A captivating new film about the ‘27 Club’ is set for release on March 26th. The film is distributed by Bulldog Film Distribution and is directed by Simon Napier-Bell. He will be familiar to a many, having managed artists such as The Yardbirds, with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page, Ultravox, T Rex, Japan, Asia, Sinéad O’Connor, and George Michael.
The film investigates the notion that 27 is the Burmuda Triangle for music artists even though artists have died at 26, 28 and other ages for that matter.
Although notable artists have died at the age of 27, such as Blues singer Robert Johnson, Swing Jazz pianist Nat Jaffe and Rudy Lewis from The Drifters. The first comments about the significance of 27 were muted with the deaths of Rolling Stones founder, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, who all died at the age of 27 between 1969 and 1971.
After these deaths, in a 2 year period, other artists died at the age of 27, such as founding member of The Grateful Dead, Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, The Stooges’s, Dave Alexander and Gary Thain from Uriah Heep.
But it was not until the death of Kurt Cobain, about two and a half decades later, that the idea of a ’27 Club’ began to catch on in public perception, probably by a comment made by his mother that was taken out of context. This was reignited again with the death of Amy Winehouse in 2011.
This film looks at the phenomenon and tries to understand why Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse are so mythologised and celebrated – and why indeed their lives ended when they did.
Through rare and unseen footage transcending the viewer on a near quantum leap into the period of each artist’s life and death, along with discerning interviews with musicians, ranging from Gary Numan to Olly Alexander from Years and Years, critics and music industry insiders as well as medical and psychiatric experts, the film investigates the lives, music, and artistry of these lost icons, who have forever been frozen in time at the age of 27.
Having seen the film, I think it has been well constructed. It does not seek to offer an opinion or to draw links, it leaves that up to the viewer. It starts with contributions with notable people from the music industry as well as medical experts. The main body of the film is taken up with the life and deaths of the aforementioned Icons, and it is clear to see that there are similarities with them all. The film concludes with more comment, and it is striking how different the views are. The final conclusion is yours to make. At a length of 71 minutes, the film is succinct and engrossing.
As Kurt Cobain quoted a Neil Young song lyric in his suicide note in 1994, he told the world, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away”. He may have meant it only cynically or satirically, but regardless, his death was tragically upon us. However, In today’s world where drug addiction and mental health issues are continually on the rise and are now the focus of much media and government attention, this documentary is sure to propel further debate as it offers further insight into the world of popular music and it’s many pitfalls.
27 Gone Too Soon will be screened at Regent Street Cinema on Monday 26th March and releasing same day on DVD and Digital HD.