The Biggest Rockstars That Died In The 80s

The Biggest Rockstars That Died In The 80s | I Love Classic Rock Videos

via Far Out Magazine / Youtube

The passing of a rock legend is devastating news for any listener, but especially for those who grew up during the height of their popularity. Death is inevitable, but these musicians left an indelible impression on the world with their music and influenced generations to come. Listed below are a few rock stars whose stars burnt too brightly, too soon, in the 80s.


Cliff Burton

Metallica, the undisputed kings of heavy metal, have made more money, been more famous, and sold more records than any other band in the genre’s history. Tragedy struck the band as they were on tour in Europe in support of their masterful third studio album, Master of Puppets, when their bus skidded on a piece of black ice and flipped. Having snuck into Hammett’s berth on the bus through a game of chance, Burton was then hurled off the vehicle and trapped below, resulting in his immediate and tragic death.

Randy Rhoads

In the late ‘70s, Jet Records compelled former Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne to establish a solo band. Dana Strum, a teenage bassist, had aced his audition. Strum told Classic Rock that he reluctantly drove Ozzy around Los Angeles to audition guitarists, believing he already had the right one in his pal Randy Rhoads. Rhoads connected up to a little amp and blew Ozzy’s mind after eventually convincing him to give the young man a chance. Rhoads only played on two Osbourne solo albums, 1980’s Blizzard of Ozz and 1981’s Diary of a Madman. In March 1982, tour bus driver Andrew Aycock enticed Rhoads, who was afraid of flying, and the band’s seamstress Rachel Youngblood to ride a little propeller plane at a plane depot in Florida. Aycock lost control and the jet crashed into a field, killing everybody aboard, including Rhoads.

John Bonham

John Bonham was persuaded to join the band that would eventually become known as Led Zeppelin, a group that would have a profound impact on hard rock, heavy metal, and progressive rock while also having a remarkable run of successful albums in the 1970s. However, Bonham showed indications of mental and physical exhaustion as the 1980s began. The physicality of his playing, along with the emotional toll of being in one of the largest bands in the world and spending extended stretches away from his family, had finally caught up with him. Bonham’s death on September 25, 1980, brought an abrupt end to one of the most important bands of all time after he allegedly drank 40 shots of vodka in a 12-hour period.

Bon Scott

In 1979, AC/DC finally broke through in the United States with the platinum-selling single “Highway to Hell,” but by that point, the band had already essentially conquered their own Australia. Their explosive live shows, highlighted by the guitar fireworks of Malcolm and Angus Young and the total dedication of strutting roaring vocalist Ronald Belford “Bon” Scott, propelled them to fame. However, Scott was discovered dead on February 19, 1980, after a particularly violent drinking spree. Fans of AC/DC, even after the band achieved even more success with new singer Brian Johnson, can never get over the loss of Scott.

John Lennon

John Lennon and Yoko Ono returned to the music scene in 1980 with the double album “Double Fantasy,” which featured the poignant songs “(Just Like) Starting Over” and “Woman,” both of which were written by Lennon as expressions of his love for Ono. The victory would have mixed emotions attached to it. Lennon was assassinated outside his New York City apartment building on December 8, 1980, only three weeks after the album’s release.