Life is a fragile gift that gives people the ability to reach out toward their dreams. Musicians dedicate their time to creating exceptional music. At times, the works they create are so profound that they can lead their listeners to places they never would have fathomed or expected. Unfortunately, there are many great musicians who were taken from this Earth far too soon. This is such a common occurrence, in fact, that there is the infamous “27 Club,” which is reserved for musicians who died at the age of 27.
Strangely enough, many musicians who passed away early left some bone-chilling quotes and lyrics that can be dwelt on. The uncertainty about whether these artists were predicting their own deaths or whether these quotes are only coincidental leaves much to the imagination. Nevertheless, some of the words left by these musicians can lead to eerie sensations about their passing.
Janis Joplin was one of the greatest female rock stars of her time. In 1966, she exploded onto the music scene with the band Big Brother. It was with Big Brother that Joplin took the initiative to drive her dynamic, raspy, and utterly unique vocals over psychedelic instrumentals.
Like many other rock stars, drugs and alcohol were a large part of Joplin’s life. Unfortunately, Joplin succumbed to a heroin overdose at the age of 27 on October 4, 1970. Before Joplin’s passing, she was quoted saying, “On stage I make love to 25,000 people; and then I go home alone.” Sometimes, even the most famous among us can be lonely or prefer to spend much of their personal time alone.
Gustav Elijah Ahr, also known as Lil Peep, died far too soon at the age of 21 due to an accidental fentanyl-laced Xanax overdose on November 15, 2017. Peep’s death sparked an anti-Xanax movement within hip-hop culture and also spotlighted how unique Peep’s music truly was. Lil Peep’s overpowering melodic voice was completely revolutionizing emo hip-hop and still had so much more potential. His chilling vocals were even compared by some to the legendary pipes of Kurt Cobain.
Lil Peep struggled with drug addiction and mental illness. Many of his tattoos were done while under the influence of a wide variety of drugs. Sometimes, Peep would wake up the morning after a high to discover new tattoos on his body. During a YouTube interview, Peep recalls the time he woke up to find a tattoo that said “Get Cake Die Young” right on his forehead.
Lil Peep often used lyrics in his music that talked about his own death and were seen to many as a cry for help. In his song “Drive-By,” he is quoted singing, “I’ma die, I ain’t even 25.” Often, Lil Peep’s lyrics leave listeners with a sense of loss and heartbreak. Rest easy, Gus.
The Notorious B.I.G., also known as Biggie Smalls, got his name for obvious reasons, when considering that he stood 190 centimeters (6’3″) and weighed nearly 180 kilograms (400 lb). Biggie is known as one of the greatest and most influential hip-hop artists of all time. Unfortunately, his career was cut short in 1997, when he was shot and killed at the age of 24 in the LA streets. To this day, his murder is still unsolved. There are many people who strongly believe Biggie’s murder had to do with the East Coast/West Coast rap feud and the rivalry between himself and Tupac Shakur.
Biggie was once quoted saying, “I wonder if I died, would tears come to her eyes? Forgive me for my disrespect, forgive me for my lies.” Biggie often thought of himself with pessimistic views and talked about death in his work. Biggie even released albums called Ready to Die and Life After Death.
In 1959, Buddy Holly was most likely not thinking about the time he said, “Death is very often referred to as a good career move,” when his chartered airplane was heading toward the deck. Unfortunately, Holly lost his life in this tragic plane crash at the tender age of 22.
Buddy Holly was one of the pioneers of rock and roll. He broke through onto the music scene when he gained industry attention after opening for Elvis Presley. Buddy changed his band name to the Crickets and started to create top hit songs. The Crickets even invented the standard lineup of two guitarists, a drummer, and a bassist. Although Buddy Holly passed early himself, his influence never died. His music has inspired many other artists and their works, including the Beatles.
The controversial five-time Grammy Award-winning pop star Amy Winehouse spent most of her career battling with depression and addiction. Amy was always a rebellious girl, and she started getting into music at a young age. It wasn’t until she released her first album, Frank, at the age of 19 that she started to gain attention.
Winehouse’s aforementioned unique personality, coupled with her looks, made her extremely controversial in the music world. Her signature look included many tattoos, lots of dark eyeliner, and a black beehive hairstyle. Some people loved Winehouse’s unique style, while others were harshly critical. One of Winehouse’s famous quotes is, “Life’s short. Anything could happen, and it usually does, so there is no point in sitting around thinking about all the ifs, ands and buts.” When looking at Winehouse’s rebellious way of life, it seems that she lived with these words in mind.
In 2011, Winehouse tragically passed away in her London home at the age of 27 due to alcohol poisoning. Fans were seen mourning outside her home during the days following her death. Winehouse’s iconic hit songs will never be forgotten and will continue to play all around the world.
Tupac Shakur was tragically gunned down at the age of 25 on September 13, 1996, while sitting in the passenger seat of Suge Knight’s vehicle in Las Vegas, Nevada. The chilling similarities between Tupac’s and Biggie’s deaths have caused a lot of skepticism. Many conspiracy theorists believe that Tupac is still alive to this day.
Tupac’s life was riddled with legal troubles, which landed him behind bars. One of Tupac’s accomplishments was becoming the first artist to ever reach number one on the Billboard charts while in prison, due to the major success of his album All Eyez on Me. Tupac once said, “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.” Tupac’s rigid personality shows right through this quote.
Tupac stirred the pot in his ongoing feud with Biggie Smalls when he released the song “Hit ‘Em Up,” in which he claimed that he had slept with Biggie’s wife. Soon after, Tupac was gunned down in the streets of Vegas. Surrendering was never an option to Tupac, and this behavior may have been what lead to his early demise.
In 1971, the lead singer for the rock and roll band the Doors, who had turned to poetry in his later years, was found dead in his Paris apartment’s bathtub at the age of 27 due to heart failure. Like most celebrity deaths, there is some skepticism around Jim Morrison’s reported heart failure. Some people suspect that the officially stated cause of death could have been a cover-up for a heroin overdose, yet the Morrison family denies these claims.
The Doors came to fame when their single “Light My Fire” reached number one on the Billboard charts. Morrison was known for his hard drinking, drug use, and rebellious behavior. He once claimed that, “Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.” This quote can be interpreted in many different ways, which adds to the mysterious vibe surrounding Jim Morrison’s life and death.
Avicii’s death is the most recent passing on this list. The Swedish EDM DJ toured extensively for years, which took quite a toll on his health. Alcohol and anxiety issues plagued Avicii during his time touring, and he was even hospitalized at the age of 21 for acute pancreatitis due to alcoholism.
Avicii is well-known for some of his most popular songs, such as “The Nights,” “Wake Me Up,” “Hey Brother,” and “Levels.” What some may not know is that Avicii was one of the pioneers of the EDM genre of music.
Sadly, the Swedish DJ’s extensive touring took more of a toll on his mental and physical health than people realized. Avicii even said in a documentary that was released in October 2017, “I have said, like, ‘I’m going to die.’ I have said it so many times. And so, I don’t want to hear that I should entertain the thought of doing another gig.”
On April 20, 2018, at the age of 28, Avicii was found dead by suicide in Muscat, Oman. All foul play has been ruled out in Avicii’s passing. Avicii has already gone down in history as one of his greatest DJs of his time, and his legacy will continue to be lived through his music.
The front man of Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, took his own life on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27 in his Seattle home. There has been much speculation surrounding Cobain’s suicide. Skeptics have noted suspicions about the amount of heroin in Cobain’s system, the lack of gun residue, and general unusual activity.
Cobain’s fame and fortune were riddled with a long history of suicidal tendencies and drug addiction. The grunge rock star’s depressive thoughts can be seen within his quote, “If you die you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on. I’m not afraid of dying. Total peace after death, becoming someone else is the best hope I’ve got.”
Aside from addiction and mental illness, Cobain’s career had endless potential. His voice is truly unmatched by any other artist. Kurt’s pure, natural vocals had the ability to pierce hearts and minds across the world. Many artists still aspire to be as great as Cobain was, but Kurt is simply on a whole, entire other level.
Seen by many as the greatest guitar player of all time, Jimi Hendrix continues to remain the icon of rock despite his early death at the age of 27. Jimi’s electric guitar skills cannot even be served justice by being described as Earth-shattering. Hendrix was not only known for his guitar ability but also for his rhythmic voice, which he personally did not think highly of. Despite self-criticism on his vocals, Hendrix’s voice is known and loved all around the globe.
Like everyone else on this list, Hendrix’s life was cut short by the Reaper. On September 18, 1970, Hendrix passed away due to a barbiturate overdose. It is unknown why Hendrix overdosed on barbiturates. Hendrix’s last words were reportedly left on Chas Chandler’s answering machine, saying, “I need help bad, man.”
Chandler denied that he even owned an answering machine, and there are many other inconsistencies that make Jimi’s death quite suspicious. Maybe Hendrix’s infamous last words are true, and he was crying out to be saved. Nevertheless, Hendrix will forever be remembered as one of (if not the) greatest rock stars of all time.
I am 19 years old, live in Missoula, MT, and am studying Computer Science at the University of Montana. I am an aspiring hip-hop artist, so I spend much of my time studying music in many different ways. You can find me on Instagram @stapessz.