In honor of Aaron Carter
getting out of rehab (who, by the way, looks like absolute shit), we wondered, "Hey, just who were
the most fucked-up rockers ever?" Yes, there are some very deserving people not here (David Crosby
, Station to Station
, Iggy Pop
, Fleetwood Mac
), and the list is very Brit-centric, but if we didn't keep it to a specific number, we'd have to list pretty much anyone who has ever released a song. All of these musicians have blazed a trail in their art, and blazed plenty of other stuff besides.
1. Keith Richards
The grandaddy of rock & roll junkies, Mr. Richards is still going strong, despite decades of abuse that would have killed us mere mortals. He must have found the Fountain of Youth, or at least some amazing concierge doctors. Listen to Sticky Fingers
or Exile on Main St
. and marvel at his genius and--his personal constitution.
Druggiest moment: Richards claims he did a line of cocaine mixed up with his cremated father's ashes. Freud would have been all over that. The Oedipal part and the blow.
2. Johnny Thunders
The only dead artist on the list eventually succumbed to his addictions (maybe; some suspect foul play). In his '70s heyday, New York Dolls
guitarist Thunders was called "the Dean Martin of heroin." He recorded fine Heartbreakers and solo output through the '80s until he passed away at age 38 in 1991. His body was twisted up "like a pretzel," according to observers.
Druggiest Moment: He is believed to have died by overdosing on methadone, which he was using to wean himself off heroin, which he overdosed on before.
3. Amy Winehouse
This English songstress is now as well known for her drug intake as her musical output, which makes sense given that she's only managed two studio albums in ten years. She seems to have gotten things back on track, after being everyone's favorite Ghoul Pool pick just a couple of years ago. Here's hoping that she goes the Keith Richards route, rather than the Johnny Thunders route.
: Smoking so much crack that doctors tell told her that she would have to wear an oxygen mask and probably die; overdosing on a cocktail of ecstasy, cocaine, ketamine and alcohol; marrying this guy
4. Shaun Ryder
Once and current Happy Mondays frontman (and Black Grape mastermind; if you haven't heard It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah! then go acquire it right now), Ryder may be the druggiest out of all the people on this list, which is awe-inspiring, like finding out the star you are gazing at in the night actually burned out a billion years ago. In the classic Madchester days, he took Ecstasy by the handful, drank, did cocaine and heroin and then turned to methadone to kick his smack addiction. When Happy Mondays traveled to heroin-free Barbados to record their 1992 album Yes Please!, they found a ton of crack instead. They ran out of money buying it, then sold their recording equipment and, eventually, their clothes to continue the party. He is a true maniac and a true survivor of one of the most interesting eras in musical history.
Druggiest moment: Selling your clothes for crack and smoking it butt-naked in the ocean has to be up there.
5. Pete Doherty
Pale, poetic and perpetually messed up, Pete Doherty drugged his way through his time with the Libertines, helping to make two great albums with the most lauded British rock band of the 2000s (suck on that, Chris Martin). Unfortunately, his extracurricular activities started to destroy his relationship with his bandmates, and breaking into singer and best friend Carl Barat's apartment certainly didn't help. Neither did dating fellow party animal Kate Moss. He made some cool rackets with indie project Babyshambles and struggled to get clean. In 2010, Barat and Doherty announced a much-anticipated reunion.
Druggiest moment: Ostensibly heterosexual Doherty admitted to prostituting himself in order to fund his addictions pre-Libertines, even going so far as to rob a male client. That's commitment.
6. Ozzy Osbourne
Everyone loves Ozzy. He's like a crazy uncle at this point. Because of this, it's easy to forget that he used to be the Dark Prince of Metal, eating live animals, snorting lines of ants and causing general mayhem. From the weed-fueled days of Black Sabbath to the everything-fueled '80s, Ozzy just got nuttier and nuttier. He still rocked, though. Now, his brain may be a little soft from the decades of partying, but the talent remains. Even if he has resorted to doing commercials with Justin Bieber (an early candidate to make this list 20 years from now).
Druggiest moment: Pretty much all of 1970 to 1985 or so.