Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely Bands/Musicians
Ultimate List
52  reranks 43,454 votes 4,362 voters 192,153 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 52 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1528
    Down 327

    most listed
    Jimi Hendrix

    Day Tripper, Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, The Best of... More
    100
    Died 1970, age 27
  2. 2
    Up 1351
    Down 407

    the people's #1
    John Lennon

    Beatles Classic Hits, Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions, Imagine ... More
    96
    Died 1980, age 40
  3. 3
    Up 1086
    Down 382
    Paris Jim, Poet Rock Musicians Of Desert, An American Prayer More
    86
    Died 1971, age 27
  4. 4
    Up 1330
    Down 378
    Solo, The Very Best, Guide Me Home More
    85
    Died 1991, age 45
  5. 5
    Up 842
    Down 213
    25 All Time Greatest Hits, Rave On, Buddy Holly: Collection More
    82
    Died 1959, age 22
  6. 6
    Up 1100
    Down 561
    1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los ... More
    81
    Died 1994, age 27
  7. 7
    Up 863
    Down 260
    Live From Austin, Box Set 3, The Real Deal: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 More
    80
    Died 1990, age 35
  8. 8
    Up 806
    Down 296
    Rock and Roll Highway More
    78
    Died 1980, age 32
  9. 9
    Up 759
    Down 373
    Rare Pearls, The Woodstock Experience, Janis More
    78
    Died 1970, age 27
  10. 10
    Up 890
    Down 334
    Sun Is Shining, Soul Shakedown Party, One Love: 20 Greatest Hits More
    76
    Died 1981, age 36
  11. 11
    Up 591
    Down 295
    Two Sides of the Moon More
    73
    Died 1978, age 32
  12. 12
    Up 670
    Down 235
    Live!, Trouble Man, I Heard It Through the Grapevine More
    71
    Died 1984, age 44
  13. 13
    Up 778
    Down 259
    71
    Died 1982, age 25
  14. 14
    Up 642
    Down 308
    Round and Round and Round, With the Spektors and the Valentines, The Early ... More
    69
    Died 1980, age 33
  15. 15
    Up 666
    Down 329
    I'm Yours / (It's a) Long Lonely Highway, As Recorded at Madison Square, ... More
    68
    Died 1977, age 42
  16. 16
    Up 698
    Down 270
    Got My Mind Set on You, Gone Troppo, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) ... More
    67
    Died 2001, age 58
  17. 17
    Up 553
    Down 204
    The Ultimate Otis Redding, Dreams to Remember, Otis Redding The Platinum ... More
    67
    Died 1967, age 26
  18. 18
    Up 532
    Down 256
    Duane & Greg Allman, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, Duane ... More
    67
    Died 1971, age 24
  19. 19
    Up 502
    Down 255
    66
    Died 1977, age 29
  20. 20
    Up 619
    Down 289
    66
    Died 1986, age 24
  21. 21
    Up 447
    Down 163
    Best of Ritchie Valens, Come On, Let’s Go / Framed, The Best of Ritchie ... More
    63
    Died 1959, age 17
  22. 22
    Up 425
    Down 266
    63
    Died 2004, age 38
  23. 23
    Up 466
    Down 305
    62
    Died 2002, age 34
  24. 24
    Up 360
    Down 182
    The Two Sides of Sam Cooke, Mr. Soul, The Best Of More
    61
    Died 1964, age 33
  25. 25
    Up 526
    Down 257
    Threesome No. 1, Joe’s XMasage, 1980-05-24: Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands ... More
    61
    Died 1993, age 52
  26. 26
    Up 349
    Down 95

    ranked low on reranks
    Jim Croce

    Home Recordings: Americana, The Faces I've Been, Jim Croce Live: The Final ... More
    57
    Died 1973, age 30
  27. 27
    Up 333
    Down 180
    Karen Carpenter More
    56
    Died 1983, age 32
  28. 28
    Up 343
    Down 267
    The Rain Was Falling on That Day, Screaming Down From Heaven: Ultra Rare ... More
    53
    Died 1997, age 30
  29. 29
    Up 348
    Down 256
    Don't Worry About Me, What a Wonderful World, Christmas Spirit... in My ... More
    52
    Died 2001, age 49
  30. 30
    Up 340
    Down 202
    Rollin' and Tumblin', Part 1 & 2, Trainfare Blues, Muddy Waters at ... More
    52
    Died 1983, age 70
  31. 31
    Up 214
    Down 131
    The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at ... More
    51
    Died 1969, age 27
  32. 32
    Up 174
    Down 105
    From Four Till Late, The Last of the Great Blues Singers, The Blues ... More
    51
    Died 1938, age 27
  33. 33
    Up 196
    Down 105
    Chantilly Lace, Chantilly Lace Starring the Big Bopper, Purple People ... More
    50
    Died 1959, age 28
  34. 34
    Up 301
    Down 230
    Man in the Mirror, Icon, You Are Not Alone More
    48
    added by: R20X
    Died 2009, age 50
  35. 35
    Up 370
    Down 478

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Amy Winehouse

    Sessions, Pumps, Back to Black More
    47
    Died 2011, age 27
  36. 36
    Up 300
    Down 267
    Reflections, Hooteroll?, Been All Around This World More
    47
    Died 1995, age 53
  37. 37
    Up 213
    Down 229
    Music from Van-Pires, Thunderfingers: The Best of John Entwistle, Rigor ... More
    46
    Died 2002, age 57
  38. 38
    Up 260
    Down 113

    ranked low on reranks
    John Denver

    Take Me Home, Country Road, Higher Ground, Greatest Country Songs More
    46
    Died 1997, age 53
  39. 39
    Up 202
    Down 102

    ranked low on reranks
    Cass Elliot

    Beautiful Thing soundtrack, Bubblegum, Lemonade, And... Something for ... More
    46
    added by: marl
    Died 1974, age 32
  40. 40
    Up 136
    Down 191

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Gram Parsons

    Love Hurts, The New Soft Shoe / She, Sleepless Nights More
    45
    Died 1973, age 26
  41. 41
    Up 166
    Down 242
    44
    Died 1980, age 23
  42. 42
    Up 199
    Down 264
    Live at the Electric Ballroom, Sid Sings, Sid Vicious & Friends More
    43
    Died 1979, age 21
  43. 43
    Up 144
    Down 73

    ranked low on reranks
    Andy Gibb

    After Dark Limited, Andy Gibb, Shadow Dancing More
    43
    added by: MadameLil
    Died 1988, age 30
  44. 44
    Up 192
    Down 183
    House of Blues, Earthquake Weather, Island Hopping More
    43
    Died 2002, age 50
  45. 45
    Up 181
    Down 187
    Dance in the Midnight, The Beginning of Doves, The Best of & The Rest ... More
    42
    Died 1977, age 29
  46. 46
    Up 146
    Down 261

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Elliott Smith

    2000-03-17: South by Southwest Music Festival, Austin, Texas, USA, Elliott ... More
    42
    Died 2003, age 34
  47. 47
    Up 94
    Down 40
    Take You Out, Super Hits, Artist Collection: Luther Vandross More
    41
    added by: JamesJohnson1
    Died 2005, age 54
  48. 48
    Up 126
    Down 194

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bradley Nowell

    40
    Died 1996, age 28
  49. 49
    Up 79
    Down 65

    Jeff Healey

    39
    Died 2008, age 41
  50. 50
    Up 136
    Down 134

    ranked low on reranks
    Phil Lynott

    Solo in Soho, Yellow Pearl, The Man And His Music Update More
    39
    Died 1986, age 36
  51. 83 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS + 19 MORE

items 1 - 50 of 82

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists