music Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely  

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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.
list ordered by

1
3,459 940
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

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2
3,160 1,109
John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Lennon England - Died 1980, age 40

3
3,590 877
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
2,641 944
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
2,896 1,231
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
2,081 613
Ranker Video
Buddy Holly United States of America - Died 1959, age 22

7
1,821 803
Ranker Video
Janis Joplin United States of America - Died 1970, age 27

8
1,933 670
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
1,744 738
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
2,052 791
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
1,323 686
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
1,477 600
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
1,621 770
Elvis Presley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Elvis Presley United States of America - Died 1977, age 42

14
1,279 517
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
1,194 572
Duane Allman is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Duane Allman United States of America - Died 1971, age 24

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16
1,548 603
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Randy Rhoads United States of America - Died 1982, age 25

17
1,378 636
Bon Scott is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Bon Scott Scotland, Australia - Died 1980, age 33

18
1,173 535
Ronnie Van Zant is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Ronnie Van Zant United States of America - Died 1977, age 29

19
1,486 673
George Harrison is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
George Harrison England - Died 2001, age 58

20
1,154 634
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
1,065 437
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
1,025 611
Frank Zappa is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Frank Zappa United States of America - Died 1993, age 52

23
904 370
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
987 653
Ranker Video
Layne Staley United States of America - Died 2002, age 34

25
819 491
Sam Cooke is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Sam Cooke United States of America - Died 1964, age 33

26
934 674
Ranker Video
Dimebag Darrell United States of America - Died 2004, age 38

27
856 471
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
611 423
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
730 594
Jeff Buckley is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Jeff Buckley United States of America - Died 1997, age 30

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30
549 372
Robert Johnson is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Robert Johnson United States of America - Died 1938, age 27

31
597 182
David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Alistair Fullarton added David Bowie England

32
1,005 952
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Amy Winehouse United Kingdom - Died 2011, age 27

33
958 765
Michael Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
R20X added Michael Jackson United States of America - Died 2009, age 50

34
489 358
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
655 579
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
417 148
Prince is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Mark Lanzarotta added Prince United States of America

37
637 501
Muddy Waters is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Muddy Waters United States of America - Died 1983, age 70

38
616 394
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
621 564
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
516 370
Cass Elliot is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
marl added Cass Elliot United States of America - Died 1974, age 32

41
357 416
Gram Parsons is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Gram Parsons United States of America - Died 1973, age 26

42
447 346
Andy Gibb is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
MadameLil added Andy Gibb Australia, England - Died 1988, age 30

43
464 488
John Entwistle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
John Entwistle England - Died 2002, age 57

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44
441 422
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Marc Bolan United Kingdom, England - Died 1977, age 29

45
1,148 533
Chris Cornell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
MichaelChoi added Chris Cornell United States of America - Died 2017, age 52

46
262 136
Ronnie James Dio is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
GiovanniCasoni added Ronnie James Dio United States of America

47
284 75
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Alistair Fullarton added Johnny Cash United States of America

48
520 588
Sid Vicious is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Sid Vicious United Kingdom - Died 1979, age 21

49
382 490
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Ian Curtis United Kingdom - Died 1980, age 23

50
390 412
Joe Strummer is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely
Joe Strummer Turkey, United Kingdom - Died 2002, age 50