10 guitarists who died too young
Regardless of the circumstances and theories surrounding his death in London in September 1970, the upshot is the same.
The best electric guitarist in history, still at the top of his game and poised at a musical crossroads, kissing the sky at 27. We believe the word is ‘bummer’.
Brian Jones (27)
He’d led the Rolling Stones in the early days, but Mick and Keef’s writing partnership froze out the multi-instrumentalist, leaving him to binge, bloat and unravel.
In July 1969, Jones was found dead in his swimming pool, and though dark whispers told of murder at the hands of his builders, the coroner preferred ‘death by misadventure’.
Stevie Ray Vaughan (35)
On 27 August, 1990, the Texas bluesman perished alongside four others when his helicopter collided with a ski slope in thick fog.
Chillingly, the day before the accident, Vaughan had foreseen his own funeral in a nightmare.
Duane Allman (24)
The slide supremo was on a roll in 1971, duelling with Clapton on Layla and breaking through with the Allman Brothers’ At Fillmore East.
That same year, the reaper struck, sending a flatbed truck to fatally clip the guitarist’s Harley Davidson at an intersection in Macon, Georgia.
Jeff Buckley (30)
The golden-lunged songwriter was supposedly singing Whole Lotta Love as he waded fully clothed into the Mississippi River on the night of 29 May, 1997.
Six days later, Buckley’s body was spotted from a Memphis riverboat.
Nick Drake (26)
November 1974 saw the painfully shy folk guitarist self-administer a fatal overdose of antidepressants at his parents’ house.
Hard to say whether Drake’s posthumous success makes his story more or less miserable.
Gram Parsons (26)
He’d been a hanger-on at the Stones’ addled Exile... sessions, but on 19 September, 1973, Parsons succumbed to a morphine OD strong enough to kill three people – and was cremated in the California desert by his tour manager.
Randy Rhoads (25)
On 19 March, 1982, the Osbourne band’s tour bus parked up for repairs in the Florida boondocks, prompting the heel-kicking guitarist to accept a ride in a light aircraft.
Pilot Andrew Aycock buzzed the bus, clipped a wing and crashed into a nearby house at 150mph – snuffing out the greatest metal talent of the early 80s in an idiotic finger-snap.
Kurt Cobain (27)
Cobain joined rock’s 27 Club in April 1994, when he was found at his Lake Washington home alongside a shotgun.
Dave Grohl told Jo Whiley: “There are some people you meet in life that you just know they’re not going to live to be a hundred years old...”
Dimebag Darrell (38)
Rock history groans with suicide, overdose, vehicular crashes and bizarre gardening accidents.
Dime’s departure on 8 December, 2004, was different: a horrific case of cold- blooded murder via the handgun of crazed Pantera ‘fan’ Nathan Gale. A guitar hero to the last, he was buried in a Kiss Kasket with one of Eddie Van Halen’s Frankenstrats.