Music

The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 30 

Ranker Music
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Updated December 31, 2019 37.9k votes 6.2k voters 175.2k 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

Labels: MCA Records, Vee-Jay Records, Polydor Records, Reprise Records, Barclay Records, + more

Died at 27 (1942-1970)

More Jimi Hendrix 

#86 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Jimi Hendrix Songs 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

Labels: Geffen Records, DGC Records, Sub Pop

Died at 27 (1967-1994)

More Kurt Cobain 

#76 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time An Inside Look At Kurt Cobain's Journalslisted 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

Labels: Elektra Records, Columbia

Died at 27 (1943-1971)

More Jim Morrison 

#379 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #4 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rocklisted 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

Labels: Decca Records, Brunswick Records, Coral Records

Died at 22 (1936-1959)

More Buddy Holly 

#102 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #70 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time What Actually Happened The Day The Music Died?

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

Labels: Columbia

Died at 27 (1943-1970)

More Janis Joplin 

#50 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Tortured, Painful Life of Janis Joplin, The Baddest Woman In Rock Historylisted 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

Labels: Atlantic Records, ATCO Records, Sundazed Records, Rhino Entertainment, Stax Records

Died at 26 (1941-1967)

More Otis Redding 

#114 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #232 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock The Best Otis Redding Albums of All Time

7
Tupac Shakur is listed (or ranked) 7 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

Labels: Amaru Entertainment, Death Row Records, Interscope Records

Died at 25 (1971-1996)

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8
Ritchie Valens is listed (or ranked) 8 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

Labels: Del-Fi Records

Died at 17 (1941-1959)

More Ritchie Valens 

#247 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #407 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

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

Labels: Island Records, Universal Republic Records, Universal Music Group, Republic Records

Died at 27 (1983-2011)

More Amy Winehouse 

#30 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years ‘Amy’ Is A Deeply Upsetting Documentary That Forced Us To Re-Examine Her Tragedylisted on Members of The 27 Club

10
Selena is listed (or ranked) 10 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

Labels: SBK Records, EMI, Q-Productions, EMI Latin, Capitol Records

Died at 23 (1971-1995)

More Selena 

#377 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #80 of 935 The Best Female Vocalists Ever

11
Ronnie Van Zant is listed (or ranked) 11 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)

More Ronnie Van Zant 

#475 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #55 of 695 The Best Rock Vocalists #986 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds 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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Blackground Records, Universal Records, Jive Records, Virgin Records

Died at 22 (1979-2001)

More Aaliyah 

#269 of 453 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #359 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Aaliyah

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

Labels: Atlantic Records, Uptown Records, Bad Boy Records

Died at 24 (1972-1997)

More The Notorious B.I.G. 

#476 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #3 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time A Timeline Of How Biggie And Tupac's Friendship Turned Into An Infamous Feud

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

Labels: Capricorn Records, Mercury

Died at 24 (1946-1971)

More Duane Allman 

#16 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #438 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #709 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds 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

Labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Epic Records

Died at 25 (1956-1982)

More Randy Rhoads 

#295 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #14 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #1,883 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

16
Hank Williams is listed (or ranked) 16 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

Labels: Sterling Records, MGM Records

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

More Hank Williams 

#280 of 1,042 The Best Singers of All Time #238 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive The Best Hank Williams Songs

17
Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 17 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

Labels: Decca Records, London Records, ATCO Records, Rolling Stones Records

Died at 27 (1942-1969).

More Brian Jones 

#200 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #542 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alivelisted on Members of The 27 Club

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)

More Robert Johnson 

#371 of 695 The Best Rock Vocalists Robert Johnson Is An Early Member Of The 27 Club, And His Death May Be Due To A Deal With The Devillisted 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

Labels: Vicious Vinyl, Island Records, Big Beat Records, Joia, Universal Music Group, + more

Died at 28 (1989-2018)

More Avicii 

#960 of 2,175 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #186 of 199 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely The Best Avicii Songs and Remixes

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

Labels: Megaforce Records, Elektra Records

Died at 24 (1962-1986)

More Cliff Burton 

#324 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #5 of 185 The All-Time Best Rock Bassists #20 of 199 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

21
Bradley Nowell is listed (or ranked) 21 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

Labels: MCA Records, Skunk Records

Died at 28 (1968-1996)

More Bradley Nowell 

#528 of 639 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #335 of 695 The Best Rock Vocalists #73 of 204 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

22
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 22 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

Labels: Blue Thumb Records, EMI, Mercury, A&M Records, Reprise Records, + more

Died at 29 (1947-1977)

More Marc Bolan 

#915 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #105 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock

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

Labels: EMI, Virgin Records

Died at 21 (1957-1979)

More Sid Vicious 

#135 of 185 The All-Time Best Rock Bassists #495 of 1,038 The Worst Bands & Musicians of All Time

24
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 24 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

Labels: Factory Records

Died at 23 (1956-1980)

More Ian Curtis 

#750 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive #144 of 398 The Best Frontmen in Rock

25
Mac Miller is listed (or ranked) 25 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

Labels: Rostrum Records

Died at 26 (1992-2018)

More Mac Miller 

#1,288 of 2,211 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #57 of 498 The Greatest Rappers Of All Time The Best Songs Feat. Mac Miller