Music Monday Janis Joplin ‘Piece of My Heart’

In 1966 Janis Joplin was a drifter, but four years later she was a rock ‘n’  roll legend. Her powerful bluesy-inspired voice was full of passion, and fueled by drugs and alcohol.  We saw her in concert in Charlottesville. She really put on a show inviting audience participation on the stage, and for sure had no inhibitions.  In October 1970, she was found dead of an overdose of heroin.  She was 27 years old.


She became a member of the   “27 ” club.  It  came into being when a good number of tragic, unhappy music geniuses  died at the age of 27 of drugs, alcohol, homicide or suicide.  Besides Janis Joplin, other very well known popular musicians in the group were Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and years later Curt Cobain , and Amy Winehouse.

I remember when the professor was 27 and we were visiting his mom and sitting the back yard. He was very distressed that Jim Morrison had been found dead. . . . .at 27, just his age.  Now when students ask about the 60s….he says, “It was not a happy time. . . . sex, drugs and rock’n’ roll was a pretty messy business!”


People identified as being in the 27 Club


Date of death Official cause of death Fame Age
Alexandre Levy[16] January 17, 1892 Unknown Composer, pianist and conductor 27 years, 98 days
Louis Chauvin[16][17] March 26, 1908 Neurosyphilitic sclerosis Ragtime musician 27 years, 13 days
Robert Johnson[16][17][18][19][20][21][22] August 16, 1938 Unknown, but typically attributed to strychnine poisoning Blues singer and musician who recorded a very influential set of 29 songs. 27 years, 100 days
Nat Jaffe[16] August 5, 1945 Complications from high blood pressure Swing jazz pianist 27 years, 216 days
Jesse Belvin[16][17][19][20] February 6, 1960 Car accident R&B singer, pianist and songwriter 27 years, 53 days
Rudy Lewis[19][21] May 20, 1964 Drug overdose Vocalist of the Drifters 27 years, 271 days
Malcolm Hale[16][20] October 31, 1968 Carbon monoxide poisoning Original member and lead guitarist of Spanky and Our Gang 27 years, 166 days
Dickie Pride[19] March 26, 1969 Overdose of sleeping pills Rock and roll singer 27 years, 156 days
Brian Jones[16][17][19][20][21][22][23] July 3, 1969 Drowning[24] (coroner’s report states “death by misadventure”)[25] Rolling Stones founder, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist 27 years, 125 days
Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson[16][17][19][20][21][22] September 3, 1970 Barbiturate overdose, possible suicide Leader, singer and primary composer of Canned Heat 27 years, 61 days
Jimi Hendrix[16][17][19][20][21][22][23] September 18, 1970 Asphyxiation[26] Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys 27 years, 295 days
Janis Joplin[16][17][19][20][21][22][27] October 4, 1970 Probable heroin overdose[28] Lead vocalist and songwriter for Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Kozmic Blues Band and Full Tilt Boogie Band 27 years, 258 days
Arlester “Dyke” Christian[16] March 13, 1971 Murdered Frontman, vocalist and bassist of Dyke and the Blazers 27 years, 273 days
Jim Morrison[16][17][19][20][21][22][23] July 3, 1971 Reported as heart failure[29] Singer, lyricist, and leader of the Doors 27 years, 207 days
Linda Jones[19] March 14, 1972 Complications from diabetes Soul singer 27 years, 91 days
Leslie Harvey[17][20][22] May 3, 1972 Electrocution Guitarist for Stone the Crows and brother of Alex Harvey 27 years, 233 days
Ron “Pigpen” McKernan[16][17][19][20][21][22] March 8, 1973 Gastrointestinal hemorrhage Founding member, keyboardist and singer of the Grateful Dead 27 years, 181 days
Roger Lee Durham[16][20] July 27, 1973 Fell off a horse and died from the injuries Singer and percussionist of Bloodstone 27 years, 163 days
Wallace Yohn[16] August 12, 1974 Plane crash Organ player of Chase 27 years, 212 days
Dave Alexander[16][17][19][20][21][22] February 10, 1975 Pulmonary edema Bassist for the Stooges 27 years, 252 days
Pete Ham[16][17][19][20][21][22] April 24, 1975 Suicide by hanging Keyboardist and guitarist, leader of Badfinger 27 years, 362 days
Gary Thain[16][17][20][21] December 8, 1975 Heroin overdose Former bassist of Uriah Heep and the Keef Hartley Band 27 years, 207 days
Cecilia [30][31] August 2, 1976 Car accident Singer 27 years, 296 days
Helmut Köllen[16][20] May 3, 1977 Carbon monoxide poisoning Bassist for 1970s prog rock band Triumvirat 27 years, 62 days
Chris Bell[16][17][19][20] December 27, 1978 Car accident Singer-songwriter and guitarist of power pop band Big Star and solo 27 years, 349 days
Jacob Miller[17][21] March 23, 1980 Car accident Reggae artist and lead singer for Inner Circle 27 years, 324 days
D. Boon[16][17][19][20][22] December 22, 1985 Van accident Guitarist, lead singer of punk band the Minutemen 27 years, 266 days
Alexander Bashlachev[30] February 17, 1988 Fall from a height, probable suicide Poet, rock musician and songwriter 27 years, 266 days
Jean-Michel Basquiat[19][20][21][22] August 12, 1988 Speedball overdose Painter and graffiti artist; formed the band Gray 27 years, 234 days
Pete de Freitas[16][17][19][20][21] June 14, 1989 Motorcycle accident Drummer for Echo & the Bunnymen 27 years, 346 days
Mia Zapata[16][17][19] July 7, 1993 Murdered Lead singer of the Gits 27 years, 316 days
Kurt Cobain[16][17][19][20][21][22][27] April 5, 1994 c. Suicide by gunshot[32] Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana 27 years, 44 days c.
Kristen Pfaff[16][17][19][20][21][22] June 16, 1994 Heroin overdose Bass guitarist for Hole and Janitor Joe 27 years, 21 days
Richey Edwards[16][19][20][22] February 1, 1995 Disappeared; officially presumed dead November 23, 2008. No body has ever been found. Lyricist and guitarist for Manic Street Preachers 27 years, 41 days
Fat Pat[16][17] February 3, 1998 Murdered Rapper and member of Screwed Up Click 27 years, 61 days
Freaky Tah[16] March 28, 1999 Murdered Rapper and member of the hip hop group Lost Boyz 27 years, 318 days
Rodrigo Bueno[30] June 24, 2000 Car accident Cuarteto singer 27 years, 31 days
Sean Patrick McCabe[16][17][19][20] August 28, 2000 Asphyxiation Lead singer of Ink & Dagger 27 years, 289 days
Maria Serrano Serrano[16] November 24, 2001 Plane crash Background singer for Passion Fruit 27 years, 363 days
Jeremy Michael Ward[16][17][19][20] May 25, 2003 Heroin overdose The Mars Volta and De Facto sound manipulator 27 years, 20 days
Bryan Ottoson[16][17][20] April 19, 2005 Prescription drug overdose Guitarist for American Head Charge 27 years, 32 days
Valentín Elizalde[16] November 26, 2006 Murdered Mexican banda singer 27 years, 297 days
Amy Winehouse[17][19][20][21][22][23] July 23, 2011 Alcohol poisoning[33] Singer-songwriter 27 years, 312 days
Richard Turner[17] August 11, 2011 Cardiac arrest Trumpet player, collaborator with Friendly Fires[34] 27 years, 12 days

About annetbell

I am a retired elementary teacher, well seasoned world traveler,new blogger, grandmother, and a new enthusiastic discoverer of the wonderfully complex country of India. Anne
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3 Responses to Music Monday Janis Joplin ‘Piece of My Heart’

  1. Don Ostertag says:

    She was quite a talent. Never to be confused with a lady. I remember her at the Guthrie. Gave a memorable concert highlighted when she broke a vodka bottle over the drummer’s head. But that gal could belt it out.


  2. kyangel17 says:

    You sure did a lot of research on this Anne. My favorite Janis Joplin song was “Me And Billie McGee.” Never have been sure if it was because of the blusey way she sang it, or if it was because it was written by Kris Kristofferson, but I still love that song. And Joplin left a lot of memories behind her, both good and bad, but the talent never failed.


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