Every career has to start somewhere, even for the biggest musicians in the industry. The road to superstardom is never straight, and here are 12 big names who show that better than everybody.
Freddie Mercury – Market Stall Owner
Mercury owned and operated a stall in the world-famous Kensington Market since the summer of 1969. He sold his own artwork and second-hand clothes, and even kept running it after Queen released their first album!
Chris Cornell – Fish Handler
The late, great Soundgarden frontman started out working for a seafood company. Among his job duties was cleaning up the fish guts at the local Seattle fish markets, which probably gave him plenty of material to write angry, angsty songs about.
Debbie Harry – Playboy Bunny
That’s right! In the early 70s the Blondie singer worked at the Playboy Club in New York. When asked how she dealt with perverted old men, she responded “I fooled around with drugs and was consequently often half-asleep.”
Rod Stewart – Grave Digger
Stewart briefly worked as a grave digger at the Highgate Cemetery in London, England. However, according to his autobiography, he was more in charge of marking the different plots, not actually digging them. Sure, Rod. Sure.
Mick Jagger – Mental Hospital Porter
He worked as a porter for the Bexley Psychiatric Hospital when he was 18 and apparently lost his virginity to a nurse in one of the supply closets. How’s THAT for a story?
The stories actually get even crazier from here…
Art Garfunkel – Math Teacher
That’s right, half of Simon & Garfunkel was working as a math teacher when “Bridge Over Troubled Water” hit Number One on the Billboard charts. Suffice to say, he didn’t stay in that job much longer.
Johnny Cash – Military Code Breaker
One of the most badass stories on this list, The Man in Black served in the US Air Force starting in 1950, working in the cryptographic intelligence unit. This kind of profession takes a pretty advanced level of mathematical skills, which many of his fans probably don’t even know he had.
Ozzy Osbourne – Car Horn Tuner
It’s been well-documented that one of the Prince of Darkness’s earliest jobs was working in a slaughterhouse, but it turns out he also had a stint tuning car horns in a production plant!
Jonathan Davis – Embalmer
It probably comes as little surprise that the Korn frontman had a pretty morbid job in his youth, but it turns out he actually studied mortuary science in college in order to get it!
Kurt Cobain – Janitor
While the job itself isn’t that crazy, could you imagine having your school bathroom cleaned by one of the most iconic rock musicians of all time?
Courtney Love – Stripper
Probably the least-surprising entry on this list, Love apparently did stints as a stripper around the world, especially at Jumbo’s Clown Room in Hollywood (which has to be the least-appealing name for a strip club ever).
Love has commented on it, saying “Stripping funded my band. There was a lot of temptation in terms of drugs back then. I was like, OK, when I make a million dollars, then I’ll do all the drugs I want. Which I did, by the way.”
Jon Bon Jovi – Christmas Decoration Assembler
That’s right, the guy who sang “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love A Bad Name” spent his time building Christmas decorations as his full-time job. Somehow we suspect this probably made him work extra hard on his music career.