Music

The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30 

Ranker Music
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Updated December 31, 2019 38.5k votes 6.3k voters 179.7k views 44 items

List Rules The best musicians and singers who didn't make it to thirty

List of the greatest musicians who died before they reached the age of 30. On this list you’ll find all of the musicians who had the misfortune to die before turning 30 — from all time periods and including rock stars who died young and singers from other genres. Some died in horrific ways, others were the victims of unfortunate accidents or genetics, but they all left the world a little too soon, earning them a place on this, the list of the most amazing musicians who died before 30.

 

This list includes members of The 27 Club — those young and rising stars who died at the age of 27. Tragically, many died of overdose or under drug-related circumstances, including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain. Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse are among the female singers who have died at 27. Other musicians on this list died from poisoning (Robert Johnson), plane crashes (Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper), and even murder (Mia Zapata). In the hip-hop world, both Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. were killed outright, both having been shot repeatedly. No one knows for certain who murdered the two rap legends, but it is beyond a doubt that the musicians died too young. The two rappers may be gone, but they live on in fans’ memories.

 

On this list you can find all of the best artists who died young, never reaching the age of 30. The list contains rock musicians, rappers, guitar players, drummers, singers, jazz musicians, and more, but the musical style differences aren’t important. Fans still mourn these great artists, often wondering what might have been had these musicians lived.

list ordered by
1
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
krazykids1011 added Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Experimental rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: First Rays of the New Rising Sun, Band of Gypsys, Voodoo Child: The Jimi Hendrix Collection, Live at the Fillmore East, Live at Woodstock, + more

Died at 27 (1942-1970)

More Jimi Hendrix 

Wild Stories From The Guitar-Shredding Life Of Jimi Hendrix #3 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

2
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
krazykids1011 added Genre: Grunge, Alternative rock & Punk rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: 1993-09-08: Rock Against Rape Benefit, Club Lingerie, Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA, + more

Died at 27 (1967-1994)

More Kurt Cobain 

15 Crazy But True Stories About Nirvana #313 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

3
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
krazykids1011 added Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Acid rock; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Paris Jim, Dionysus

Died at 27 (1943-1971)

More Jim Morrison 

#4 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock #483 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

4
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
ConnorRichardson added Genre: Lubbock sound, Rock music & Rockabilly; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Buddy, 20 Golden Greats, What You Been A-Missin': What You've Been A-Missin', The Buddy Holly Story, That'll Be The Day, + more

Died at 22 (1936-1959)

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What Actually Happened The Day The Music Died? #28 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #80 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

5
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
krazykids1011 added Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Pearl, Big Brother & The Holding Company, Greatest Hits, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, The Essential Janis Joplin, + more

Died at 27 (1943-1970)

More Janis Joplin 

The Tortured, Painful Life of Janis Joplin, The Baddest Woman In Rock History #67 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Everlisted on Members of The 27 Club

6
Otis Redding is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Southern soul, Soul blues & Rock music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Pain in My Heart, King & Queen, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, The Soul Album, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, + more

Died at 26 (1941-1967)

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The Best Otis Redding Albums of All Time #116 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #115 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock

7
Ritchie Valens is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Genre: Chicano rock, Rock music & Rock and roll; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: The Complete Ritchie Valens, The Very Best Of Richie Valens, Greatest Hits, The Very Best of Ritchie Valens, La Bamba, + more

Died at 17 (1941-1959)

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#1,169 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #390 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #217 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

8
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Hip hop music, Political hip hop & Gangsta rap; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: 2Pacalypse Now, Strictly 4 My Niggaz, Thug Life: Volume 1, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory, Me Against the World, + more

Died at 25 (1971-1996)

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9
Amy Winehouse is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Doo-wop, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: England

Albums: Frank, Back to Black

Died at 27 (1983-2011)

More Amy Winehouse 

‘Amy’ Is A Deeply Upsetting Documentary That Forced Us To Re-Examine Her Tragedy #11 of 218 The Greatest New Female Vocalists of the Past 10 Yearslisted on Members of The 27 Club

10
Ronnie Van Zant is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
FireMonkey added Genre: Rock music and Southern rock; Nationality: United States of America
Died at 29 (1948-1977)

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#100 of 311 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #22 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock #382 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

11
Selena is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Mexican cumbia, Pop music & Latin American music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Selena, Ven Conmigo, Entre a Mi Mundo, Amor Prohibido, Dreaming of You

Died at 23 (1971-1995)

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#52 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever #106 of 225 The Best Current Female Singers #248 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

12
Aaliyah is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Hip hop music, Pop music & Neo soul; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Age Ain't Nothing but a Number, One in a Million, Aaliyah

Died at 22 (1979-2001)

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The Best Songs Feat. Aaliyah #60 of 90 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now? #97 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

13
The Notorious B.I.G. is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: Hip hop music, Hardcore hip hop & East Coast hip hop; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Ready to Die, Life After Death

Died at 24 (1972-1997)

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A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud #379 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #450 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

14
Duane Allman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
FireMonkey added Genre: Blues-rock, Rock music & Jazz fusion; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Duane Allman: An Anthology, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective, Ton-Ton Macoute!, Duane & Greg Allman, Duane Allman: An Anthology, + more

Died at 24 (1946-1971)

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#10 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #435 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #57 of 252 The Best Blues Artists of All Time

15
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
FireMonkey added Genre: Glam metal, Heavy metal & Neo-classical metal; Nationality: United States of America
Died at 25 (1956-1982)

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#1,889 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #14 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #282 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

16
Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
TracyDrane added Genre: Blues-rock, Pop music & Rock music; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka

Died at 27 (1942-1969).

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#185 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #501 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alivelisted on Members of The 27 Club

17
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
kingbee63 added Genre: Outlaw country, Western music & Folk music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Cold, Cold Heart, Beyond the Sunset, Three Hanks: Men With Broken Hearts, Hillbilly Hero, + more

Died at 29 (Sep. 1923-Jan. 1953)

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The Best Hank Williams Songs #249 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #243 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

18
Robert Johnson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Genre: Rock music, Blues & Country blues; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: From Four Till Late, Hellhound on My Trail, Sweet Home Chicago, Kind Hearted Woman Blues

Died at 27 (1911-1938)

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Robert Johnson Is An Early Member Of The 27 Club, And His Death May Be Due To A Deal With The Devil #325 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on Members of The 27 Club

19
Avicii is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Genre: House, Techno & Electro House; Nationality: Sweden

Albums: Bom, Collide, Avicii et al: Swedish House Collection - Taken from Superstar, Avicii Presents Strictly Miami, True, + more

Died at 28 (1989-2018)

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The Best Avicii Songs and Remixes #1,012 of 2,179 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #428 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

20
Cliff Burton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
FireMonkey added Genre: Thrash metal, Progressive metal & Power metal; Nationality: United States of America
Died at 24 (1962-1986)

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#341 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #218 of 452 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person #5 of 185 The All-Time Best Rock Bassists

21
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
TracyDrane added Genre: Psychedelic folk, Protopunk & Pop rock; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: 20th Century Boy, The Beginning of Doves, Christmas Box, Billy Super Duper, Love and Death, + more

Died at 29 (1947-1977)

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#197 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #142 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock #512 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time

22
Bradley Nowell is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
ryanjjjj8 added Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Ska punk; Nationality: United States of America

Died at 28 (1968-1996)

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#509 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #360 of 696 The Best Rock Vocalists #827 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

23
Sid Vicious is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
miriam added Genre: Rock music and Punk rock; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: The Vicious White Kids feat. Sid Vicious, Live at the Electric Ballroom, Too Fast to Live..., Sid Dead Live, Sid Sings, + more

Died at 21 (1957-1979)

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#682 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #922 of 3,533 The Best Movie Characters Of All Time #481 of 1,039 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

24
Mac Miller is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Genre: Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop & Pop music; Nationality: United States of America

Albums: Watching Movies with the Sound Off, Macadelic, In the Air, But My Mackin Aint Easy, On and On and Beyond, + more

Died at 26 (1992-2018)

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25
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Genre: New Wave, Gothic rock & Punk rock; Nationality: United Kingdom

Albums: Unknown Pleasures, Closer

Died at 23 (1956-1980)

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#171 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock #624 of 1,043 The Best Singers of All Time #738 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive