The Rock 'n Roll Deaths

It's the Halloween month so we thought we'd put together some spooky stories as our inspirations. Premature deaths in rock isn't that uncommon, excess and the live-fast-die-young lifestyle have always been the religion for the hardcore. But as we read multiple rock biographies back to back, we've started to notice that many of our favourite 27 and 32 club members have crossed paths at one particular event... it's the Monterey Pop Music Festival 1967 - the festival that would become THE template for many more to follow, including Woodstock. Did someone put a curse on this festival? What went on here?


Jimi Hendrix

The Voodoo Chile and his guitar burning ritual were fairly obscure up until this point. He then only had three years to enjoy the well-deserved fame and fortune as he would later pass away, aged 27, in London - making him the first 27 club member of the 70s.


Brian Jones

Post-Rolling Stone Brian Jones didn't quite get to perform but got up onstage to introduce his new chum Jimi Hendrix to the crowd. Two years later in 1969, a month after being officially replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor, Jones was found dead at the bottom of his own swimming pool. He was 27 years old.


Janis Joplin

Ms Joplin finds her way back to our vision board once again. Her performance of "Ball & Chain" as the Big Brother and the Holding Company was screechingly painful it haunted the audience for decades. Her death followed Jimi Hendrix's the following month in October 1970, another 27 lost to the devil.


Ron "PigPen" McKernan

Keyboardist and founding member of the Grateful Dead had a lot to compete with having to follow the Who who called for attention by smashing their instruments and play before Jimi Hendrix who burned his guitar. He would later die of an illness in 1973, at 27. Strangely his successor Keith Godchaux followed suit and enter the 32 Club in 1980.

Photo credit: Barney Peterson, The Chronicle


Cass Elliot

As the Mamas & Papas' love affairs got messy and split in 1971, Elliot embarked on a solo career and gradually became a TV personality. Mama Cass no more died in her sleep of heart failure aged 32 in 1974 in a flat in London.

Photo credit: Jerry de Wilde


Keith Moon

What's so spooky about the Who's drummer Keith Moon's death? He died at 32 AND in the same room that Mama Cass died four years later (1978). This was singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson's place and he was reluctant to rent the place out, believing it was cursed. Moon's response - "lightning wouldn't strike the same place twice," - he was wrong.

Photo credit: Elaine Mayes