There is a group of rock starts whom all died at the age of 27 that perfectly exemplify the idea of a good death or a bad death. Currently, there are 49 members on this list, most famously including Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse. In a famous quote by Neil Young he stated “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”. This was later cited in the suicide note of Kurt Cobain. The idea behind this quote- and what is thought many of these young rock stars’ deaths is defining the difference between a good death and a bad death.
Here, a good death is one where you die famous, still in the spotlight and doing amazing things, never becoming old and fading away. A bad death is one where you slowly lose your sparkle and your death will no longer greatly influence your fans. When Kurt Cobain killed himself, people went in to mourning. Everyone remembers when they heard Kurt Cobain died, everyone cared when Amy Winehouse overdosed. I remember working at a summer camp for children and everyone screaming about how awful Winehouse’s death was. It is hypothesized that all of these members of the 27 club took their lives so that they could remain their young, beautiful, rock star selves in the minds of their fans forever- leaving a legacy. While there is proof that many of the members committed suicide, there is also thought that many of those that overdosed, did it purposefully. This would support the idea of their strategic deaths.
This reminds me of royal suicide. In some communities, when a king feels he is becoming weak, he will kill himself so that his people will not ever have to see him weak and the royal system can continue on- always having a powerful, strong body in power. While obviously the rock stars of this club don’t have as great of an impact as an actual king- they did call Elvis the “king of rock” and we all know what the public’s response when he died!
Link to 27 club list: