Alexander Bashlachev was a Russian musician, songwriter, and poet who had a short but memorable career in his native country. He died on February 17, 1988, at the age of 27 years and 266 days old, after falling from a window of his 9th floor apartment in Leningrad. It has been presumed that the young Russian committed suicide, although there was no suicide note or other evidence that this was so. Bashlachev is the only member of the forever 27 club from Russia, and he lived his entire life and died there.
He was born in Cherepovets in the former Soviet Union to parents Nikolai and Nellie Bashlachev. He had an uneventful childhood and adolescence. He graduated from high school and, after working briefly in the same factory as his father, attended Ural State University where he earned a degree in journalism in 1983. Apparently Bashlachev began writing poetry during this period and wrote his first song in 1983, before he could play an instrument. He picked up the acoustic guitar in 1984 and began playing at house concerts shortly thereafter in Leningrad. The situation in the Soviet Union at that time was of course very different from the free world – rock music was frowned upon, and informal gatherings where performers played compositions for their fans were the norm. As result, most of the recordings of Bashlachev are amateur home affairs, and he never had “hits” in the commercial sense as we know it.
Nevertheless, he was able to become well-known among the intelligentsia and in the underground political movements. Several of his recordings became very popular and circulated widely. Bashlachev is revered for his honest and confessional lyrics and poetry, and his sense of history and connection with the old Russian poets. Available photos of him show a handsome young man with a rock star aura bout him. For the last 2 years of his life, he apparently suffered from writer’s block and was not successful at producing any new material. He also refused to perform his older songs and reportedly became very depressed while becoming increasingly dependent on alcohol to get him through the daily trials of life. For this reason, it was assumed by most of his friends and fans that the fall from a height was not an accident, but there has never been any definitive proof either way. At any rate, his death at 27 follows a pattern similar to western rockers who died much too young.
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