10 Musicians That Made Career Ruining Mistakes

Being in the spotlight is no easy task. Many popular musicians are constantly under the public eye and it becomes incredibly difficult to keep their private lives private. The entire world is watching their problems unfold. Any lapse of better judgement on the part of a popular musician is practically seen by the everyone. Since the advent of the Internet, even individuals that may have not cared about a particular musician get to see a musician's lowest point trending in their Facebook or Twitter feeds. There was a time when these stories were relegated to tabloids and gossip television and only the interested parties would gossip about these embarrassing moments among themselves. Now, anyone with access to some kind of keyboard can put in their two cents on a celebrity's low point.

Sometimes these embarrassing moments are easy to relate to and everyone eventually moves on. Other times the actions of the musician are so heinous or the negative behavior is so oft repeated that the musician falls completely out of societies good graces. Their career is effectively ruined.

There are exceptions of course. Individuals like Chris Brown and Britney Spears have managed to see their careers bounce back after battering a woman and having a very public melt down respectively. They kept their noses clean, took responsibility for their actions, and paid back their debt to society. The following ten musicians, on the other hand, have not been so lucky.

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10  10. Rick James


How Did He Kill His Career?

James went to trial and was found guilty of a bizarre sexual kidnapping that involved James and his wife chaining up a woman in their home, keeping her as a sex slave, and torturing her by burning her with the hot end of a crack pipe. James was also found guilty of assaulting a music executive while under the influence of cocaine. This occurred while James was out on bail for the kidnapping.

9 R. Kelly

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R. Kelly is best known for a number of hit singles that include "Bump n' Grind", "Your Body's Callin'", "Trapped in the Closet", and "I Believe I Can Fly". The latter of these hits earned R. Kelly three Grammy Awards in 1998.

How Did He Kill His Career?

Kelly has been accused of sex crimes, namely rape, on several occasions. The most damaging piece of evidence was a video that featured Kelly with a girl who was alleged to be 14 to 15-years-old when the video was shot. The video was described by music journalist Jim DeRogatis as featuring what could only be a rape, and even included footage of Kelly urinating on the young woman in the video.

All of the women that have accused Kelly eventually settled out of court. Despite a lack of a guilty conviction, Kelly hasn't fully bounced back from the fallout.

8 Phil Spector

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Phil Spector rose to fame as a record producer and songwriter who created the "Wall of Sound" production method. Between 1960 and 1965, Spector produced over 25 Top 40 hits. His recording methods and music have inspired entire musical genres.

How Did He Kill His Career?

Murder. Spector went on trial twice for the murder of Lana Clarkson. The first trial was televised and resulted in a hung jury. The second trial ended in a verdict of guilty for a charge of second degree murder. Spector is currently serving a sentencing of 19 years to life.

7 Boy George

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Boy George is best known for his work as the androgynous singer of Culture Club, a band responsible for a number of hits in the 1980's which include "Karma Chameleon" and "I'll Tumble 4 Ya".

How Did He Kill His Career?

Boy George hadn't been making a big splash in music for quite some time. In the 1980's, Culture Club had to split up due to George's highly publicized heroin addiction. The split could have been reversed after a 2002 reunion, but George saw fit to cuss out the audience. George definitely put the nail in the coffin of his career when he served 19 months for kidnapping a male escort, chaining him to a radiator, and terrorizing him with sex toys.

6 Jerry Lee Lewis

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In the 1950's, Jerry Lee Lewis was the undisputed "bad boy of rock n' roll". His hit "Great Balls of Fire" is still rather recognizable.

How Did He Kill His Career?

In Lewis's time, a musician going over seas to perform was a big deal. The media showed up in droves to see Lewis off the plane. Reporters were introduced to Jerry's new wife, who he told reporters was 15. This was a huge shock, but the real shock came later: she was actually 13. She was also his first cousin. A public backlash ensued. DJs refused to play his records and Lewis never had another hit. He went from playing $10,000-a-night shows to $100-a-night shows to only his most devoted fans.

5 Whitney Houston

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Whitney Houston is best known for her work in the film The Bodyguard. She was also responsible for the film's soundtrack, which featured the mega-popular hit "I Will Always Love You".

How Did She Kill Her Career?

For Houston it was as simple as drugs and a string of bad publicity. Houston and her husband had a highly publicized addiction to cocaine that kept the industry from wanting to work with her. It seemed she had bounced back and many thought Houston had eventually recovered, but in 2012 she was found dead of an accidental drowning stemming from heart disease and cocaine use.

4 Courtney Love


Love had a lot of early success with her band Hole, but she may in fact be more famous for having been married to legendary Nirvana front-man Kurt Cobain.

How Did She Kill Her Career?

3 Milli Vanilli

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Milli Vanilli were Grammy winning artists known for the singles "Blame It On the Rain" and "Girl You Know It's True".

How Did They Ruin Their Careers?

The Milli Vanilli act was a fraud. It turned out Fab and Rob were not the actual performers of their music and were simply lip syncing. The duo were forced to give back their Grammy Awards and they were pretty much shunned in the music industry from that point on.

Rob was never able to get over the public outing and eventually committed suicide.

2 Ted Nugent

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Nugent is best known for his single "Cat Scratch Fever". Ted has certainly maintained his fame, but it's definitely not for his music these days and that fame has more or less turned into infamy.

How Did He Kill His Career?

Ted Nugent decided to become a political talking head for extremist Conservative views. This would be fine except his comments have become so bizarre and nonsensical (see: "I'm a black guitar player from Detroit" and "I'm a black Jew at a Nazi Klan rally") that even red states are distancing themselves from the musician. A town in Texas actually paid Ted Nugent not to perform at a fair. A number of casinos also cancelled previously scheduled concerts. Mitt Romney, who once asked Nugent for support in his campaign for President, has distanced himself from the rocker.

1 Ian Watkins

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Watkins may not be as well-known as others on the list. Watkins was the front man for the Welsh rock band Lostprophets. The band had two top ten hits in the UK and they've sold 3.5 million albums worldwide.

How Did He Kill His Career?

This is hands down the most disturbing and bizarre public disgrace on the list. The singer was charged with multiple sexual offenses.  Watkins was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but most alarming was a charge of making arrangements to have sex with a 1-year-old child, and requesting a mother to take video of her sexually abusing her own infant child. Watkins originally claimed innocence but there was a mountain of video evidence to the contrary. He eventually pleaded guilty to most counts.

Other band members claimed Watkins had become difficult but they had no idea he was capable of such despicable acts.

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