The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll
|October 27, 2008|
The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll is a 2008 book authored by Eric Segalstad and illustrated by Josh Hunter. Structured as a non-fiction narrative, it tells the history of rock & roll as seen through the lives and legacies of 34 musicians who all died at the age of 27. It was independently published, and distributed by Random House. The 27s won silver in the 2009 Independent Publisher Book Award for Popular Culture.
The book was equally intended as a music history work and visual journey, weaving the lives of Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and more than two dozen other musicians into a narrative. Josh Hunter told The Huffington Post that, "The artwork tells its own story as well. There are these other layers, these hidden symbols and cryptic messages that, if you're alert to them, you're going to find we're packing in as well." In addition, The 27s features twenty-two original portraits. The book's creators gave an example on how the art added more to the story in an interview with WNEW: "We wanted visual stimulation. The art corresponds with the words here, supporting the story, visualizing it in an artistic interpretation. Then there are times when the art tells a different story or adds to the words. Around Brian Jones' death in The 27s there's a photo of a freshly dug grave adorned with flowers. The overlay of white butterflies is an example of the latter. It tells a story about Brian's death that's not described using words."
The book's storyline snakes through the history of rock in a largely linear fashion, although The 27s can also be read at random, albeit with detours into the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche as it applies to music, numerology, astrology, and the findings that more rock stars have died at 27 than at any other age.
The 27s in the book
- Alexandre Levy
- Louis Chauvin
- Robert Johnson
- Nat Jaffe
- Jesse Belvin
- Rudy Lewis of The Drifters
- Malcolm Hale of Spanky and Our Gang
- Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones
- Alan Wilson of Canned Heat
- Jimi Hendrix
- Janis Joplin
- Arlester "Dyke" Christian of Dyke and the Blazers
- Jim Morrison of The Doors
- Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of the Grateful Dead
- Roger Lee Durham of Bloodstone
- Wallace Yohn of Chase
- David Michael Alexander of The Stooges
- Pete Ham of Badfinger
- Gary Thain of Keef Hartley Band and Uriah Heep
- Helmut Köllen of Triumvirat
- Chris Bell of Big Star
- D. Boon of the Minutemen
- Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen
- Mia Zapata of The Gits
- Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
- Kristen Pfaff of Janitor Joe and Hole
- Richey James Edwards of Manic Street Preachers
- Fat Pat
- Freaky Tah of Lost Boyz
- Sean McCabe of Ink & Dagger
- Maria Serrano Serrano of Passion Fruit
- Jeremy Michael Ward of De Facto and The Mars Volta
- Bryan Ottoson of American Head Charge
Reviews and interviews
- Segment on NPR’s All Things Considered
- Interview on Vermont Public Radio with author Eric Segalstad
- Atlanta Journal Constitution review and interview with illustrator Josh Hunter
- Huffington Post’s roundup of Book Expo America
- Interview in Seven Days with author Eric Segalstad
- Sugarbuzz magazine review and interview
- Review and interviews from the Missoula Independent
- Music Tomes interview with Josh Hunter
- "The complete 27s roster". Archived from the original on September 22, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll". Samadhi Creations.
- "Random House".
- "IPPY awards". Independentpublisher.com.
- Ragogna, Mike (July 4, 2009). "Huffington Post article".
- "WNEW interview". Archived from the original on August 6, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "AJC interview". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Seven Days interview". 7dvt.com.