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."