Top 14 Misbehaving Rock Stars That Became Legends 

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Rock stars lead incredible lives, and often, their antics overshadow their musical achievements. Despite being known for frequently despicable behavior, many became and remained legends, and misbehaving played a crucial part in it. Money, fame, drugs, alcohol, busy touring schedules, women, and admiration from fans only fueled these often self-destructive behaviors. Here are some prime examples of rock stars whose infamy made them immortal.  

Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols overdosed at 21, but despite his short and disturbing life, he became a legend. Vicious had an addiction, as was his late girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. Though he died four months before the trial, Vicious was believed to be behind his girlfriend’s brutal murder. To this day, there are many inconsistencies regarding Spungen’s death in the Chelsea Hotel on October 12th, 1978. Vicious did not care about the law and was known to be a troublemaker and indulge in self-mutilation, making many point out that he lived up to his stage name, Vicious. 

GG Allin

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The punk rock musician died at 36 of a heroin overdose. Apart from substance abuse, GG Allin is best known for eating his feces and mutilating himself on stage, so he might be the most shocking musician to date. His behavior reflects abuse from a strictly religious family. Yet, his antics were too much even for most experienced rock lovers. He would eat the feces and smear them around the stage, spend time in and out of jail, and hang out with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was in prison. Just hours before overdosing, he started riots outside the venue. 

Axl Rose 

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Musician and lead singer of Guns N’ Roses, Axl Rose, had it all: the voice, the looks, the fame, and the supermodel girlfriend, Stephanie Seymour. A year after their first album, the band was one of the largest on the planet. However, Rose was arrested numerous times before fame, and things only worsened with fame. His emotional outbursts and anger issues could not be hidden. In Rose’s defense, he spoke about abuse in childhood and was reportedly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication. Mixing medications with alcohol or drugs only worsened his state of mind. Rose also faced several accusations of abuse and worse. 

Keith Moon

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Keith Moon of The Who, often called “Moon the Loon,” justified his nickname numerous times. Moon’s energy was engraved in the band’s DNA. Yet, the famous drummer, who overdosed on pills that were supposed to help fight alcoholism, was also known for excessive energy in destroying hotel rooms and equipment and knocking his teeth out. He also loved alcohol, pills, and groupies and was banned by every major hotel in the world. Moon died at 32. 


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The late Motörhead frontman might be one of history’s most notorious rock stars. Many were amazed that Lemmy lived to be 70 because of his excessive drug and alcohol use. He admitted he drank a bottle of Jack Daniel’s every single day, took speed for 30 years, had run-ins with the law, and was rumored to have slept with over 2,000 women. Lemmy also collected Nazi memorabilia, though he repeated numerous times that he was a collector, not a fan. 

Nikki Sixx

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Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx overdosed and died for two minutes in 1987. After he got back to Earth, he went home to celebrate with more heroin. Sixx and Tommy Lee were known as “Terror Twins,” and they pushed each other to the extremes. To this day, no one knows how Sixx survived his drug abuse. Sixx said that alcohol, acid, and cocaine were affairs, but heroin was love. The whole band was notorious for their lifestyle in the 80s, even by rock’ n’ roll standards.  

Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzy was not named the Prince of Darkness for nothing. According to Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, the heavy metal legend snorted up a line of fire ants. He was arrested multiple times, and each arrest was more bizarre than the previous one. Ozzy, who rose to fame as a member of Black Sabbath, was arrested for peeing on the Alamo Cenotaph, spent time in prison over burglary, had several unfortunate events with animals, and even tried to kill his wife, Sharon, in one of his substance fueled moments. The heavy metal musician does not recall much of his youth, though he spent a better part of the 90s trying to get clean.  

Courtney Love 

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Hole’s frontman and Kurt Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, always led a troubled life. Love’s addiction was so strong that she even admitted using heroin while pregnant with Frances Bean Cobain. The daughter later recalled how her mom was always on some drugs and that her addiction allegedly killed Frances’ two pets. Love, who has been in and out of rehabs for decades, once declared that meth made her better at math. On top of that, Love reportedly has a violent history, and according to her ex-husband, James Moreland, she tried to burn his bed when he was sleeping.  

Dave Navarro

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Jane Addiction Dave Navarro always had an aura of mystery around him, bringing him the attention of many female fans. But much of Navarro’s life was influenced by the murder of his mother when he was 15. He explained that addiction, in his and many other cases, comes from trauma, and before turning 18, he was on heroin. Today, Navarro advocates mental health and lives much of his life out of the spotlight. But, at some point, things got so bad that Hugh Hefner even banned him from the Playboy Mansion. If his behavior was too much for Hefner, you know it was beyond excessive. 

Duff McKagan

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Another member of Guns N’ Roses, bassist Duff McKagan, began smoking cannabis while in fourth grade, drinking in fifth, and LSD in sixth. In junior high, he started using cocaine and stealing cars. He said himself that his brain was drowning in alcohol and drugs, and his life was in danger numerous times. One day, he drank so much that his pancreas exploded, causing third-degree burns in McKagan’s body. He recently spoke about his mental health struggles since childhood and praised his wife for helping him with his sobriety. 

Billy Idol 

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Idol’s debaucherous behavior is well documented, and the former party animal’s visit to Thailand is nothing short of extraordinary. He trashed the hotel so severely that, reportedly, the military had to be called. The damage he made was worth $250,000, but that’s not all. The army supposedly tried to push Idol out, but he resisted and ended up leaving, thanks to tranquilizer darts. In another incident, he was so out of it that Mel Gibson found him unresponsive in an elevator. Idol was arrested for punching a woman. Idol’s addiction lasted for four decades, and he was addicted to everything, including women. 

Boy George

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Boy George is not the epitome of rock’n’roll, but his story is so sad, dark, and twisted that it belongs in this saga of debauchery. The Culture Club frontman did not leave his heroin habits in the 80s, like many others we talked about. In 2008, Boy George was convicted for the assault and false imprisonment of an adult worker, Audun Carlsen. The drug-crazed star chained the male escort, according to reports, and it landed him in prison for 15 months. The Brit was reportedly high on cocaine and having a psychotic episode. Audun called him a monster and argued that if he were a woman, people would take things more seriously. 

Marilyn Manson

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Way before Manson was accused of criminal sexual conduct with misdemeanor assault and battery, he raised eyebrows and was dubbed a he-devil. Aligning himself with satanism, tweeting about Charles Manson’s death, and smoking bones he and his band found near the studio made Manson one of the most notorious figures in modern music history. 

Iggy Pop 

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The godfather of punk, unstoppable Iggy Pop, has likely more tales than any other musician. Iggy’s love for hard drugs is well documented, but one of the most memorable incidents took place after he checked into the neuropsychiatric clinic at UCLA. David Bowie and Dennis Hopper tried to smuggle Pop cocaine. In another story, Alice Cooper took Iggy to a hospital after he cut himself during a performance. Bowie and Pop were arrested for smoking pot in the 70s. Fights and drugs followed Iggy throughout over five decades of musical excellence. 

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Kate Smith, a self-proclaimed word nerd who relishes the power of language to inform, entertain, and inspire. Kate's passion for sharing knowledge and sparking meaningful conversations fuels her every word.