Sunday, 24 July 2011

The age of dying

I woke up around 3 o'clock or 3.30 this morning, as I am wont to do nowadays, and the first thing I did was to whip out my mobile phone and check my Yahoo email inbox. I was expecting an important message to arrive from someone in the States. A bit disappointed not to see that message. So, I thought that I'd look in at the BBC website and was surprised to note that they were reporting the death of a present-day singer by the name of Amy Winehouse.

Now, I don't know anything about her character or her music except that she was a rather ugly but flamboyant person to pass off as a popular singer. I would probably not be commenting on anything at all about her death but I learnt that this Winehouse lady passed away from some drug-related problem at the age of 27.

Twenty-seven. This number actually struck a chord with me because I had just finished reading this book, Back to the Garden, in which the author had commented that several of the most popular rock stars of hippiedom, the era of the mid-1960s to the early 1970s, had also passed away at this same age.

James Marshall (Jimi) Hendrix was one of them. He died on 18 Sep 1970 at 27 years old, drowned in his own vomit. Then there was Janis Lyn Joplin who died on 4 Oct 1970 at the same age of a combination of drugs and alcohol. A third musician that passed away from substance abuse on 3 Sep 1970 at the age of 27 was Alan (Blind Owl) Christie Wilson, a co-founder of the American blues band, Canned Heat. Interestingly, all three had appeared at the Woodstock music festival in Bethel, New York in August 1969. Of course, I am not unaware that Jim Morrison of The Doors had also passed away on 3 July 1971 at this age from drug overdose.

Four rock music celebrities who had died at this age. And now, they are joined by this Amy Winehouse. Twenty-seven must indeed be a fearful age for musicians.

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