Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely Bands/Musicians
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Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

List Criteria: Vote and rerank based on how much great music they would have produced had they lived a longer life. People only - not bands.

Dead rock stars, ranked in order of how much potential great music was lost to this world by their untimely passing. The key criteria for this list is to guess "how much greatness they left behind" - in other words, it would be very difficult to justify, for example, Syd Barrett on this list, because although he is a dead rockstar, he died long after he had stopped making music at all. Similarly, although Elvis Presley died an untimely early death, if you were equally a fan of Kurt Cobain and Elvis Presley, you would only rank them equally if you thought Elvis's post-77 output would equal Cobain's post-94 output (although you might still keep Elvis somewhere on your list - he was still playing live and could certainly have cleaned up and made a comeback).

To keep the spirit of this list, your ranking should reflect a combination of a) musical talent (as a performer, songwriter, and recording artist) and b) how much of that talent you think the world missed, based on how early in their career the artist was takenf rom us, and what you think their output would have been had they lived a full life. Please note that this list is focused on ROCK artists, so while you aren't going to be prohibited from adding Hank Williams or Billie Holiday, most would argue that country, jazz, and even blues greats aren't rock musicians (people have been including soul and hip-hop, however). Lastly, this list is about individual musicians, not bands – so Ronnie Van Zandt counts but Lynyrd Skynrd does not. Ranking this list requires some thinking - while most rock stars tend to have a finite time of peak talent (particularly with songwriting and recording), certainly there are examples today of artists who have had career resurgences and done some of their finest work into their 50s and 60s. This list includes solo artists as well as the lead singers to some of the best rock bands responsible for some of the best albums of all time - and many who had illustrious careers as both. 

This is a list where we hope to see lots of people making their own ranked lists, because ranked lists can be aggregated far more accurately than just votes. See this Forever 27 list for an eye opener about how many of these untimely rock deaths happened at age 27.
  • 55 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 1650
    Down 359

    the people's #1 & most listed First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi ... Died 1970, age 27

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  2. 2
    Up 1464
    Down 447

    Imagine, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Double Fantasy Died 1980, age 40

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  3. 3
    Up 1179
    Down 415

    Paris Jim, Dionysus Died 1971, age 27

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  4. 4
    Up 1437
    Down 408

    The Solo Collection, Barcelona, Mr. Bad Guy Died 1991, age 45

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  5. 5
    Up 1203
    Down 604

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los ... Died 1994, age 27

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  6. 6
    Up 909
    Down 238

    Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been ... Died 1959, age 22

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  7. 7
    Up 936
    Down 280

    Couldn't Stand the Weather, In Step, Texas Flood Died 1990, age 35

    open
  8. 8
    Up 871
    Down 321

    Rock and Roll Highway Died 1980, age 32

    open
  9. 9
    Up 967
    Down 359

    Sun Is Shining, One Love, Rainbow Country Died 1981, age 36

    open
  10. 10
    Up 824
    Down 396

    Pearl, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Greatest Hits Died 1970, age 27

    open
  11. 11
    Up 651
    Down 313

    Two Sides of the Moon Died 1978, age 32

    open
  12. 12
    Up 733
    Down 253

    What's Going On, Here, My Dear, Let's Get It On Died 1984, age 44

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  13. 13
    Up 825
    Down 280

    Died 1982, age 25

    open
  14. 14
    Up 688
    Down 327

    The Early Years 1967-1972, With the Spektors and the Valentines, Round and ... Died 1980, age 33

    open
  15. 15
    Up 733
    Down 357

    Jailhouse Rock, The Sun Sessions, From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential ... Died 1977, age 42

    open
  16. 16
    Up 606
    Down 220

    Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis ... Died 1967, age 26

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  17. 17
    Up 746
    Down 296

    All Things Must Pass, Cloud Nine, Living in the Material World Died 2001, age 58

    open
  18. 18
    Up 578
    Down 272

    Duane Allman: An Anthology, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, ... Died 1971, age 24

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  19. 19
    Up 553
    Down 273

    Died 1977, age 29

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  20. 20
    Up 657
    Down 312

    Died 1986, age 24

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  21. 21
    Up 464
    Down 289

    Died 2004, age 38

    open
  22. 22
    Up 485
    Down 176

    The Complete Ritchie Valens, The Very Best Of Richie Valens, Greatest Hits ... Died 1959, age 17

    open
  23. 23
    Up 560
    Down 276

    Hot Rats, Joe's Garage Acts 1, 2 & 3, Apostrophe (’) [The Old Masters, ... Died 1993, age 52

    open
  24. 24
    Up 495
    Down 330

    Died 2002, age 34

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  25. 25
    Up 394
    Down 202

    Night Beat, Shake, Touch the Hem of His Garment: 23 Gospel Gems Died 1964, age 33

    open
  26. 26
    Up 383
    Down 121

    Simply the Best: Time in a Bottle: His Greatest Hits, Jim Croce Smash ... Died 1973, age 30

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  27. 27
    Up 384
    Down 195

    Karen Carpenter Died 1983, age 32

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  28. 28
    Up 372
    Down 283

    Grace, Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk, Songs to No One 1991-1992 Died 1997, age 30

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  29. 29
    Up 201
    Down 121

    King of the Delta Blues Singers, The Complete Recordings, King of the ... Died 1938, age 27

    open
  30. 30
    Up 377
    Down 278

    Don’t Worry About Me, Christmas Spirit… in My House, ...Ya Know? Died 2001, age 49

    open
  31. 31
    Up 245
    Down 150

    Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka Died 1969, age 27

    open
  32. 32
    Up 367
    Down 224

    Anthology, Super Blues, Fathers and Sons Died 1983, age 70

    open
  33. 33
    Up 349
    Down 270

    added by R20X Thriller, Bad, Off the Wall Died 2009, age 50

    open
  34. 34
    Up 220
    Down 125

    Chantilly Lace, Hellooo Baby! The Best of the Big Bopper, 1954-1959, ... Died 1959, age 28

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  35. 35
    Up 411
    Down 512

    Back to Black, Frank, Lioness: Hidden Treasures Died 2011, age 27

    open
  36. 36
    Up 327
    Down 289

    Jerry Garcia / David Grisman, Shady Grove, Cats Under the Stars Died 1995, age 53

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  37. 37
    Up 293
    Down 130

    ranked low on reranks Rocky Mountain Christmas, Christmas Like a Lullaby, A Christmas Together ... Died 1997, age 53

    open
  38. 38
    Up 186
    Down 259

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Died 1980, age 23

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  39. 39
    Up 233
    Down 254

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Rigor Mortis Sets In, Mad Dog, Whistle Rymes Died 2002, age 57

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  40. 40
    Up 228
    Down 119

    added by marl Bubblegum, Lemonade, and... Something for Mama, Land of Lemonade and ... Died 1974, age 32

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  41. 41
    Up 175
    Down 93

    ranked low on reranks & added by MadameLil Flowing Rivers, After Dark, Shadow Dancing Died 1988, age 30

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  42. 42
    Up 154
    Down 209

    Grievous Angel, GP / Grievous Angel, GP Died 1973, age 26

    open
  43. 43
    Up 120
    Down 58

    ranked low on reranks & added by JamesJohnson1 This Is Christmas, Every Year, Every Christmas, Home for Christmas Died 2005, age 54

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  44. 44
    Up 222
    Down 286

    The Vicious White Kids feat. Sid Vicious, Live at the Electric Ballroom, ... Died 1979, age 21

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  45. 45
    Up 208
    Down 199

    20th Century Boy, The Beginning of Doves, Christmas Box Died 1977, age 29

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  46. 46
    Up 208
    Down 197

    Walker, Earthquake Weather, House of Blues Died 2002, age 50

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  47. 47
    Up 156
    Down 280

    often listed & ranked high on reranks From a Basement on the Hill, XO, Figure 8 Died 2003, age 34

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  48. 48
    Up 103
    Down 80

    Jeff Healey Died 2008, age 41

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  49. 49
    Up 158
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    The Philip Lynott Album, Solo in Soho, Yellow Pearl a Collection Died 1986, age 36

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  50. 50
    Up 139
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks Died 1996, age 28

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