Amy Winehouse Joins the Forever 27 Club


With heavy heart we must report the tragic death of Amy Winehouse. Drug addiction marred her career and most likely ended her life on July 23rd, 2011.

Another talented singer and songwriter recently lost the battle with substance abuse.  Amy Winehouse, the sultry soul-jazz singer with the distinctive beehive hairdo, was found dead on July 23 in her London home.  The cause of death was not immediately known but because of Winehouse’s known problems with drugs and alcohol, it was most likely due to substance abuse.

Winehouse was 27 at the time of her death, an eerie coincidence that earns her membership in a group known as the “Forever 27 Club.”  The group consists of musicians who died as the result of drug and alcohol abuse at the age of 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain.  Like these other talented musicians, Winehouse seemed bent on her own destruction and died before realizing the full potential of her talent.  

Following the release of her breakout album “Back to Black” in 2008, Winehouse won five Grammy awards including best record, best song (for “Rehab”) and best new artist of the year.  Her album, which features a unique fusion of soul and jazz, sold millions of copies and received rave review from critics.  However, in the years since her Grammy wins her talent was overshadowed by her struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.  The lyrics to her most famous song reflect her troubled relationship with addiction: “They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no.”  

In addition to her substance abuse problems, Winehouse admitted to struggling with eating disorders, self-harm disorder and manic depression.  In recent years, the British tabloids were filled with stories about her unstable behavior.  She earned a reputation for cancelled concerts and confrontations with the police.  She was investigated but not arrested after a video circulated on the Internet that apparently showed her smoking crack cocaine.  She was arrested twice for assault after striking a woman and a man on two different occasions.

It has been more than 5 years since Winehouse issued an album.  Earlier this summer, Winehouse was forced to cancel a 12-city concert tour after appearing on stage in an inebriated condition.  Before an audience of 20,000 in Belgard, Serbia, she was booed off stage after she was unable to perform.  

“Drugs took her gift, her soul, her light, long before they took her life.  RIP Amy.”- Josh Groban

Winehouse was hospitalized in 2007 for what was reported as an overdose of heroin, ketamine (an anesthesia), ecstasy and alcohol.  In 2008, she entered a residential treatment program but left after two weeks.  She was later hospitalized for fainting and falling in her home.   By way of explanation, her father issued a statement saying that she was suffering from emphysema as a result of smoking crack and cigarettes.  A spokesperson for the singer later denied that she had been diagnosed with the lung condition.  Her true medical condition remained a mystery up until the time of her death.   

Amy Winehouse’s fellow musicians were quick to respond to news of her death on Twitter.  Singer Josh Groban was one of the most eloquent in summing up the tragedy of her death: “Drugs took her gift, her soul, her light, long before they took her life.  RIP Amy.”