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.
Albums: Are You Experienced, Axis: Bold as Love, Electric Ladyland
Labels: MCA Records, Vee-Jay Records, Polydor Records, Reprise Records, Barclay Records, + more
Albums: The Doors, Strange Days, Waiting for the Sun, The Soft Parade, Morrison Hotel, + more
Labels: Elektra Records, Columbia
Albums: Bleach, Nevermind, In Utero
Labels: Geffen Records, DGC Records, Sub Pop
Albums: Big Brother and the Holding Company, Cheap Thrills, I Got Dem Ol' Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, Pearl
Albums: The "Chirping" Crickets, Buddy Holly, That'll Be the Day
Labels: Decca Records, Brunswick Records, Coral Records
Albums: (Pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd), Second Helping, Nuthin' Fancy, Gimmee Back My Bullets, Street Survivors
Albums: Quiet Riot, Quiet Riot II, The Randy Rhoads Years, Blizzard of Ozz, Diary of a Madman
Labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Epic Records
Albums: Ritchie Valens, Ritchie
Labels: Del-Fi Records
Albums: Duane & Greg Allman, Eat a Peach, Idlewild South, Spirit in the Dark, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, + more
Labels: Capricorn Records, Mercury
Albums: Kill 'Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, ...And Justice For All, Garage Inc.
Labels: Megaforce Records, Elektra Records
Albums: The Rolling Stones, 12 X 5, Aftermath, Between the Buttons, Beggars Banquet Their Satanic Majesties Request, + more
Labels: Decca Records, London Records, ATCO Records, Rolling Stones Records
Albums: Singin' and Swingin'
Albums: Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Sid Sings
Labels: EMI, Virgin Records
Albums: Blind Melon, Soup
Labels: Capitol Records
Albums: Singin' to My Baby, Never to Be Forgotten, My Way
Labels: Liberty Records
Albums: Goody Goody / Creation of Love, Goody Goody, Goody Goody
Labels: Roulette Records, Gee Records
Died at 25 (1942-1968)
Albums: 40oz. to Freedom, Robbin' the Hood, Sublime
Labels: MCA Records, Skunk Records
Albums: The Beginning of Doves, You Scare Me to Death, Dance in the Midnight, Unicorn, A Beard of Stars, + more
Labels: Blue Thumb Records, EMI, Mercury, A&M Records, Reprise Records, + more
Labels: Factory Records
Died at 23 (1956-1980)
Albums: Frenching the Bully, Enter: The Conquering Chicken, Kings and Queens, Seafish Louisville
Albums: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Freaky Styley, The Uplift Mofo Party Plan, Mother's Milk
Labels: MCA Records, EMI
Albums: One in the Sun, Street Survivors
Labels: MCA Records
Albums: Goodbye and Hello, Sefronia, Tim Buckley, Look at the Fool, Blue Afternoon, + more
Labels: DiscReet Records, Warner Music Group, Rhino Entertainment, Elektra Records, Straight Records
Albums: Unfortunate Snort, Cougar Bait, Fistfight at the Wafflehouse, Sounding the Seventh Trumpet, Waking the Fallen, + more
Labels: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Hopeless Records, Good Life Recordings, Warner Bros. Records