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The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll
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The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  67 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Excess and tragedy are the stuff of music legend, but it is only with hindsight that deeper patterns emerge. None of these is more striking than the deaths at age 27 of some of the greatest musicians of our time.

Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Brian Jones. Kurt Cobain. Founding bluesman Robert Johnson. All died at 27. Their stories, as well as those of ill-fated
Paperback, 312 pages
Published April 7th 2009 by North Atlantic Books (first published October 27th 2008)
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Garrett Cook
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Rock and roll can grab you in its teeth, gnash your heart to bits, open your mind so wide you can't keep cultural debris out, change your way of thinking and dressing, make you reconsider the flowers mother says are poisonous. The great voices and minds of rock and roll wield a cultural power that is shamanic at its highest resonances. But to walk with these spirits, is to dance with death, to become an icon of your generation sometimes means staying there forever, being remembered in a bathtub ...more
Matt Hill
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: half-read
highlight=the artwork and layout . . not what i expected, but cool for a full-color, coffee-table style book . . lowlight=that there's a kind-of chronological layout to how the musicians are talked about, but it's hard to follow and not exact . . it's not like there are chapters on each person . . you just kind of have to pick it up and skim around until you find where they talk about hendrix or whoever . . i guess it's not the book's fault . . i was just wanting a more basic nonfiction take on ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: used-to-be-mine
This was a really interesting look at the history of rock, but the formatting/editing made it hard for someone who doesn't know a whole lot about music to keep track of everyone.

I did come away with a lot of information though, and I have a long list of bands and books I should check out now. The writing was very accessible and the authors did a pretty good job of staying on task in what could have been a very, very messy book.
Dani Peloquin
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it
From the first time I heard about this book on a podcast, I felt mixed feeling. I immediately requested it from the library, but when it came in I was hesitant to pick it up. I thought that it would be dry and uninteresting, like many books written about rock and roll. (It never fails to astound me that though rock and roll has the most interesting and exciting history, writers always seem to make it dry and boring as if they are writing about the history of lint.) Eventually, I bit the bullet a ...more
Mike Dirksen
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I heard about this book on the Coast radio program I have wanted to read it, and own it, and now I have done both. I had high expectations for this book, and it was even better than I thought it would be. It is all in here, starting with the death, at 27, of famed blues man, Robert Johnson, but there are at least half a dozen deaths, at 27, that really stand out, and they are all well covered here. Of course, everyone knows about the over dose deaths of both Janis Joplin and Jimi Hen ...more
Apr 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an enchanting book (graphic non-fiction style) that weaves through the true stories of a number of musicians who coincidentally died at age 27. It is loaded with interesting and often fairly intense information about these people and I found it hard put down. The book is interspersed with striking artwork and images of the musicians that seemingly flows with the stories, and is beautiful to look at. A nice touch is a running timeline with related and unrelated events happening in the wor ...more
Jan 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Here's an interview on NPR about The 27s:

"As much as this book is about The 27s, it is about music; about America; about the art and perils of the music industry; about the mystique behind death at age 27; and finally about history itself. The 27s is a must read for anyone interested in knowing more about the greatest musicians of modern times. It's presented like a resonance of sound in the clearest grain of a violin. Well done!"

- Ian Halperin, NY Times
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
I have read other books on this subject and this is not one I would recommend. The layout and artwork were distracting and if this was the reader's first book on this subject, they may get lost quickly. It's not precise and to the point and often veered off into another subject for no apparent reason. (Saturn return? WTH??) Also trying to connect all the members wasn't necessary. Rock & roll is a small community. Everybody's path will cross at some point. And we're all 6 degrees of Kevin Bac ...more
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It’s terribly sad that these people died so young but they have made such a lasting impression in music. I feel like the people in the book are simply just normal individuals who have left lasting and extraordinary contributions in the world. I actually wrote a little bit about the book here:
Jul 25, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2014
with Amy Winehouse joining the 27 club this weekend, I am yet again drawn to theories on how age 27 (and phases of 9 years, as some say) is like the 7 year itch of growing older... making it past this stage is the hardest part of longevity, not just for angsty rock and roll icons.
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sep 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, music
Meandering, enjoyable read. More a history of rock 'n' roll and art book than a blow-by-blow index of the 27s.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Aug 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Interesting so far. I didn't realize that Robert Johnson was in the 27 club.
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