Musicians The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30  

Ranker Music
Originally by
16.1k votes 2.1k voters 286.7k views 29 items

List Rules Rock stars who did not live to the age of 30.

Taken from this world too soon, this list of the greatest rock stars who died before they reached the age of 30 profiles talented artists who died young. While many of these rock stars are the most celebrated musicians in rock’s history, their fame, wealth, and talent weren’t enough to guarantee them longevity. Some died in tragic yet unpreventable accidents, while others lost their lives after struggles with drugs and alcoholism. These rock stars who passed away before reaching 30 all have one thing in common, though: They left the world too soon, leaving fans wanting more.


 Many of the artists on this list of rock stars who died young are members of the 27 Club, a nickname given to a cadre of musicians who died at the age of 27, usually in horrific circumstances, often drug-related. A quintessential 27 Club member is Janis Joplin, who died of a heroin overdose in 1970. Her music was enough to gain her lasting fame, but her lifestyle and early death cemented her legend as a musician who tragically died too young — not even reaching 30 years old.


 Of course, not all rock stars who’ve died before 30 did so because of drugs or alcohol. Who can forget the awful plane crash that took rock legends Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines, all of Lynyrd Skynyrd? According to authorities, the plane ran out of gas — and the world lost, in one fell swoop, three amazing rock performers who had so much music left to give.


 On this list you’ll find all of the rock stars the world sill mourns, the rock stars who died far too young. While no one can say how they would’ve changed music had they lived, most will agree that even their short lives on Earth were a gift. Whether your favorites are from the 1960s or 2000s, you’ll find them all here, on this list of the greatest rock stars who died before 30.

1
952 183
Jimi Hendrix is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland Died at 27 (1942-1970)

2
810 227
Jim Morrison is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun Died at 27 (1943-1971)

3
619 208
Janis Joplin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama! Died at 27 (1943-1970)

4
845 299
Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero Died at 27 (1967-1994)

5
562 182
Buddy Holly is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added The "Chirping" Crickets, Buddy Holly, That'll Be the Day Died at 22 (1936-1959)

6
410 195
Ronnie Van Zant is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added (Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping, Nuthin' Fancy Died at 29 (1948-1977)

7
359 219
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Quiet Riot, Quiet Riot II, The Randy Rhoads Years Died at 25 (1956-1982)

8
394 190
Ritchie Valens is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Ritchie Valens, Ritchie Died at 17 (1941-1959)

9
323 201
Duane Allman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Duane & Greg Allman, Eat a Peach, Idlewild South Died at 24 (1946-1971)

10
276 211
Cliff Burton is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets Died at 24 (1962-1986)

11
261 202
Brian Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added The Rolling Stones, 12 X 5, Aftermath Died at 27 (1942-1969)

12
182 189
Eddie Cochran is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Singin' to My Baby, Never to Be Forgotten, My Way Died at 21 (1938-1960)

13
259 267
Sid Vicious is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Sid Sings Died at 21 (1957-1979)

14
224 212
The Big Bopper is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Singin' and Swingin' Died at 28 (1930-1959)

15
176 206
Shannon Hoon is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Blind Melon, Soup Died at 28 (1967-1995)

16
160 203
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added The Beginning of Doves, You Scare Me to Death, Dance in the Midnight Died at 29 (1947-1977)

17
150 195
Bradley Nowell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added 40oz. to Freedom, Robbin' the Hood, Sublime Died at 28 (1968-1996)

18
58 55
Frankie Lymon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
MelanieScism-Martinez added Goody Goody / Creation of Love, Goody Goody, Goody Goody

Died at 25 (1942-1968)

19
121 166
Hillel Slovak is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Freaky Styley, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan Died at 26 (1962-1988)

20
96 169
Steve Gaines is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added One in the Sun, Street Survivors Died at 28 (1949-1977)

21
75 88
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
MCZi added

Died at 23 (1956-1980)

22
59 143
Peter Ham is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added 7 Park Avenue, Golders Green, The Keyhole Street Demos Died at 27 (1947-1975)

23
76 153
James Honeyman-Scott is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Pretenders, Pretenders II Died at 25 (1956-1982)

24
109 190
The Rev is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Unfortunate Snort, Cougar Bait, Fistfight at the Wafflehouse Died at 28 (1981-2009)

25
81 146
Bobby Fuller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added KRLA King Of The Wheels, I Fought The Law Died at 23 (1942-1966)

26
5 6
Tim Buckley is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Goodbye and Hello, Sefronia, Tim Buckley

27
11 40
Jan Paul Beahm is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
TommyLondo29 added Died at 22 (1958-1980)

28
9 41
Chris Bell is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
TommyLondo29 added I Am the Cosmos, I Am the Cosmos / You and Your Sister

Died at 27 (1951-1978)

29
74 146
Mia Zapata is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
PJGoris added Frenching the Bully, Enter: The Conquering Chicken, Kings and Queens Died at 27 (1965-1993)