Chapter 14: Long Black Veil (Rock Deaths)

We have two ways of memorializing rock stars who die young: compilation discs and conspiracy theories. Neither method, however, provides an adequate answer as to why so many of them expire in their twenty-seventh year on the planet. Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison: all dead at 27. And that’s just the A team: other rockers who just made it through one score and seven include Chris Bell of Big Star, D. Boon of the Minutemen, and Pigpen of the Grateful Dead. That’s old enough to have left their mark, young enough that we can always argue about whether they would have been able to outdo themselves if they had lived.