bands/musicians Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely  

105k votes 10k voters 297k views 316 items Follow Embed

List Rules 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.

1
+ - 3,157 813
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Jimi Hendrix United States of America - Died 1970, age 27

Unusual Deaths: Bizarre Deaths Of The 20th Century The Top 15 Smoking Babes of Rock Today

2
+ - 2,882 962
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Lennon United Kingdom, England - Died 1980, age 40

3
+ - 3,234 775
Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Freddie Mercury Zanzibar, United Kingdom - Died 1991, age 45

4
+ - 2,375 847
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
+ - 2,554 1,098
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Kurt Cobain United States of America - Died 1994, age 27

6
+ - 1,872 543
Ranker Video v
Buddy Holly United States of America - Died 1959, age 22

7
+ - 1,644 714
Ranker Video v
Janis Joplin United States of America - Died 1970, age 27

8
+ - 1,755 600
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Stevie Ray Vaughan United States of America - Died 1990, age 35

9
+ - 1,593 666
John Bonham is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Bonham England - Died 1980, age 32

10
+ - 1,859 694
Bob Marley is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Bob Marley Jamaica - Died 1981, age 36

11
+ - 1,231 610
Keith Moon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Keith Moon England - Died 1978, age 32

12
+ - 1,341 532
Marvin Gaye is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Marvin Gaye United States of America - Died 1984, age 44

13
+ - 1,148 452
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Otis Redding United States of America - Died 1967, age 26

14
+ - 1,072 510
Duane Allman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Duane Allman United States of America - Died 1971, age 24

15
+ - 1,395 547
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Randy Rhoads United States of America - Died 1982, age 25

Rock Stars Who Died at Age 29 Rock Stars Who Have Aged Surprisingly Well

16
+ - 1,437 696
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Elvis Presley United States of America - Died 1977, age 42

17
+ - 1,056 486
Ronnie Van Zant is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Ronnie Van Zant United States of America - Died 1977, age 29

18
+ - 1,246 578
Bon Scott is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Bon Scott Scotland, Australia - Died 1980, age 33

19
+ - 1,362 603
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
George Harrison United Kingdom - Died 2001, age 58

20
+ - 1,039 579
Cliff Burton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Cliff Burton United States of America - Died 1986, age 24

21
+ - 952 384
Ritchie Valens is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Ritchie Valens United States of America - Died 1959, age 17

22
+ - 945 542
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Frank Zappa Died 1993, age 52

23
+ - 805 310
Jim Croce is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Jim Croce United States of America - Died 1973, age 30

24
+ - 738 420
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Sam Cooke United States of America - Died 1964, age 33

25
+ - 863 595
Ranker Video v
Layne Staley United States of America - Died 2002, age 34

26
+ - 834 590
Ranker Video v
Dimebag Darrell United States of America - Died 2004, age 38

27
+ - 772 398
Karen Carpenter is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Karen Carpenter United States of America - Died 1983, age 32

28
+ - 486 290
Robert Johnson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Robert Johnson United States of America - Died 1938, age 27

29
+ - 545 354
Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Brian Jones England - Died 1969, age 27

The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time The Greatest Celebrity Man Boobs

30
+ - 656 505
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
+ - 408 114
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
David Bowie England

32
+ - 893 842
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Amy Winehouse England - Died 2011, age 27

33
+ - 828 653
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Michael Jackson United States of America - Died 2009, age 50

34
+ - 444 311
The Big Bopper is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
The Big Bopper United States of America - Died 1959, age 28

35
+ - 615 511
Joey Ramone is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Joey Ramone United States of America - Died 2001, age 49

36
+ - 597 440
Muddy Waters is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Muddy Waters United States of America - Died 1983, age 70

37
+ - 279 85
Prince is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Prince United States of America

38
+ - 568 337
John Denver is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Denver United States of America - Died 1997, age 53

39
+ - 585 504
Jerry Garcia is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Jerry Garcia United States of America - Died 1995, age 53

40
+ - 456 322
Cass Elliot is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Cass Elliot United States of America - Died 1974, age 32

41
+ - 396 305
Andy Gibb is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Andy Gibb Australia, England - Died 1988, age 30

42
+ - 404 380
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Marc Bolan United Kingdom, England - Died 1977, age 29

43
+ - 318 378
Gram Parsons is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Gram Parsons United States of America - Died 1973, age 26

The Top 10 Lead Singers in Rock n Roll The 53 Hottest Kate Upton Pictures of All Time

44
+ - 428 447
John Entwistle is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Entwistle England - Died 2002, age 57

45
+ - 468 523
Sid Vicious is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Sid Vicious United Kingdom - Died 1979, age 21

46
+ - 357 373
Joe Strummer is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Joe Strummer Turkey, United Kingdom - Died 2002, age 50

47
+ - 342 448
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Ian Curtis United Kingdom - Died 1980, age 23

48
+ - 299 233
Michael Hutchence is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Michael Hutchence Australia - Died 1997, age 37

49
+ - 273 227
Jeff Healey is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Jeff Healey Canada - Died 2008, age 41

50
+ - 342 300
Phil Lynott is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Phil Lynott Ireland, United Kingdom - Died 1986, age 36