Purple Haze and Amy Winehouse

After recording on the evening of the 3rd October 1970, Janis Joplin and band member Ken Pearson had a couple of drinks at Barney's Beanery. Just after midnight, they drove back to the Landmark Hotel, at 7047 Franklin. Inside room 105, she shot up her last fix of heroin. She returned to the hotel lobby to get change for a five dollar bill, for cigarettes. She chatted casually with the hotel clerk, who later said she seemed perfectly natural (and he didn't know who she was). When she returned to her room, she collapsed beside the bed, almost breaking her nose. She was wedged against a bedside table, with a cigarette in her hand.

John Cook, one of her band members, became alarmed when she didn't show up for the recording session the next morning, and after unsuccessfully trying to reach her by telephone, he went to the hotel, broke down the door and found her dead. She was 27 years old.

How similar will the story be when it's all told of Amy Winehouse, who died today at 27 years of age. CBS News (USA) reported, "Police confirmed that a 27-year-old female was pronounced dead at the home in Camden Square northern London; the cause of death was not immediately known. London Ambulance Services said Winehouse had died before the two ambulance crews it sent arrived at the scene.

"I didn't go out looking to be famous," Winehouse told the Associated Press when "Back to Black" was released. "I'm just a musician."

But in the end, the music was overshadowed by fame, and by Winehouse's demons. Tabloids lapped up the erratic stage appearances, drunken fights, stints in hospital and rehab clinics. Performances became shambling, stumbling train wrecks, watched around the world on the Internet."

Think of Jim Morrison. This report from his Wiki page: "Morrison flew to Paris in March 1971, took up residence in a rented apartment on the rue Beautreillis on the Right Bank, and went for long walks through the city, admiring the city's architecture. During that time, Morrison shaved his beard and lost some of the weight he had gained in the previous months. The last studio recording was with two American street musicians — a session dismissed by Manzarek as "drunken gibberish". The session included a version of a song-in-progress, "Orange County Suite", which can be heard on the bootleg The Lost Paris Tapes.

Morrison died on July 3, 1971. In the official account of his death, he was found in a Paris apartment bathtub by Courson. Pursuant to French law, no autopsy was performed because the medical examiner claimed to have found no evidence of foul play. The absence of an official autopsy has left many questions regarding Morrison's cause of death."

Who else died in their 28th year? Brian Jones, Rolling Stones founder and guitarist/multi-instrumentalist. July 3, 1969. Drowned in a swimming pool. The coroner's report stated "death by misadventure."

Jimi Hendrix. September 18, 1970. Autopsy showed he asphyxiated on vomit after combining sleeping pills with wine. Pioneering electric guitarist, singer and songwriter for The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys.

Kurt Cobain, April 5, 1994. Ruled as suicide by shotgun. Founding member, lead singer, guitarist and songwriter for Nirvana.

Other famous, but not musical people, who died at 27 include: Andrés Escobar Saldarriaga (13 March 1967 – 2 July 1994). Colombian soccer player.

Shot outside a bar in a suburb of Medellín, Colombia, possibly in retaliation for scoring an own goal in a world cup match.

Ghazi bin Faisal (21 March 1912 – 4 April 1939). King of Iraq 1933 – 1939.

Ghazi was born in Mecca (now Saudi Arabia) to King Faisal of Iraq. He became king on his father’s death in 1933. He opposed British interests in his country, was rumored to harbor sympathies for Nazi Germany and put forth a claim for Kuwait to be annexed to Iraq. His reign was characterised by tensions between civilians and the army, which sought control of the government. He died in 1939 in a mysterious accident involving a sports car he was driving.

"Bobby" Robert Gerard Sands (9 March 1954 – 5 May 1981). Irish Republican Army volunteer, prison hunger striker and member of the UK parliament.

Died of self-imposed starvation in HM Prison Maze, also known as Long Kesh.

Jesus died at the age of 33, dying on a Roman execution cross. And although his life's ending was tragic, that was not the entire story. The Bible reports that he rose from the dead and lives forever. That's better than any Nirvana or any Nirvana song. It's eternity with the Father, God Himself, and that's a permanent rehab, that you should not say "no, no, no, no" to. Life with God is better than any Doors or Stones hits. You will have eternal satisfaction if you give your life, at 27, at 2, at 7 at 72, whenever... to the One who gave His life for you.

Then you will rest in peace. RIP... eternal peace.


Anonymous said…
I enjoyed reading this article until the tenuous link to Jesus and the hammer hit of an evangelistic message. A lot more thought should have gone into the link about Jesus dying at 33 and the reasons why. Beside these incredible people in our times dying at 27, Jesus' death at 33, in the article, comes across as shallow, unintelligible and frankly irrelevant. The subjects of your article didn't accept pat answers, and neither did Jesus. Why do you think we should?

Anonymous said…
No,no,no: Dying is no good at any age,life are always better, no matter what you belive in. Amy died tragicaly at 27, but at least she died as a real Jewish girl,unlike you ,posers.
Bob said…
Dear Anony#1, following Jesus for me and for so many other Jews...that's no pat answer, and although my quick momentary blog-style disjoint communication is shallow, as you say, it's hardly irrelevant.
If you want a full presentation of our case, that's what the compound nature of the blogs and the website and the tweats and so much is all about. That is, if you really want to listen.
Bob said…
Anony #2, dying is no good at any age? What about a 100 year old? Too soon for you? Too 'bad' for you? The Bible says, "Our times are in (God's) hands" (Psalm 31) which tells me that my beginning and my ending are known to the Almighty. And I'm confident in that and in Him.

That said, you are right that life is better than death, or so say the living. And I'm hopeful that that word seriously describes you.

"Amy died tragically," to be sure, as her massive talent never got to be long-lasting and showcased well.

"She died a real Jewish girl, unlike (us) posers." I don't know how you would describe 'real' or "Jewish', but my guess is that she would argue with you about one or both of those. And so would tens of thousands of others whom you would identify as Jews, who might self-deny this of themselves.

That said, prayer is very helpful and I trust you will pray for wisdom about how to live your Jewish life, you know?
Anonymous said…
Hi Bob it's Hannah again (Anony #1). I didn't come for a full presentation of your case, I stumbled upon your site, drawn by your comment upon the current news. Isn't that the purpose of your blog? To have a point of connection and from there present your case? I commented because I think you let slip an excellent opportunity to present the differences between the 27'ers and Jesus.

For example, many of the '27 Club' died from drugs, alcohol and the ensuing despair and mental instability. Does that make their deaths worthwhile? Was Jesus' execution a worthwhile death? What makes a worthwhile life? What would Jesus have said to them? etc etc. These are questions that might do them all justice.

My point is I wasn't looking for a 'full presentation' of your case when I stumbled upon this article. If I was I would have gone to the main site. I haven't been prompted from my one point of connection to your blog to do so, and the superior little guilt trip at the end of your reply comment doesn't inspire me either.

Excellently-written article, absorbing, interesting, timely, but unfortunately undermined by the 'quick, blog-style, disjoint[ed] communication.' If you have a blog talking about current affairs and religion, you have to accept you'll get visitors like me, wanting to be engaged, challenged and provoked, but not willing to accept a quick little tick-the-box evangelical paragraph at the end. If you can't accept this, please have a disclaimer under the title so I know to move on.

On another note, I fully appreciate that following Jesus is not a pat answer for you and many other Jews. Apologies if I was misunderstood.

Thank you for reading.

Warm regards,

Bob said…
Hannah you are right on several accounts and I take your criticism on board. Thanks. Keep watching and I'll keep learning and make my continual commentary on events of the day more (not less) connected.
Anonymous said…
Thanks Bob! Hannah

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