Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely Bands/Musicians

Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

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68,772 votes 7,067 voters 285,559 views 297 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.


List Photo: user uploaded image
Collection Photo: user uploaded image
  • 62 ReRanks
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    • Men
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  • 2 See list ranked by
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G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 2353
    - 547

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

    ;
  2. 2
    + 2143
    - 666


    United Kingdom Died 1980, age 40

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1742
    - 602


    United States of America Died 1971, age 27

    ;
  4. 4
    + 2203
    - 554


    United Kingdom Died 1991, age 45

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1347
    - 364
    Buddy Holly


    United States of America Died 1959, age 22

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1787
    - 822


    United States of America Died 1994, age 27

    ;
  7. 7
    + 1309
    - 416


    United States of America Died 1990, age 35

    ;
  8. 8
    + 1375
    - 492


    Jamaica Died 1981, age 36

    ;
  9. 9
    + 1170
    - 525
    Janis Joplin


    United States of America Died 1970, age 27

    ;
  10. 10
    + 1228
    - 442


    England Died 1980, age 32

    ;
  11. 11
    + 931
    - 434

    often listed
    United Kingdom Died 1978, age 32

    ;
  12. 12
    + 1008
    - 377


    United States of America Died 1984, age 44

    ;
  13. 13
    + 1084
    - 387


    United States of America Died 1982, age 25

    ;
  14. 14
    + 1071
    - 505


    United States of America Died 1977, age 42

    ;
  15. 15
    + 833
    - 312


    United States of America Died 1967, age 26

    ;
  16. 16
    + 949
    - 424


    Scotland, Australia Died 1980, age 33

    ;
  17. 17
    + 794
    - 360


    United States of America Died 1971, age 24

    ;
  18. 18
    + 1034
    - 415


    England Died 2001, age 58

    ;
  19. 19
    + 769
    - 352


    United States of America Died 1977, age 29

    ;
  20. 20
    + 832
    - 420


    United States of America Died 1986, age 24

    ;
  21. 21
    + 676
    - 258


    United States of America Died 1959, age 17

    ;
  22. 22
    + 735
    - 377


    United States of America Died 1993, age 52

    ;
  23. 23
    + 641
    - 409
    Dimebag Darrell

    Ranked High on Reranks
    United States of America Died 2004, age 38

    ;
  24. 24
    + 544
    - 191

    ranked low on reranks
    United States of America Died 1973, age 30

    ;
  25. 25
    + 649
    - 432
    Layne Staley


    United States of America Died 2002, age 34

    ;
  26. 26
    + 548
    - 297


    United States of America Died 1964, age 33

    ;
  27. 27
    + 553
    - 271

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

    ;
  28. 28
    + 329
    - 177


    United States of America Died 1938, age 27

    ;
  29. 29
    + 504
    - 357


    United States of America Died 1997, age 30

    ;
  30. 30
    + 369
    - 219


    United Kingdom, England Died 1969, age 27

    ;
  31. 31
    + 477
    - 296


    United States of America Died 1983, age 70

    ;
  32. 32
    + 487
    - 359


    United States of America Died 2001, age 49

    ;
  33. 33
    + 626
    - 646

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    England Died 2011, age 27

    ;
  34. 34
    + 307
    - 195


    United States of America Died 1959, age 28

    ;
  35. 35
    + 326
    - 186

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

    ;
  36. 36
    + 554
    - 436

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

    ;
  37. 37
    + 450
    - 363


    United States of America Died 1995, age 53

    ;
  38. 38
    + 415
    - 207

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

    ;
  39. 39
    + 333
    - 325


    United Kingdom Died 2002, age 57

    ;
  40. 40
    + 310
    - 260


    United Kingdom, England Died 1977, age 29

    ;
  41. 41
    + 265
    - 176

    added by MadameLil
    Australia, England Died 1988, age 30

    ;
  42. 42
    + 253
    - 334

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    United Kingdom Died 1980, age 23

    ;
  43. 43
    + 336
    - 384


    United Kingdom Died 1979, age 21

    ;
  44. 44
    + 214
    - 278

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    United States of America Died 1973, age 26

    ;
  45. 45
    + 278
    - 258


    Turkey, United Kingdom, England Died 2002, age 50

    ;
  46. 46
    + 172
    - 131

    ranked low on reranks
    Canada Died 2008, age 41

    ;
  47. 47
    + 174
    - 125


    Australia Died 1997, age 37

    ;
  48. 48
    + 255
    - 194


    Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom Died 1986, age 36

    ;
  49. 49
    + 159
    - 101

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

    ;
  50. 50
    + 192
    - 121

    added by JamesJohnson1
    United States of America Died 2005, age 54

    ;
298 +

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