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Bradley Nowell


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Bradley James Nowell (commonly known as Brad Nowell) (February 22, 1968 – May 25, 1996), was an influential ska musician, who served as lead singer and guitarist of rock band Sublime. At the age of twenty-eight, shortly before the release of Sublime’s major label debut album, Sublime, Nowell succumbed to a fatal heroin overdose. Some critics have said that if he had not died before the release of Sublime’s major label debut album, Nowell would have become a major rock icon during the 1990s.

Despite the fact that he died before his band Sublime became famous, Nowell has become a pop culture icon arguably in the tradition of the late Kurt Cobain, to whom Nowell is occasionally compared. In the August 12, 1996, Time Magazine article “When the Music’s Over,” Christopher John Farley wrote, “Nowell might have been to ska what Kurt Cobain was to grunge — a big, blazing talent who introduces the mainstream to a new musical world. Nowell, however, played the Cobain role a bit too well, and Sublime, like Nirvana, will be best remembered as a band with history-making potential that perished before its full potential — or, in Sublime’s case, before most Americans had even heard of it.”

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