Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely Bands/Musicians
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52  reranks 42,921 votes 4,308 voters 189,913 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
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1510
    Down 323

    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 1337
    Down 405

    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 1071
    Down 380
    Paris Jim, Poet Rock Musicians Of Desert, An American Prayer More
    86
    Died 1971, age 27
  4. 4
    Up 1316
    Down 376
    Solo, The Very Best, Guide Me Home More
    85
    Died 1991, age 45
  5. 5
    Up 835
    Down 210
    25 All Time Greatest Hits, Rave On, Buddy Holly: Collection More
    82
    Died 1959, age 22
  6. 6
    Up 1085
    Down 558
    1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los ... More
    81
    Died 1994, age 27
  7. 7
    Up 858
    Down 256
    Live From Austin, Box Set 3, The Real Deal: Greatest Hits, Volume 1 More
    80
    Died 1990, age 35
  8. 8
    Up 795
    Down 294
    Rock and Roll Highway More
    78
    Died 1980, age 32
  9. 9
    Up 746
    Down 371
    Rare Pearls, The Woodstock Experience, Janis More
    78
    Died 1970, age 27
  10. 10
    Up 882
    Down 333
    Sun Is Shining, Soul Shakedown Party, One Love: 20 Greatest Hits More
    76
    Died 1981, age 36
  11. 11
    Up 582
    Down 294

    often listed
    Keith Moon

    Two Sides of the Moon More
    73
    Died 1978, age 32
  12. 12
    Up 660
    Down 233
    Live!, Trouble Man, I Heard It Through the Grapevine More
    71
    Died 1984, age 44
  13. 13
    Up 772
    Down 257
    71
    Died 1982, age 25
  14. 14
    Up 637
    Down 306
    Round and Round and Round, With the Spektors and the Valentines, The Early ... More
    69
    Died 1980, age 33
  15. 15
    Up 656
    Down 327
    I'm Yours / (It's a) Long Lonely Highway, As Recorded at Madison Square, ... More
    68
    Died 1977, age 42
  16. 16
    Up 548
    Down 202
    The Ultimate Otis Redding, Dreams to Remember, Otis Redding The Platinum ... More
    67
    Died 1967, age 26
  17. 17
    Up 687
    Down 269
    Got My Mind Set on You, Gone Troppo, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) ... More
    67
    Died 2001, age 58
  18. 18
    Up 525
    Down 255
    Duane & Greg Allman, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, Duane ... More
    67
    Died 1971, age 24
  19. 19
    Up 616
    Down 287
    66
    Died 1986, age 24
  20. 20
    Up 494
    Down 253
    66
    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
    63
    Died 1959, age 17
  22. 22
    Up 419
    Down 263
    63
    Died 2004, age 38
  23. 23
    Up 465
    Down 303
    62
    Died 2002, age 34
  24. 24
    Up 356
    Down 181
    The Two Sides of Sam Cooke, Mr. Soul, The Best Of More
    61
    Died 1964, age 33
  25. 25
    Up 519
    Down 256
    Threesome No. 1, Joe’s XMasage, 1980-05-24: Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands ... More
    61
    Died 1993, age 52
  26. 26
    Up 343
    Down 94

    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 329
    Down 179
    Karen Carpenter More
    56
    Died 1983, age 32
  28. 28
    Up 342
    Down 265
    The Rain Was Falling on That Day, Screaming Down From Heaven: Ultra Rare ... More
    53
    Died 1997, age 30
  29. 29
    Up 344
    Down 253
    Don't Worry About Me, What a Wonderful World, Christmas Spirit... in My ... More
    52
    Died 2001, age 49
  30. 30
    Up 336
    Down 201
    Rollin' and Tumblin', Part 1 & 2, Trainfare Blues, Muddy Waters at ... More
    52
    Died 1983, age 70
  31. 31
    Up 171
    Down 103
    From Four Till Late, The Last of the Great Blues Singers, The Blues ... More
    51
    Died 1938, age 27
  32. 32
    Up 206
    Down 129
    The Pipes of Pan at Jajouka, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at ... More
    51
    Died 1969, age 27
  33. 33
    Up 194
    Down 104
    Chantilly Lace, Chantilly Lace Starring the Big Bopper, Purple People ... More
    51
    Died 1959, age 28
  34. 34
    Up 292
    Down 228
    Man in the Mirror, Icon, You Are Not Alone More
    48
    added by: R20X
    Died 2009, age 50
  35. 35
    Up 363
    Down 476

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Amy Winehouse

    Sessions, Pumps, Back to Black More
    47
    Died 2011, age 27
  36. 36
    Up 296
    Down 266
    Reflections, Hooteroll?, Been All Around This World More
    47
    Died 1995, age 53
  37. 37
    Up 255
    Down 112

    ranked low on reranks
    John Denver

    Take Me Home, Country Road, Higher Ground, Greatest Country Songs More
    46
    Died 1997, age 53
  38. 38
    Up 208
    Down 227
    Music from Van-Pires, Thunderfingers: The Best of John Entwistle, Rigor ... More
    46
    Died 2002, age 57
  39. 39
    Up 196
    Down 101

    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 133
    Down 189

    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 165
    Down 240
    44
    Died 1980, age 23
  42. 42
    Up 197
    Down 262
    Live at the Electric Ballroom, Sid Sings, Sid Vicious & Friends More
    43
    Died 1979, age 21
  43. 43
    Up 140
    Down 71

    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 190
    Down 181
    House of Blues, Earthquake Weather, Island Hopping More
    43
    Died 2002, age 50
  45. 45
    Up 179
    Down 185
    Dance in the Midnight, The Beginning of Doves, The Best of & The Rest ... More
    42
    Died 1977, age 29
  46. 46
    Up 145
    Down 259

    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 92
    Down 39

    ranked low on reranks
    Luther Vandross

    Take You Out, Super Hits, Artist Collection: Luther Vandross More
    41
    added by: JamesJohnson1
    Died 2005, age 54
  48. 48
    Up 125
    Down 192

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bradley Nowell

    40
    Died 1996, age 28
  49. 49
    Up 78
    Down 63

    Jeff Healey

    39
    Died 2008, age 41
  50. 50
    Up 135
    Down 132

    ranked low on reranks
    Phil Lynott

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