The 27 Club & a BMJ study

Ann K

Senior Member.
I don't know if athletes would be the thing: they're not exactly known for their booze and drugs lifestyles.
Well ...you may be right about many of them, but I was thinking of people like American football, baseball, and basketball players. They get obscene amounts of money, and a lot of them get it at an age where prudence and discretion are not foremost on their minds.

Here's a list of a few who died in accidents. Not all are their fault, but many died in accidents caused by their cars or planes or helicopters. And, if it needs to be said, it takes money before one buys planes or helicopters.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2020-01-26/kobe-bryant-athletes-vehicle-aviation-accidents-death#:~:text=A look at some of them: Nick Adenhart,,won 19 races, including the 1992 Daytona 500.

This list is of notable people who died from drugs, but it contains a mixture of musicians and athletes.
https://www.drugs.com/celebrity_deaths.html

i just thought that might provide a way to enlarge the database.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I don't know if athletes would be the thing: they're not exactly known for their booze and drugs lifestyles.
they have steroids, congenital heart disease and dehydration etc though. remember that covid vaccine vs natural death of athletes thread?

very small numbers.
Article:
2020
Results: Of the 33 cases, 31 (93.9%) were males while only 2 (61%) were females. Mean age was 29.79 and, among sportsmen, the most represented sports activity was bodybuilding. In all cases there was a history of AAS abuse or a physical phenotype suggesting AAS use;


age 32 had 5 cases. age 29 4 cases. the rest were all over the age range.
 

CaptainCourgette

Active Member
Yes that BMJ article is pretty bad, #1 album? Sure theres some correlation but as the OP points out theres also lots of super famous people that never had a #1 album. A better criteria? hmmm perhaps word count of their wikipedia article. I think Deirdre is correct the myth sprang up because of the short time back in the late 60s/early 70s when a few genuine superstars died.
Also sportspeople? Perhaps actor/ess's is a better fit.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
It's a debunk of the studies, and seeing as this was achieved within the first few posts
Ah, see, I missed that you're debunking the study. Probably because you never actually quoted the claim. I thought you were going to debunk the 27 Club and thought you could do a better job.
Article:
Abstract

Objective
To test the “27 club” hypothesis that famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27.

Design Cohort study using survival analysis with age as a time dependent exposure. Comparison was primarily made within musicians, and secondarily relative to the general UK population.

Setting The popular music scene from a UK perspective.

Participants Musicians (solo artists and band members) who had a number one album in the UK between 1956 and 2007 (n=1046 musicians, with 71 deaths, 7%).

Main outcome measures Risk of death by age of musician, accounting for time dependent study entry and the number of musicians at risk. Risk was estimated using a flexible spline which would allow a bump at age 27 to appear.

Results We identified three deaths at age 27 amongst 522 musicians at risk, giving a rate of 0.57 deaths per 100 musician years. Similar death rates were observed at ages 25 (rate=0.56) and 32 (0.54). There was no peak in risk around age 27, but the risk of death for famous musicians throughout their 20s and 30s was two to three times higher than the general UK population.

Conclusions The 27 club is unlikely to be a real phenomenon. Fame may increase the risk of death among musicians, but this risk is not limited to age 27

Your "debunk" consist of you voicing the opinion that you do not like the choice of participants, and then start unsystematically compiling your own much smaller list of people. It's not convincing me at all; in fact, I believe you're producing bunk.

I think the study is methodolically sound. It'd be interesting to see other studies done with different rigorously defined inclusion criteria.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
vastly swells the sample size with musicians who by general definition fail to meet the criteria of being truly famous and/or revered
to be clear, unless famous musicians have a dip in deaths at 27, their inclusion should have still left the "27 club" noticeable, if it existed
 

Rory

Senior Member.
to be clear, unless famous musicians have a dip in deaths at 27, their inclusion should have still left the "27 club" noticeable, if it existed

No one's saying the 27 Club is a real thing. All we're saying is there's nowhere near enough data to either support or disprove it, and that the two studies fail because they significantly shift the goalposts (the rest is general discussion between people who have an interest in music and human beings, etc).

I believe you're producing bunk

Where?

(Please use direct quotes.)
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Objective To test the “27 club” hypothesis that famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27.

aside from the whole alleged hypthesis being bunk (ie. that isnt what the 27 club is).. i notice that their objective belies their test group itself. the kids from FAME are not famous musicians, and the muppets are puppet actors ie. not famous musicians. etc.



Your "debunk" consist of you voicing the opinion that you do not like the choice of participants,
Article:
Our definition of fame was based on a number one album in the UK, so our conclusions only hold for musicians famous in the UK. Results may be different for other settings, such as the US music scene, especially if the trappings and pressures of fame differ by country. Other studies based on alternative definitions of fame are needed before we can definitively state that the 27 club is a chance finding.



Article:
Our sampling scheme only captured three of the seven most famous 27 club members (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Club_27), as one fell outside our time period (Robert Johnson, who died in 1938), and three did not have a number one UK album (Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison). We used a clear, specific, and measurable a priori definition of fame, rather than working backwards from the known 27 club members, an approach that had the potential to create a biased sample.


*Hendrix, joplin and Morrison ARE the 27 club, so ridiculous to exclude them.
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
[Quote from paper]: "We identified three deaths at age 27 amongst 522 musicians at risk, giving a rate of 0.57 deaths per 100 musician years."
I remember attending some lectures on statistics as part of a training course long ago. One of the few things that stuck in my memory was a 'rule of thumb' that any sample of less than 7 is statistically worthless. I know that in the present case the total sample was much more than 7, but in comparing, say, deaths at age 27 with deaths at age 28, we are dealing with very small numbers. I looked at the original paper to see what it said about statistical significance, but didn't find any explicit discussion. I hazard a guess that with such small numbers the differences between ages 26, 27 and 28 are not significant at the 5% level, but the statistical 'power' of the test is too low to detect a genuine difference if there is one!
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Hendrix, joplin and Morrison ARE the 27 club, so ridiculous to exclude them.
why the insulting language?

One reason we have a reproducibility crisis is that "significant results" are more likely to get attention. Basically, if you're following the news for 10 years, and pick the most unlikely thing that happens, it may be unlikely in its own context (say, a 1 in 100 chance), but because you have looked at thousands of news items and chose this one, you kinda get a probability bonus. It's similar to how it's improbable to win the lottery, yet someone usually does.

So if you include the thing that peaked your attention in your analysis, you're already skewing the result. That's why it makes perfect sense for the study to consider a sample that does not include the original 27 club.
 
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Rory

Senior Member.
It's not insulting language, it's simply stating the obvious.

Perhaps try re-reading the thread carefully from the beginning as it seems from your posts you're missing key elements of the discussion. Should clear up any confusion.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Your "debunk" consist of you voicing the opinion that you do not like the choice of participants, and then start unsystematically compiling your own much smaller list of people. It's not convincing me at all; in fact, I believe you're producing bunk.
(Please use direct quotes.)

The main problem, I feel, is that the definition of "famous musicians" is based on 1,046 solo artists and band members who scored a number one UK album between 1956 and 2007.

Here is a list of very famous musicians who died between the ages of 20 and 32:
  • 20 -
  • 21 - Eddie Cochran, Stuart Sutcliffe, Sid Vicious
  • 22 - Buddy Holly
  • 23 -
  • 24 - Duane Allman
  • 25 - Tupac Shakur, Randy Rhoads
  • 26 - Otis Redding
  • 27 - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Brian Jones, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain
  • 28 -
  • 29 - Hank Williams, Marc Bolan
  • 30 - Andy Gibb, Patsy Cline
  • 31 -
  • 32 - Keith Moon, John Bonham, Karen Carpenter, Mama Cass
Of course, I could have just said,
Perhaps try re-reading the thread carefully from the beginning as it seems from your posts you're missing key elements of the discussion. Should clear up any confusion.

P.S.: I don't owe you an answer. But when I answer, I try to stay in the upper part of the pyramid; "try re-reading" does not.

 
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Rory

Senior Member.
apparently he isnt going to go back and read the thread carefully

I guess not. Indeed, it even seems that he took exception to that suggestion. But it's often quite a good suggestion when someone is missing the point and all the info is already there.

When I answer I try to stay in the upper part of the pyramid.

Where does writing "you are posting bunk" without addressing the so-called bunk place in the pyramid? I suppose "contradiction" (which is probably linked to "argument for argument's sake").

So it was the list of famous musicians that you considered "bunk"? What's bunk about it? It was stated as being a subjective list open to debate - and, of course, isn't being used to prove anything other than the key point of the sample size being way too small to prove/disprove anything (as well as adding to the general conversation).

So are you saying that they didn't die at those ages? Or are still alive? Or weren't really very famous? Or that I purposefully missed very famous musicians out to skew the data?

If one of the latter two, simply name them and present your case. Or if one of the former two, present contrary evidence.

Or perhaps you're saying I was actually trying to support some point or claim with that list?
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Where does writing "you are posting bunk" without addressing the so-called bunk place in the pyramid?
I adressed it, you just cut it from your quote.
And failed to respond to it. (Still fail, even though I re-quoted it in my previous post, I even made it bold so you'd notice.)
We don't have a conversation, I'm not here to answer random challenges.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
It might help if you explicitly stated/quoted a claim and then summarized your debunk of it.
It seems to me that you're trying to debunk two different claims in this thread; and that neither is clearly stated and they are getting mixed up.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
And failed to respond to it.
he responded to it in the comment right above yours.

So it was the list of famous musicians that you considered "bunk"? What's bunk about it? It was stated as being a subjective list open to debate - and, of course, isn't being used to prove anything other than the key point of the sample size being way too small to prove/disprove anything (as well as adding to the general conversation).
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
he responded to it in the comment right above yours.
it (#57) contains "What's bunk about it?"; if Rory had read my post, he wouldn't ask this.
The answer to that question is the bit I put in bold. I even pointed out in my previous post that it's the bit in bold. Ironically, Rory keeps refusing to acknowledge I wrote that, first by cutting it from the quote in #49, and again ignoring it in #57.

He is, of course, free to do that; but then my take is that we're not actually having a conversation:
We don't have a conversation, I'm not here to answer random challenges.
This isn't a debate club. I don't have to talk to people calling my opinions "ridiculous" or respond by patronizing me when I disagree with them, especially when they won't acknowledge what I say. I don't owe you anything. We either have a conversation, or we don't. When I think we don't, I stop.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I suppose it's not impossible that I haven't been clear enough as to the purpose and writing of the thread, and if more than one person felt that way then I could be persuaded so - though re-reading the first few posts it seems very clear to me, and I feel like I summed it up fairly succinctly in post #9:

27 Club believers' hypothesis: an unusual number of musical superstars/geniuses have died at 27 (and it's weird)
Analysis: it's true that it's more than other years, but the sample size is far too small to either prove or disprove whether it's meaningful

Debunking study hypothesis: the 27 Club is disproven because equal numbers of musicians die at other ages
Analysis: yes, but we're talking about superstars/geniuses, not musicians in general

But perhaps not.

I also felt that it was clear that my list was offered as an addendum and as a place to begin a topic of discussion, not "gospel" or "fact" but open to debate. It was labelled as subjective and recognised that it:

may be missing some or I may have included some that weren't/aren't objectively "very famous" but either merely appear that way to me because of exposure and bias.

To consider this list "bunk" seems an unusual statement, akin to someone saying that a man who says a film or an album is "good" is also "spreading bunk".

Can suggestions of who is and isn't famous really be considered as "spreading bunk"? It seems more like the argument of someone who just likes to contradict for contradiction's sake. And then we're getting into psychological and personal issues, and that's not really where I want to go (though am open to).

Anyway, to summarise again why I disagree with:

Your "debunk" consists of you voicing the opinion that you do not like the choice of participants

1. The idea is that an eerily significant number of very famous/very creative/superstar musicians die at the age of 27
2. The study measures a large number of musicians who didn't match these criteria
3. The study ommitted several musicians who did match the criteria and around whom the very idea is based
4. The study is therefore failing to measure the substance of the idea (ie, shifting the goalposts/strawmanning)

I'm not sure how this could be merely "my opinion" - and therefore "wrong" - but I'm open to be shown how that is so (for example, by using one of the higher levels of the pyramid).

Hopefully that's clear enough. thumbsup.png
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Thank you.
27 Club believers' hypothesis: an unusual number of musical superstars/geniuses have died at 27 (and it's weird)
Analysis: it's true that it's more than other years, but the sample size is far too small to either prove or disprove whether it's meaningful
How do you support "it's true that it's more than other years" without your list? which suffers from selection bias, as you readily admit? Where do you find your "sample size" except from your biased list?

The claim that your analysis works without your list is false, and the implied idea that your list is meaningful enough to serve as input for such an analysis is also false. It's bunk.

• You talk about "superstars/geniuses".
• The wikipedia article you cite as source for your claim merely says, "The 27 Club includes popular musicians, artists and actors who died at age 27." There's also a list, which ypu ignore.
• The study abstract states the claim as "
famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27."

Do you see how you left the actual claim somewhat undefined, to the point where you state the claim the way you want to? leading into a "no true Scotsman" fallacy where your own list defines who ought to be on your list?

Debunking study hypothesis: the 27 Club is disproven because equal numbers of musicians die at other ages
Analysis: yes, but we're talking about superstars/geniuses, not musicians in general
The study is not looking at "musicians in general", it is looking at musicians who had a #1 hit album in the UK before the age of 27 between 1956 and 2007. This type of selection seems fairly unbiased, if UK-centric. If "fame" and "music" increase the risk to die at 27, I expect this data to show it. It is appropriate for their statement of the "Club 27" claim.
(Their data did show that young famous musicians are at an elevated risk of death compared to the general population.)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
So you're saying it's right to measure the idea of the 27 Club without including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison among the data?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
and the implied idea that your list is meaningful enough to serve as input for such an analysis is also false. It's bunk.
that's bunk. that is not what his statement implies at all.

"The 27 Club includes popular musicians, artists and actors who died at age 27." There's also a list, which ypu ignore.
and the BMJ study also ignores. which is the topic/title of this thread.

The study abstract states the claim as "famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27."
the 7 Muppet actors are not famous musicians. etc. The actors from the movie Fame are not famous musicians. etc.

that said, the 2009 book the authors link to but dont quote:
Article:
Amy Winehouse, aged 27, reignited talk of the “27 club”, as a seemingly unusual number of well known musicians have died at this age.1


has this list:

Article:
The 27s is the first comprehensive account of the lives and legacies of the thirty-four musicians who make up (to date) rock’s most notorious myth.

The 27s also include crooner Jesse Belvin ("Earth Angel," "Goodnight My Love"), Rudy Lewis of the Drifters, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, Malcolm Hale of Spanky And Our Gang, Alan Wilson from Canned Heat, Arlester Christian of Dyke And the Blazers, Jim Morrison, Ron "Pigpen" McKernan of the Grateful Dead, Pete Ham of Badfinger, Gary Thain of Uriah Heep and Keef Hartley Band, Roger Lee Durham of Bloodstone, Helmut Köllen of Triumvirat, Chris Bell of Big Star, D. Boon of Minutemen, Pete de Freitas of Echo & the Bunnymen, Mia Zapata of the Gits, Kurt Cobain of Nirvana, Kristin Pfaff of Hole, Raymond "Freaky Tah" Rogers of Lost Boyz, Sean McCabe of Ink & Dagger, Jeremy Michael Ward of De Facto and The Mars Volta, Bryan Ottoson of American Head Charge, and Valentin Elizalde.


links from books wiki page
alexandre Levy brazil pianist, composer 1892
Robert Johnson "crossroad blues" american
Nat Jaffe swing jazz 1945 american
Jesse Belvin r&b american no2 1960

Rudy Lewis Drifters R&B american 1964
Malcolm Hale (spanky and our gang) american 1968

Brian Jones English 1969
Alan Wilson (canned heat) American Sept 3rd 1970
Jimi Hendrix American Sept 18, 1970
Janice Joplin American October 4, 1970
Arlester "dyke" Christian (dyke and the blazers) R&B American 1971
JIm Morrison American July 3rd 1971

Ron McKernan (Grateful Dead) American March 8, 1973
Roger Lee Durham (Bloodstone) R&B American July 27,1973
Wallace Yohn (chase) American jazz/rock August 1974
David Micheal Alexander the Stooges American Feb 10, 1975
Pete Ham Badfinger Wales April 24, 1975
Gary Thain Uriah Heep New Zealand December 8, 1975
Helmut Kollen (Triumvirat) German May 3, 1977
Chris Bell (Big Star) American Dec 27, 1978

D, Boon The Minutemen American Dec 22, 1985
Pete de Freitas (echo and bunnymen) English June 14, 1989

Mia Zapata (the Gits) American July 7, 1993 (seattle)
Kurt Cobain American 1994 (seattle)
Kristen Paff (Hole) American 1994 (seattle)

Richey Edwards (Manic street preachers) Wales 1995-?
Fat Pat rapper American 1998
Freaky Tah American rapper 1999
Sean McCabe (ink and dagger) punk American 2000
Maria Serrano (Passion fruit) euro bubblegum [German] 2001
Jeremy Ward (Mars Volta) American 2003
Brian Ottoson (American Head Change) 2005
Valentin Elizalde Mexican 2006


so that might be where the study authors got the idea that members dont have to be "famous" per se, although the list also squashes their idea of using a number 1 album criteria. even a number 1 single wouldnt fit the bill really. (esp not a UK #1 list)

(wonder what Eurobubblegum music is...)
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Do you see how you left the actual claim somewhat undefined, to the point where you state the claim the way you want to? leading into a "no true Scotsman" fallacy where your own list defines who ought to be on your list?
the claim is that modern culture says the BMJ study disproves the 27 club myth.

from OP:
Article:
In reading the Wikipedia article on the subject I notice that it is referred to as "an urban legend that has been repeatedly disproven by research". Several citations have been provided in support of this, but all but one ultimately leads to the same study [note: now fixed] that appeared in the British Medical Journal in December 2011
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
So you're saying it's right to measure the idea of the 27 Club without including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison among the data?
No, because I don't deal in vague terms like "the idea of the 27 club".

I'm saying it is right to test "famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27" (which is a concise reformulation of the idea that there's something "weird" with the 27 club) using a sample that does not include Janis, Jimi and Jim.

Should I explain the concept of sampling as it applies to statistics in social sciences? From past conversations, I have the impression you're already familiar with it.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Who is "modern culture", and where do they claim that?
people not still living in the 70s and 80s are modern culture.

In reading the Wikipedia article on the subject I notice that it is referred to as "an urban legend that has been repeatedly disproven by research". Several citations have been provided in support of this, but all but one ultimately leads to the same study [note: now fixed] that appeared in the British Medical Journal in December 2011

but i see you or someone, changed the wikipedia words
1656508403123.png

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=27_Club&action=history

1656508565113.png
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I'm saying it is right to test "famous musicians are at an increased risk of death at age 27" (which is a concise reformulation of the idea that there's something "weird" with the 27 club) using a sample that does not include Janis, Jimi and Jim.

So you believe you can accurately measure something related to famous musicians by using a sample that excludes famous musicians and includes non-famous non-musicians?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
@Rory note my comment #69. Your paraphrase of the hyperlink is a tad bit misleading as you put it in fquotes. This is why it drives me nuts that the moderators keep allowing people (not just you) to excessively and inappropriately use hyperlinks. quotes should be quoted properly... ie. the way it used to be done on Metabunk.

The 27 Club is an urban legend that popular musicians, artists, and actors die at age 27 with statistically anomalous frequency. Although the claim of a "statistical spike" for the death of musicians at that age has been repeatedly disproven by research
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/27_Club

I know technically that if you quote an outside source one should use a single ' mark, but most readers don't know that and most writers don't do that. (see comment #67).
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
just for interest, this is the Wayback Machines save of the wiki page in 2007...so "modern culture" is more modern then i said in post #69
Article:
The 27 Club, also occasionally known as the Forever 27 Club, is a popular culture name for a group of influential rock and blues musicians who all died at the age of 27, sometimes under mysterious circumstances.[1][2][3]


[edit]Musicians usually included in the 27 Club
There is some debate as to the criterion used to include musicians who died at the age of 27 in the "27 Club". The impetus for the Club's creation was the death of an unusual number of 27 year old prominent musicians within a two year period of time. Lists commonly include Hendrix, Morrison, and Joplin; Jones is usually included too. All four of these musicians died between 1969 and 1971. Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison all died within a ten month period. Morrison and Jones died on the same date two years apart. Kurt Cobain, who died in 1994, was later included by some, probably due to his popularity and his death occurring at the pinnacle of his career.


and @Rory citation 3 in the old version here, links to an article talking about Saturn's return.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
citation 3 in the old version here, links to an article talking about Saturn's return.

Ah. That probably explains why "Saturn return" is still featured in the "see also" section even though it's no longer mentioned in the article:

1656512487330.png

Pondering all this it makes me curious to know when the list was so thoroughly expanded. It used to just be megastars but I guess at some point - internet culture, buzzfeed-style lists - more and more people were searched out and added. Now I notice the Wikipedia entry, though quite curated, even includes "Elvis's grandson" who is noted, following the citations, as having:

stayed out of the spotlight

https://www.intouchweekly.com/posts/lisa-marie-presleys-son-benjamin-keough-dies-at-age-27/
Content from External Source

I so wanted to put that in quotation marks and hyperlink! :D
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Pondering all this it makes me curious to know when the list was so thoroughly expanded.
i'm kinda thinking after Kurt Cobain, my group (in America) of friends were into our old rock n roll phase in the 80s and 90s and i only knew it as mega stars in the 70s. i remember associating it with Woodstock...but that might have been because of Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner. and because we didnt have internet, but i did read all those music mags back in the 80s.

John Merrick and John Wilkes Boothe died at 27 too. which blows my mind, i thought Wilkes was in his late 30s when he assassinated Lincoln.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
you know..the Rock and Roll Hall of fame would be a good and proper database (vs a uk #1 album thing) [ i would include nominated too as david johanson/the dolls should be in your numbers too...but you guys can debate that]

if you know how to do the stat numbers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Rock_and_Roll_Hall_of_Fame_inductees

:)

Article:
To be eligible for induction, artists have to had released their first record 25 years earlier and "have created music whose originality, impact and influence has changed the course of rock & roll," according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.

Mendel

Senior Member.
So you believe you can accurately measure something related to famous musicians by using a sample that excludes famous musicians and includes non-famous non-musicians?
The sample does not specifically exclude famous musicians, I'm fairly sure it includes many.
I failed to download the study data, but a glance at https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_artists_by_number_of_UK_Albums_Chart_number_ones suggests that all four Beatles were included, for example.

I fail to see how a non-musician can record a hit album.

It is the nature of a sample that it doesn't include everything.
 

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