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Who were the most talented performers that we lost too soon?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 


Not sure how many people have heard of Nick Drake, but although he never made it past 26 he left us with some truly great work.


I was listening to his album Five Leaves Left tonight and started wondering how many other great talents people may have missed because they left us prematurely.


Many of us may not have heard of these people because they passed on before great success, so let’s see what we can do about sharing the knowledge and our appreciation of them.


The only criteria that I’d suggest are that:

  1. the performer left the stage before turning 30; and
  2. some attempt is made to describe the style of their music.


In Nick Drake's case, he produced some awesome music in an acoustic guitar-based folk style.


Any suggestions?

post #2 of 10
Nick Drake has made some really good music indeed. Regarding other people that died young see the 27 club.

Someone else who springs to mind is Jeff Buckley. He was only able to make a single album before he died. His style was rock/ folk. Probably he is best known for his adaptation of Cohens Hallelujah.
post #3 of 10

Hendrix and Morrison are my picks from the 27 Club.


That being said...my big 2 are probably SRV, and John Bonham. 


2 of the most fantastic performers...ever. The thing I loved about them both was that they were masters of the 'new song every time' idea. There's so many versions of their improv stuff out there from live shows over the years it's astounding. 


Bonham's Moby Dick solos were different every single time. It was new and fresh every performance. And anytime SRV played a solo live it was different. Maybe just by a little, but they're both just astounding musicians. 

post #4 of 10

Gotta go with Hendrix here.

post #5 of 10

Some of my favorite performers (not the well known like cobain and bonham) cut down in their prime: (some over 30 though)


1) Nick Drake

2) Elliott Smith

3) Jeff Buckley

4) Sam Cooke

5) Otis Redding

6) Lee Morgan

7) Art Tatum

8) Baby Huey


post #6 of 10

Jeff Buckley.  


That dude had a voice that could blow anyone away.

post #7 of 10

Andy Wood - The lead singer of Mother Love Bone. He ODed when he was 24. If he hadn't died I believe Mother Love Bone would have been bigger that Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden and Pearl Jam would have never existed.  A true showman.


Hank Williams - Best country artist of all time. He was 29 and has a catalog that few can compete with in any genre.


Gram Parsons - A pioneer of the country rock infusion. He died at 26.


Buddy Holly - Rock and Roll pioneer died at 22 in a plane crash.


Robert Johnson - "The most important blues singer that ever lived" according to Eric Clapton. Died at 27.

Edited by Radioking59 - 2/23/12 at 5:07pm
post #8 of 10

Ian Curtis - Lead singer of Joy Division,






Died in 1980 aged 23. I'm sure most people have heard the music.....If not do it now !!!!

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Some juicy info here - thanks for the tips!


I hadn't heard of the 27 Club and checked out the link - that is really quite eerie.


Jeff Buckley is definitely a good one and, coincidentally, I've got his CD in my car at the moment.


The strange and tragic thing about JB was that his dad, Tim Buckley (also a singer and musician, mostly folk) also died early - at 28. Jeff made it to 30, I think.


I wonder if Bon Scott from ACDC made it past 30? If he did it wouldn't be far past.


Interesting to see that Buddy Holly got a mention, but not the Big Bopper or Ritchie Valens who died in the same plane crash (ahh... 80s movies are a font of knowledge - remember 'La Bamba' with Lou Diamond Phillips).


Nice to see Jim Morrison get a mention (I'm embarrassed to say that I forgot about him - what an amazing voice, despite everything that he threw at his throat).


How about Kurt Cobain from Nirvanna - arguably the Seattle grunge band of the 90s?

post #10 of 10

Falco, he died in 1998 as a result of a car accident.

Up to that time he was the most famous german performer of all time and sold over 60 million records.

You might know him for his song "Rock me Amadeus".


I'm sure he would have stayed at the top of the international charts for a long while.

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