July 28, 2021

Jim Morrison, founding member of The 27 Club

The previous data fits in that the famous club had – Johnson’s was dismissed as imprecise – at least two very different litters. The first, between 1969 and 1971. Of this, Jim Morrison is an essential founder, while the fourth died in the same biennium and at the same age: two essential keys to build the initial myth.

That tragic belonging is conjugated in the frontman of the Doors as one more of the requirements (ever to be imprisoned, to break hotels, to have many lovers) that makes him a myth of rock with all the laws.

The founding members

The first batch of deceased, the one that led to their nomination as a club – long before the revisionists in the matter went back to the origins of black music – and in which Morrison is enrolled, is the one that was deployed between the July 3, 1969 and July 3, 1969, but in 1971.

Brian Jones (3-7-69), Jimi Hendrix (18-9-70) Janis Joplin (4-10-70) Jim Morrison (3-7-71) said goodbye to the world in relatively unexpected ways; At the speed they were going, metaphorically speaking, it is understood, no one would have considered an obstruction unlikely, an animal on the road, a swerve that would lead directly to the precipice.

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Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Brian Jones, the first members of the Club of 27

Riders in the Storm

We speak of a time when the creative explosion produced the best popular music, the most sophisticated, genuine and renovating of its century. In this context, it must be said – perhaps at the risk of watering down the esoteric aspects of the matter – the substances, the tours, the excess, ran with the same torrential force as the inspiration through the veins of the rockers of that time.

If statistically it was unlikely that in the span of two years, for example, four tennis players of the same age would die, it does not seem so strange that the same thing happened to four great musicians for whom excess alcohol and heroin were a daily thing . In short: far from a supra-earthly curse, the Club was marked, among other things, by substances.

But man does not only live on substances, but also on symbols, beliefs, frustrations, and here other elements enter that relate to the protagonists of the mortuary brotherhood.

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The second platoon

A couple of decades later, added their presence to the curse of “C27” other two celestial creatures of music that displayed very different textures, almost opposite. Kurt Cobain (5-4-94) and Amy Winehouse (23-7-11) also entered the facilities at 27 without warning.

Nirvana’s alma mater chose the most violent formula imaginable for his farewell. A shotgun blast fell his head, the same one from which poetic premonitions had come before:

”Load the guns, /

bring your friends /

it’s fun to lose and pretend (…)

Here we are, entertain us /

I feel stupid and contagious /

Here we are, entertain us ”.

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Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse y Jimi Hendrix

Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse y Jimi Hendrix

Amy, on the other hand – the most splendid and subtle voice that rock of the 80s onwards gave – did nothing but continue; continue to the end, to a deep bottom that, to his misfortune and that of millions of listeners-believers, had been unconsciously traced (or perhaps not). The alcohol took her, extinguishing who knows what pains or what boredom. She herself had been singing it: “They tried to make me go to rehab / But I said no, no, no …” and her premature departure left the scene an orphan with a unique, magical timbre.

A character usually joins this second batch – he also had his halo, initially built from anonymity – that even without being a musician but an American graffiti artist reached the category of myth and his figure is, so to speak, very “rockerizable” : Jean Michel Basquiat. In fact, he died on August 12, 1988, from a heroin overdose, like Joplin, like Hendrix, like Brian Jones, according to some versions, since this last case was controversial.

Myths about myths

Many elements favor the phantasmagoria that surrounds Club 27. There are surprising factual data. For example, that between the first and last deaths of the “founding litter” would have been exactly two years: Brian Jones (3-7-69) – Jim Morrison (3-7-71). Or also a remarkable profusion of jacks (Jones, Jim, Jimi, Joplin) from which, the most mystics, chose to relate the deaths to Jesus Christ. And, along the same lines, that the chain of tragedies was unleashed in the “diabolical” number 69 corresponding to that year.

Less glamorous than the esoteric references were the medical parts they referred to, in Hendrix “suffocation from one’s own vomit” or for Brian Jones drowning in a pool. The truth is that these cannot be consigned as causes in themselves but rather as consequences of previous consumption.

It is also true that in some way the Dionysian character to which these artists had arrived presented, in addition, a common factor; all of them had reached the top coming from very low.

I can’t get satisfaction

Perhaps the best known case in terms of origin turbulence was that of Janis Joplin, whose childhood marked by bullying and two very Catholic parents who disapproved of almost everything she did, did not start well. Later, a well-deserved recognition, inversely proportional to the bad moments of origin, poured over his life, but it was not enough to satiate something. And heroin satiates everything.

At the other extreme, how and why guys like Mick Jagger managed to conjure their demons by singing to the surrounding dissatisfaction, turning it into a rallying cry, and instead their most creative peer, Brian Jones, ended up drowning in dissatisfaction, is a mystery. Certainly greater than the coincidence of deaths at 27 years of age.

Everything seems to indicate that a form of lack, of lack, wandered between amplifiers, hotels, parties and delicacies of the sixties. A gigantic foul crept in, cunningly, amid the storm of talent, art, sex, drugs, alcohol, and fame.

We hardly find complex childhoods, origins, adolescence in most of humanity. But the pasts of the members of this club were especially harsh and contrasting with the hypothetical gratification of success.

Hendrix had been a paratrooper in the armed forces of his country for mere subsistence; the military as an accessible and convenient work alternative for a poor black man in the 1950s in the United States.

The other side

As for Morrison, he took it upon himself to encapsulate his childhood past before opening the doors. First by reading Aldous Huxley, who in turn had read William Blake, but later by nurturing them from his own perception, Morrison actually opened the doors of language, and when words gave him no answer, it was also doors that closed. .

Morrison’s death was the fourth in exactly two years, since Brian Jones’s first, and the one that became the myth. Finally, there was a lot that these tragic endings wove together. The four initial suicides, and those that followed decades later, had – as their protagonists’ life context – unrealistic environments, unthinkable in their previous lives.

That same dichotomy, perhaps, has led them to perceive themselves in a permanent setting, in the “anguish of reality” to put it in current terms; under the lights that embellish but do not shelter, in a fiction that, as such, was too lonely.