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'27 Club' of dead rockers is a myth, says studyBy
Published : Dec. 21, 2011 - 11:18
PARIS, Dec 21, 2011 (AFP) - Fame boosts the risk of early death for rock stars but the claim that the peril is greatest at the age of 27 is false, according to a study published on Tuesday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The theory of the "27 Club" spread earlier this year when Amy Winehouse joined Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones and other musicians who succumbed to the rock'n'roll lifestyle while in their 27th year.
Health statisticians led by Adrian Barnett of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia put the "27 Club" hypothesis to the test.
They compiled a data base of 1,046 musicians -- solo artists and band members -- who had a No. 1 album in the British charts between 1956 and 2007, a net that included balladeers, pop singers, R&B and heavy metal.
The first No. 1 was Frank Sinatra's Songs for Swinging Lovers! on July 28 1956, and the last was Leona Lewis' Spirit on November 18 2007.
During the period under study, 71 of the musicians died, equivalent to seven percent of the sample.
But there was no peak at all in deaths at the age of 27.
On the other hand, musicians in their 20s and 30s were two to three times likelier to die prematurely than the general British population.
"The 27 Club is unlikely to be a real phenomenon," says the paper.
"Fame may increase the risk of death among musicians, but this risk is not limited to age 27."
Historically, the big risk period for rock'n'roll fame appears to be the 1970s and early 80s, the researchers say.
After that, the number of deaths among the chart-toppers fell sharply.
Indeed, there was a period in the late eighties when there were no mortalities at all.
Why this is so is unclear -- it could be that treatment for drug overdoses and addiction improved, and thus saved musicians in danger.
The "27 Club" gained currency with Winehouse's death in July, prompting the explanation that musicians often become famous in their early twenties, and their risk-taking peaks four to five years later.
A more insidious argument was that musicians craving immortality subconsciously became bigger risk-takers, or even committed suicide, in order to join rock's dead elite.
Faithful to the principles of scientific rigour, the authors of the study acknowledge that the data trawl has some flaws.
Three of the "27 Club" (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison) did not have a No. 1 album in Britain and were thus excluded.
Kermit the Frog also had a No. 1 at this time with the Muppets.
The bulgy-eyed amphibian and his chums are not known for substance abuse or playing with guns.
So in an act of statistical fairness, the study included the mortality rate among the actors who played their parts.
세계적 록가수들 왜 27세 요절하나?
에이미 와인하우스, 커트 코베인, 지미 헨드릭스, 제니스 조플린, 짐 모리스...
모두 27세에 요절한 세계적 가수들이다.
유독 27세에 세상을 떠난 가수들이 많아 '27세 클럽'이라는 조어도 생겼지만 이'27세 클럽'은 신화에 지나지 않는다는 조사 결과가 나왔다.
인기 가수들이 요절할 가능성이 가장 높은 연령이 27세라는 것은 오해일뿐 실제하는 현상은 아니라는 것이다.
다만 영국 대중 가수들은 20, 30대에 숨질 확률이 일반인에 비해 2-3배 높았으며, 이는 특히 70년대와 80년대에 두드러졌던 것으로 나타났다.
호주 퀸즐랜드대학의 애드리언 바넷과 동료들이 56년부터 2007년까지 세계 유명 가수 1천46명의 기록을 조사해 20일 영국메디컬저널(BMJ)에 발표한 연구결과에 따르 면 가수들의 사망률이 27세에 특별히 높아지는 것은 아닌 것으로 드러났다.
보고서는 록, 팝, 발라드, 헤비메탈, R&B 등의 가수들을 대상으로 실시됐으며, 이 기간에 사망한 가수는 71명으로 조사 대상의 7%였다.
보고서는 "27세 클럽은 실제 있는 현상은 아닌 것 같다"며 "명성이 가수들의 사망률을 높일 수는 있으나, 그 위험이 특별히 27세에 높아지는 것은 아니다"고 밝혔 다.
보고서는 또 80년대 이후에는 가수의 돌연사가 크게 줄었다며, 이는 약물중독 문제와 치료가 개선된 탓일 수 있다고 말했다.
'27세 클럽'은 지난 7월 27세였던 와인하우스가 숨지면서 다시 한번 주목받았다 .
이런 조어가 생긴 것은 일부 가수들은 20대초반에 유명해지기 시작해 4-5년 후에 행보가 가장 과감해지는 경향이 있기 때문이며, 경우에 따라서는 '27세 클럽'에 포함돼 '불멸'로 남고 싶다는 욕망이 자살로 이어지기도 한다는 분석을 낳았다.
보고서는 이번 연구가 통계 자료상의 오류를 안고 있을 가능성을 배제하지 않았다.
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