. But CHL isn't here to act as suicide counselor. Some people have a limited shelf life and are not meant to last 80 years.
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Thinking about how much these folks would have done as the years progressed is also a constant replaying serial in our heads. The Janis Joplin disco record, Jim Morrison's Rick Rubin-produced acoustic albums, and the Jimi Hendrix show at the Nutty Jerry's in Winnie that only 300 people would go to.