Top Ten Coolest Rock Stars of All Time (according to Paul Diamond Blow)
The Coolest of the Cool Rock Stars...
by Paul Diamond Blow
Rock stars, rock stars, rock stars—read all about it! Who are the coolest rock stars of all time? Here I have compiled a list of my personal rock star picks with descriptions of each artist as to what makes them so cool. But first, what exactly is a rock star, anyway? To me, a rock star is more than just a famous musician… a rock star has to have three key ingredients: 1) must be a famous musician in the rock genre; 2) must have talent; 3) most importantly, must have charisma and personality that sets them apart from ordinary human beings/musicians, a “larger than life” persona, if you will, that actually inspires lesser mortals to want to become rock musicians. You will probably notice that the rock stars on my list are mostly 1970s-80s era rock stars, mainly because that is the era of the “true” rock star, and quite frankly they just don’t make ’em anymore like they used to. I mean, who in today’s music is considered to be a rock star, anyway? Fred Durst? Aaaaakkkkkk!!! Moby? I don’t think so! The singer for Green Day? Sorry, not today! Marilyn Manson? Well, maybe, but no way does that skinny freak make my list. Without further ado, here are the top ten coolest rock stars of all time (in reverse order):
10) Ozzy Osbourne
I’ve never been much of a fan of Black Sabbath, or even of Ozzy’s solo stuff, but I am a big fan of his voice—he has an amazing vocal style all his own and I love the effects he puts on it in his recordings. I had to include Ozzy on this list not because he’s famous or a great rock singer, but because he is motha-freakin’ Ozzy Osbourne, the craziest rock star ever! Yes, it’s his craziness that makes him so much cooler than the other run-of-the-mill rock stars, in fact there are tons of rockers who try to emulate Ozzy with crazy antics and pranks, but Ozzy has raised the bar pretty high with his legendary goofs including pissing on the Alamo, biting the heads off bats, crapping in peoples shoes, and snorting a line of ants. Not to mention, his reality TV show has only increased his coolness factor and his fame even though on the show he appears to be some sort of a bumbling oaf.
9) David Lee Roth
“Diamond” David Lee Roth is another great rock singer with unique vocal capabilities. Aside from his amazing rock voice, David Lee Roth is an amazing front man, one of the most energetic front men of all time. I mean, comon—the man could leap seven feet in the air! Besides the energy, David Lee Roth has plenty of flash. Look up the word “flash” in the dictionary and it will have a picture of David Lee Roth. A real showman, that’s David Lee Roth for sure; a champion among showmen, nay—a god among showmen! Plus, Roth totally rocked the spandex. Although nowadays you don’t hear too much about “Diamond” Dave (except for the never-ending rumors of a Van Halen reunion), it was his career with Van Halen—plus his solo career in the ’80s— that was his real “rock star” period. If you’ve ever seen an interview with David Lee Roth, you know his egomaniacal personality exudes “rock star” to a tee, and all this combined puts the mighty Diamond Dave on my list.
8) Tommy Lee (Mötley Crüe)
I had to include at least one drummer on my rock star list, and quite frankly in rock music the drummers are usually the least known members of a band. I mean, they play the beats and sit in the back behind a drum set—you can hardly see ’em. It’s the singers and guitar players that get all the attention, but in Mötley Crüe Tommy Lee is actually probably the most famous one of them all, thanks to his rock solid drum skills, his legendary partying, and his penchant for grabbing headlines by going out with some of the sexiest female celebrities around (Heather Locklear, Pamela Anderson). Plus, his infamous porn video with Pamela Anderson didn’t hurt his rock star cred one bit. Tommy Lee is also tall and lanky, which always helps get one noticed in a crowd, and he actually looks like a rock star on a daily basis with his tattoos, piercings, and his rock’n’roll wardrobes. Tommy Lee actually came across as being kind of a dick in Mötley Crüe’s Dirt book, but still I have to admit—he’s the coolest drummer in rock music and he makes it on my list.
7) Ian Astbury (the Cult)
Ian Astbury is an incredible singer, a top-notch English bloke who’s got a great rock voice in a style all his own. I’ve been a big fan of the Cult and of Ian Astbury for years now, and it’s the way Ian looks and sings that makes him such a cool rock star. Ian Astbury has definitely been inspired by the late great Jim Morrison, but what I really love about him is how he has changed his and the band’s image so many times—from the post-punk, gothy version of the Cult in the early ’80s, to the full-on arena rock version in the late ’80s, to the modernized version in today’s times—and Ian Astbury has always looked, dressed, and acted cool, the epitome of a “rock star.” Ian Astbury also is a very spiritual artist, putting mystical and spiritual themes in his lyrics, and that spirituality adds to Ian’s coolness rating and puts him on my list.
6) Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses)
Axl Rose is one of the most talented singers in Rock history, period, and what sets him apart from most other rock singers is his unique, instantly recognizable vocal style. Look in a dictionary and look up “rock star” and there will be a picture of him. Say what you will about his prima donna ways, his obsessive controlling nature, his feuds with his former bandmates, and his legendary “hard to work with” reputation, but Axl actually has the talent to get away with it, something that most prima donna rock stars don’t have. In fact, his prima donna attitude adds to his “coolness” rating and helps put him on my rock star list. Helles belles, the man is such a prima donna perfectionist he actually made us wait over seven years for Chinese Democracy—now that’s cool! Axl also scores bonus points for his impeccable taste in rock’n’roll fashion and for making the wearing of bandanas cool again.
5) Joey Ramone (Ramones)
Joey Ramone is one of the least successful of all the rock stars on my list, at least in terms of financial gain or number one hits. However, the Ramones were one of the most influential and hard working bands of all time and pretty much single-handedly invented punk rock. The Ramones are one of my personal favorite bands of all time, not only because their blitzkrieg style rock music and songs were actually good, but also because they put on one of the most energetic shows in the history of rock. Joey Ramone, to me, was the heart and soul of the Ramones and one of the coolest looking front men ever, what with his torn jeans, his black leather jacket, his huge mop of black hair, plus his very cool stance on the stage. Joey Ramone didn’t have to run around the stage like a wild man, no, just standing there in his stance with the mic stand was sexy hot. Not to mention the man was a great singer with an almost crooning style voice all his own. I would say that Joey was one of the few genuine rock stars from the punk rock genre. Sadly, Joey Ramone passed away in 2001 at the age of 49, but his music and his legacy live on and he makes it on my list.
4) Paul Stanley
If you’ve never heard of KISS then you must’ve either been born yesterday or you’ve been living under a rock your entire life. KISS is simply one of the greatest, most entertaining rock bands of all time. Not only did they have a slew of great rock anthem songs (mostly from the ’70s), but it was their stage show complete with make-up, costumes, and theatrics that made them the legends that they are. To me, Paul Stanley is the real heart and soul of KISS, and he’s my personal favorite singer of the band, but it’s his performance and energy on stage that sets him apart from most rock stars. Paul Stanley is simply one of the most entertaining showmen in rock and is truly inspiring to watch. In fact, if I ever need some inspiration to keep playing in rock bands myself, all I have to do is play a live KISS concert DVD and watch Paul Stanley sing, dance, and strut his sexy stuff on stage, and I say, “That’s what I wanna do!” Indeed, it is Paul Stanley’s charisma, pouty lips, hairy chest (which is the stuff of legend), and over-the-top exuberance on stage that puts him on my cool rock star list.
3) Jim Morrison
I’ve never been much of a Doors fan, but I have always loved the voice, the singing style, and the lyrics of poet-turned-rock singer Jim Morrison. Hell, the Doors never would have made it big without him, and as a bona fide rock star Morrison was a real innovator and one of the most influential rock stars ever. He was one of the first in rock’n’roll to make leather pants and all-black outfits part of his look, and let’s face it—his hair style was super awesome and his beard and weight gain must also be admired. It is quite natural and cool for rock musicians, even today, to go through the “Jim Morrison phase” and let their hair, beards, and bellies grow. Jim Morrison made that sexy! His extreme partying with the booze and drugs and his crazy stage antics also set the bar high for rock stars, and Morrison did all this in the 1960s—the age of peace and love! Morrison was also a deeply spiritual and mystical figure and a true artist, which adds points to his coolness rating. Morrison died a rock star’s death at the age of 27, found dead and naked in a bathtub under mysterious circumstances. I was first turned on to Jim Morrison after reading the book No One Here Gets Out Alive, and I highly recommend that book to any true Morrison fan.
2) David Bowie
David Bowie, in my opinion, is the most talented artist of our time. Not only does he possess an incredible voice and is an amazing singer, he actually writes most of his own songs—and they are great songs—and he also plays guitar and saxophone on many of his recordings. He is the complete musical package, the real deal. David Bowie is probably the classiest rock star in existence with his supreme elegance and his way-too-cool British demeanor, and the man always looks good, even in his “old age.” In fact, David Bowie is so talented, sexy, and cool he could very well be an alien sent to us from another planet. What also makes David Bowie so cool—besides being the most talented artist alive—is how he has transformed his image so many times in his career; from the glam era Ziggy Stardust, to the soul-singer of the ’80s, to the dance/techno orientated Bowie of the ’90s and beyond, and every one of these transformations has been a success. The man knows how to evolve and stay current and hip, which many rock stars do not.
1) Keith Richards
If you don’t know who Keith Richards is then you must be some kind of a loser. This is mother freaking Keith Richards, the coolest of the cool, the King of cool, the ultimate rock star, guitarist for the greatest band in rock’n’roll history—the Rolling Stones! Keith Richards is not the best guitarist ever, but it’s his style and his image that sets him apart from all the rest. Just watch the man play on any Rolling Stones video and see for yourself: Keith has a style all his own that is truly inspiring. Not to mention that what with Keith’s legendary drug abuse, heroin addiction, his blood transfusions, chain smoking, whiskey drinking, falling out of coconut trees, etc., this man should be dead ten times by now, but no—he’s still alive and still rocking even in his sixties! And yes, Keith looks pretty old, wrinkled and ragged these days but he is still the coolest guitar player ever. My own personal favorite Keith Richards is the 1970s-80s era Keith. In the ’60s he looked like a nice young lad, but in the ’70s he really became the ultimate scrappy rock star with his shaggy hair, his skull rings, and his bandanas. In fact, Keith Richards is so cool he was Johnny Depp’s entire inspiration for the Pirates of the Caribbean Jack Sparrow character. Now that’s saying something! Keith Richards is indeed a living legend, and his supreme coolness, his inspiring guitar playing style, his signature riffage, and his longevity put him in my number one rock star slot.
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