Music Artists Who Died in the 1980s

The Top Ten

1 John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE was an English singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a co-founder of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. He was assassinated by Mark David Chapman on December 8, 1980 at age 40.
2 Andy Gibb Andrew Roy Gibb was an English singer, songwriter, performer, and teen idol. He was the youngest brother of the Bee Gees.
3 Marvin Gaye Marvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, and is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time.

Oh so emotional to see. Marvin Gaye was killed by his father after an argument. - ParasN2000

4 Cliff Burton Clifford Lee "Cliff" Burton (February 10th 1962 - September 27th 1986) was an American musician, best known as the second bass guitarist for the American thrash metal band Metallica, recording three studio albums. He died in 1986 after getting crushed by a tour bus in Umeå whilst promoting Metallica's ...read more.
5 Liberace Władziu Valentino Liberace, mononymously known as Liberace, was an American pianist, singer, and actor.
6 Karen Carpenter Karen Anne Carpenter was an American singer and drummer. She and her brother, Richard Carpenter, formed the 1970s duo Carpenters.
7 John Bonham John Henry Bonham was born on May 31, 1948 in Redditch, United Kingdom. Bonham (nicknamed Bonzo) was a professional hard rock drummer who was best known for being the drummer in the band Led Zeppelin. Bonham was also one of the background singers in the band. His drumming is mainly displayed on the ...read more.

These are all as sad as each other but Bonham's death was one of the most impacting in Rock. - ParasN2000

8 Bon Scott Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott was a Scottish-born Australian rock musician, best known for being the lead singer and lyricist of Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1974 until his death in 1980. He was born in Forfar and lived in Kirriemuir, Scotland, for 5 years before moving to Melbourne, Australia, ...read more.
9 Randy Rhoads Randall William "Randy" Rhoads was an American heavy metal guitarist who played with Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot. He was killed in a plane crash.
10 Ian Curtis Ian Kevin Curtis (15 July 1956 – 18 May 1980) was an English musician and singer-songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division. ...read more.

The Contenders

11 Roy Orbison Roy Kelton Orbison, professionally known as Roy Orbison, nicknamed Big O, was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and musician, mostly known for his complex voice and for hits such as, "Oh, Pretty Woman".

He died from a heart attack at age 52. He had a tremendous voice; now it's gone. - Gg2000

A very sad death. We lost a legend that day. - DaringXx

12 Ricky Nelson

He died from a helicopter accident in 1985. - Gg2000

13 Phil Lynott Philip Parris "Phil" Lynott was an Irish musician, singer and songwriter. His most commercially successful group was Thin Lizzy, of which he was a founding member, the principal songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist.

He died in the ICU due to heart failure. He was an awesome musician. - Gg2000

14 Richard Manuel Richard George Manuel was a Canadian composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist, best known as the pianist, regular lead singer, and occasional drummer of The Band.

He hung himself in the shower of his hotel room a few hours after his last gig. He was only 42. - Gg2000

15 Paul Butterfield

He died from a heart attack at age 44. He will always be one of my favorite blues harmonica players. - Gg2000

16 Jaco Pastorius John Francis Anthony "Jaco" Pastorius III was an American jazz bassist who was a member of Weather Report from 1976 to 1981. He worked with Pat Metheny, Joni Mitchell, and recorded albums as a solo artist and band leader.

He died from a brain hemorrhage after getting into a brutal fight with a bouncer. He's still one of the best bassists ever.

17 Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield, known by his stage name Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".

He died from a heart attack in 1983. He was 70 years old. - Gg2000

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