Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

74k votes 7.6k voters 301k views 309 items tags f p @

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 dead 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.
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  1. 1
    + 2,544
    - 586
    Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    the people's #1 & most listed
    Jimi Hendrix United States of America Died 1970, age 27

  2. 2
    + 2,314
    - 720


    England Died 1980, age 40

    ;
  3. 3
    + 2,420
    - 590


    Zanzibar, United Kingdom Died 1991, age 45

    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,880
    - 648
    Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Jim Morrison United States of America Died 1971, age 27

  5. 5
    + 1,449
    - 398
    Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    United States of America Died 1959, age 22

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,951
    - 877
    Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Kurt Cobain United States of America Died 1994, age 27

  7. 7
    + 1,394
    - 453
    Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Stevie Ray Vaughan United States of America Died 1990, age 35

  8. 8
    + 1,318
    - 478
    John Bonham is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    John Bonham England Died 1980, age 32

  9. 9
    + 1,251
    - 557
    Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Janis Joplin United States of America Died 1970, age 27

  10. 10
    + 1,467
    - 526
    Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Jamaica Died 1981, age 36

  11. 11
    + 1,006
    - 465


    England Died 1978, age 32

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,077
    - 404


    United States of America Died 1984, age 44

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1,154
    - 418
    Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Randy Rhoads United States of America Died 1982, age 25

  14. 14
    + 899
    - 338
    Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Otis Redding United States of America Died 1967, age 26

  15. 15
    + 1,155
    - 544
    Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Elvis Presley United States of America Died 1977, age 42

  16. 16
    + 1,118
    - 449
    George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    George Harrison England Died 2001, age 58

  17. 17
    + 1,012
    - 456


    Scotland, Australia Died 1980, age 33

    ;
  18. 18
    + 848
    - 389


    United States of America Died 1971, age 24

    ;
  19. 19
    + 819
    - 381


    United States of America Died 1977, age 29

    ;
  20. 20
    + 883
    - 449


    United States of America Died 1986, age 24

    ;
  21. 21
    + 729
    - 282


    United States of America Died 1959, age 17

    ;
  22. 22
    + 785
    - 405


    United States of America Died 1993, age 52

    ;
  23. 23
    + 584
    - 213


    United States of America Died 1973, age 30

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  24. 24
    + 682
    - 445
    Dimebag Darrell is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    United States of America Died 2004, age 38

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  25. 25
    + 686
    - 459
    Layne Staley is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    United States of America Died 2002, age 34

    ;
  26. 26
    + 584
    - 317
    Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Sam Cooke United States of America Died 1964, age 33

  27. 27
    + 597
    - 288

    ranked low on reranks
    United States of America Died 1983, age 32

    ;
  28. 28
    + 417
    - 243
    Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Brian Jones United Kingdom, England Died 1969, age 27

  29. 29
    + 361
    - 198


    United States of America Died 1938, age 27

    ;
  30. 30
    + 546
    - 381
    Jeff Buckley is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Jeff Buckley United States of America Died 1997, age 30

  31. 31
    + 676
    - 679

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    United Kingdom Died 2011, age 27

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  32. 32
    + 499
    - 324


    United States of America Died 1983, age 70

    ;
  33. 33
    + 619
    - 477
    Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    added by R20X
    Michael Jackson United States of America Died 2009, age 50

  34. 34
    + 517
    - 384
    Joey Ramone is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Joey Ramone United States of America Died 2001, age 49

  35. 35
    + 337
    - 214


    United States of America Died 1959, age 28

    ;
  36. 36
    + 351
    - 211
    Cass Elliot is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    added by marl
    Cass Elliot United States of America Died 1974, age 32

  37. 37
    + 438
    - 231

    ranked low on reranks
    United States of America Died 1997, age 53

    ;
  38. 38
    + 476
    - 388


    United States of America Died 1995, age 53

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  39. 39
    + 292
    - 196
    Andy Gibb is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    added by MadameLil
    Andy Gibb Australia, England Died 1988, age 30

  40. 40
    + 100
    - 21
    David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    added by Alistair Fullarton
    David Bowie United Kingdom, England

  41. 41
    + 358
    - 349


    England Died 2002, age 57

    ;
  42. 42
    + 335
    - 281


    United Kingdom, England Died 1977, age 29

    ;
  43. 43
    + 362
    - 414


    United Kingdom, England Died 1979, age 21

    ;
  44. 44
    + 284
    - 354

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

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  45. 45
    + 196
    - 148
    Jeff Healey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Jeff Healey Canada Died 2008, age 41

  46. 46
    + 294
    - 278
    Joe Strummer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Joe Strummer Turkey, United Kingdom, England Died 2002, age 50

  47. 47
    + 232
    - 298
    Gram Parsons is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Gram Parsons United States of America Died 1973, age 26

  48. 48
    + 276
    - 214


    Ireland, United Kingdom Died 1986, age 36

    ;
  49. 49
    + 194
    - 147
    Michael Hutchence is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely


    Michael Hutchence Australia Died 1997, age 37

  50. 50
    + 173
    - 124

    added by MadameLil
    United States of America Died 1983, age 39

    ;
310 +

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