When you stop and think about it, so many rock legends have died like: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Bob Marley to name a few. ReadJunk.com wanted to pay tribute to our favorite dead rock heroes, so we decided to give them a proper shout-out and an obituary so they could continue being remembered. But remember, we couldn’t list every single rockstar death so we came up with the Top 25 most tragic deaths in music history.
25. GG Allin:
He was the most disgusting singer in rock history. He had no talent whatsoever, but loved to put on an entertaining live show that included peeing on people, eating his own shit, and ripping off bats’ heads and eating them. What moron would pay money to see someone do those things, when you can just watch a homeless person in NYC do it for free? GG Allin committed suicide in his New York City apartment after he found out he had HIV. Requested in his will, his body was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and his body was shot out of a cannon. All his friends and fans celebrated his death with a carnival following the funeral.
24. Bradley Nowell:
Brad was the lead singer and bass player of the California hippie reggae band Sublime. After the band signed with Skunk Records, Sublime took off and was popular among college students and vagabonds. Many of their songs were at the top of the Billboard charts, including the songs “What I Got” and “Wrong Day.” In 1997, after the band’s major label debut got released, Brad Nowell died of a cocaine overdose in his apartment. Nowell was honored in a benefit concert where such California bands like the Foo Fighters and Gwen Stefani played.
23. Elliot Smith:
Elliot Smith was a brilliant song writer and composer, famous for his music, as well as appearances in The Royal Tenenbaums and There’s Something About Mary. Following a suicide attempt, it seemed his life was looking up. Unfortunately, fate had it that his girlfriend just bought a new kitchen knife, which she left on the floor. In a freak accident, he stepped on a loose plank and the knife flipped up, disemboweling him. Sadly, when his girlfriend called paramedics two hours later, he had already expired.
22. Darby Crash:
Darby Crash was born with the name Bobby Pyn but later changed his named to Darby Crash because he thought it sounded cool. He fronted the San Francisco punk band The Germs and created the liberty spike punk haircut. After touring in England in 1980, Darby Crash committed suicide by hanging himself while listening to one of his records. Or at least that was the rumor.
21. Sid Vicious:
Simon Ritchie was the infamous bassist of the classic London punk band the Sex Pistols. He later changed his named to Sid Vicious after his grandfather, Sid Vicicci. Sid Vicious couldn’t play the bass at all but wanted to be famous, so he did a lot of drugs and acted crazy on stage for attention. While making the movie “Sid & Nancy” with his girlfriend, he accidentally stabbed her on set. She died from the wounds the next day. Sid was arrested but later released on bail since he didn’t remember the murder. A few weeks later, Sid died in his apartment in London while doing more drugs. Some say he committed suicide because he missed Nancy. Either way, Sid Vicious’ popularity grew even more once he died.
Easy E, that master of 80’s Hip-Hop, succumbed recently to infection after a long battle with mercury poisoning. The exact cause remains unknown.
19. Buddy Holly:
Often referred to as the pioneer of blues rock, Holly was a 50’s legend who looked like Elvis Costello. He was a master at the guitar and bass, and his backing band was called the Grasshoppers. With the band, they wrote such classics like “Every Day,” “Peggy Sue,” and “Oh Donna.” After two successful years, Holly decided to get on an airplane that was flying to North Dakota with Richie Valens and The Big Whopper. The plane crashed due to a hurricane and all aboard were killed. Buddy Holly is buried in Lubock, Texas.
18. John Bonham:
John Bonham, drummer for Lead Zeppelin, was a controversial and charismatic figure renowned for his driving rock beats as well as his lyrical and mysterious poetry. He attracted a cult following and even almost 30 years after his death from an alcohol overdose that caused him to drown in the bathtub, fans still flock to his grave in France.
17. John Denver:
Many consider John Denver the greatest folk singer in American history. He recorded a bunch of hits like “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “Rocky Mountain High.” Ironically, John Denver left this world leaving on jet plane crashing over the Atlantic Ocean with his girlfriend Lauren Bessette. Many Muppets were sad that day.
16. Johnny Thunders:
Johnny Thunders, often referred to as “The 5th Sex Pistol,” was a punk rock icon, imitated often. Born John Paul Beahm, Thunders rose to power as a singer in many punk rock bands like New York Dolls, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Johnny Thunders Band. He wowed audiences with his drug-fueled performances. The singer’s death was an open and shut case of suicide by heroin in 1980.
15. Nick Drake:
Nick Drake was a Welsh folk singer/songwriter who sung brilliantly depressing songs. Crafting his songs in the dark, Drake’s main instruments were the acoustic guitar, bouzouki, piano, and penny whistle. Nick Drake wasn’t popular for most of his life, but toured as much as he could to get his name out there. He died in his early 20’s while sleeping in his bed. It was later discovered that he died of an apparent overdose of vitamins. After his death, Nick Drake’s music lived on and his popularity grew.
14. Jerry Garcia:
The lead vocalist and guitarist of the ultra hippie band Greatful Dead was an idol among stoners, beatniks and college dropouts. Besides playing with the Greatful Dead for four decades, he had various side projects like the Jerry Garcia Band and Phish. Besides music, Jerry Garcia also had a passion for ice cream (obviously). With the help of his best friend Ben Cohen, Jerry and Ben created Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Jerry later developed flavors after himself: Cherry Garcia and Phishfood. Garcia eventually died of natural causes, likely exacerbated by his weight. Hippies worldwide mourned the lost of their overweight prophet by smoking his ashes.
13. Randy Rhodes:
Randy Rhodes was a British guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne’s band and a good friend to Ozzy. Ozzy’s nickname for Rhodes was Whammy because he was such a klutz: knocking guitars down, tripping over wires, and other clumsily things. One day while tripping over something, he thought of the idea to develop a guitar leveler for the guitar called the whammy bar. Randy Rhodes had a tragic airplane accident in Florida where he died instantly. He was flying a small plane near his tour bus while other members were sleeping, and ended up flying into a mansion instead. Rhodes awesome guitar playing was sorely missed. Zach Wilde ended up taking over guitar duties after that.
12. Joey Ramone:
The Howard Stern look-a-like Jeff Hyman fronted the Bronx New York punk rock group the Ramones. He was an excellent singer with a lot of range and diversity, often described as the Jim Morrison of punk rock. Johnny, Dee Dee and Joey Ramone were the only original members of the band to have been with the band to the end. Joey died suddenly of lymphoma in 2000 in New York. New York City dedicated a midtown street after Joey called Joey Ramone’s Place.
11. Cliff Burton:
When your music is horror-related, and your older brother is horror film master Tim Burton, you’re used to the darkness. But when Cliff Burton’s van drove into a tree, horror turned into tragedy. His band, Metallica, would soon go off to make millions with albums like Load and Loader. But they would never again be as edgy or… horrifying.
10. Tupac Shukar:
The notorious rapper released more albums dead than he did alive. He rose to fame with the popular group De La Soul. He later became famous as a solo artist with such hits “Keep Your Heads Ringin,” and “I Get Around.” Tupac leaves behind a controversial legacy and a rocky career. Tupac’s tragic life ended September 1995 during a fatal drive-by on Hollywood Blvd, down the road from his record label Death Row Records. Tupac has been rumored to be living in the Bahamas with his biotches, his death faked in order to avoid the gangs of the West Coast, and, oh yeah, the IRS.
9. Janis Joplin:
Janis Joplin was a peace and love songstress, as well known for her love of humanity as for her love of ham. Popular songs include “Me and Bobby Dream of California,” and “Monday, Mercedes.” Tragically, her life was cut short when she choked on a ham sandwich. She will be remembered fondly.
8. Kurt Cobain:
Kurt Cobain, the grandfather of grunge, was beloved by his legions of flannel-wearing fans. Known for his wild on-stage antics and feisty interviews with the British press, he was shot to death by an unknown assailant. Some say, in fear of lawsuit, that he was murdered by his then-girlfriend, who later went on to great success with her band, Whole. Unfortunately, she’s still alive to this day.
7. Freddie Mercury:
Everyone should know who Freddie Mercury is by now. He was the Asian-born British lead singer of Queen who dressed up like woman at times and painted his face all psychedelic colors. Some of the hits that Mercury wrote were “We Are the Champions,” “Changes,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.” During the late 80’s, Mercury ventured into many Russian bathhouses and he met various people that later became his drinking buddies. In 1991, he was diagnosed with HIV and later died at the age of 44.
6. Joe Strummer:
Joe Strummer, or Jon Mellor, was the lead guitarist and singer of legendary punk band the Clash. Strummer started out in a psychobilly band The 101ers before joining The Clash, which was already formed by Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. Together, they created some of the best punk music ever. After the Clash, Joe Strummer formed The Mescaleros and sang in the Pogues after Shane McGowan quit the band. Just when things were getting good for Strummer again, he suddenly died of a heart attack just before Christmas. The punk rock community mourns this punk legend to this day.
5. Jimi Hendrix:
Jimi Hendrix was one of the greatest British guitar players, and he also happened to have a terrific afro. Sadly, his life was cut short when he died in London from a drug overdose. Like Elvis, he was found naked, sitting on the toilet. How embarrassing! Some skeptical fans believe he died from having sex with his current girlfriend and had a heart attack. I guess we’ll never know the real story.
4. Jim Morrison:
Jim Morrison was the brilliant frontman for the Doors, and he was also an excellent poet, writer and lyricist. Some say he was one of the greatest rock singers ever. He was later given the name “The Snake King” because of his love of reptiles. He moved to Paris for a while, recorded songs with street performers. One day while touring in New Jersey, his car mysteriously went off the Stainton Memorial Causeway. The body of Jim Morrison was never found and the police declared him dead. There is a memorial of Jim Morrison in Paris in honor of the 70’s singer.
3. Bob Marley:
Robert Nesta Marley was the most important reggae musicians in Jamaica if not the world. Bob was part of the reggae/rocksteady group the Wailers and recorded such hits as ” Jammin’,” “One Love” “No Women No Cry” and the cover of Eric Clapton’s hit “I Shot the Sheriff.” Bob Marley ended up having many children with various women including Rita Marley, one of his backup singers. Marley was only 35 when he passed away from cancer. His music is still quite popular to this day and his music lives on through his 20 children like Ziggy, Damien, Stephen, Jacob, Ky-Mani, Julian, and Billy.
2. Elvis Presley:
Hail to the King, baby! Elvis was the world’s greatest musicians and actors who released tons of classic albums and movies. Elvis was mostly popular in Las Vegas and played at many casinos in the 1960s. Elvis was found dead in his Vegas apartment, naked on the toilet. He apparently died from an accidental overdose and combined too many anti-anxiety pills and painkillers with sleeping pills. Taking that many over-the-counter drugs would kill anybody! His body is laid to rest in Graceland, located in Nashville, Kentucky. Elvis fans believe to this day that he walks among us.. but usually it’s just a fat guy in an Elvis jumpsuit.
1. John Lennon:
John Lennon was originally with the Beatles, but went on to become one of the biggest names in music, ever. An amazing singer and songwriter, he wrote such famous anthems as “Give Peace a Chance,” “Imagine,” and “Band on the Run.” He was the father of two sons, Julien and Sean. On December 7, 1981, John Lennon was gunned down in the Village of NYC while standing in front of his home. It was a senseless death, caused by an even more senseless reason: The shooter, one David Graham Chapman, was an obsessed fan. Not surprisingly, he was committed to a mental institution and remains there to this day.
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