The 27 Club – An Artists Tragedy

A few members of the 27 Club

The 27 Club you ask? Why haven’t you heard, that club has so many famous members! Artists such as Kurt Cobain (front man of the band Nirvana) , Amy Winehouse (singer and cultural icon), Jimi Hendrix (arguably the best guitarist that has ever graced the planet) and not to mention Robert Johnson (one of the pioneers of blues music) have been mentioned in the 27 club. It would be a surprise to me if you have not heard of this club. Sounds like a cool club, am I right? Well this club is not exactly as it seems.

You see, the 27 club is not some awesome club that famous people willingly join. It has a darkness to it. Why would I think that? Look back at all the names I just mentioned. Google them if you are not familiar with those names. If you did it,  all the members of this club are dead. Yes, dead. The reason this club is so famously called the 27 club is because all of these artists died at age 27, at the peak of their careers. Due to the face that so many famous people have died at this age, a conspiracy arose that they purposefully ended their lives in order to join this club.

A Faustian Deal is a deal with the Devil for your soul

There is no scientific proof that this age has a significance in the music scene. But that did not stop people from coming up with their own conclusions. A popular theory of the reason that these people end their lives at 27 is that they had made a deal with the devil himself, famously known as a Faustian Bargain. A Faustian Bargain is a pact where a person trades something that has very significant moral or spiritual value, such as a soul, in order to gain some material benefit, such as fame and fortune. This term arose from German folklore where a man named Faust, who is a scholar, has become bored with his life and decided to kill himself -unsuccessfully- so he calls upon the Devil, in the hope of acquiring some special knowledge and magic powers so that he could gain access to all the pleasures and knowledge present in the world. In response to his call, the devil sends his representative named Mephistopheles. And so, a deal was struck, Mephistopheles would serve Faust for a specific number of years but in return, Faust’s soul had to be given to the devil and he would be eternally enslaved. One of the examples of what Faust wanted to accomplish with this deal was to seduce a young, beautiful and innocent girl by the name of Gretchen. Gretchen’s life is unfortunately destroyed when she gives birth to Faust’s son. After realising this, she tries to murder the child by drowning him but is caught before she could do it and is killed. The story does have a good ending though. In the end, due to Faust’s pleading and Gretchen’s begging to God, Faust eventually enters heaven.        

Robert Johnson
The Crossroads

Not a fun story I know. The theory of the Faustian Bargain became popular with the fame of Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was an American blues singer and musician. His guitar and music writing skills have influenced many artists to this day. Due to his poorly documented life, many theories and conspiracies arose. A story about Robert Johnson was that he had sold his soul to the devil when he was passing a local crossroads in order to achieve musical success. This theory became even more popular, due to Robert Johnson himself writing a song titled, ‘Crossroads’, where the lyrics have been interpreted as him asking the devil for a deal. “I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees”, which has been said to be Robert summoning the devil. Next, “I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin’ down”, is said to be when his soul is being dragged down into Hell. The name ‘Bob’ being a common nickname for Robert. The next line, “Yeoo, standing at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride, Ooo eee, I tried to flag a ride, Didn’t nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by” clearly states that Robert was at a crossroads, the place where he famously made the deal, and that nobody could see him due to the fact that the singer is already dead. There is also a movie called Crossroads (1986) inspired by Robert Johnson which is about a 17 year-old boy who wants to find Robert’s “lost song” which was apparently missing from the world. Robert eventually died at the age of 27 for unknown reasons. His death was not even publicised, he just disappeared and only after 30 years, when a musicologist was researching Robert Johnsons life, found his death certificate which stated the time and place of his death. The mysterious circumstances around his death were what made the conspiracies so easy to believe.

Kurt Cobain

Next, Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home in Seattle, Washington on the 5th of April where he was seen laying next to a shotgun and a handwritten letter. Kurt was known to have been battling with drug addiction and alcoholism to cope with whatever ailments he had. He also was known to have been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as well as another stomach disorder that could was never properly diagnosed. The stomach disorder was so bad that Kurt could barely sleep. He also has said that the intense pain from that disorder provided him with a way to write lyrics with more feeling and pain inside in order to connect with the meaning of the songs he wrote. There are also many theories about his death as he had disappeared for one week a few days before his death. His disappearance one week before his death was alarming to his wife, Courtney Love, and the rest of his family. So alarming in fact, that they hired a professional investigator to try to look for him. They eventually found his body in a greenhouse above his garage. Beside him, a shotgun and a letter. The shotgun was confirmed to be his and the letter also was confirmed to be in his handwriting. The letter was a suicide note which talked about how he had grown tired of being in the spotlight, being world famous. His note had said he did not feel the excitement that comes from the roar of the crowd anymore. He also wrote that he thinks that his wife, Courtney’s and his daughter, Frances’ life would be better off without him, which is why he killed himself. But the conspiracy behind his death was that it was a murder, that was painted to look like a suicide. The conspiracy is that his wife plotted to murder him after talks of divorce between them. But, investigations have said that a suicide was the most likely thing to have happened. The police still get requests to reopen this case regularly, about once a month in fact, by fans of this band. A movie titled ‘Soaked In Bleach’ was released in 2015 which talked about how the private investigator Tom Grant found the note to be very suspicious, as if the suicide note had been forged. Soon after this movie was released, Courtney issued a cease and desist letter to the producers of the film in order to protect her information and to discredit the film and label it a fraud. Her decision to do this made it easier for more people to believe this conspiracy theory as more and more representatives of Kurt agree that the suicide note was not written by him.

Kurt Cobain’s Suicide Note