40 Crankiest Musicians of All Time, Ranked
Being a musician can be super hectic and challenging on anyone. You have a hard schedule of touring, creating, and recording. Then, you have to deal with people being...less than smart -- we'll just leave it at that. Sometimes, the musicians also have to promote themselves. It's never-ending! This can all be tough on anyone, so it’s a huge surprise when celebs take time out of their day to be nice to fans. Signing autographs, hugging people, and taking photos can take a significant portion of their day, but they still do it with a smile on their face. Well, at least some do.
Some musicians are known for being cranky. Not just toward their fans, but also toward everyone around them. Being kind to fans may be the norm, but certain musical celebs don’t care about what they ought to do. Instead, they’re sometimes downright mean to those that fund their career. Additionally, they can be snippy to interviewers and merely make themselves look bad on television — you know the musicians we’re talking about.
Well, we decided that there are so many cranky celebs that we need a list. Here are 40 musicians who really need a juice box and a nap to get over their temper tantrums. Do you agree with our list, or did we forget anyone?
40. Christina Aguilera
Xtina once required some weird food while on the road: Nesquik, vegan cheese, Oreos, and flintstone vitamins. However, it’s her over-the-top demands on The Voice that have caused taping delays and well-documented feuds with other female singers that make her a liability.
Whether it was trying to physically and verbally fight P!NK, Mariah Carey, or Britney, it was too much drama for Aguilera’s career in the early 2000s.
39. Celine Dion
Several of Dion’s demands can be traced back to her manager/husband Rene Angelil, who requested nothing but the best for his wife. All rooms must be 73 degrees Fahrenheit, and her enormous entourage must be completely catered to as well.
As a perfectionist, Dion requires absolute adherence to her guidelines and has taken over as her “own boss” following her husband’s death.
Once you've been in the industry as long as she has, you get to make your own rules apparently. Let's just hope all that fame hasn't gone straight to her head! Her voice is other-worldly...but maybe she needs to be brought back down to earth a bit.
38. Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen’s legendary list was created to see if promoters were paying attention to their demands or else forfeit the profits of each show. So outside of the M&M’s (absolutely no brown ones), their rider seemed fairly sane…
The band requested nuts, pretzels, one large tube of KY jelly, three packs of Marlboro cigarettes, Herring in sour cream, two gallons of non-carbonated, bottled spring water, three-fifths Jack Daniels Black Label bourbon, two-fifths Stolichnaya vodka, one pint Southern Comfort, and two bottles Blue Nun white wine.
Madge has mellowed in the last 40 years, but let’s not forget that the Material World singer has embraced that philosophy. Whether it’s requesting 30 bodyguards, a chef, a physiotherapist, or that all furniture in her dressing room must be removed and replaced with her own pieces shipped in, Madonna knows exactly how to be a leading diva.
It’s also important to note that she’s not exactly fan-friendly—and at times has kept paying audiences waiting hours for a concert. Bearing a 200-person entourage is a lot for any junket to handle.
Listen, we get it Madonna...your music literally changed the world...40 years ago. Maybe it's time for Madonna to finally enter that sweet and loving grandma era. Yeah, right! Like that will ever happen!
36. Gene Simmons
The KISS front man seeks publicity all the time—both on stage and off, through his outlandish statements and beliefs.
He’s a notorious womanizer and misogynist who claims to have bedded almost 5,000 women during his years, yet he puts down female pop artists and dismisses rap musicians altogether. Simmons’s sneering persona makes everyone just a little uncomfortable.
35. Jason Aldean
It’s hard to live life like a refrain in a country music song, but Jason Aldean does just fine. His bad reputation stems from his scandalous affair and dumping his family.
Beyond dressing up in blackface and then decrying being racially sensitive, Aldean carries the domineering husband into his second marriage—demeaning his wife on air. However, the hardworking everyman took stock of his life after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that almost killed him.
We hope Mr. Aldean got a reality check. No one likes a jerk! Country music fans don't take kindly to men who don't treat their wives with respect...that's just not southern! Needless to say, we'll all be on the lookout for any further bad behavior.
34. Nicki Minaj
Her backstage demands are legendary: full tea sets, two dozen pink or white roses, and three large, scented candles. Her food demands border on the insane: egg whites, turkey bacon fried hard, 12-piece buckets of chicken, salad with Wishbone Light Italian Dressing.
Minaj says it’s part of her on-stage persona—to become that strong, confident woman. In interviews, she’s been known to get difficult with writers, telling them that topics are off-subject or being rude altogether.
(Images via: Instagram; Instagram; Instagram; Pure DOPE Magazine, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
33. Ted Nugent
The Motor City Madman at one time requested “man sized Kleenex” for his runny nose. He’s also a huge fan of peanut butter, tuna, and tropical Slim Fast on tour. His weird relationship in 1978 with a 17-year-old who wasn’t old enough to marry is cause for concern—he “adopted her with her parental consent” instead of “living in sin”.
But his outspoken conservative political stance, to the point of name-calling, has rankled some fans during his career—whether it’s about guns, mixed-race heritage, or school shootings.
Needless to say, it's tough to be a fan of a jerk like Ted Nugent. Holding your favorite celebs accountable for their bad behavior, or their defunct morals can feel like an impossible challenge. Maybe he will get the idea if we all stop listening to his music.
32. Ryan Adams
When he was in concert in 2002, someone yelled out a request for “Summer of 69”, confusing Ryan with Bryan. Ryan Adams gave the guy $30 for his ticket and threw him out, refusing to play until the guy was gone.
Adams’s controversial misconduct charges of offering to assist women with their music careers in return for relationships, including one involving his former wife, have derailed his career.
31. Johnny Rotten
Johnny Rotten (his stage name) has been a lot of things—but never subtle. The screeching punk pioneer of the Sex Pistols delights in wreaking havoc with words and actions. Born British but gaining his U.S. citizenship in 2015, Rotten delights in hurling insults from the comfort of Malibu.
Rotten’s main claim to fame is still his bad boy behavior that clashes with the establishment—almost to the point of being comical. Maybe it was funny to burp, fart, and spit as a punk band leader, but the persona is tired on an old man.
We find it hard to believe that Rotten would be surprised to know everyone thinks he's gross. The man spent his entire career being an outright jerk! It seems like he really likes to be the odd-man-out. What's his disfunction?
30. 50 Cent
Not everyone has had the hard start that Curtis Jackson did, but he recovered to become one of the most well-known rappers to date. However, a cringy incident occurred in May 2016 in the Cincinnati airport, when he harassed and insulted a janitor.
He accused him of being under the influence. The teen janitor was hearing impaired and autistic, leading to a lawsuit.
29. Mike Love
Considered Grinch-like when compared to his musical cousin Brian Wilson, Mike Love has admitted to having a bad reputation. Rumors of beating his wife, fistfights with other band members, and revenge swirl around the Beach Boy.
As the lead vocalist, Love was always front and center for the band but often not credited for the writing. But he’s the lead villain for ousting Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys’ tour lineup in 2012.
Fans find it hard to cope with the fact that Mike Love is such a bad apple. When you listen to the sunny sounds of the Beach Boys, the idea that these guys might not be so great slips away with the sunny sounds of the laid-back music. But, the facts are facts...and the fact is Mike Love is not a nice guy.
28. David Crosby
A self-described “difficult cat”, Crosby meddled in drugs and alcohol until his health made him stop. During his years with his band—The Byrds, who later became Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—Crosby fought tooth-and-nail with his bandmates, creating tension with Neil Young by calling his girlfriend at the time, Daryl Hannah, a “poisonous predator”.
His self-absorption, rudeness, and cranky demeanor drove wedges in the bands that ultimately broke up because of it.
All it takes is one bad apple to ruin the bunch! The last thing someone with problems like David Crosby needs is fame. Fame has a nack for making people believe they're untouchable. Maybe he learned his lesson when all of his friends turned their backs on him!
27. Charlie Rich
Back during the 1975 Country Music Awards, country singer Charlie Rich was given the task of announcing the Entertainer of the Year. And when it came to announcing John Denver’s name (literally one of the nicest guys in country)…
Rich actually burned the envelope because Denver was a crossover artist. He was then blacklisted from future award shows.
He probably thought he was really making a statement on behalf of the entire country music industry...but he quickly found out that no one likes words put in their mouth. Charlie Rich's bad attitude cost him everything.
26. Phil Spector
Being a superstar producer and creating the infamous Wall of Sound, Phil Spector expanded the lives of hundreds of artists. However, his ego and megalomaniac persona left artists to fear him and the power he held over their careers. While his hustle and excellence in production was unmatched, his dark and turbulent behavior emerged.
The murder of Lana Clarkson, after years of Spector brandishing firearms for show, sent the renowned producer to court—where six women testified that he held them at gunpoint instead of letting them leave.
Crooks like him deserve every bit of bad publicity they get. For far too long these creeps in Hollywood get by with treating people like they own them. Regardless of his talent, Phil shouldn't be allowed back in the music scene ever again.
25. Ringo Starr
It’s hard to believe that any member of the Beatles can be cranky, but Ringo Starr is known for having a serious attitude. In fact, one fan told a story about when they were a child to meet their favorite musician. Upon meeting Starr, he laughed at the kid and said, “No.” Then, he told them to leave…except with more expletives.
This is a regular occurrence with anyone that meets up with Starr, as described by other fans. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll be happy to know that the other members are incredibly kind, and Julian Lennon is as kind as ever -- figures.
The saying "Don't meet your heroes" has never been more true it seems! What happened to Ringo Starr to make him such a pill? We'll probably never know what goes through his head. All we'll ever know is that he's rude to the people who pay his bills!
24. Axl Rose
Axl Rose was known for being wild and less-than-kind in his younger years. While he’s cooled down a little, he’s still pretty dang cranky. Thanks to his anger issues, he regularly throws items and insults anyone that sets him off.
He used to tell his fans to go away (with more expletives), but he takes photos nowadays. That’s precisely why he’s on this list as cranky instead of just plain mean.
It's funny how these stars are complete snobs when they're relevant, but as soon as their limelight starts to fade...they're quick to be everyone's friend. For those fans that snubbed in the past, it's probably too little, too late.
23. Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee, the drummer for Mötley Crüe, never said he was a good guy, but it’s a surprise that he can be a pretty rude dude. He refuses to take pictures with fans, which is fine, but he doesn’t have to go off on fans that ask.
Several stories by fans explain how he curses them out and claims that he doesn’t owe them anything. Maybe he’s had too many bad run-ins, but there’s no reason to start something when there’s nothing there.
We get it, these stars are treated like royalty sometimes, and other times used like a cheap you know what. That's showbiz! If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. After all these years in rock and roll, you would think he would be used to it by now.
22. Sebastian Bach
Sebastian Bach is the lead singer of Skid Row, but things aren’t peachy in his world. He’s known for being a little grumpy and, in some circumstances, violent. For example, while visiting his hometown, the band went to hang out at a bar – not to play, but just to enjoy the evening.
Well, the bar already had a band playing, but Bach wanted in on the action. Naturally, they wouldn’t let him, and he began to throw a tantrum. A security guard attempted to remove him and got bit before throwing Bach out.
Talk about a royal meltdown! Who BITES someone in a fight? Violence is never the answer, but somehow it's even more embarrassing that this rock star handled getting thrown out of a bar like a literal child.
21. Kid Rock
Kid Rock is mainly known for his hard and crude persona, but that doesn’t mean he has to treat people poorly. On top of being disrespectful on numerous occasions, he’s physically violent.
He instigates public fights on the regular, including one where he punched Tommy Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards.
It's one thing to put on the tough guy persona as a bit, but when you start living out your stage presence in real life...it's time for a reality check. Maybe he would be more popular today if he got a grip on his bad attitude.
20. John McCrea
John McCrea is the lead singer of Cake. McCrea is naturally an introvert, which is tough for any famous band, but he takes it a step too far. The group is known for insulting audiences who paid to see them by refusing to play when they don’t participate.
That’s right – when McCrea says sing along, you better sing along, or he’s going to walk off stage. He also insults entire countries while performing in said country, which once made crowds throw numerous water bottles at him while on stage.
19. Lily Allen
Lily Allen is crass in a delightful way, but sometimes she crosses the line. While she can be charming at times, she’s also a huge snob. She regularly writes songs about those in her life including her ex-boyfriends and brother. Her brother, Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy from Game of Thrones) has a song about him, Alfie, where Lily complains about what a loser he is.
To make matters worse, Lily Allen has feuded with other stars regularly including Amy Winehouse and Kylie Minogue. She even drunkenly berated Elton John at the GQ awards in 2008.
18. Chad Kroeger
Kroeger undoubtedly gets a d-bag award. Mostly because he thinks he’s a music genius, but we’re labeling him cranky and rude because of his comments toward other musicians. He once claimed Stone Sour was trying to sound like Nickelback in an interview, claiming Nickelback had major diversity in their songs.
He then followed it up by comparing himself to Queen. All we have to say is that you could play a full Nickelback album, and it would sound like one loooooooooooong song.
17. Courtney Love
There’s no doubt that Courtney Love hasn’t had a rough life, especially considering her history with Kurt Cobain. However, she’s been a little cranky and off the wall before she even met Kurt. At 14, she was arrested for shoplifting and was placed in foster care until she was 16.
After the drugs and trauma, she only got worse, and she’s known for being a thorn in celebs’ side. Love crashes interviews, channels her angry toward other female performers, and her own daughter even has a restraining order against her.
16. Katy Perry
Everyone knows that Katy Perry regularly has spats with other stars, including Taylor Swift and the other judges on American Idol. Stars fight and that’s fine, but what puts her on this list is the fact that she thinks she’s better than everyone else, including American Troops...
One Reddit user described how she did a “support the troops” show but didn’t shake hands and refused to be polite to anyone there. Other Marines have other stories similar to this one, so it’s definitely not a one-off.
Joel Zimmerman, aka deadmau5, is an EDM DJ that’s gained quite a reputation. Despite donating large sums of money to charities, he’s known to be extremely rude in person.
He’s never been shy about openly mocking his peers, including Diplo, Skrillex, and Jack Ü. By now, he’s accepted his title and runs with it.
14. Matt Good
Matt Good may not be as popular as he was in the ‘90s, and that may be because of his attitude. He’s known for having a difficult temperament and even sold merchandise that said, “I hear Matt Good is a real (expletive)” on the front.
Well, at least he isn’t afraid to admit he’s cranky. Someone get this man a juice box, STAT!
13. Kayne West
Kanye West is notoriously cranky. It’s not exactly weird for an artist to tell everyone to stand up, but pretty much everyone knows that this doesn’t include someone who is physically incapable of standing…except Kayne. During a concert in Australia, Kayne stopped his concert and told everyone to stand up. When he realized one fan was in a wheelchair, he doubled down.
Kayne told the fan unless he could show a handicap pass or proof (other than the wheelchair) that he couldn’t stand, then he wasn’t going to continue. The crowd started booing, and Kayne responded by going on a five-minute rant about how he (Kayne) was being unfairly targeted. Um, okay. That's just one incident of many that lands him on this list.
12. Pete Wentz
Pete Wentz is a member of Fall Out Boy. While he’s not a complete d-bag, he does have his moments, which is why he’s on the list as merely “cranky.” One story with a fan recalled how Wentz grabbed her friend’s phone and smashed it, telling her how he was going to smash her face next. Yikes.
Another story retold how Pete got drunk and poured beer on fans that approached him.
11. John Mayer
John Mayer is a guy that people love to hate, but it isn’t without fault thanks to his attitude. While he isn’t without talent, he seems to be without a conscience. First, he’s all-but-admitted being a racist in interviews by saying slurs in interviews in a blasé way.
He also brags about his dating “conquests” in interviews, which is an overall crappy thing for anyone to do.
9. Justin Bieber
The crankiest little toddler in the bunch is none other than Justin Bieber. There’s a whole list of things that show he’s a colossal jerk including forcing his bodyguards to carry him up the Great Wall of China, calling a fan a “beached whale,” spitting on fans, egging his neighbor’s house, driving while under the influence, and more.
Overall, he’s just a baby who's been throwing a temper tantrum for years. He's cleaned up his act since marrying Hailey Baldwin in 2018, but he's still young—and leopards don't change their spots.
The late Prince was a music genius, but he was reportedly also extremely rude. One of the worst stories is when he borrowed one of the Roots’ 1961 Epiphone Crestwood guitar and smashed it up on stage. Granted, he paid for it, but that doesn’t change the fact he smashed up someone else’s instruments.
Kevin Smith has plenty of stories, as well, that perfectly describes how entitled Prince was – including one where he requested a camel in Minnesota at 3 A.M. and didn’t understand why he couldn’t get it.
7. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey is known for having an uptight attitude. When someone asks her if she knows a popular star, she shakes her head and says, “I don’t know them.” Not to mention, we all remember her 2018 New Year’s performance where her equipment quit working and she couldn’t hear a thing.
That doesn’t change the fact she had a full-on temper tantrum on stage.
6. Chris Brown
Chris Brown has an anger problem and no one can deny that – not even Chris Brown. Domestically abusing Rihanna is a perfect example of this, but that’s not the only one.
He also punched Frank Ocean and yelled homophobic slurs at the singer and threatened to shoot him. Brown also had a serious bar brawl with Drake that involved several people suffering injuries.
5. Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher is one of the co-founders of Oasis, the band that sung Wonderwall. Well, Noel has a massive temper that he’s not afraid to show, in fact, it’s one of the reasons that he and his brother fought for so long.
In particular, Noel is known for throwing furniture around. In fact, he’s been known to throw chairs at his younger brother, Liam.
4. Liam Gallagher
Liam Gallagher is the other co-founder of Oasis, and he’s not without fault. The reason Noel threw a chair at Liam was that he changed the lyrics of a song to insult Americans – Liam hates Americans for some reason.
He’s also been known to ditch a tour just to go on a shopping excursion.
3. Thom Yorke
Thom Yorke is the sort of person you know is going to be cranky when you meet him. He regularly curses at fans, mostly for requesting one of their most famous songs – “Creep.”
Fans that meet him on the street, however, don’t have a better time. He’s an intense person and hates to be approached by people. In the words of people who meet him, “he’s a jerk.”
2. Grace Jones
Grace Jones has a long history of being violent and aggressive. In 1981, she attacked Russell Harty on a television talk show because he was speaking to another guest. In response, she slapped him several times on air.
That’s not the only time she’s started a fight either. It became a regular thing on- and off-air.
Morrissey isn’t the sweetest person in the world. On a few occasions, he’s walked off stage during a concert. Since he’s a vegan, he walked off stage during a show when smelling BBQ claiming, “I hope it’s human.”
On top of that, he defended Kevin Spacey saying that he was “unnecessarily attacked” following the accusation of sexual harassment and pedophilia. He also defended Harvey Weinstein’s actions, which ranks him as one of the worst musicians on the list.