Think of music, and it’s all about sex and drugs and rock and roll. Ian Dury famously sang about it, and the Rolling Stones have flaunted it for 70 years. If you were to create a stereotype of a rockstar, it’d be a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other.
Ultimately, it’s the pressures of being on the road that can lead to this rather than it being “cool”, however. And many stars down the years have given up the drugs and the booze to concentrate on their health and prolong their careers.
You only need to look at the headlines and see some of the health conditions many superstars of the pop world have faced through addiction, going through alcohol rehab and coming out of the other side, going into recovery and making great music again.
Down the years, rehabilitation centres welcome all manner of people from the arts, from the superstars to the lesser known musicians trying to catch their break, with rehab centres like Primrose Lodge enabling lives to get back on track.
It’s one of a number of centres that continue to help people get over their addictions, and there are many famous faces that have discussed at length the benefits of rehabilitation can have on a life.
But who are the musicians who have kicked the booze and are now enjoying a career in sobriety?
1. Ozzy Osbourne
One of the most notorious rockstars on the planet. Booze-fuelled evenings on stage have led to all sorts of mayhem, including biting bats heads off and so much more. Since 2013, though, he’s remained sober and doesn’t drink a drop today.
Health issues, alongside a form of Parkinson’s Disease, has led him down that path, with the Black Sabbath frontman stating, “I got to a point where I ran out of options… I’ve got to learn to live life on life’s terms.”
2. Florence Welch
Alcohol abuse certainly affects singers and musicians of today too. Florence & the Machine rose to huge fame in the 2000s, with Florence Welch being one of the most loved and talked about musicians in Britain, out on tour once again with a new album.
She found that drinking was a big part of her identity and in 2014 decided enough was enough and it was time to give up the booze. Speaking to Rolling Stone magazine, she said, “When I stopped, there was this sense that I was letting some ghost of rock history down that I just couldn’t cope anymore. It was monumental. It was like, ‘I’m going to die. I need to stop’.”
3. Lana Del Rey
Another iconic singer of the present day is Lana Del Rey. With one of the most stunning voices on the planet, she wrote an album based upon her problem with alcohol during her younger years, with Born To Die about the period, aged just 14 when she was sent to a boarding school to “get sober” after a period of drinking every day, often alone.
4. Ringo Starr
Ringo is all about clean living these days and has been for some time. During his time in The Beatles, it was all about excess, spending evenings with the likes of Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix. However, after meeting his second wife Barbara Bach, they decided enough was enough and in the 1980s they both sought out rehab to get clean.
During the period the legend said he couldn’t really move without alcohol but since that trip to rehab he hasn’t looked back. He’s all about peace and love now.
Once upon a time there was perhaps no bigger musician on the planet than Eminem. Of course, that comes with its pressures too. He’s spoken frequently about his battle with addiction and has been sober since 2008, both from drugs and alcohol.
Much of his material since his sobriety has been about the subject, releasing albums such as Road to Recovery: Withdrawal, as well as Relapse, and Recovery.
The rapper is a great example of how fame can lead to such problems, but the Detroit native was honest, open and shared his battle so others can follow in his footsteps.
6. Steve Tyler
The Aerosmith legend is another superstar that has spoken candidly about his addiction. Tyler got sober in 2009, but in more recent times has relapsed and again entered a programme to turn his life around again.
He went through a number of unsuccessful stints in rehab in the 1980s, and finally got clean in 2009. He’s often spoken about the fear of relapsing, as well as the changes going sober had on his life. He’s back on that long journey to recovery again and will no doubt be as open with that as he has been previously.
7. Badly Drawn Boy
Badly Drawn Boy has been sober for around seven years now and often talks about his experience with booze and his life today, featuring on a number of podcasts about what alcohol can do to your life.
Famed for hits such as Once Around The Block and Silent Sigh, the singer claimed that after a whole life of drinking he wanted to enjoy life in a different way, without booze getting in the way of things in his life. He’s still sober to this day and still releasing music.
8. Elton John
Elton John has certainly lived a life, and films such as Rocket Man and the various documentaries about the British musician touch heavily on the drug and alcohol abuse of his early days.
However, the Bennie and the Jets singer has been sober for over three decades now, in what is a remarkably impressive feat. When marking the third decade of his sobriety, he said, “I’m truly a blessed man. If I hadn’t finally taken the big step of asking for help 30 years ago, I’d be dead.”
9. Anthony Kiedis
Anthony Kiedis’ autobiography Scar Tissue is one of the most brutal accounts of addiction and both drugs and alcohol were a big part of both his and his bands life down the years, with original guitarist Hillel Slovak suffering a heroin overdose back in 1988.
The band and Kiedis have overcome those demons and you’ll find an incredibly clean band today that lives a much healthier lifestyle, and of course are still rocking out, headlining festivals and playing stadiums all over the planet.