Music

The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30  

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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.

list ordered by
1
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)

More Jimi Hendrix

#9 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing The Best Jimi Hendrix Songs of All Timelisted on Famous Left Handed People

2
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)

More Jim Morrison

#7 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalistsfeaturing Wild Jim Morrison Stories, From Riots To Arrestslisted on Members of The 27 Club

3
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)

More Janis Joplin

#56 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timefeaturing Fascinating Stories From Janis Joplin's Personal Lifelisted on Members of The 27 Club

4
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)

More Kurt Cobain

#50 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Yearsfeaturing 15 Crazy But True Stories About Nirvanalisted on Famous Left Handed People

5
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)

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#258 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famefeaturing The Best Buddy Holly Songslisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

6
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)

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#83 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #487 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #985 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

7
Ritchie Valens is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Ritchie Valens, Ritchie
Died at 17 (1941-1959)

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#169 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #1,388 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Timelisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

8
Randy Rhoads is listed (or ranked) 8 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)

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#1,834 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #670 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #1 of 231 The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams

9
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)

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#16 of 655 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #427 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #593 of 1,472 The Greatest Minds of All Time

10
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)

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#357 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #12 of 193 The All-Time Best Rock Bassists #119 of 206 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

11
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)

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#178 of 283 Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame #281 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalistslisted on Famous Accordionists

12
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)

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#396 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Time #574 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #183 of 655 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time

13
The Big Bopper is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Singin' and Swingin'
Died at 28 (1930-1959)

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#1,757 of 2,186 The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time #1,975 of 2,219 The Best Rock Bands of All Time #23 of 222 Bands/Artists With Only One Great Album

14
Sid Vicious is listed (or ranked) 14 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)

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#2,107 of 3,792 The Best Movie Characters of All Time #650 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alivefeaturing Sid Vicious's Life Was Just As Messed Up As His Death

15
Frankie Lymon is listed (or ranked) 15 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)

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#492 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Time #148 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #425 of 519 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?

16
Shannon Hoon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
Melissa Harr added Blind Melon, Soup
Died at 28 (1967-1995)

More Shannon Hoon

#317 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #759 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #66 of 206 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time

17
Marc Bolan is listed (or ranked) 17 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)

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#170 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #345 of 1,066 The Best Singers of All Time #152 of 190 The Greatest Male Pop Singers of All Time

18
Bradley Nowell is listed (or ranked) 18 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)

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#340 of 711 The Best Rock Vocalists #583 of 655 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #807 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive

19
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)

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#113 of 206 The Druggiest Rock Stars of All Time #92 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #80 of 152 The Greatest Musicians Who Died Before 40

20
Peter Ham is listed (or ranked) 20 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)

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#128 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #234 of 519 Which Artist Would You Bring Back From The Dead To Write One More Song?listed on Members of The 27 Club

21
Steve Gaines is listed (or ranked) 21 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)

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#201 of 231 The Best Metal Guitarists and Guitar Teams #153 of 655 The Greatest Guitarists Of All Time #100 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

22
The Rev is listed (or ranked) 22 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)

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#916 of 931 People We Wish Were Still Alive #132 of 208 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely #21 of 78 The Best Metal Drummers of All Time

23
Ian Curtis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
24
Jan Paul Beahm is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30
TommyLondo29 added
Died at 22 (1958-1980)
25
Bobby Fuller is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Rock Stars Who Died Before 30