“It ain’t fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
The death tore the pages all away”
— Kenny Chesny
The death of a brilliant artist, a gifted singer is always a great loss to the world. The pains of such a loss are compounded when the life ends way too early, a brilliant career stunted by an untimely demise. Here’s a look at 10 well-loved singers who died before the age of 30.
1 Kurt Cobain – Lead singer and guitarist of the rock band, Nirvana, Kurt Cobain shot into limelight in the late 1980s and in the early part of 1990s. Cobain and Nirvana became extremely popular after the launch of their second album ‘Nevermind’ in 1991. Increasingly worshiped as a youth icon and as the “the spokesman of a generation”, Cobain struggled with fame and public life. In 1994 at the age of 27, Cobain was found dead at his Seattle home due to a shot to his head. Though the official verdict was that of suicide, Cobain’s death has remained a highly speculated affair. In 2014, Kurt was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame posthumously.
2 Amy Winehouse – English songwriter and singer Amy Winehouse launched her debut album Frank in 2003 leading up to much acclaim and success in the UK. Her second album Back-to Back earned her 5 Grammys in 2008. Winehouse’s success was phenomenal; she won the hearts of millions across the world and many awards as well. In July 2011, however, 27-year-old Amy was found dead at her apartment in London. She is believed to have died of accidental alcohol poisoning. Amy’s fame and fan following counterbalances the horrific stories of her eating disorders and drug abuse.
3 Jimi Hendrix – The age of 27 seems to be rather ominous for many celebrated singers. Apart from Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, that is the age when Jimi Hendrix left the world bereft of his musical genius. Another very talented singer-guitarist who made it into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and into the hearts of millions of fans around the world was James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix. Considered clearly the greatest guitarist ever born by many, Jimi experimented and amplified the guitar creating sounds like never before. Hendrix was the highest paid musician of his time. He waged very public battles against drug and alcohol addiction. In September 1970, Hendrix was found unconscious and soon died. Doctors believe he choked on his own vomit in an intoxicated state.
4 Jim Morrison – Another death of a promising young musician at the age of 27; another singer whose untimely death broke a million hearts – Jim Morrison of ‘The Doors’ fame. The lead Doors singer and songwriter was one of the best known and best loved rock artists of the world and a youth icon of his times. In 1971, Morrison was found dead in Paris and the official cause listed was heart failure. The popular cause that has made the rounds, though, is that Morrison, a known drug (cocaine) user, accidentally snorted a heavy dose of heroine and died of hemorrhage.
5 Nick Drake – English singer-songwriter, Nicholas Rodney Drake, better known as Nick Drake was born in 1948 and died in 1974 at the age of 26. While Drake was alive he recorded and released three albums – Five leaves Left, Byter Layter, and Pink Moon. None of them succeeded in gaining much popularity at the time. It is after his death, that Drake’s music became wildly popular. Drake suffered from severe depression and died due to an overdose of antidepressants (suicide). His story and works influenced millions and he was called “one of the most revered singers of the 20th century” by The Telegraph.
6 Janis Joplin – Another famous singer whose death at the age of 27 led to the creation of the 27 Club (the name given to exceptionally talented musicians and singers who died at the age of 27). Born in 1943, Janis Joplin first stepped into the limelight in the 1960s as the lead singer and songwriter of the psychedelic rock band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. A multitalented artist, Joplin was widely loved and made it to the top of her career. It could have been her troubled childhood, or her sudden brush with fame but substance abuse became part of Joplin’s life. In October 1970, 27-year-old Joplin died of an overdose of heroin intensified by alcohol consumption ending another brilliant career.
7 Tupac Shakur – Tupac Amaru Shakur also known as 2pac is often called the greatest rapper of all times. Despite his short life, Shakur managed to create music that lives on as his legacy. As of 2007, he sold over 75 million records across the globe. Despite coming up with bestselling albums such as All Eyez on Me and Greatest Hits, Shakur managed to antagonize other rappers and workers from the music industry. In September 1996, Shakur (25-years-old at the time) was shot in Las Vegas (Nevada) in a drive-by shooting and died soon after.
8 Buddy Holly – If you are a Rock and Roll fan, you’re sure to know about the incident popularly referred to as The Day the Music Died. It is an allusion to the fatal plane crash on February 3, 1959, near Clear Lake, Iowa, which killed some of the top names of the 1950s Rock n Roll circuit – Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Richie Valens. Singer, songwriter, Buddy Holly, the brightest star of the 1950s rock and roll firmament was only 22. Holly’s musical inclinations led him to perform even in high school. His 1952 TV appearance with Bob Montgomery brought him much fame. Opening for Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and His Comets made him much loved. His album “Chirping Crickets” has remained a rock and roll favorite across the globe despite Holly’s early death.
9 Ian Curtis – Known and well-loved for his baritone, his dark lyrics, his shy demeanor but bold stage moves – and dead by 23. Ian Curtis, the English singer, songwriter, managed to gain much attention and success in his short life, due largely to his unconventional nature and attitude. By 1976, Curis got together with Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner and formed a punk band Joy Division. The dark turn to their music compounded by their Nazi obsession and Curtis’ allergy to sunlight made him very mysterious and very attractive. Lead singer Curtis, despite his growing success was fighting battles with epilepsy and depression. By May 1980, 23-year-old Curtis decided to end his life and hung himself, ending his brilliant but short-lived musical career.
10 Simone Battle – Coming down to more recent years, Simone Battle, singer, X Factor finalist and member of GRL, the pop group, killed herself in September 2014 at the age of 25. Coming up from a small time acting career, Battle showcased her singing skills as she auditioned for the X Factor in 2011. Slowly but steadily she made it to the top 17 finalists of the show, all the while gathering a huge fan following across America. In 2013, Simone formed part of the five-member pop band GRL. All the singles and music videos that Battle had released both as a solo artist and as part of GRL had made her extremely popular. Despite this, depression and financial strains led her to commit suicide in 2014 ending yet another brilliant career.
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