While browsing through our music libraries or strolling through an art gallery, we sometimes are inclined to learn more about the artists at hand. Often, you’ll hear stories about certain painters or musicians who only became famous posthumously–those who enjoyed more success after their passing than they did before it. Names like Van Gogh and Selena come to mind in this case.
Unfortunately, for many artists in these cases, they were taken from Earth far too soon, only just as they were beginning to hit their stride. Death, in absolutely any capacity, is a tragedy.When unrealized potential is added on top of death, it becomes a nation-wide tragedy for the arts.
Here are four musicians who passed away before their time, leaving potential albums of future hits on the table.
Buddy Holly was an enormous figure and influence on 1950’s rock and roll.
Recognized for his voice, his guitar skills, his formal dresswear and, of course, hit thick glasses, Buddy Holly was a huge hit in America and abroad, amassing number one hits in the US and the UK.
Unfortunately, at the age of just 22, the lives of Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper were taken in a plane crash, commonly called The Day the Music Died.
However, echoing the title of one of his biggest hits, Buddy Holly’s legacy and his music will certainly “Not Fade Away.”
Defining Tracks: Everyday, Not Fade Away
When Elvis Presley died in 1973, his health had already been in decline for some time, due in part to a severe dependence on drugs. Despite his canceled and abbreviated tours towards the end of his life, Presley will still be remembered as a genre-defining and charismatic performer whose voice inspired and excited a generation.
Defining Tracks: Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock
Largely considered to be one of if not the best guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix is the defining artist of psychedelic rock. In the late 1960’s, Hendrix rose meteorically to become the world’s highest paid rock guitarist and one of the biggest draws at Woodstock.
Another artist plagued by drug and alcohol problems, Hendrix died at 27 after aspirating on vomit, having taken far too many sleeping pills and laying down.
Defining Tracks: All Along the Watchtower, Purple Haze
Despite living to an almost-close-to-normal 57 years of age, few would argue that Prince’s death was anything short of tragic and premature. When Prince overdosed on fentanyl in April of 2016, the entire world took a moment to soak in just how large a musical icon they had lost.
Prince was a magician not only on the guitar–which was his greatest instrument–but also the drums, bass, synthesizer and a large number of other instruments that he utilized during his illustrious career.
Defining Tacks: Purple Rain, Raspberry Beret
When a musical legend dies, the world comes to a halt briefly. It’s even more tragic when a musician with so much potential ahead of him or her has their life cut short.