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A Brief History of the 27 Club

50 musicians have died at age 27. Here, Howard Sounes recalls their final hours
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Jimi Hendrix

In the early hours of Friday, September 18th, 1970, while staying with a girlfriend in London, Jimi took some sleeping pills. Nobody knows for sure how many pills he swallowed, or whether he understood what he was taking. The drug was a strong barbiturate, Vesparax. Half a tablet was enough to put a man to sleep for eight hours – Jimi may have swallowed as many as nine. He had also been drinking. This was foolish and reckless but it was in character. During his years on the road Jimi had got into the habit of using drugs indiscriminately. "Jimi would take a handful of shit, not even knowing what it was," says his friend Deering Howe.

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