Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely Bands/Musicians

Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

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189,287 views 84 items 42,841 votes 4,299 voters 98 followers 52reranks
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 Criteria: Vote and rerank based on how much great music they would have produced had they lived a longer life. People only - not bands.

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      Name
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    1. 1
      Up 1507
      Down 322

      most listed
      Jimi Hendrix

      Day Tripper, Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix, The Best of... More
      90
      Died 1970, age 27
    2. 2
      Up 1332
      Down 404

      the people's #1
      John Lennon

      Beatles Classic Hits, Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions, Imagine ... More
      86
      Died 1980, age 40
    3. 3
      Up 1069
      Down 378
      Paris Jim, Poet Rock Musicians Of Desert, An American Prayer More
      77
      Died 1971, age 27
    4. 4
      Up 1315
      Down 374
      Solo, The Very Best, Guide Me Home More
      76
      Died 1991, age 45
    5. 5
      Up 834
      Down 209
      25 All Time Greatest Hits, Rave On, Buddy Holly: Collection More
      74
      Died 1959, age 22
    6. 6
      Up 1083
      Down 556
      1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los ... More
      73
      Died 1994, age 27
    7. 7
      Up 857
      Down 254
      Live From Austin, Box Set 3, The Real Deal: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 More
      72
      Died 1990, age 35
    8. 8
      Up 793
      Down 293
      Rock and Roll Highway More
      71
      Died 1980, age 32
    9. 9
      Up 744
      Down 370

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Janis Joplin

      Rare Pearls, The Woodstock Experience, Janis More
      70
      Died 1970, age 27
    10. 10
      Up 880
      Down 332
      Sun Is Shining, Soul Shakedown Party, One Love: 20 Greatest Hits More
      69
      Died 1981, age 36
    11. 11
      Up 582
      Down 294

      often listed
      Keith Moon

      Two Sides of the Moon More
      66
      Died 1978, age 32
    12. 12
      Up 658
      Down 232
      Live!, Trouble Man, I Heard It Through the Grapevine More
      64
      Died 1984, age 44
    13. 13
      Up 771
      Down 257
      64
      Died 1982, age 25
    14. 14
      Up 637
      Down 305
      Round and Round and Round, With the Spektors and the Valentines, The Early ... More
      62
      Died 1980, age 33
    15. 15
      Up 654
      Down 326
      I'm Yours / (It's a) Long Lonely Highway, As Recorded at Madison Square, ... More
      61
      Died 1977, age 42
    16. 16
      Up 545
      Down 202
      The Ultimate Otis Redding, Dreams to Remember, Otis Redding The Platinum ... More
      60
      Died 1967, age 26
    17. 17
      Up 685
      Down 269
      Got My Mind Set on You, Gone Troppo, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) ... More
      60
      Died 2001, age 58
    18. 18
      Up 522
      Down 255
      Duane & Greg Allman, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, Duane ... More
      60
      Died 1971, age 24
    19. 19
      Up 616
      Down 286
      60
      Died 1986, age 24
    20. 20
      Up 490
      Down 253
      59
      Died 1977, age 29
    21. 21
      Up 440
      Down 162
      Best of Ritchie Valens, Come On, Let’s Go / Framed, The Best of Ritchie ... More
      57
      Died 1959, age 17
    22. 22
      Up 419
      Down 263
      57
      Died 2004, age 38
    23. 23
      Up 465
      Down 303
      56
      Died 2002, age 34
    24. 24
      Up 354
      Down 181
      The Two Sides of Sam Cooke, Mr. Soul, The Best Of More
      55
      Died 1964, age 33
    25. 25
      Up 519
      Down 256
      Threesome No. 1, Joe’s XMasage, 1980-05-24: Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands ... More
      55
      Died 1993, age 52
    26. 26
      Up 342
      Down 94

      ranked low on reranks
      Jim Croce

      Home Recordings: Americana, The Faces I've Been, Jim Croce Live: The Final ... More
      53
      Died 1973, age 30
    27. 27
      Up 328
      Down 179
      Karen Carpenter More
      50
      Died 1983, age 32
    28. 28
      Up 341
      Down 265
      The Rain Was Falling on That Day, Screaming Down From Heaven: Ultra Rare ... More
      48
      Died 1997, age 30
    29. 29
      Up 206
      Down 129
      The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at ... More
      48
      Died 1969, age 27
    30. 30
      Up 255
      Down 112
      Take Me Home, Country Road, Higher Ground, Greatest Country Songs More
      48
      Died 1997, age 53
    31. 31
      Up 344
      Down 253
      Don't Worry About Me, What a Wonderful World, Christmas Spirit... in My ... More
      47
      Died 2001, age 49
    32. 32
      Up 194
      Down 104
      Chantilly Lace, Chantilly Lace Starring the Big Bopper, Purple People ... More
      47
      Died 1959, age 28
    33. 33
      Up 290
      Down 228
      Man in the Mirror, Icon, You Are Not Alone More
      47
      added by: R20X
      Died 2009, age 50
    34. 34
      Up 334
      Down 201
      Rollin' and Tumblin', Part 1 & 2, Trainfare Blues, Muddy Waters at ... More
      47
      Died 1983, age 70
    35. 35
      Up 171
      Down 103
      From Four Till Late, The Last of the Great Blues Singers, The Blues ... More
      47
      Died 1938, age 27
    36. 36
      Up 89
      Down 39
      Take You Out, Super Hits, Artist Collection: Luther Vandross More
      45
      added by: JamesJohnson1
      Died 2005, age 54
    37. 37
      Up 195
      Down 101
      Beautiful Thing soundtrack, Bubblegum, Lemonade, And... Something for ... More
      44
      added by: marl
      Died 1974, age 32
    38. 38
      Up 296
      Down 266
      Reflections, Hooteroll?, Been All Around This World More
      43
      Died 1995, age 53
    39. 39
      Up 362
      Down 476
      Sessions, Pumps, Back to Black More
      42
      Died 2011, age 27
    40. 40
      Up 197
      Down 262
      Live at the Electric Ballroom, Sid Sings, Sid Vicious & Friends More
      42
      Died 1979, age 21
    41. 41
      Up 208
      Down 227
      Music from Van-Pires, Thunderfingers: The Best of John Entwistle, Rigor ... More
      42
      Died 2002, age 57
    42. 42
      Up 138
      Down 71

      ranked low on reranks
      Andy Gibb

      After Dark Limited, Andy Gibb, Shadow Dancing More
      42
      added by: MadameLil
      Died 1988, age 30
    43. 43
      Up 64
      Down 152

      ranked high on reranks
      Jani Lane

      Back Down to One More
      42
      added by: DaveKostka
      Died 2011, age 47
    44. 44
      Up 145
      Down 259
      2000-03-17: South by Southwest Music Festival, Austin, Texas, USA, Elliott ... More
      41
      Died 2003, age 34
    45. 45
      Up 132
      Down 189
      Love Hurts, The New Soft Shoe / She, Sleepless Nights More
      41
      Died 1973, age 26
    46. 46
      Up 179
      Down 185

      ranked low on reranks
      Marc Bolan

      Dance in the Midnight, The Beginning of Doves, The Best of & The Rest ... More
      41
      Died 1977, age 29
    47. 47
      Up 165
      Down 240

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Ian Curtis

      41
      Died 1980, age 23
    48. 48
      Up 189
      Down 181

      ranked low on reranks
      Joe Strummer

      House of Blues, Earthquake Weather, Island Hopping More
      40
      Died 2002, age 50
    49. 49
      Up 56
      Down 90

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Donny Hathaway

      Live, Original Album Series, Someday We'll All Be Free More
      39
      added by: groovius
      Died 1979, age 33
    50. 50
      Up 135
      Down 132
      Solo in Soho, Yellow Pearl, The Man And His Music Update More
      39
      Died 1986, age 36
    51. 85 +

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