- Louis Chauvin: March 13, 1881-March 26, 1908
Many people are familiar with the macabre “27 Club” and its most famed members like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain. However, there is a hauntingly extensive list of other musicians who passed away at the early age of 27. Let’s start with Louis Chauvin, who left few remnants of his time here on earth. The exceptionally gifted and well respected ragtime musician has an air of mystery about him. Said to be born of Mexican-Indian and African-American decent, his surname is actually spelled Shovan on the 1900 census and his birth month is listed as February 1882, although some historians argue that he was born in March 1881. Though he is said to have composed endless amounts of work, he took little time to write the music down or get his songs published. He is best known for “Heliotrope Bouquet,” a composition for which he shares credit with Scott Joplin.
2. Nat Jaffe: Jan. 1, 1918-Aug. 5, 1945
Born in Berlin, Nat Jaffe was a classically trained jazz swing pianist. He was married to wide range vocalist and iconic jazz songstress Sarah Vaughan. He appeared on Vaughan’s 1953 EP, Hot Jazz. Jaffe, who eventual went on to lead his own musical trio, also appeared on the album Jack Teagarden and his orchestra produced by Varsity in 1940.
- Dickie Pride: Oct. 1, 1941-March 26, 1969
Dickie Pride, born Richard Knelar, was a British rock singer known as the “sheik of shake.” While he was part of the Larry Parnes arsenal of musical greats, he is said to have never reached his full potential due to poor handling of his career by Parnes. He performed the song “Three Cool Cats” with Cliff Richard as lead and Marty Wilde on “Oh Boy TV” in 1958. The Coasters later recorded the song in 1959. The Beatles performed “Three Cool Cats” as part of their audition for Decca Records in 1962.
- Alan “Blind Owl” Christie Wilson: July 4, 1943-Sept. 3, 1970
Musician and songwriter Alan Christie Wilson was known for his blues infused rock and roll sound. He was influenced by Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. Also known as “the Blind Owl,” a name said to have been given to him by John Fahey due to his nearsightedness, he was a pioneer of his time and a blues sage. Wilson was a member of Canned Heat, a blues-rock band formed by Alan Wilson and Bob Hite.
- Cecilia: Oct. 11, 1948-Aug. 2, 1976
The Spanish singer and songwriter, born as Evangelia Sopbredo Galanes, took on the name of Cecilia from the song “Cecilia” by Simon & Garfunkel. While with her first music group Expresión she wrote a song entitled “Reuníos,” a personal yet public plea for the Beatles to reunite.
- Jacob Miller: May 4, 1952 -March 23, 1980
Jacob “Killer” Miller, reggae artist extraordinaire, was the fourth lead singer of the Inner Circle Band. Miller gave an epic performance of “Tenement Yard,” the first song he recorded with the band, in the 1978 movie Rockers. At the age of 13, he recorded his first song, “Love is the Message,” with producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd.
- Jean-Michel Basquiat: Dec. 22, 1960-Aug. 12, 1988
Jean-Michael Basquiat, primarily known for his work as a neo-expressionist painter, was a founding member of the noise-rock band the Gray. Formed in conjunction with fellow musician and performance artist Michael Holman, the group had previously been named Test Pattern. The name the Gray is said have been chosen by Basquiat in honor of his favorite book, Gray’s Anatomy.