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15 Rock Icons We Didn’t Know Were Still Alive

High Life
15 Rock Icons We Didn’t Know Were Still Alive

It’s getting to be about that time of year when iconic musicians tend to pass away. The year 2016 was a rough one for music fans. David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and a number of talented musicians all passed away in 2016. While 2017 hasn’t brought too many celebrity deaths (yet), it’s only a matter of time before every major musician from the 1970s passes away. The people that were worshiped for their ability to party endlessly are now senior citizens. They claimed to want to rock ‘n’ roll all night and party every day, but now they’re in bed before 10 p.m. Despite their best efforts, years of partying are finally starting to catch up with the rock icons of the world.

The 27 Club is a list of celebrities that died at the age of 27. The people on this list were considered to be great artists who passed away before they could live up to their full potential. Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, and Amy Winehouse, are just a few members of The 27 Club. A lot of the people on this list could have easily ended up in the 27 Club, but managed to avoid kicking the bucket. We’re not really sure how it happened, but we’re glad (and surprised) that these rock icons are still alive.

15. Gene Simmons

Gene Simmons may not be the most typical rock star ever, but he knows how to market a brand — and KISS is just a brand to him. At 68 years old, Simmons isn’t looking too healthy. When he starred on Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Simmons looked like he was ready to croak at any moment, specifically after he had plastic surgery done.

As one of America’s biggest rock icons, you’d expect Simmons to have lived a crazy life — and he has. He’s slept with more women than most of us have ever spoken to, but Simmons isn’t as hardcore as his fans believe. Despite being the bassist and co-lead singer of KISS, Simmons says that he has never been drunk or taken recreational drugs. Who knew ‘The Demon” was straight edge?

14. Johnny Rotten

Johnny Rotten has had a successful career in a number of areas, but his bread and butter has always been the fame he got as the front man for The Sex Pistols. The band is said to have launched the punk scene in the United Kingdom and people say they changed fashion forever — despite only actually being a band for about three years.

Behind every great nickname, there’s a great story. Johnny Rotten, born John Lydon, picked up the name Johnny Rotten after one of his bandmates said that Lydon’s teeth were rotten. According to Rotten, he never cleaned his teeth and they had become green by the time he was in his 20s. In 2008, Johnny Rotten had to have emergency dental work done because his teeth were starting to harm his health. He suffered from blood poisoning, bone rot, and claims to have had actual mold growing on his teeth. There’s a direct link to oral hygiene and heart disease, so it genuinely is a medical mystery as to how Rotten has survived this long. Then again, he’s only in his early sixties.

13. Keith Richards

Keith Richards is a rock god. As one of the guitarists for The Rolling Stones, Richards would sometimes take over recording sessions and record every guitar part for the song, instead of just his own part. He’s ranked as one of the greatest guitarist of all times, and created countless classic guitar riffs throughout this career. At 73-years-old, we’re all surprised that this rock legend is still alive.

Richards, like most of the members of The Rolling Stones, developed somewhat of a drug problem. One of the best Keith Richards drugs stories happened in Canada, when the police found more than an ounce of heroin in his hotel room. He was found guilty, but instead of serving jail time, Richards was asked to play a concert for the blind! Another story involves Richards snorting some of his father’s ashes with cocaine and snorting them. He was known for using so many drugs that other rockers, like Iggy Pop, claimed that Keith Richards was indestructible! It’s possible that he may never die, but his drug use has taken a toll on him mentality. As you may know, the character Captain Jack Sparrow is essentially just Johnny Depp doing an impression of Keith Richards.

12. Elton John

For millennials, Elton John is just the guy who wrote some of the best karaoke songs out there.”Rocket Man,” “Tiny Dancer,” and even “Changes” — the man knew how to write good tunes to sing in a bar with your friends. People who grew up when Elton John at the peak of his fame know that he’s had a drug-filled past. So much so, that we’re surprised he isn’t dead yet.

According to Elton John, he used to do so much cocaine that he would have seizures and turn blue. When he would regain consciousness, he would just get back to snorting cocaine! In another incident, Elton John did so much cocaine when his family was over that he jumped off the balcony after screaming that he was going to die. Looking back on those years, Elton John says that he regrets being so addicted to drugs and says that he wasted a lot of his life on cocaine. When Eminem was struggling with his own drug addiction, Elton John reached out and helped the rapper get sober.

11. Ozzy Osbourne

When you think of rock stars that have done too many drugs, Ozzy Osbourne will probably be the first person you think of. You can barely understand what he’s saying, he always seems spaced out, and his body literally has a genetic mutation that allows him to take more drugs than the average person. At 68-years-old, we’re all scratching our heads wondering how the Godfather of Heavy Metal is still standing.

We’ve all heard the stories about Ozzy Osbourne putting just about whatever he can into his body to get high (including an incident where he snorted ants), but there are a few other moments in his life that should have killed him. To start, when Ozzy unknowingly bit the head off a live bat, he had to undergo emergency treatment for rabies. Years later, Ozzy almost died when he was involved in a motorcycle accident that shattered a vertebrae in his neck, his collarbone, and broke six of his ribs. The doctors had to scramble to get the blood out of his lungs! Will Ozzy ever die?

10. Little Richard

For the second half of the 20th century, Little Richard was one of the most influential figures in show business. He only recently retired, after working in the industry for 7 decades! At 84 years old, it’s safe to say that he’s earned his retirement after a lifetime of accolades, including paving the way for soul and funk music.

In the ’60s, Little Richard had developed a habit of chain smoking and heavy drinking. It wasn’t until 1972 that he discovered the magic of cocaine — the drug that just about every musician was using. For the next few years, Little Richard says he was spending as much as $1,000 a day on cocaine and heroin. He joked about his addiction after the fact, saying that they should have called him ‘Little Cocaine’ back then, instead of Little Richard.

9. Iggy Pop

At 70 years old, Iggy Pop is called the “Godfather of Punk.” As a solo artist and as the singer of The Stooges, Iggy Pop influenced a generation of rebels to do just about whatever they wanted. He was absolutely crazy on stage and is credited with making the stage dive popular!

Iggy Pop was heavily influenced by Jim Morrison, and it’s blatantly obvious how much Iggy wanted to be like his hero. He may have made the stage dive popular, but he only started doing it because he saw Jim Morrison do it at a concert. Just like Morrison, Iggy Pop developed a nasty heroin addiction that could have been fatal. Though there are many Iggy Pop stories to tell, one of the strangest is what he would do inside the walls of his fun house. According to reports, one time after Iggy injected heroin, he filled the syringe with his blood and squirted it on the walls to create a painting that looked like it had been created by Jackson Pollack.

8. Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney has lived such an incredible life that you couldn’t sum up the events of his life if you tried. At 75 years old, McCartney is one of two living members of the most influential band of all time, The Beatles. McCartney has influenced more musicians than anyone could ever track and the reason for this is how his music changed throughout the decades. The man has been in the music business for nearly 60 years!

There are countless stories about McCartney’s drug use that you could tell, but it seems that the one drug that has dominated his life has always been marijuana. In 1980, McCartney was arrested for trying to smuggle half a pound of marijuana into Japan to keep him company while he toured. McCartney said that he tried bringing drugs in because he thought that he wouldn’t be able to find anything worth smoking in Japan, and that his weed was too good to just flush down the toilet.

7. Mick Jagger

For the lead singer of one of the most famous rock bands ever, Mick Jagger has lived a pretty secluded life. His career has spanned more than 5 decades and he’s one of the most famous womanizers of all time. At 74 years old, Jagger has 8 children from 5 different women and was most recently spotted with a new 23-year-old girlfriend, Noor Alfallah.

It may shock you to know that Jagger is a great grandfather at this point, which, when paired with his drug use, makes it a medical miracle that he’s still alive. His current drug use isn’t well documented, but he was known to take more than a healthy amount of drugs back in the day. Jerry Hall, a woman who claims she got Jagger off heroin, said that Jagger had told her that he had done LSD every day for a year back in the 1960s! How is his brain not completely fried?

6. Neil Young

Neil Young is a Canadian icon. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice: once as a solo artist and once as a member of Buffalo Springfield. He did some experimental work in the past as well with the band Crazy Horse, which earned him the title of the “Godfather of Grunge.” He’s currently 72, and Canada will weep when he finally kicks the bucket.

Neil Young partied just as hard as the rest of the musicians in the ’70s. He played two back-to-back concerts and flew across the country to play at the Band’s farewell concert. He only played one song, Helpless,” and did so with a large rock of cocaine up his nose. His manager had to beg the company that filmed the concert to use special effects to remove the rock from his nose in post-production!

5. Bob Dylan

At 76 years old, Bob Dylan is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Though he’s not penning classics like he used to, you can’t deny the influence he had on folk music. He couldn’t even really sing, but people listened to him for his unique protest music. Over the course of his career, Dylan sold more than 100 million records.

The extent of Dylan’s drug use isn’t exactly known because he spent most of his career lying to reporters. He would tell them that he worked as a prostitute early in his life, or that he used to spend $25 a day on heroin. The major thing that people know about Bob Dylan’s drug use is that he had a massive problem with amphetamines in the 1960s. According to reports, Dylan said he needed them to get through nearly five years of touring. On top of the amphetamines, Dylan loved to smoke and you can tell he did by how his voice sounds recently. If you thought he sounded bad before, wait until you hear him now.

4. Steven Tyler

The amazing thing about Aerosmith is that they would have been a band that faded into obscurity if it wasn’t for Steven Tyler. He’s recently been finding work as a television personality, but there was a point in Tyler’s life that his career was all but over.

After Aerosmith found commercial success for the first time, the band was more or less put on hiatus as Steven Tyler and Joe Perry developed problems with drugs. Tyler was struggling to deal with the fact that people stopped caring about Aerosmith so quickly, and developed a drug and alcohol addiction. His heroin problem was so bad that from 1979 to 1982, Tyler would occasionally walk the streets looking for drug dealers. It wasn’t until Tyler and Joe Perry teamed up with Run DMC to remake their hit song “Walk This Way” did they get a whole new generation of listeners and the band’s popularity reached new heights.

3. Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson is the lead singer of The Beach Boys. He looks good for 75 years old, but he’s had a fairly troubled life. Though The Beach Boys are often associated with being wholesome, clean-cut  gentlemen, there were a lot of problems with the band behind the scenes.

For most of Wilson’s life, he’s struggled with mental illness. There were a number of misdiagnosis and one of his therapists fed him so many pharmaceutical medications, it had a negative impact on Wilson’s overall health. When The Beach Boys were gaining traction, Wilson started experimenting with marijuana and LSD to fuel his creativity and it worked. He’s considered one of the best songwriters of all time, but his experimental drug use was nearly his downfall. After his father’s death, Wilson became a recluse and began using alcohol and heroin to cope. He asked for drugs in the middle of interviews, went to rehab many times, and even tried to commit suicide a handful of times.

2. Nikki Six

Nikki Sixx is the bassist and main songwriter of Motley Crue. At 58 years old, Nikki Sixx has grown up quite a bit from his teenage years. To start, he was expelled from his high school for selling drugs and he bought his first bass guitar after selling a guitar that he stole. He continued his thuggish behavior as an adult. His saving grace was the overnight popularity that Motley Crue had after releasing “Girls, Girls, Girls.”

Sixx had always dabbled with drugs, but quickly became addicted to heroin after trying it for the first time. Over his life, Sixx claims that he must have overdosed around half a dozen times. In one instance, Sixx was declared dead for two minutes after overdosing. The paramedics gave him two shots of adrenaline and he woke up almost instantly. He left the ambulance, hitched a ride home, and did some more heroin before passing out. A few days later, Sixx decided to get sober and cites this overdose as the reason for that.

1. Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond will probably tour until the day he dies, but we can only hope that he throws in the towel before his ability declines too much. It was sad watching Chuck Berry struggling to play his guitar before he passed away, and fans can only hope the same doesn’t happen to Diamond, who is 76 years old and still touring. He’s refunded tickets in the past because fans weren’t happy with his performance. Recently, Diamond launched his 50th anniversary tour, but he hasn’t had to refund any tickets yet.

Neil Diamond created one of the great songs of all time, “Sweet Caroline.” Everyone knows it, and everyone knows to scream “Dun, Dun, Dun” during the chorus. For years, Diamond said that the song was about John F. Kennedy’s youngest daughter, Caroline. Recently, Diamond said that the song was always about his wife, but he needed to use a three syllable name for the chorus. His wife’s named was Marcia, and Diamond claims it just didn’t fit the notes!

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