Top 10 Greatest Deceased Rock Artists

Some artists just seem to define an era, a genre, or even an emotion. That's especially true when it comes to rock music. Whether you grew up spinning vinyl, rocking out to CDs, or streaming tracks on your phone, you've likely been moved by the captivating performances and enduring legacies of some incredible musicians who are no longer with us. The world has lost a number of rock legends who've shaped the very fabric of the genre.
The Top Ten
1 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave... read more

Farrokh died when I was in high school. It was a time for all of us where we were sponges for artistic influence, and I soaked in Queen the most. Every year that passes since he died, I feel both more in touch with his music and more saddened that we lost Freddie. Though he is someone I've never met, it really does hurt when I realize his impact.

Well-deserved place. He was the best. Much more talented than Lennon and Elvis in singing and songwriting. And I don't even speak about stage presence. He was miles ahead of Lennon and Elvis. He was amazing!

2 Hideto Hide Matsumoto Hideto Matsumoto, better known by his stage name Hide, was a Japanese musician, singer, songwriter and record producer. He is primarily known for his work as lead guitarist of the heavy metal band X Japan.

He's Japan's most influential guitarist. He's unique, brilliant, colorful, and sparkling. Miyavi is dull compared to him.

Legendary guitarist. The greatest ever.

3 Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined... read more
4 John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon, MBE (9 October 1940 - 8 December 1980) 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... read more

John Lennon transcended music. He changed our culture and our world! Music and the world have felt the void created on 12/8/80. Visit Central Park's "Strawberry Fields," and you WILL feel the connection! Visit the Dakota Building, and your blood will chill when you see how trapped John was that horrible night. It appears so much bigger on TV. This wonderful man had no chance to defend or protect himself. What a cowardly and senseless act of violence! John Lennon was magic! Thank God we've had Paul McCartney for so long. He keeps it all alive and well!

5 Kurt Cobain Kurt Cobain was born February 20, 1967, in Aberdeen, Washington. In 1987, he started the grunge band Nirvana, which became one of the most successful bands ever. He was a talented yet troubled grunge performer. Kurt Cobain became a rock legend in the 1990s with his band. He committed suicide at his... read more

Millions of people miss him even though they weren't born when Nirvana was around, like me. Kurt is able to connect with people long after he died, and that's what makes him a legend to this day.

Kurt was a genius and is responsible for some of the greatest songs ever, like Smells Like Teen Spirit, Come as You Are, Heart-Shaped Box, In Bloom, and many, MANY more.

Lots of people miss Kurt. Not only were his songs good, but they also had deep messages in them. Take Pennyroyal Tea, for example.

6 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most... read more

This guy is overrated and died by choking on his own vomit. What an idiot!

7 Jim Morrison James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, songwriter, and poet best remembered as the lead singer of the Doors.
8 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

John Bonham was the greatest rock drummer who ever lived. His death meant the end of the king of all rock bands: Led Zeppelin. Bonham, Hendrix, and Lennon should top this list if we're talking about tragically lost talent.

Base this list on skill, innovation, and influence on their respective instruments, and you have John Henry Bonham sitting easily at #1 - the greatest rock drummer who ever lived.

I hope he is on the Stairway to Heaven.

9 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
10 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... read more

If only he were still alive, Metallica might have been even better.

Rest in peace. The greatest bassist ever.

The Contenders
11 Ronnie James Dio Ronnie James Dio (born Ronald James Padavona; July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010) was an American heavy metal singer, songwriter and musician. He fronted and/or founded numerous groups including Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven & Hell. He is credited with popularizing the "metal horns" hand gesture... read more

This guy is one of the gods of metal, with an amazing voice. I was very surprised and disappointed not to see him in the top 10.

The absolute best in true rock. Hard and heavy.

12 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.
13 Duane Allman Howard Duane Allman was an American guitarist, session musician, and co-founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death in a motorcycle crash in 1971, when he was 24 years old.

Duane is arguably one of the five best guitarists of all time. He passed away too early.

14 David Bowie David Robert Jones, known professionally as David Bowie (January 8, 1947 - January 10, 2016) was an English singer born in London, the son of a fundraiser and a waitress. He is credited for his experimental and creative musical discography which has won praise and accolades for many critics and fans... read more
15 Michael Jackson Michael Jackson (Michael Joseph Jackson; August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American singer, dancer, and songwriter. He passed away from cardiac arrest caused by a propofol and benzodiazepine overdose on June 25, 2009. He donated (at least) a remarkable 500,000,000 dollars to charity. Michael... read more

I miss MJ! It was a happy day until I heard of his death. R.I.P., Michael!

16 Jon Lord Jonathan Douglas "Jon" Lord was an English composer, pianist, and Hammond organ player known for his pioneering work in fusing rock with classical or baroque forms, especially with Deep Purple, as well as Whitesnake, Paice Ashton Lord, The Artwoods, and The Flower Pot Men.
17 Gary Moore Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician, most widely recognised as a singer, songwriter, and virtuoso rock and blues guitarist.
18 George Harrison George Harrison (1943 - 2001) was an English guitarist, singer, songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles.
19 Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.
20 Dimebag Darrell Lance Abott Darrell Lance Abbott, also known as Diamond Darrell and Dimebag Darrell, was an American guitarist and songwriter best known as a founding member of two bands, Pantera and Damageplan, alongside his brother, Vinnie Paul. Abbott died in 2004 after he was shot by a mentally unstable fan.

Best metal guitarist. RIP Dimebag.

21 Lemmy Kilmister Ian Fraser Kilmister, known as Lemmy, was an English musician, singer and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motörhead. He was a bassist and a singer known for his raspy voice. He died in 2015 from cancer and other health problems.
22 Layne Staley Layne Thomas Staley was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s... read more

What Layne Staley left us were the most incredible vocals for some fantastic songs. He also wrote some very honest, painful lyrics. He was a very influential artist when he was alive. I wish he were still here making music, but I will always cherish what he gifted us. RIP, dear Layne. You will never be forgotten, and imitations are truly pale.

One of the most underrated singers. Very few can even match his talent. The closest, in my opinion, is Chris Cornell.

23 Johnny Cash John R. "Johnny" Cash (1932-2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author, who was widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. He died of... read more
24 Keith Moon Keith John Moon was an English drummer for the rock band the Who. He was noted for his unique style and his eccentric, often self-destructive behaviour. His drumming continues to be praised by critics and musicians.
25 Buddy Holly Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959) was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was a rising star when a tragic plane crash struck him down at age 22... read more

Buddy Holly actually inspired some famous people. He should be at least in the top 10.

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