The Myth of 27

It’s always been a symbolic number in my life — 27.

I remember sitting with my best friend, Dan, at his house in Topanga close to my 28th birthday. Dan was a few years older than I. “27 has been a really hard year,” I said — tired and disillusioned. “Oh man,” he replied, “I’m just getting over 27.”

Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons in Topanga, 1969

27 is, of course, the year that so many talented young artists perish. Browse the obits, and it truly is astonishing — Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Gram Parsons, Brian Jones, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse. It’s often morbidly referred to as the “Forever 27 Club.” More