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Top 10 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Would Make Us Cry

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The world is filled with rock icons who are either aging or live perilously close to the edge, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t wake up each day a little worried that one of them will keel over.

Not that the ones on this list are the only ones I worry about — any rock star death warrants sitting on my couch all day with a handle of Jack and a tub of ice cream watching “Almost Famous” over and over — but there are a few special souls who would definitely make me lose it, and probably a lot of other people, too. Dammit, Michael Jackson came close.

Here are ten rockers whose deaths would make us lose it faster than our inheritance in Vegas. God forbid.

Don't mess with.10. Ozzy Osbourne. This gentle, funny, formerly evil rock legend has gone from being the definition of rock mayhem to the definition of man-cute. He’s also the king of perseverance — his awesomeness wasn’t diluted by an entire reality series about his annoying family. He even manages to seem cool in commercials about cell phones and oil-based butter spread, acting confused and shouting “I’m the prince of fucking darkness” at the air. A world without Ozzy is a world with no rock and roll mentor. When he goes, bands will dissolve out of respect, and the news will be flooded with man-made catastrophes and mass suicides. Kitties and doggies will weep.
Oddball chic9. Ringo Starr. “The goofy one” (presently “the posh one”) seemed to have a definite air about him during his Beatles career. It was a sort of blind joviality, with the slight appearance of being confused over what was going on at any given time. It especially came through whenever he provided vocals, where he sounded like a musical version of someone’s dad. These days he’s enjoying coolness with his designer shades, Don Johnson stubble and ever-present peace signs, but geez, look at any photo of him. He’s still Ringo. The day there’s no more Ringo will be the day there are no more rodeo clowns, doctor’s office lollipops, corporate meeting donuts, or anything else that makes a serious situation fun. Long live the goofy one.

We're sorry! We're sorry!8. Lemmy Kilmister. (Update: Dammit motherfucker! RIP) I spoke to Lemmy Kilmister over the phone for about half an hour during college, and if not for that conversation he might not be on this list. But some of the things he said were just so … rock and roll. Did you know his first set of musical equipment was all stolen? He said so. Or that he gives specific instructions to his publicist never to bother him before noon? He was also quoted in Maxim as having slept with over 1,200 women, and he’s 63. Jesus Christ, this guy is about as rock star as they come, plus he sports mutton chops that could be considered their own continent. His death would be as disastrous as Dr. Doom finally defeating The Thing, or every Hustler store burning down. It would be a loss to all masculinity everywhere, and I propose if it ever happens, every straight man should buy a gay porn mag or something in acknowledgment of Lemmy’s eternally superior man skills.
Not being strange7. Pete Doherty. Shut your tabloid-buying, NME-reading asshole face and admit this: If Pete Doherty ate it, the world would be short one more incredibly talented musician and songwriter who failed to live up to his full potential. Besides the fact that the guy is downright funny and charming when he’s not squirting syringes of blood, just the thought of losing a Libertine is enough to make me shudder. So what if he’s always wasted and can’t walk straight, sing or play guitar worth navel lint most of the time, and is usually about as photogenic as a bag of road apples. I put value in ideals, not Google Images. We need Doherty. His death would be catastrophic not only because of the loss of a great songwriter, but also because out of pure frustration I would probably kick a hole in a dam and flood a village somewhere.
Ladies swoon6. Scott Weiland. (Update: FUCK. RIP) Weiland is probably the least likely to cash in his chips on this list, since the guy’s rehab stints should keep him from losing it entirely. But between the reckless chemical hobbies, stories about seizures on planes, and the residual bleach that is undoubtedly making its way through his scalp and into his brain, he’s due to buy the farm before his time. The main problem here is that my girlfriend could be adversely affected by Weiland’s passing, possibly slipping into a serious state of depression on hearing the news. But wait, you think this is just my problem? Why don’t you ask your girlfriend how she would feel about a world without Scott Weiland. Men, we need him to stick around.
Cooler than thou5. David Bowie. (Update: Hell just moved closer. RIP) If your girlfriend is unaffected by Scott Weiland, it’s possible she’s the other type of girl, which is the David Bowie type. Hopefully this grenade isn’t going to go off for a while, but when it does, prepare for a holocaust to be matched only by the death of Prince (left off this list for technical reasons). See, Bowie is very nearly the epicenter of cool (1). Even though his voice is noticeably older than it has been, and he’s probably not hanging out with Major Tom much these days, the man who played Jareth the Goblin King could drive a dented minivan to Wal-Mart on a Sunday and still be cool. Just take a look at his left eye. It’s permanently dilated because of a fight over a girl. That’s no Marilyn Manson crap — that shit is real. If David Bowie died, more than half of the world’s females would be unresponsive to any sort of male charm, leaving us males forlorn, lost and helpless.
Screaming party4. Steve Tyler. Steve Tyler dying would be like a puppy falling off a bridge, or a nun getting hit by a train. Not that he’s innocent or chaste by any means, but I can think of a million other people I’d rather see go. Steve Tyler rocks, no matter what. Steve Tyler hemorrhages party. Plus, Steve Tyler dying means Liv Tyler would be sad, and gentlemen, we can’t let that happen. I can’t promise this man is going to a happy place after his passing (alright, of course he is), but it’s guaranteed everyone left behind will be in a sad, dreary place. Who will we have to spike Jack into our veins with? No one.

Interlude. Since this article is such a downer, we need to take a break now and remember that it’s all make believe. Just pondering and theory, that’s all. Take a deep breath.

Ok, continuing…

Get offa his cloud3. Mick Jagger. First of all, if Mick Jagger could die, he would have done it a few times already. But for the sake of this article, let’s assume Mick Jagger is normal and can die. This man has defied just about every rule, law and moral placed in his path, running down society’s barricades as fast as he ran through handles of sour mash whiskey. Not to mention the fact that his music can be anything to anyone, man or woman, whether they’re getting into a bar fight (“Get Off of My Cloud”) or slow dancing (“Wild Horses”). Jagger is possibly the biggest rock star alive today, and his death in the midst of his rock fame would be like a black hole forming in the middle of Hong Kong. Jagger’s death would make me want to steal a truck full of booze, light it on fire and slam it into a Catholic daycare center just to make a bigger mess.
paul mccartney2. Paul McCartney. What was global morale like after the Titanic went down? Or on the same scale, just after John Lennon was shot? Well, it was bad. In the Beatles’ heyday, Paul was the Cute One and the band’s de facto decision maker of sorts, and the positive foundation when things started to fall apart. His voice consistently provided the calm for a generation or two, giving him the permanent status of guardian rock angel in the face of social turmoil. People pop in Beatles albums when the economy crashes in order to hear his voice and feel better. Plus, he was the Beatle who held onto the signature suit jacket and bowl cut the longest, for what that’s worth. Yes, Paul McCartney has a place saved for him in Heaven, but when he takes it, the Earth will get several shades darker.
keith richards1. Keith Richards. The same argument applies here as to the Mick Jagger case above … but for now, let’s assume Keith Richards is able to die. Keith Richards hit a guy in the face with his guitar and kept playing, was rumored to have snorted his dad’s ashes, and had a pirate modeled after him (2) — and that’s just in recent history. If Keith Richards dies, the world will cease to be a nice place. Music will become tame and temporary, and the universe’s inventory of rock and roll heritage will immediately lose half its value. Not that this will happen, because I’m almost sure Keith Richards is 4,000 years old. He is probably a vampire, or an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, or just made out of pure carbon. At least that’s what I keep telling myself to hide from the fact that if he disappears (in a large puff of smoke with no warning, most likely), everything fun will matter less. A national holiday would be created that would become the most depressing day on earth. And that, friends, will be the day Don McLean was talking about.

Did I miss anyone? Add your two cents to the comments below.


1. That privilege belongs to Wolverine
2. It’s also possible he was once an actual pirate

Oh yeah, and you'll want to download my book.

Written by Peter Kimmich

December 2nd, 2009 at 7:03 pm

52 Responses to 'Top 10 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Would Make Us Cry'

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  1. Unfortunately Peter, Scott and Pete are already dead; they just don’t know it yet. And, of course, Mick has already claimed to be the devil so it stands to reason that Keith has been blessed with some sort of immortality. Otherwise, you’re spot on. (I must admit that I’m stunned you included Lemmy on here. Well done.)


    Captain Morgan

    3 Dec 09 at 1:26 pm

  2. […] Top 10 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Would Make Us Cry at Monitor Down […]

  3. @ the captain: As soon as I read the first few words of your comment, my heart palpitated. See what I mean? Geez, don’t do that to me.

    Peter Kimmich

    3 Dec 09 at 2:16 pm

  4. What, no Willie Nelson?! Not to be insensitive, but Steven Tyler could croak tomorrow and I wouldn’t lose any sleep. Then again, I’d be upset if Gene Simmons (as horrible as he is) passed so…


    5 Dec 09 at 9:37 am

  5. A recent tour bus crash made me realize just how much less I would want to live in a world without Rivers Cuomo. Luckily he and his family escaped with minor injuries, but it got me thinking. Granted, he doesn’t really fit on the above list. I mean, graduating from harvard is not quite as rock and roll as… biting the head off a bat, for example. But still. Rivers’ death would definitely cause me to lose it. I would probably have to get piss drunk and sing along to every word of the blue album until the neighbors called the police.


    7 Dec 09 at 11:35 am

  6. Damn. So would I, Matt. Damn again.

    Peter Kimmich

    7 Dec 09 at 1:13 pm

  7. Man, having Pete Doherty on that list is an insult to everyone else on that list, hell to every other actually good musician. Even as a joke its not funny. Heck even Ringo is a bit “What?” The only reason he’s even adjacent to cool is because he was in the Beatles. And even then that’s pushing it.

    All the others I fully agree. It will be a tragedy when any of these rock gods finally kick the bucket.


    10 Dec 09 at 11:41 am

  8. fuck pete doherty, fuck scott weiland and fuck you.


    13 Dec 09 at 1:34 pm

  9. Evidently you are the David Bowie type.

    Peter Kimmich

    14 Dec 09 at 10:17 am

  10. I never did get the big deal about Pete Doherty, I was a pretty big STP fan once upon a time, but, he’s really not a very important musician either. He was the least talented guy in STP and Velvet Revolver was pretty lame. Everybody else though, sure. I’d replace Doherty with Alice Cooper and Scott Weiland with Bob Dylan.


    20 Dec 09 at 1:11 am

  11. …and I’m pretty sure if Keith Richards was carbon dated, he’d be discovered to be the reason for the Big Bang ( hence the name of the record )… He’s the only reason anyone still cares about the Stone’s anymore…

    I’d also like to include Iggy Pop somewhere in there…


    20 Dec 09 at 1:14 am

  12. Haha. As the least talented member of STP, Weiland is still an amazing front man for being a so-cal bro idol. Though he’s far from the world’s most important rock icon, he is absolutely one whose death would create chaos and turmoil, especially among younger generations (as opposed to the baby-boomers, who mostly don’t know who he is). I submit that considering his age, the prominence of his music (even though VR is mostly crap), and his girl-crush fan base, this one deserves to be here.

    I almost added Bob Dylan, but I see him as more of a folk hero than a rock star. But yes, were my list expanded to include all musicians, he’d be in the top three.

    …and one has to be on the same page as the Libertines to get Doherty.

    Peter Kimmich

    21 Dec 09 at 11:28 am

  13. if pete doherty died, id probably give heroin a shot.

    iggy pop is missing from this list, he should take bitch-ass scott weilands place


    3 Jan 10 at 3:51 pm

  14. Weiland sucks and is responsible for a whole catalog of crappy music.

    Bowie, never listened to him. Never heard of Doherty, either.

    Ringo and Paul deserve a special place in hell for unleashing the dreck known as The Beatles on the world. The two happiest days in musical history are the days that Lennon and Harrison died. If hell does not exist, it was create the day the first Beatle died.

    Ozzy’s a joke and an embarrassment to heavy metal.

    My list in no particular order:

    Steven Tyler.
    Mick Jagger.
    Keith Richards.
    Eric Clapton, one of the most influential guitar players known to man.
    Ted Nugent.
    Chuck Berry. Rock music would not exist if it wasn’t for him.
    Tony Iommi, the real brains behind Black Sabbath.
    Rob Halford.


    3 Jan 10 at 8:20 pm

  15. Jim, you’re a true asshole. You clearly have no appreciation of music history.

    Everyone else, your pretty cool.

    Though if it were up to me, I’d probably replace Doherty with Dylan. Maybe even people like Tom Petty or Dave Grohl should be on this list though too. it would also be pretty fucked up if any of the dudes from Metallica died

    Jim's an asshole

    5 Jan 10 at 4:49 pm

  16. Any of them could go and I really wouldn’t care… but if Alice Cooper was to die I would probably have a temporary breakdown!


    5 Jan 10 at 10:18 pm

  17. Fukken Scott Weiland, but no Pete Townshend? Sheesh.


    6 Jan 10 at 4:45 pm

  18. I don’t care for any of those suckers, except for Mick and Keith. Where’s Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Chuck Berry? Just another stupid top-10 list (typically americanhabit to pass their boring time away)


    6 Jan 10 at 11:29 pm

  19. What about Tom Waits?!?! or Robert Plant for that matter? And let’s not forget Tommy Ramone. Talk about a band plagued by dead members. Then we have Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of the Clash. I would definitely add Iggy to this list, as well as, Alice Cooper and Willie Nelson. You should at least make us all happy and make an “Honorable Mention” list.

    And how the fuck, do you forget, Pete Townshend?


    7 Jan 10 at 2:42 am

  20. Decent enough list. I’d say:

    All of The Rolling Stones
    Paul McCartney
    Ringo Starr
    Bob Dylan
    Neil Young

    They come to mind immediately, but there are more.


    7 Jan 10 at 6:16 am

  21. I would almost do an honorable mention list, but this comment section seems to have covered that… all good choices.

    @erik: You read it, you arrogant fuck.

    Peter Kimmich

    8 Jan 10 at 10:16 am

  22. “Long Live Keith”….


    8 Jan 10 at 10:29 am

  23. i want to shoot the person in the toe who wrote Paul and Ringo should go to hell.


    11 Jan 10 at 3:29 pm

  24. Pete Doherty and Scott Weiland can go any old day now and it would be okey-dokey with me. The rest, you may have a point about.


    20 Jan 10 at 10:02 pm

  25. You couldn’t think of even ONE person that isn’t a white guy?! You need to get out more, my friend.


    23 Jan 10 at 3:34 pm

  26. I agree that Alice Cooper should be on here…And Robert Smith!


    25 Jan 10 at 11:06 am

  27. I have agree with a few of the others… Scott Weiland and Pete Doherty wouldn’t be missed.

    The others, though, are pretty spot on. I’m not a fan of a few of those, but they are pretty loved by a lot of people.


    26 Jan 10 at 7:54 am

  28. How is Bob Dylan not on this list? Also, Eric Clapton, Roger Daltrey, Chuck Berry, PETE FUCKING TOWNSHEND.

    Your list sucks. Learn some music history.

    Also, fuck Paul McCartney. He’s a dick.


    26 Jan 10 at 9:27 am

  29. no robert plant OR jimmy page??? i mean maybe it’s because i’m such a big led head, but come on. jimmy page is arguably the greatest guitar player of all time. once again that’s a biased statement but i truly believe any true classic rock fan would agree to some extent. and i’m a big fan of the beatles and everything but ringo? come on man wtf? man i hate to say it but this shit’s weak. and you are obviously a biased stones fan. never cared for them myself. not saying they’re not great musicians i just don’t think they ever were that stand out. they have a lot of good songs but few that stand out to me as great ones.


    26 Jan 10 at 10:44 am

  30. Damn, I guess we have some emotional Pete Townshend fans. Maybe if this were a “Top 11” list… Ditto for the Zepps, who would definitely be mourned, probably in the form of more mass suicides.

    And to all you irate history buffs, you’ll either have to bite the bullet and tighten your definition of “rock star” or stay tuned for the Blues and Folk versions. But I do appreciate the contributions.

    Peter Kimmich

    26 Jan 10 at 4:50 pm

  31. Wouldn’t lose any sleep over Doherty, can’t stand Weiland, have to admit even Bowie wouldn’t hurt me much, although he deserves a lot of respect. Many of the ones mentioned in the comments would definitely be worse for me (Clapton, Plant, Page, Townshend, Daltrey, Hetfield, Hammett), and I’d also like to offer:
    Axl Rose (complete douchebag, great musician)
    Bruce Springsteen (I’m very surprised no-one else has brought him up)
    Patti Smith
    Brian May
    Carlos Santana
    Joe Perry


    26 Jan 10 at 5:51 pm

  32. Dumb list.


    26 Jan 10 at 7:25 pm

  33. scott weiland sucks balls, i would not be upset at all if he died, but i would be upset if bob dylan and anthony kiedis died.


    26 Jan 10 at 7:48 pm

  34. Yeah, I’ve gotta go with the rest of these folks…I love the Libertines, but Pete Doherty (although incredibly sexy…just like Weiland, in my opinion) probably needs to go. I’m a young(er) chick who grew up on Bob Dylan (and was named after him….Dylan is my middle name) so I’m quite partial to him. And lets be honest….Dave Grohl fucking rules. THAT’S a fellow I’d be mighty upset to have passed.

    Also, Jimmy Page’s absence makes my heart sad.

    Ummm…@redsandrita–can YOU think of one person deserving of this list that isn’t a white guy?? Didn’t think so.

    Well done, Peter!


    27 Jan 10 at 9:33 am

  35. Peter . . . I had no idea you could be so contriversial! Well done my friend.

    Captain Morgan

    27 Jan 10 at 2:59 pm

  36. Yeah, nothing stirs up controversy like writing a lighthearted, funny post about rock stars and then ducking bricks in the comment section. Who wants to come martyr themselves with me?

    Peter Kimmich

    27 Jan 10 at 4:25 pm

  37. There’s not a single woman on this list! Really?? Come on.


    28 Jan 10 at 5:45 am

  38. HA!

    Captain Morgan

    28 Jan 10 at 1:20 pm

  39. M. Jackson was like a hero to me. I’ve been dealing with his passing along and it has been incredibly emotional for me. I can’t believe how he changed the people around the world. I wish his family the best. Thanks Michael for changing life as we know it!

    Kenneth Asturias

    28 Jan 10 at 9:14 pm

  40. I agree with Lemmy, McCartney and Ozzy. Buy you should add David Gilmour, Till Lindemann, Rob Zombie and Slash.


    29 Jan 10 at 5:31 pm

  41. I have to disagree with the inclusion of Pete Dougherty and Scott Weiland in this list. Keith Richard’s demise would be notable, but not totally unexpected. Neither Dougherty or Weiland would be missed by a majority and it’s apparent that you left out a host of others who would be, such as Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Alice Cooper, etc.


    30 Jan 10 at 11:31 am

  42. Trent Reznor?!? That would be a rough passing for me.


    2 Feb 10 at 10:48 pm

  43. if james hetfield died, im pretty sure my eyes would dry up from the amount of tears coming out of them.

    Of course, his badass ghost would come to me and say, “Suck it up,dumbass”

  44. Haha.

    Peter Kimmich

    11 Feb 10 at 4:59 pm

  45. Chuck Berry rocked. He rocked so hard, scientists can still detect repercussions deep in the Earth’s crust. He’s the man who single-handedly invented rock and roll. In my opinion, the duck walk should be the primary form of human locomotion. The day he dies, I will give up my worldly possessions and live a life of poverty. Like Jesus.


    13 Feb 10 at 7:10 am

  46. Trent Reznor

    Ryan McFly

    28 Feb 10 at 7:07 pm

  47. i’ve thought about this too! lol, Paul McCartney would definitely be at the top of my list.

    i’d add..
    Jimmy Page
    Bob Dylan
    Pete Townshend
    Robert Plant
    Roger Waters

    Long live the Ringo!


    28 Feb 10 at 7:21 pm

  48. This article made me sad thinking of the future without these iconic rock gods. But seriously, where the crap was James Hetfield (Of Metallica) I mean I know people are still a little peeved at him and Lars over the whole Napster incident, but really isn’t time to just live and let live? Besides that pretty much AWESOME.


    1 Mar 10 at 5:40 pm

  49. Levon Helm of the Band would be dreadful


    2 Apr 10 at 8:28 am

  50. … Draw me away to the night from the day
    Leave not a trace to be found …
    … There’s only the devil to pay
    I’m ready to go, Pull me down from below, Give me a place I can lay…
    Nothing is real but the way that I feel … and I feel like going down…
    …now Ronnie have it, but `bout the trace – it will remain forever … RIP


    17 May 10 at 2:54 am

  51. rock bleach musical…

    […] Top 10 Rock Stars Whose Deaths Would Make Us Cry | Monitor Down […]…

  52. Am i wrong to say that Michael JAckson should have been in that list somewhere?


    10 Jun 10 at 8:40 pm

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