The 27 Club And Ten Of Its Most Shocking Deaths

Published February 4, 2024
Updated February 13, 2024

The 27 Club: Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix The 27 Club

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesJimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Johnny Allen Hendrix (later renamed James Marshall) was born on Nov. 27, 1942 in Seattle, Washington. From an early age, young Hendrix pretended to strum along with his guitar idols — B.B. King, Buddy Holly, Robert Johnson — on an old broom. From there, he graduated to a one-string ukulele, then a used acoustic guitar. All the while, he taught himself to play, undeterred by his inability to read music.

In 1966, after a stint in the army and some work playing backup guitar for other performers, Hendrix formed his group, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, whose smash-hit debut Are You Experienced? sealed Hendrix’s fate as a legend. He soon dazzled audiences with his guitar playing at 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival, where he infamously burned his guitar on stage.

After more hit records, Woodstock followed, and Hendrix ascended to greater heights of superstardom amidst the glorious purple haze of sex, drugs, and rock and roll that marked the late 1960s.

Jimi Hendrix Performs

Evening Standard/Getty ImagesJimi Hendrix at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970, his last performance in England.

But on the morning of Sept. 18, 1970, his girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, called his friend, Eric Burdon of The Animals, and said that she couldn’t wake him up. Burdon urged her to call for an ambulance and headed to her apartment at London’s Samarkand Hotel — but it was already too late. Jimi Hendrix was dead, the newest member of the 27 Club.

Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 9: The Death Of Jimi Hendrix, also available on iTunes and Spotify.

Burdon tried to clean up before the police arrived. He cleared out Hendrix’s drugs and a sheet of lyrics he mistook for a suicide note. It read:

“The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye,
The story of love is hello and goodbye.
Until we meet again.”

An ambulance arrived at the apartment at 11:27 a.m. to find the doors flung open and Hendrix alone and unresponsive, covered in his own vomit. They loaded his body into the emergency vehicle. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital at 12:45 pm. The death certificate cites the cause of death as “inhalation of vomit” and “barbiturate intoxication.” Police discovered nine of Danneman’s sleeping pills missing from the apartment.

Jimi Hendrix performs his song ‘Freedom’ live on stage.
Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.