Morrissey took a lengthy hiatus after moving from his native England to Los Angeles. His solo career continued in 2004 with “You Are the Quarry.” He released his autobiography in 2013 and then a novel in 2015.
He’s had a few albums in the twenty-teens, including “Low in High School” in 2017, a cover album “California Son” in 2019, and “I Am Not a Dog on a Chain” in 2020. His unflinching quality in the music he’s produced has led to him being called one of the greatest lyricists in British history.
Hall & Oates
For fifty years, Daryl Hall and John Oates worked together in a career for the ages. They churned out plenty of hits, including “Out of Touch” and “Kiss On My List,” and managed to remain close friends throughout – a relative rarity.
When asked how they were able to stay professional together for so long in a 1983 interview, Oates replied that they knew they had creative differences and still had to work hard to get past them. Their friendship has paid off in a big way, being the third best-selling musical duo of all time. They've sold more than forty million albums globally.
Hall & Oates Today
This outstanding musical duo made it into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2016, they earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a year later, they announced they would be touring the United States for almost the entire summer.
Of all things, John Oates has related that neither of them has ever liked being called “Hall & Oates,” saying it's not anything they've ever wanted or liked. On all of their albums, they're credited as "Daryl Hall and John Oates". The duo embarked on their very first Latin American tour in 2019 and later performed in Spain for the first time.
Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars
With piercing blue eyes and a charming persona, Leto was destined for musical stardom. His band, Thirty Seconds to Mars, has sold millions of albums worldwide and has won a healthy number of awards.
Leto went on record about wanting to create music that had cohesiveness and a kind of atmospheric musical story to it. Leto also directed all of the band's music videos, including “The Kill,” “Kings and Queens,” and “Up in the Air.” It wasn't the only entertainment venture where Leto would make a name for himself.
Jared Leto Today
Leto has turned into a classic Hollywood triple threat. Thanks to his role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” he won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for best supporting actor. He's been in “Fight Club” and famously dripped a mess out of his bright green trousers as The Joker in “Suicide Squad.”
He's a method actor and researches his roles down to the finest details. He stays completely in character during the shooting process, which must be great for everybody else that works on the films. Or not.
Dave Grohl of Nirvana and The Foo Fighters
He has one of the most impressive rock resumes in history, and he's been instrumental in the development of three important bands. He got his start with the band Nirvana, which set the stage for the grunge genre early in the nineties.
After Nirvana came apart, he went on to form his own band, the Foo Fighters, which are classic examples of new rock, with ten studio albums to their names. Grohl has also been heavily involved with The Queens of the Stone Age, another famous rock band, and he shows no signs of stopping.
Dave Grohl Today
In 2012 it was estimated that Grohl was the third-wealthiest drummer in the entire world, behind only unstoppable names like Ringo Starr and Phil Collins. He's one of the most influential drummers in the world today, but his skills aren't just behind the kit – he adds his voice and skills on the guitar to the bands he works with, too.
Off-stage, Grohl is an advocate for LGBT+ rights and also writes frequently about the dangers of substance abuse, stating he keeps as clean as possible. No doubt, the loss of his friend Kurt Cobain so early in life is part of his reasoning.
In 1979, when Pat Benatar's first album came out, it reached number 12 in the US. Her next output was the EP that contained “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” which broke into the US Top Ten, selling more than a million copies and getting to gold status.
Benatar was a lady of the eighties. She saw further success with songs such as “Shadows of the Night” and “Love is a Battlefield.” Thanks to these songs and plenty more, which you'll still hear on the radio, Benatar turned into one of the best female rock stars ever.
Pat Benatar Today
She's had four Grammys and two RIAA-certified multi-platinum albums, but Pat Benatar has only released one album of new material since her 1997 output, “Innamorata.” In 2003 she released the album “Go,” but it didn't have nearly as much success as much of her other material.
She released a holiday song in 2015 entitled “One December Night” and recorded a song in 2017 called “Shine” in support of the Women's March, though it wasn't even as successful as the march, and that's saying something. In 2017 she also released “Dancing Through the Wreckage,” which was the lead single for the documentary “Served Like a Girl.”
Billy Idol's first claim to fame was as part of the punk rock band Generation X. He quickly moved on to a solo career, finding huge success with singles such as “Dancing with Myself” and “White Wedding.” He was part of the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” in the United States, which saw the popularity of punk rockers grow quickly.
In 1994, his rocker lifestyle got the better of him, causing him to collapse outside a club. In 1998 Idol made a cameo appearance in the Adam Sandler movie "The Wedding Singer." As for his music career, it had pretty much been on the decline since the 90s.
Billy Idol Today
Billy Idol's first album in twelve years came in 2005, jumping him back into the music scene. In 2006 he returned to performing and collaborated with other artists on their records. His eighth studio album came in October 2014. He'd been working on it for four years, and “Kings & Queens of the Underground” ended up performing well.
Idol still shows no signs of slowing down to either his music or his life. In early 2020 he starred in a public service campaign called “Billy Never Idles” about air pollution caused by idling vehicles in New York City.
Jon Bon Jovi
Unlike many of the rock bands and teen music heartthrobs from the eighties, Jon Bon Jovi never went off the rails. When his band Bon Jovi started in 1983, the band's success boomed from the word go. They started recording albums and performing worldwide sold-out tours, and their list of hits is spectacular, including “Livin' On A Prayer” and “It's My Life.”
To date, the band has sold more than a hundred million records worldwide. Jon was a standout musician, able to create both soulful rhythms and blistering solos from his guitar. He's been called one of the most powerful and influential people in the music business and the sexiest rock star in the world.
Jon Bon Jovi Today
Jon Bon Jovi still tours around the world, happy to perform for his millions of adoring fans. Aside from his music, Bon Jovi has also become big in the philanthropy world. He often makes public appearances for the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and his own charity, The Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which works to address hunger and homelessness in the United States.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 after winning the 2017 fan ballot with over eleven million votes. He has been married to his wife Dorothea since 1989 and has three sons.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith
Consistent problems with certain substances tended to overshadow Aerosmith's output in the seventies, but they still made hit after hit. Frontman Steven Tyler, in particular, had big problems keeping himself in check.
He had to enter rehab in the eighties, which helped reignite the band. Their 1989 album “Pump” sold over five million copies in the U.S. alone and also produced three top-ten hits. Tyler's performance, in particular, was award-winning, earning the band its first Grammy award. Of course, the band had a good number of hits before this, but it shot the band into the upper level of rock musicians.
Steven Tyler of Aerosmith - Today
Tensions in the band had always been there, and between 2009 and 2010, they reached an all-time high. Tyler relapsed into his bad habits, fell off the stage during a performance, and then joined “American Idol” as a judge without telling them. Thankfully, after more treatment, the band came back together to make more music.
Tyler and his songwriting partner Joe Perry won the ASCAP Founders Award and joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tyler wasn't done, releasing his first solo album in 2016, “We're All Somebody from Somewhere.” While the album was nothing mind-blowing, it got generally favorable reviews. It got to number one on the US Top Country Albums list.
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt
Surprising as it might be, Stefani got her start as part of the rock band No Doubt, which released the hits “Don't Speak” and “Just a Girl” to great acclaim in the mid-nineties. Gwen's difficult relationship with fellow band member Tony Kanal was big tabloid news.
The band is still active, but Gwen ventured into a solo career in pop music, releasing her first studio album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.” in 2004. The album included the hits “Hollaback Girl” and “Rich Girl.” It was number seventy-two on the US Billboard 200 for the entire decade.
Gwen Stefani Today
Stefani has now ventured outside of music. She created her own clothing line, which was heavily inspired by Japanese culture. She was with the British musician Gavin Rossdale between 2002 and 2016, and the two had three sons together. Stefani's solo career has won her numerous awards.
Among the number include a World Music Award, an American Music Award, a Brit Award, and two “Billboard” Music Awards. Recently Gwen has joined the TV reality series “The Voice” as a judge, and she has been dating co-judge Blake Shelton since then. She's been in TV shows and movies, most famously in “The Aviator.”
Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones
Few are luckier when it comes to the consequences of their dangerous habits than Keith Richards. As a founding member of The Rolling Stones, he was one of the rock legends that still inspires young musicians. The band produced unforgettable hits like “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” and “Jumpin' Jack Flash,” as well as plenty more.
Richards often said that two writers on a song are better than one, and so he regularly worked with others, most often Steve Jordan. It must have worked since he joined the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993. But his bad habits came back to bite him.
Keith Richards Today
Not only did Richards struggle through his hardy rocker lifestyle, but a freak accident while in Fiji in 2006 almost took his life. It happened during The Rolling Stones' 2006 European tour, forcing them to reschedule a big number of shows.
Richards suffered a head injury when he climbed a tree to gather coconuts and fell out. At first, it was just a concussion, but it was later found to be far more serious, with him needing life-saving surgery. Thankfully, he made it. As for his relationship with Mick Jagger, he thinks the man is a snob but still loves him dearly.
Gene Simmons of KISS
Crazy face paint, outrageous antics, and wild, energetic music made KISS an unforgettable band for anybody who loved rock. They ruled the rock charts for most of the seventies, and if you're a fan of classic rock, you could probably belt out some of their hits (like “I Was Made For Loving You” and “Crazy Nights”) without having to look the lyrics up.
They've sold an astounding one hundred million records since they first hit the stage. Their wide mass appeal and fun music are just a few of the things that attracted fans to them.
Gene Simmons Today
KISS joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in December 2013 and shortly after advertised a joint tour with Def Leppard. Gene Simmons, frontman for the band, has also become an entrepreneur, an actor, and a television personality.
He started his own magazine – “Gene Simmons Tongue Magazine” – his own label, Simmons Records, and even an animated series, “My Dad the Rock Star.” Thanks to these ventures, as well as the band, of course, it's estimated that Simmons has a net worth of three hundred million, making him one of the wealthiest rockers in the world.
Corey Taylor of Slipknot
Slipknot had a lot more than just their unique brand of metal music going for them. Their wild costumes, bizarre performances, and unforgettable videos grew a huge fanbase, and despite most record labels considering them unsignable, they became one of the heralds of the evolving music scene.
Behind the masks, however, frontman Corey Taylor was riding the wrong kind of high. He turned to drink to try to get away from the problems plaguing his life. It resulted in low spirits for Taylor. His ex-wife Scarlett helped talk him down both times.
Corey Taylor Today
Taylor knew he had no choice but to address his life's issues head-on or risk hurting the people he loved. The Slipknot frontman bid farewell to the drink before launching a new brand of alternative metal, Stone Sour, in 2006. The band's first album in that same year, “Come What(ever) May,” got the group a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance with the single “30/30-150.”
Taylor himself has been ranked at number eighty-six in “Hit Parader's Top 100 Metal Vocalists of All Time” list and has also been listed the seventh greatest heavy metal frontman by “NME.” We're all glad you're still around, Corey.
Joel And Benji Madden of Good Charlotte
Through the beginning of the new millennium, Joel and Benji Madden had incredible popularity thanks to their band Good Charlotte. They broke through into the mainstream with their album “The Young and the Hopeless” thanks to the hit song “Lifestyles of The Rich and the Famous.”
They represented a hard-charging skate-punk aesthetic but combined it with a melodious pop sound and the spooky mascara sensibilities of 80s goth music. The band went on for a bit and then announced a hiatus in 2011 via an interview with “Rolling Stone."
Joel And Benji Madden Today
While the band was on hiatus, the Madden brothers still put out some music. The band came back together in 2015, and soon after, they made the announcement that they had put out the single “Makeshift Love,” and they would perform the song at their first concert since the hiatus in November 2015.
Their sixth studio album came out in 2016, “Youth Authority.” The brothers have grown up a little and are now family men. Joel married TV personality, fashion designer (and daughter of Lionel Richie) Nicole Richie, while Benji is married to actress Cameron Diaz. Both marriages are still going strong, which is always nice to see.
Debbie Harry of Blondie
As the lead singer of the new wave band Blondie, Debbie Harry was a constant part of the music charts during the seventies and eighties. The band and Harry saw great success with hits such as “Call Me,” “The Tide Is High,” “Atomic,” and “Rapture.”
The band took a hiatus, and the time gave Debbie a chance to work on her first solo album. “KooKoo” came out in the same year, and it also saw Harry starting an acting career. The band regrouped the following year, but the band split up for good in 1982, after which Harry was able to put all of her focus on her solo career.
Debbie Harry Today
As a tried-and-true punk icon, Debbie Harry is still one of those names that fans of the era will talk at length about. She released a total of five solo albums. She seems to love touring since she not only tours with her own material, but she also is ready to join Blondie whenever they get back together for a few shows.
Harry worked with the band Arcade Fire while they performed at Coachella, and then she started a residency for several weeks at the Cafe Carlyle in New York in 2015. Thanks to the length and output of her career, she was able to join VH1's “100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.”
Angus Young of AC/DC
Joined by his brother Malcolm, Angus Young formed a little band you might find familiar: AC/DC. Their first album in 1975, “High Voltage,” got them started, and then four more followed in short order. In 1979, however, they released “Highway to Hell,” which was their springboard to international fame – before, they really only had much of a fanbase in their home country of Australia.
Their lead singer Bon Scott died in 1979, and then the band released “Back in Black” in his honor. No doubt you've heard of this album since it's only the second highest-selling album of all time. EVER. The only song that tops it is Michael Jackson's “Thriller.”
Angus Young Today
AC/DC joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, and their success has continued ever since. In 2010 they released an album of songs that were part of the soundtrack for the Marvel movie “Iron Man 2,” and it became a huge success worldwide thanks to the movie.
In 2014 Young's brother Malcolm had to pull out of the band due to health issues, which meant Angus was the only remaining member. When Angus joined Axl Rose for their dual world tour, Angus's nephew was able to join and help out. He's still rocking that schoolboy outfit to the delight of fans around the world.
Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones
As the lead singer of, and one of the founding members of, The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger's spot in rock history is assured. We could list hits like “Paint It Black” and “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction” until we're blue in the face, and they have as many awards as you can count.
Jagger joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. His unprecedented career has also seen him get into the UK Music Hall of Fame with the rest of the Stones, and he's even been made a knight – Sir Mick Jagger. He earned it in 2003 after decades of musical achievement.
Mick Jagger Today
With an estimated net worth of $360 million, Mick Jagger has been described as one of the popular and influential rock and rollers the music world has yet to produce. He, with the Stones or through his solo career, has had millions of record sales worldwide, and he has plenty of other ventures. He's known in the tabloids as a man who keeps getting married, even though the marriages don't tend to hold out for very long.
The most famous of his relationships was with American model and actress Jerry Hall. Currently, he is married to Melanie Hamrick, and the two have two children together.
Eddie Van Halen
Go to any list of greatest guitarists of all time, and you're going to see Eddie Van Halen. There's a pretty good chance he'll be up near the top if not in the number one spot. His big, bright smile, undeniable chops, and fun guitar design elements have made him an icon in the guitar world specifically, but also in the music world as a whole.
He was one of the co-founders of the wonderful band Van Halen, which was born in 1972, and they've released more than ten albums, each one featuring Eddie Van Halen and his brother Alex. The debate still rages: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar?
Eddie Van Halen Today
There's no understating how big Eddie Van Halen's influence was in the rock and roll world. In 2012 he was voted as number one in a “Guitar World” magazine reader's poll for “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” That very same year, Eddie underwent surgery that forced him to delay a tour by six whole months as he recovered.
During his lifetime, Eddie donated more than seventy-five guitars to The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation, which provides guitars to young musicians who can't afford them. Sadly, Eddie died in 2020 due to complications from a stroke, and his son Wolfgang, a member of the band once he was old enough, announced there was no Van Halen with Eddie.
Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath
He was one of the most controversial and outrageous rock performers of all time. From his legendary substance use to the time he bit off a bat's head (he didn't know it was a real bat), he garnered both international condemnation and international acclaim thanks to his writing and singing talents.
Thanks to the success of Black Sabbath, Ozzy was able to start a solo career marked with hits like “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” but his career has always been marked with a few too many trips to rehab.
Ozzy Osbourne Today
While he's had plenty of medical issues due to his dependencies on classic rock and roll favorites, he's still around and kicking. He's in a well-known relationship with his wife Sharon, and their three children (Aimee, Kelly, and Jack) are glad to still have their dad around and are always there to give him the stability he needs.
The family (minus Aimee) had a reality TV show titled “The Osbournes,” which let people see into their wild personal lives. Ozzy is still putting out music every once in a while, and he also appears in a few movies, though mostly as himself.
Once the guitarist of the Amboy Dukes, Ted Nugent practiced his skills from 1965 until 1975, but in 1975 he dropped the band name and started putting out music under his own name with the same musicians. He was signed to Epic Records with Derek St. Holmes, Rob Grange, and Clifford Davies, and the foursome released albums “Ted Nugent,” “Free-for-All,” and “Cat Scratch Fever.”
Long before it was a video game, he was a real guitar hero. He joined a few bands in the eighties but went solo again for good in 1995. His lightspeed solos are still melting faces off.
Ted Nugent Today
Nugent still performs and releases music, but nowadays, he's probably more well known for his outspoken beliefs that go against the standard rock line. He's a strong advocate of hunting and is a major supporter of certain political beliefs that often lands him in public feuds, especially with his fellow musicians.
Even Paul McCartney has been known to clash with rocker, though we doubt that old Nugent feels troubled by any of it. He has his fanbase. In 2011 he released the song “I Still Believe” for free.
Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy
Pete Wentz is the most famous member of the punk rock band Fall Out Boy, but he wasn’t always. He was always a singer, but it’s not often the bassist of the group garners so much acclaim. Still, he’s the one associated the most with the band. Fall Out Boy was the biggest part of the emo rock scene in the new millennium but decided to take a hiatus in 2009.
Wentz created the dub-step group Black Cards, as well as focused on settling into family life with his now ex-wife Ashlee Simpson. Things are a bit of trouble for the Black Cards, with two band members leaving and lots of release delays.
Pete Wentz Today
In January of 2013, Fall Out Boy came back. Their hiatus was over, and they were ready to release new music, including a single from their upcoming album. The single came with a new music video and an upcoming tour, and then the album (“Save Rock and Roll”) dropped.
When he isn’t working on his music, Pete is also an active philanthropist. His biggest partnership is with The Jed Foundation’s Half of Us campaign, for which he is a spokesperson. The program is aimed at helping teens at risk.
Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe
When you think about crazy rock musicians, you’re thinking about Motley Crue – whether you know it or not. The band’s drummer, Tommy Lee, made a name for himself both as a member as well as for his outrageous lifestyle off the stage. Motley Crue has sold more than a million records worldwide, thanks in part to their hit singles “Dr. Feelgood” and “Girls, Girls, Girls.”
Success is attractive, which may be the most likely explanation for how Tommy Lee married world-famous model and actress Pamela Anderson after an on-and-off relationship. They had a pair of children before later divorcing.
Tommy Lee Today
Tommy Lee was ready to try other things. He starred in a reality TV series called “Tommy Lee Goes to College” in 2005 that revealed his wild and “unscripted” behavior to the world, but this time it was in a university instead of on stage. He published a memoir, “Tommyland,” in 2004 that detailed his life up to that point.
In 2014 Motley Crue decided to make their last big push, reuniting for a final tour with all four members. The members all had to sign a contract agreeing they wouldn’t appear for any future performances under the name, and the tour ran until the end of 2015.
Courtney Love of Hole
Formed in 1989, Hole was Courtney Love’s path to stardom. While her performances, as well as the lyrics she both wrote and sang, turned her into a highly-discussed figure, it was her relationship with fellow musician Kurt Cobain that really made her part of the rumor mill.
The relationship drew plenty of public attention, and it only got worse after the end of Cobain’s life. In 1994 it seemed like Love was starting to spiral out of control. At one show, she even halted her singing and started to cry about her lost relationship with Cobain.
Courtney Love Today
After a tiring series of legal and abuse issues, Love was court-ordered to attend rehab in 2005. She was able to clean up her act and get the help she needed and made a return to music, having written a number of songs while she was in rehab. Between the years 2012 and 2014, she performed again, even completing a solo tour of the US in mid-2013.
Love has spread herself out a little bit, taking up several different ventures. She's developed her own fashion line and even picked up some acting roles. Neither of those activities is very out-of-left-field for someone who was in music; she is a performer, after all. After Love cleaned herself up, she was able to reunite with her estranged daughter, Frances Bean.
Take a look at that “Greatest Of All Time Guitarists” list again, and you're going to see Eric Clapton. He's also going to be near the top A LOT. He's also going to be found on lists of best musicians overall, too. This English master of rock and blues jumped between a number of different bands before landing with the Yardbirds in 1963, though he left just a few years later.
He then joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. After Mayall, Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker, and bassist Jack Bruce formed what is widely regarded as the first supergroup, Cream.
Eric Clapton Today
Due to tensions between Bruce and Baker, Cream didn't last all that long, disbanding in 1968, only two years after its formation. Clapton went on to produce a successful solo career, selling more than a hundred million records and becoming one of the best-selling musicians around the world.
He's garnered plenty of acclaim for his work, too, earning eighteen Grammy Awards. He won a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Even though he's into his seventies now, Clapton isn't ready to hang it up just yet and has plans to go on tour in Europe in 2021.
Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin
With the combination of a powerful voice and electrifying stage presence, Robert Plant became a rocker that every self-respecting fan of music needed to see live at least once. He got his start in professional music back in 1968 when he became the lead singer of Led Zeppelin.
After working his way into Jimmy Page's good graces, Plant began to write songs for the band, including hits such as “Immigrant Song,” “Thank You,” and “The Rain Song.” Plant enjoyed success with the band from his time joining until 1980, when Led Zeppelin disbanded following drummer John Bonham's death.
Robert Plant Today
A few years before the end of the band, Plant's five-year-old son Karac died while Plant was touring. Plant spent some time questioning his future. After the end of Led, he considered leaving music but eventually decided to try his hand at a solo career and went on to garner quite a bit of success.
Aside from his solo albums, Plant has also had big musical collaborations. His unique style not only made him a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but it also influenced plenty of names you might also be familiar with, including Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses, Freddie Mercury of Queen, and Jack White of The White Stripes.
Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best known as a founding member and lead vocalist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis is a singer-songwriter and rapper. The start of this band was about as serendipitous as you could come up with. A local California band asked Kiedis to be their opening act in 1983, and Kiedis roped in a couple of classmates, Hillel Slovak and Michael Balzary (later known as Flea), as well as drummer Jack Irons to back him up.
After the show, the band decided to try and do something, and that lineup became the first iteration of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though not the one that went to stardom.
Anthony Kiedis Today
Anthony Kiedis is still performing with the rest of the Peppers. The band now consists of Kiedis, bassist Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist John Frusciante. They've produced eleven studio albums, and though Kiedis's lyrical and performing style has changed over the years, he's always been a dynamic force on stage.
Along with the rest of the band, Kiedis joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. Like many other members of this list, he had substance problems, but in the year 2000, he cleaned up. He had a few small acting roles before becoming big in music, including a cameo in the film “Point Break.”
Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam
If you like Pearl Jam, there's no doubt you know that Vedder is a big part of what makes the band so good. He's regarded as one of the top vocalists and singers of all time. He's the lead vocalist of the band, and he's one of three guitarists as well as the primary lyricist.
Calling him a big part of the band almost seems to be doing him a disservice. He was recruited to join Pearl Jam in 1990 after appearing as a guest vocalist in Temple of the Dog, a supergroup that included a few other members of Pearl Jam.
Eddie Vedder Today
Pearl Jam is still going strong. They've released eleven albums, including 2020's “Gigaton,” and Vedder has also embarked on a solo career of his own. His first album was in 2007, a soundtrack for the film “Into the Wild.” His second album, “Ukulele Sounds,” came out in 2011, as well as a live DVD of a concert performance called “Water on the Road.”
To the surprise of no one, Vedder, as well as the other members of Pearl Jam, joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017. Fun fact: The original drummer for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack Irons, was briefly a member of Pearl Jam.
He was born Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, but the world knows him as English musician Sting. He began as the lead singer, bassist, and even the principal songwriter for the new wave rock band The Police between 1977 and 1984, which soared to the top of the charts, including with the hit “Every Breath You Take.”
They pulled off quite the feat with numerous (five) UK chart-topping albums, won six Grammy Awards, and two Brit Awards. The band's initial sound was heavily punk rock, but they began to blend styles like reggae rock and “minimalist pop.”
While The Police never formally broke up – they had a reunion tour as late as 2008 – the members all started to gravitate to their solo careers, including Sting. The powerhouse proved that he could carry music all on his own without a band behind him.
Whether it was as a solo musician or as a member of The Police, Sting has collected quite a number of awards for music, including seventeen Grammys, three Brit Awards, a Golden Globe (Best Song in a Motion Picture), and an Emmy. He, and the rest of The Police, became part of music history when they joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Paul McCartney of The Beatles
You know what Paul McCartney is famous for. Go on, sing your favorite. You know you want to. McCartney is a singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, and film producer, as well as a completely self-taught musician. He was a founding member, a co-lead vocalist, and a bassist for The Beatles (you have heard of them), a band that was at the heart of the 'British Invasion' cultural phenomena.
The records he helped create with his bandmates have stood the test of time, even though the band eventually broke up. His partnership with the late John Lennon is one of the most successful in music history.
Paul McCartney Today
When the Beatles split in 1970, McCartney was prepared. He's one of the most successful composers and performers of all time for a big reason, and his debut solo album, “McCartney,” came not long after the end of the biggest band in the world. He then became the frontman for Wings, which turned into one of the most successful bands of the seventies.
When the eighties hit, McCartney was ready for his own thing again and went back to playing solo. With decades of musical experience, McCartney has collaborated with musicians like Michael Jackson, Kanye West, and Rihanna. He also puts in a lot of time promoting international charities.
He's the Boss, as the bumper stickers say. Springsteen became one of the biggest singer-songwriters and musicians during the seventies and even started to attract international fame after “Born to Run” came out in 1975. The next few albums didn't disappoint either, with “The River,” “Born in the USA,” and “The Rising” all achieving critical acclaim.
The songs he came up with were musically complex, but his straightforward and memorable lyrics helped turn Springsteen into a musical storyteller that still hasn't been topped. Many of his songs revolve around the life of the working-class American.
Bruce Springsteen Today
The immense success of Bruce Springsteen's career has made him into a name that almost nobody can pretend to not know. He's collected twenty Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and, of all things, a Tony Award. He's also joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He starred on Broadway alongside his traditional backing band, the E Street Band, a group of musicians that would frequently have his back when he was on stage or recording. He and the band have also performed on Saturday Night Live in December 2020.
Bronx-born and Long-Island raised, Billy Joel has had a huge impact on the musical world as a whole. His standout song “Piano Man” still gets constant play on classic stations and by players who are just learning how to tickle the ivories. And how can we forget “We Didn't Start the Fire”?
Joel rose to prominence in the late seventies, and between his start in 1993, he released twelve studio albums and put out another in 2001. He's cemented himself as one of the greats, with a bit of a twist on the classic recipe – instead of wailing on an ax, Joel's chosen instrument was the piano.
Billy Joel Today
No doubt you're aware that Billy Joel is one of the biggest best-selling music artists of all time, but did you know that he's the number three best-selling solo artist in the United States, ever? He has over a hundred and fifty records sold worldwide, and he's also the sixth best-selling recording artist, not just among solo artists.
He's into his seventies now, and this member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame still tours around the world and sells out massive arenas. For music fans who have never seen the piano man live, do yourself a favor and try to find a performance near you.
Bono of U2
Bono is without a doubt the most well-known Irish musician performing today. Born Paul David Hewson, Bono is a singer-songwriter, philanthropist, activist, and more, and he's the lead vocalist and primary lyricist of rock band U2. The band began in 1976, and they rose to worldwide acclaim with the release of their 1987 record “Joshua Tree.”
Bono and U2 as a whole have received a whopping twenty-two Grammy Awards, and the band became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. The guy who carries the bass when they play even got in with them.
Bono is still rocking late into his career and life. He, along with the rest of the band, has been making guest musical appearances on talk shows such as “The Late Show With James Corden” and others. Bono is almost as well-known for his activism as he is for his music, and he often assists humanitarian groups in various forms.
He's performed in numerous benefit concerts in order to support these causes. His philanthropic efforts have become so widespread that he's met with Presidents, Prime Ministers and has even become an honorary knight by the late Queen Elizabeth II.
As a pop culture icon and unforgettable musician, Elton John got his start in music early in life when he played the piano. He began his musical career at the age of sixteen, and his rise to worldwide fame occurred when he released famous hits like “Tiny Dancer” and “Rocket Man.”
His tribute song to the deceased Princess Diana, “Candle in the Wind 1997,” was originally for something else, but he rewrote it and it went on to sell over thirty-three million copies worldwide. It's the best-selling single in the history of the United Kingdom and the UK singles charts. His flamboyant style has also helped him stand out.
Elton John Today
While Elton John might not be performing as much anymore, he still makes appearances from time to time after his immense, three-year farewell tour that started in 2018. The tour was intended to consist of more than three hundred concerts around the world, but many of the dates had to be canceled or rescheduled in 2020.
John has also reunited with creative partner Tim Rice to create music for the live-action “The Lion King” remake since he also did the music for the original animated film.
Noel Gallagher of Oasis
Starting in the nineties, brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher found huge success with their band Oasis. They turned out a couple of smash hits, “Wonderwall” and “Don't Look Back in Anger,” but their contentious relationship began to dominate the news about the band much more than their music.
They finally broke up in 2009, right before they were supposed to perform at the Rock de Seine festival. Noel stated that he simply couldn't work with Liam a day longer. How bad must it have been for two people – brothers, even – to never want to work together again?
Noel Gallagher Today
Noel went on to found a new band called Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, finding success away from his brother. Noel announced the band in 2011 at a press conference, and the same year their first album came out. The band's second album, “Chasing Yesterday,” came out in 2015.
Their third album, “Who Built the Moon?” came out in November of 2017, and that year they also headlined the “We Are Manchester” benefit concert, which helped to raise funds following the terrorist attack that happened there in May. For the last few years, they've been releasing EPs with new material.
David Coverdale of Deep Purple and Whitesnake
David Coverdale began his career as the lead singer of Deep Purple, a classic band and one of the pioneers of the heavy metal and modern hard rock genres. He was part of the band from 1973 to 1976, and then he moved on to Whitesnake, which was similarly a pioneer in the hard rock and glam metal genres.
Coverdale was making it to the top of the charts with hits like “Here I Go Again” and “Is This Love.” He has been the only consistent member of Whitesnake since it was started as a backing band for his solo career.
David Coverdale Today
While he did jump around quite a bit from project to project, David Coverdale still landed a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016. However, it was his part of the history of Deep Purple that got him onto the bill.
The same year, Whitesnake announced that they would be embarking on a “Greatest Hits” tour in both North America and Europe, playing all of their biggest tracks for arena after arena of adoring fans. Coverdale has been married to his wife Cindy since 1997, and the two have a son together.
Morrissey of The Smiths
True passion and talent came together with the frontman for The Smiths, Morrissey (born as Steven Patrick Morrissey). He's released some of the most profound and emotional lyrics since he started releasing music, helping The Smiths produce hits like “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” and “Bigmouth Strikes Again.”
When The Smiths came to an end, Morrissey didn't stop putting out music. His solo career started with “Viva Hate” in 1988, and then the albums “Kill Uncle,” “Your Arsenal,” and “Vauxhall and I.” All of them produced hit singles that stayed on the United Kingdom charts for a while.
Morrissey took a lengthy hiatus after moving from his native England to Los Angeles. His solo career continued in 2004 with “You Are the Quarry.” He released his autobiography in 2013 and then a novel in 2015.
He's had a few albums in the twenty-teens, including “Low in High School” in 2017, a cover album “California Son” in 2019, and “I Am Not a Dog on a Chain” in 2020. His unflinching quality in the music he's produced has led to him being called one of the greatest lyricists in British history.
Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses
From pretty much the moment Rose stepped onto the stage, he was gaining stardom. The first album from this legendary arena rock band, “Appetite for Destruction” reached number one on the “Billboard 200” a year after its release. The singles “Welcome to the Jungle,” “Paradise City,” and “Sweet Child o' Mine” have all attained legendary status in the rock world.
The album has sold over thirty million copies, making it the United States' best-selling debut album and the eighteenth-best selling album overall. Born in Lafayette Indiana, Axl Rose (born William Bruce Rose Jr.), moved to Los Angeles at the age of seventeen and changed his name, beginning his career.
Axl Rose Now
Rose has always been a diva, and it's hard to blame him after such a meteoric rise. Guns N' Roses were the kings, but they couldn't keep the throne forever. Axl Rose has now stepped in to provide vocals for AC/DC after singer Johnson left due to hearing loss.
Guns N' Roses have even come out with some music recently, and are said to have an album coming out soon. Singles “Absurd” and “Hard Skool” have been released from the album. However, we're unsure when the album itself will come out.
Iggy Pop of The Stooges
He was the Godfather of Punk, and he's still rocking to this day. Born James Newell Osterberg Jr. (there's a rock name for you), he adopted a raw, almost primitive style of rock, but The Stooges sold few albums when they began. As the genres of music shifted, however, he found himself coming into more and more success with the band.
Pop prefers to perform shirtless. He was one of the first performers to stage-dive and is credited with popularizing the activity. He was well-known for his wild on-stage antics and his substance abuse, for which he has often taken time away from the stage.
Iggy Pop Now
He's outlasted David Bowie, plenty of the Ramones, and lots of other fellow rockers, but Iggy Pop is still producing music. In April of 2021, he released a duet with French singer Clio titled “L'appartement.”
In January of 2020 Pop received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his part in the changing history of music. Pop has also been in a number of movies, including “The Color of Money,” “The Crow: The City of Angels,” “Snow Day,” and, bizarrely, “The Rugrats Movie.”
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails
As the founding member of Nine Inch Nails, Reznor got his start in 1988. Curiously, he was the sole member until 2016, with everything he couldn't do being relegated to studio musicians. Getting his start in synth-pop, he moved on to industrial rock.
The first Nine Inch Nails album, “Pretty Hate Machine,” was a commercial and critical success, and since then there have been eleven more albums. He's worked with Marilyn Manson (who he also helped to mentor) and formed the post-industrial group How to Destroy Angels in 2009 with frequent Nine Inch Nails collaborators Atticus Ross and Rob Sheridan, as well as Reznor's wife.
Trent Reznor Now
Starting in 2010, Reznor started working with Atticus Ross on film and television scores. The duo has scored a number of David Fincher's films, including “The Social Network,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” and “Gone Girl.” They've won several Oscars for Best Original Score, as well as Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
He's gone on record with criticisms of the music industry, focused on Universal Music Group. He's been on “Time's” list of most influential people, and “Spin” magazine described him as “the most vital artist in music.” He's also won a Primetime Emmy Award for the score to “Watchmen.”
Tom Petty of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Formed in 1976, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers had Tom Petty as the lead vocalist and guitarist. The group produced a number of hit singles, including “Don't Do Me Like That,” “Refugee,” “Don't Come Around Here No More,” and plenty more. During the eighties, Petty was also a member of the supergroup Traveling Wilburys.
Born in Florida, Petty's interest in rock and roll began when he met Elvis Presley on the set of Presley's film “Follow That Dream,” on which his uncle worked. After that, he met the Beatles and went on to drop out of high school at seventeen to play bass in his first band.
Tom Petty Now
Petty performed with the Heartbreakers during the halftime show of Super Bowl XLII in 2008, and in 2010 the band's twelfth album, “Mojo,” jumped to number two on the “Billboard 200.” The thirteenth album, “Hypnotic Eye,” debuted at number one in 2014, making it the first Heartbreakers album to make it to the spot.
His career has produced eighty million records sold worldwide, turning him into one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Petty passed on October second, 2017, only a week before the end of the Heartbreakers' fortieth anniversary tour.
Carlos Santana of Santana
Fusing Latin American and African rhythms with the growing trend of rock instrumentation, Santana immediately became that band your dad likes. And for good reason! The first album came out in 1969 after the band formed in 1967. Their performance at the legendary Woodstock festival helped launch them to fame, with their first album peaking at number four on the charts.
One of the singles from the album, “Evil Ways,” reached number nine on the “Billboard Hot 100.” Influenced by the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Joe Zawinul, Santana (the band) was an ever-changing blend of musical styles and funky riffs that get played even to this day.
Carlos Santana Now
“Rolling Stone” magazine listed Santana as number twenty on their list of the one hundred greatest guitarists. He's won ten Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards.
Santana (the man) has been married to Deborah King, daughter of blues musician Saunders King, as well as Cindy Blackman, married in 2010. He has three children and founded the Milagro (Miracle) Foundation, which provides aid for education, medical needs, and more. With Santana, he released twenty-six studio albums, and as a solo artist, he's produced another seven. That's not even counting live albums or compilations. He's also been on an episode of “Dora the Explorer.”
Slash of Guns N' Roses
It's impossible to think of hard rock stars without the aura of Slash. Wearing a top hat, keeping his hair long, and absolutely MELTING FACE with his blistering guitar chops shot the band into the atmosphere. Slash originally had horrible stage fright, until someone suggested he use his long hair to “hide.”
Apparently, this is also why he adopted his now trademark top hats. Born Saul Hudson, Slash was originally from England, named after Romanian-American cartoonist Saul Steinberg. His nickname “Slash” came to him from actor Seymour Cassel, whom he met through his mother's work.
Slash still has stage fright even to this day according to drummer Brent Fitz, even after years of playing sold-out shows. For all that, however, he's been called one of the greatest guitarists in history. He left Guns N' Roses in 1996 and co-founded Velvet Revolver. He's released four solo albums between 2010 and 2018, and returned to Guns N' Roses in 2016.
“Time” named him as the second-best electric guitarist ever (behind only Jimi Hendrix). His accidental riff from “Sweet Child o' Mine,” which he doesn't actually like all that much, got the top spot on the one hundred greatest riffs list from “Total Guitar.”
Roger Waters from Pink Floyd
He co-founded Pink Floyd in 1965, but he began just as the bassist. When original singer Syd barret left the band in 1968, Waters stepped up to not only become one of the lead vocalists, but also the main lyricist.
He's responsible for incredible albums like “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here,” “Animals,” and “The Wall,” and he helped make Floyd into one of the most commercially popular groups in music. That despite it being prog rock, for the most part. Creative differences led to Waters leaving the band in 1985 and starting a legal dispute with the rest of the band.
Roger Waters Now
After his departure from Pink Floyd, Waters kept producing music. He's put out a number of solo albums, starting in 1984 and continuing through 2017. He staged one of the largest rock concerts in history in 1990 when he played “The Wall – Live in Berlin” to an audience of a staggering 450,000.
He joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 with the other members of Pink Floyd, and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Waters has been in five marriages, first in 1969 to his childhood sweetheart Judith Trim, lastly in 2021 to Kamilah Chavis. Through the five marriages, he has three children.
Peter Gabriel of Genesis
Born in 1950, Gabriel rose to fame as the original singer for one of the original prog-rock bands, Genesis. He left the band when he was twenty-five (having joined it at seventeen), and went on to start a successful solo career, starting with the single “Solsbury Hill.” His album “So” from 1986 is his best-selling release, certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the United States.
According to an MTV report, the album's single “Sledgehammer” is their most played music video of all time. Always a fan of world music, he co-founded the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) in 1982.
Peter Gabriel Now
Gabriel has one of the most extensive trophy cases in music history. He's won three Brit Awards (including “Best British Male” in 1987), six Grammy Awards, thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, and more. “Time” has named him one of the most influential people in the world in 2008. AllMusic has described Gabriel as one of the most ambitious and innovative musicians in rock.
He's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, first with Genesis in 2010, and then as a solo artist in 2014. In 2015, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia for his achievements in music.
James Hetfield of Metallica
Combining intricate rhythms and incredible solos, Hetfield is the quintessential metal guitarist. His start to fame was answering an ad by drummer Lars Ulrich in the newspaper, leading him to co-found one of the most famous metal bands ever in 1981.
Born in 1963 to a light opera singer and a truck driver, Hetfield began his music with piano lessons at nine, before trying out drums and then finally guitar. He's said that Aerosmith was his main musical inspiration as a child, and why he wanted to play guitar.
James Hetfield Now
With Metallica, Hetfield has received nine Grammy Awards from ten studio albums, three live albums, and four EPs. He's been called one of the best metal guitarists from a number of sources. Though he struggled mightily with substance and anger issues, his marriage to Francesca Tomasi has helped him get control of his vices.
Hetfield apparently also likes skateboarding but has broken his arm so many times that he has a clause in his contract not to skateboard while touring. Hetfield enjoys hunting, farming, and beekeeping, of all things. He's also expressed his disdain for celebrities who soapbox their opinions and has said that politics drive him crazy.
Neil Young of Many Bands and Solo Career
Crazy Horse. Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Buffalo Springfield. If you've been following music for a while, then these names are all going to mean one thing: the singing and playing of Neil Young.
Born in Toronto, Canada in 1945, Young was the child of journalist and sportswriter Scott and housewife Edna. Young suffered from Polio during an outbreak in 1952, and the family moved around a lot. His love of music began as a child when he spent much of his free time listening to the radio. He idolized Elvis, and his first success at music came in the sixties with the single “Flying on the Ground is Wrong.”
Neil Young Now
Young has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, in 1995 as a solo artist and in 1997 with Buffalo Springfield. “Rolling Stone” named him one of the top one hundred greatest musical artists in 2000.
His long career was defined by his guitar work, personal lyrics, and high tenor singing voice, though he could also play piano, harmonica, and more. He combined folk, rock, and country, and has even been called the “Godfather of Grunge” thanks to the distortion he put on his guitar. A full twenty-one of his albums and singles have been either gold or platinum.
Tom Waits of His Solo Career
If you drank a glass of gravel and molasses, your voice might sound as deep and rich as that of Tom Waits. With dry humor, a low, crackling lyrical style, and songs about the seedy underbelly of society, Waits dropped out of high school during his senior year and started working in music, starting with jazz but moving on to incorporate blues, rock, and even vaudeville.
Taking inspiration from Bob Dylan and the Beat Generation, he worked as a songwriter in Los Angeles in the early seventies before he got his own contract, releasing his first album, “Closing Time,” in 1973.
Tom Waits Now
Despite being in his seventies, Waits is still active. Neil Young inducted him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Waits married his frequent collaborator Kathleen Brennan in 1980, and the two are still married today. They have three children, the youngest born in 1983.
Waits and his family have become almost reclusive, with their privacy and safety becoming more and more important. He doesn't enjoy answering questions about his life and has refused to sanction any biography. He's not only part of the one hundred greatest singers according to “Rolling Stone,” but the one hundred greatest songwriters, as well.
Joan Jett of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
It's hard to come up with a female rock star more tried-and-true than Joan Jett. Tough as nails, brilliantly talented, and with a voice somewhere between heaven and hell, Jett led her band to the number one spot on the charts with “I Love Rock 'n Roll” in 1982.
Born in 1958, Jett received her first guitar at the age of thirteen but gave up quickly because her instructor kept trying to teach her folk songs. She got her glam rock style from Rodney Bingenheimer's English Disco in Los Angeles. She changed her name from Joan Marie Larkin to Joan Jett during the seventies because she thought it had a rock-star quality to it.
Joan Jett Now
With three albums that have been certified either platinum or gold, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts were a lock for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. She's on the “Rolling Stone” one hundred greatest guitarists of all time at number eighty-seven, in 2013 she was named West Hollywood's Rock Legend, and in 2014 she received a Golden God Award.
Jett has also been in a number of movies and television shows, mostly as herself. However, she has provided her voice and image for a few fictional characters as well. These include roles in “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “Steven Universe,” and “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.”
Stevie Wonder of His Solo Career
Despite being blind since shortly after his birth, Little Stevie Wonder was plenty young when he first hit the charts in 1969 with “My Cherie Amour.” Wonder is the youngest artist to ever top the “Billboard” Hot 100 with the single “Fingertips” when he was only thirteen.
His hits like “Superstition,” “Living for the City,” and “Higher Ground” got him even greater fame. During his heyday, his music was so groundbreaking, so memorable, and so highly-regarded that Paul Simon, when he won the Grammy for best album, thanked Wonder, since Wonder hadn't released an album that year.
Stevie Wonder Now
Few musical artists could possibly do what Wonder has achieved, even if they do have their sight. Wonder reshaped the world of music – rock and R&B specifically – and is well-lauded for it.
His trio of albums in 1973, 1974, and 1976 all won the Grammy for Album of the Year, not only did they tie the record for most Album of the Year wins, but they made him the only artist to have three consecutive albums win the award. With over a hundred million records sold worldwide, he's one of the best-selling musical artists of all time. Best of all, he's still in action!
Freddie Mercury of Queen
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, but even it isn't as hot as Freddie was during his heyday. Born Farrokh Bulsara in 1946, Mercury is regarded as one of the greatest lead singers in the history of rock music. His flamboyant personality and four-octave vocal range certainly helped, but he also helped define conventions of a lead singer with his theatrical performances.
He was responsible for one of the most famous rock songs ever, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” but he also wrote “We Are the Champions,” “Don't Stop Me Now,” “Killer Queen,” and more. He formed Queen alongside Brian May and Roger Taylor in 1970, and he performed and recorded with them all the way up to his passing.
Freddie Mercury Now
Mercury died in 1991 and was posthumously featured on Queen's final album “Made in Heaven,” which was released in 1995. His tribute concert in Wembley Stadium sold out all seventy-two thousand tickets in just three hours. Along with the rest of Queen, Mercury is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though he was inducted posthumously.
Both before and after his death, Mercury received numerous accolades, including being ranked as number fifty-eight on the BBC's poll of the one hundred greatest Britons. He's one of the greatest Britons! The list includes Sir Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton, and Alfred the Great.