Blender Magazine's Top 50 Craziest Musicians
7.4 01. Michael Jackson
Frankly, it would be easier to list the crazy things he hasn't done
Case History: Remember those innocent years when Jackson was merely so mental that he lived in an amusement park with llamas, chimps and the Elephant Man's skeleton? The craziest thing is that the most ridiculous rumors turned out to be true — he didn't see anything wrong with pan-generational slumber parties; he didn't have a nose left, let alone money. What spectacular madness turns $750 million in assets to $180 million in debt, apart from, uh, trying to open an amusement park in Poland? For his lifetime of lunacy, Wacko Jacko is the undisputed skin-whitening, baby-dangling, statue-building, crotch-grabbing, kiddie-cuddling King of Pop.
Craziest Moment: He claims he fathered Aryan babies, and then named them Prince I and Prince II. He's outdone himself again!
He's So Crazy: Children and men sleeping together? "What the world needs right now is more love."
7.7 02. Brian Wilson
"Good Vibrations"? Was he being ironic?
Case History: In 1966, Wilson prepared for the Beach Boys' Smile sessions by packing $2,000 worth of hash, along with LSD and prescription amphetamines. He built a sandpit in his house, instructed his orchestra to wear toy fireman helmets — and then started hearing voices and feeling suicidal. After hospitalization, Wilson gorged on pills, steaks and cigarettes and ballooned to 300 pounds. Terrified of water, he stopped bathing. He spent three years in bed convinced that Phil Spector was coming to shoot him. Diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, manic depression and brain damage in the early '80s.
Craziest Moment: Meeting some youngsters backstage in 1970, Wilson introduced himself with "I'm Brian." "We know," one replied. "We're your children."
He's So Crazy: "There are a myriad of drug songs on the pop music market today," Wilson told the British music magazine Melody Maker in 1966. "I don't know which they are."
6.6 03. Axl Rose
Deranged G n'R singer and topiary fan.
Case History: Rose developed a loathing for authority as a child after his stepfather hit him for singing along to Barry Manilow's "Mandy." Despite achieving global rock hegemony with 1987's Appetite for Destruction, all was not well in this redneck intellectual's jungle: He claimed Courtney Love tried to possess him at 1993's MTV Awards, and he's still working on the follow-up to G n'R's album of punk covers, The Spaghetti Incident?
Case History: After marrying Erin Everly in 1990, Rose bought a house in the Hollywood Hills and had two topiary elephants delivered by helicopter. The couple never moved into the property.
He's So Crazy: "I'm trying to have a happy life here — why do I keep getting in my own way with it? What's going on here?"
6.6 04. Whitney Houston
Makes Bobby Brown look like the sane one.
Case History: Even Houston's drug-gobbling ex-hubby, Bobby Brown, must look at her and think, Now she's crazy. Long rumored to be suffering from cocaine and heroin addictions, she denied taking drugs even after she was booted from the 2000 Academy Awards for playing an imaginary piano. In 2001, after Houston was a no-show at the second night of Michael Jackson's 13th-anniversary gala, her publicist issued a statement denying that she had died.
Case History: Fleeing to Israel to claim honorary Jewishness.
She's So Crazy: "I make too much money to ever smoke crack."
7.5 05. Sly Stone
The maddest funkateer on earth, and elsewhere, too.
Case History: Sylvester Stewart practically invented funk, but his dazzling highs were followed by an endless, cocaine-induced low. Even in 1971, his sex-and-drugs regimen was so intense that his label had to tempt him with $1 million in cash to complete an album. Stone once flew to London from Rotterdam 10 minutes before a concert, claiming he was going shopping and would be back in time for the show. Futile bouts of rehab came at the end of '70s; by then, Stone had taken to carrying a gun.
Case History: While making There's a Riot Going On, he made Bobby Womack play for six days without sleep.
He's So Crazy: George Clinton has said of him, "Sly has done so much that he'll never fully land on planet earth again."
5.2 06. Britney Spears
America's favorite sweetheart croons America's favorite cry for help.
Case History: Even before her I do/I don't to hometown pal Jason Alexander (never mind Fed-Ex), Spears had been regularly frightening her handlers with Girls Gone Wild antics. Jell-O shots and table dancing graduated to TV breakdowns and panty-free good times with role model Paris Hilton. Nothing could have prepared her fans for the self-inflicted shearing that left her looking like a cross between G.I. Jane and the dude from Powder, and even high-powered lawyers representing her in a sideshow/custody battle with Kevin Federline jumped ship in early '08. Undaunted, she has proven capable of feeding the tabloids with shockers on an almost daily basis. This story is developing, and she is poised to move up a few crazy pegs on this list...
Craziest Moment: Her drunken 55-hour marriage to Jason Alexander? Her sober marriage to Kevin Federline? Her January, 2008 refusal to return custody of her children to Fed-Ex'es bodyguard, resulting in a paramedic-assisted gurney ride to a local hospital? It's a tough call.
She's So Crazy: "I get to go to lots of overseas places, like Canada."
8 07. Syd Barrett
Acid-fried Pink Floyd legend.
Case History: Barrett was central to the original Pink Floyd lineup, but he hated fame, and a diet of double-dipped LSD sugar cubes helped give him a nervous breakdown. Burned out, he forgot the words and the music while playing the British TV show Top of the Pops; later, tripping again, Barrett repeated the same chord throughout his final Floyd gig. He spent the final decades of his life as a recluse in rural England, before expiring in 2006.
Craziest Moment: He once appeared onstage with Mandrax pills crushed into a Brylcreem he had put in his hair.
6.7 08. Mayhem
Euronymous, lead singer.
Human-brain-eating Norwegian death-metaler.
Case History: A big noise in Norway's church-burning black-metal scene. Oystien Aarseth changed his name to Euronymous as his band, Mayhem, emerged in the mid-'80s. After bandmate Per Yngve Ohlin — whose nickname was "Dead" — killed himself with a shotgun, Euronymous found the body; before calling the police, he picked up a camera and took some postmortem photos. In 1993, following a spat with fellow metaler Varg "Count Grishnackh" Vikernes, Euronymous was stabbed more than 25 times. "I piss on his grave," said the Count before being sentenced to 21 years in prison for the murder.
Craziest Moment: Euronymous ate a piece of Dead's brain and used pieces of the skull as jewelry.
7.1 09. Ol' Dirty Bastard
Ol' Dirty Bastard by name. Complete lunatic by nature.
Case History: The Wu-Tang Clan's loose cannon. He bum-rushed the 1998 Grammys, grabbing the mic from Shawn Colvin to announce that "Wu-Tang is for the children." In 1999, when he was caught with 20 bags of crack, he asked police to make them "disappear." In November 2000, he was apprehended while waiting at a McDonald's drive-through and packed off to jail on cocaine-possession charges.
Craziest Moment: On trial for drug offenses in January 2000, he called the female district attorney a "sperm doctor."
He's So Crazy: "Remember the Indian who sold Manhattan to the white man? That's my great-great-grandfather."
6.8 010. Ozzy Osbourne
Like your cuddly uncle — if your uncle bites the heads off bats.
Case History: Having helped invent heavy metal with Black Sabbath, Ozzy has worked long and hard for his "prince of fucking darkness" moniker. His exploits include biting the heads off doves and bats, urinating on the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, and, when checking into a Betty Ford Clinic, asking for directions to the bar. He also reportedly wanted to open his Live Aid set with "Food Glorious Food," from Oliver.
Craziest Moment: After a five-day drinking binge in 1989, Osbourne says that voices ordered him to kill his wife, Sharon. He tried to strangle her, saying, "We've decided you've got to go."
He's So Crazy: "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."
6.7 011. Adam Ant
There's nothing "new" or "romantic" about waving a gun around, mister.
Case History: The New Romantic leading light has suffered lifelong bouts of depression. He attempted suicide when he was 21. In January 2002, when drinkers in a London pub laughed at his cowboy hat, Ant snapped. He left the premises in a huff, returning later to throw a car alternator through the window and wave a fake revolver around. Was subsequently confined to a mental hospital.
Craziest Moment: When Adam and the Ants played London in 1981, Ant insisted that roadies sprinkle every seat in the theater with lavender water, because that's what the Georgians did.
He's So Crazy: "They're jut out to get me. I'm not mad."
7 012. Kevin Rowland
Hello, dresses. Good-bye, career.
Case History: Rowland was the uncompromising Dexys Midnight Runners frontman who banned booze and drugs and insisted that the band get up early in the morning to go jogging. In 1991, he declared himself bankrupt and spent his days bedridden, snorting cocaine under his sheets, before briefly joining a religious cult. In 1999, he reemerged with a new image that usually included wearing a dress and white panties.
Craziest Moment: Rowland stole the master tapes to Dexys' debut album to get a better deal with the band's label. When the producer threw himself in front of the getaway van, Rowland urged the driver, "Accelerate, and damn the consequences!"
He's So Crazy: "To me, it makes perfect sense to wear a dress."
4.7 013. Courtney Love
Without her, Crazy Pop Star Monthly would be a much quicker read.
Case History: Dementia is Love's old friend, from her snorting heroin at the site of Nancy Spungen's death to marrying Kurt Cobain while wearing lobotomized actress Frances Farmer's clothes. A drug binge (and attendant outbursts) led to the loss of custody of her and Cobain's only child, Frances Bean. Her Web postings, indecipherable on good days, can veer toward gibberish.
Craziest Moment: Recently OD'ed, called paramedics and then invited her daughter to share the special mother-and-child moment.
She's So Crazy: Commenting on drug charges: "[The situation is] retarded…I didn't even shoplift!"
6.1 014. Killing Joke
Jaz Coleman, lead singer.
The Killing Joke frontman fears the apocalypse. We fear him.
Case History: The Killing Joke frontman fled to Iceland in 1982 in fear of the apocalypse, but merely ended up working with the Sugarcubes before returning to England. Coleman has conducted interviews entirely in his own made-up language, and once taped a journalist's mouth shut for asking silly questions. He's also composer-in-residence for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, whose conductor hails him as "the new Mahler."
Craziest Moment: Coleman bribed the Egyptian minister of culture to allow Killing Joke to record part of their Pandemonium album in the Great Pyramid.
He's So Crazy: "I'm a dangerous man. Fuck off."
6.7 015. Roky Erickson
Psychedelic icon who gets sent songs by dead people.
Case History: The founder of one of the first American psychedelic bands, the Thirteenth Floor Elevators. Busted for possession of six joints in 1969, Erickson pled insanity rather than serve jail time and was placed in the Rusk State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Austin, Texas, for three-and-a-half years. It was there, feasting on a steady diet of electroshock therapy and Thorazine, that the schizophrenic Erickson wrote a book of poetry and formed a band with fellow inmates. In the late '90s, he lived in a federally subsidized house in Texas, with radios and TVs on at all times to drown out the voices.
Craziest Moment: Signed an affidavit in 1982 declaring that a Martian had taken over his body.
6.4 016. Sun Ra
Where did the jazz maestro learn to play piano? Saturn!
Case History: The former Herman Blount and his Arkestra were major influences in free jazz. Ra claims to have received messages from "unknown forces" when he was 3, leading him to work with "the dark things of the cosmos, which are beyond black." Ra taught a class at the University of California at Berkeley, whose reading list included several books that apparently didn't exist. He once visited the United Nations demanding to speak to the person in charge.
Craziest Moment: Claimed to be from the planet Saturn.
6.8 017. Jim Gordon
Wrote "Layla." Killed mother.
Case History: Gordon was a session drummer who cowrote "Layla" with Eric Clapton — and was schizophrenic to boot. Voices in his head commanded him to eat just one mouthful of food a meal; he cracked his second wife's ribs for bringing evil spirits into the house. In June 1983, Gordon killed his mother by hitting her with a hammer and stabbing her, and was sentenced to 16 years to life for second-degree murder.
Craziest Moment: Recording with Johnny Rivers in 1977 , Gordon glared at guitarist Dean Parks. "You're messing with my time," Gordon said. "You're moving my hands. I want you to stop it."
7.8 018. Liza Minelli
Gay icon, queer marriage.
Case History: The daughter of pill-popping icon Judy Garland has herself spent a fair share of time in the valley of the dolls. She has tickled the tabloids with an impressive spurt of bizarre episodes, notably her wedding to latex-faced David Gest. The show-stopper was Gest's $10 million lawsuit against Minnelli that ended their marriage — during which, he claims, she maintained sobriety only long enough to beat him.
Craziest Moment: While performing onstage in 1978, Minnelli spotted Marlene Dietrich in the audience. She bent to kiss Dietrich's hand, realized the woman was a Dietrich look-alike, panicked and got "Marlene's" finger stuck up her nose.
She's So Crazy: "I, Liza Minnelli, take thee, David Gest…"
7.9 019. Daniel Johnston
Totally sane singer-songwriter… when he remembers his medication.
Case History: When he stayed on his meds, singer-songwriter Johnston warbled sweet off-key pop songs backed by piano or acoustic guitar. When he went off them, the pudgy Texan was prone to erratic behavior. In 1986, he was tossed in jail for attacking a friend with a lead pipe; Hi, How Are You?, the self-produced tape that made him famous, was recorded during a full-blown nervous breakdown.
Crazy Moment: On a plane in 1990, Johnston freaked out and grabbed the controls, convinced that his father, who was piloting it at the time, was — guess who? — Satan.
He's So Crazy: "A lot of my other selves walked out of my body and did a lot of things I was surprised at."
4.7 020. Ike Turner
Oft-high, oft-married, oft-wife-beating soul maverick.
Case History: Turner's father was murdered by a racist mob when Ike was 4; a violent stepfather set a pattern Ike would grow to imitate. He bigamously married Tina Turner and totally controlled her life for 10 years. Before she left him in 1976, he had hit her, poured hot coffee on her face, burned her lips with cigarettes and made her perform while sick and pregnant. Turner estimates he spent $11 million on cocaine over 30 years. He has been married at least 13 times.
Craziest Moment: Used to spend $36,000 a day filling champagne buckets with cocaine and letting visitors to his Los Angeles home help themselves.
He's So Crazy: "I did a lot of wrong things, but I don't think I'm a bad person."
7 021. Julian Cope
Even his alter ego is saner than he is!
Case History: One of English pop's finest singer-songwriters, Cope is also a pagan who eulogizes the Norse god Odin and refuses to delineate time into B.C. and A.D. In the '0s, he lectured journalists on the benefits of hallucinogens, lived on a traffic island and, rumors say, sold his songs to visitors at Paul McCartney's trout farm. He spent eight years writing The Modern Antiquarian, an exhaustive — and well-received — appraisal of Britain's prehistoric landmarks.
Craziest Moment: In 1990, he joined protesters in an antipoll tax demonstration in England dressed as Mr. Sqwubbsy, a seven-foot-tall alien.
He's So Crazy: "We went out driving to the mushroom field the other day, picked a load and carried the car home."
7.1 022. Jerry Lee Lewis
The Killer likes 'em young. And related to him.
Case History: By the time he turned 21 in 1956, Lewis had been jailed, twice married (bigamously) and thrown out of Bible college. That year, he showcased his new 13-year-old bride (who was also his cousin) around Europe. A few short wives later, he had accidentally shot his bass player, lost two spouses and a son (to drowning, overdose and a Jeep wreck), was hospitalized with bleeding ulcers and had been bankrupted by the IRS.
Craziest Moment: Once, behind the wheel of his Rolls-Royce, he tried to get into Graceland to see Elvis Presley. Rejected, he threw a champagne bottle through the car window without rolling it down first and then drove back to say hello again with his nose smashed.
4.5 023. G.G. Allin
His live show was, quite literally, shit.
Case History: The '80s shock-punk stalwart — named Jesus Christ by his father — built a career based on shows filled with nudity, defecation, mutilation, self-abuse and audience abuse. At one show, Allin attempted to have sex with a dead cat. A promiscuous man, he expressed disappointment when he tested negative for HIV, and he promised to commit suicide onstage. Instead, he died of a rather ordinary heroin overdose in 1993.
Craziest Moment: Allin was buried in a jockstrap embroidered with the phrase EAT ME.
7.1 024. Captain Beefheart
He sang "Ice Cream for Crows." We have no idea why.
Case History: Avant-garde blues shouter Beefheart was abrasive, tyrannical and possibly clinically mad. While recording 1969's Trout Mask Replica, he locked his Magic Band in a house for eight months; once a week someone was allowed out to fetch food. In the meantime, his musicians struggled to interpret the music he was "writing" on the piano, an instrument he couldn't actually play.
Craziest Moment: Giving the Magic Band new names to match the costumes he made them wear. His clarinet player, the Mascara Snake, quit shortly after.
8 025. John Frusciante
Chilis guitarist who lost the plot — and his teeth.
Case History: In 1992, the guitar prodigy bailed on the Red Hot Chili Peppers because the voices in his head were telling him to take heroin and cocaine — which he did, constantly, for the next six years, decamping to the Hollywood Hills and getting so wrecked that his teeth fell out. In 1998, he successfully completed rehab and rejoined the band.
Craziest Moment: In 1997, Frusciante recorded the solo album Smile From the Streets You Hold in large part because he needed drug money.
He's So Crazy: "To me, music is the…voice of all the people who have lived and died. At least the ones that I'm connected to."
6.9 026. Iggy Pop
Could have become a golfer. Decided to become a nut job.
Case History: Pop was born James Osterberg and raised in a Michigan trailer park. He formed the Stooges in 1967, lacerated and exposed himself onstage — and invented punk. In 1974, a squabble with Detroit bikers the Scorpions led Pop to threaten them on live radio; they turned up at that night's show and threw shovels at him. He once lived solely on German sausages for an entire year.
Craziest Moment: In 1975, Pop toyed with the idea of becoming a professional golfer, but admitted himself into a mental institution instead.
He's So Crazy: "I'd sometimes wake up with bumps on my head, blood on my shirt and something green coming out of my penis."
8.4 027. Keith Moon
The craziest Nazi-impersonating percussionist ever!
Case History: The Who drummer's madness was determinedly antisocial, whether he was stuffing his drums with gunpowder on live TV, running naked around a bus filled with adolescent schoolgirls or parading through London's Jewish neighborhoods in a Nazi uniform. After a poignant final TV appearance in which he proved unable to destroy his drum kit, Moon succumbed to his lifelong drug and alcohol abuse in 1978, graciously dying before he got old.
Crazy Moment: Fresh from rehab, he celebrated on an airplane with a food fight, a screaming fit and an over-the-PA rendition of "The Lone Ranger."
He's So Crazy: In a restaurant once with six prostitutes, Moon loudly announced to the room, "And now, the astounding Moonio will perform his world-famous multiclitoral stimulation!"
7.3 028. Wendy O. Williams
Car-exploding, clothes-hating punk legend.
Case History: Williams, a stripper-turned-Mohawked-lead-singer of the loud but tone-deaf Plasmatics, differentiated herself from New York punk pack with ultraviolent onstage stunts such as cutting her band's equipment up with a chain saw. Williams retired from punk to rehabilitate animals in Connecticut, and then unexpectedly shot herself in 1998.
Craziest Moment: Blowing up an explosives-packed Ford Pinto on Tom Snyder's talk show Tomorrow in 1981.
She's So Crazy: "I don't believe that people should take their own lives without deep and thoughtful reflection." — From Williams' suicide note.
6.1 029. Rick James
Fuck superfreak — and just plain old freak.
Case History: A tireless advocate of marijuana use. James progressed to cocaine in the early '80s, estimating that he freebased $7,000 worth of cocaine a week for five years — $1.8 million total. James was jailed in 1994 for assault, false imprisonment and furnished drugs after he and his girlfriend were accused of torturing two female crack buddies.
Craziest Moment: James once bought a leather jacket with black mink lining for $28,000 "out of ego," then realized that it was too small for him.
6.5 030. Alexander "Skip" Spence
Moby Grape's mad axman.
Case History: Spence was a founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape, and managed to create one solo masterpiece, 1969's Oar, before a combination of schizophrenia and drug abuse made him a little nutty. After drifting in and out of institutions his entire adult life, Spence died of lung cancer in 1999 while a ward of the state of California.
Craziest Moment: A bit antsy from a long day of shooting speed, Spence once went after Moby Grape drummer Don Stevenson with a fire ax.
8.1 031. Lee "Scratch" Perry
A genius in the studio — when he isn't burning it down.
Case History: Reggae's leading loon. For his freakishly inspired dub productions, Perry fired pistols and recorded crying babies and the sound of the weather outside. At his Black Ark studio in Jamaica, he was spotted walking backward, baptizing locals with a garden hose and worshiping bananas. In 1980, he burned the studio down.
Craziest Moment: Putting a curse on the British Broadcasting Corporation that he refuses to lift until it agrees to play his records around the clock.
7.4 032. George Clinton
Even more obsessed with sex than his presidential namesake.
Case History: In the late '60s, Clinton created Parliament-Funkadelic, an acid-inspired cartoon word of characters such as Sire Nose and Mr. Wiggles the Worm — and they certainly loved their narcotics. Clinton managed to stay out of legal trouble until he was arrested after allegedly telling a police officer that he had cocaine in his pocket. He went on to play with an act called, simply, Drugs.
Craziest Moment: He used to jump out of a coffin and encourage other musicians to simulate sex onstage.
He's So Crazy: "Bass was one thing that wasn't illegal on the radio, so we'd try to give you as much of it as we could. Bass was like a big dick."
6.3 033. Sinéad O'Connor
That's Father O'Connor to you.
Case History: O'Connor's career lunacy was unparalleled: She declined four Grammy nominations, defended the Irish Republican Army and savaged both Bono and "The Star-Spangled Banner." A difficult childhood (reform school, violent nuns) should have earned her sympathy. But even becoming a priest (really) didn't make amends for ripping up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live.
Craziest Moment: Declaring that the Roman Catholic Church was the fount of all evil. Then ordaining as a female priest for the Latin Tridentine Church, splinter group of…the Roman Catholic Church.
She's So Crazy: On her now-long-dead fame: "It was the worst phase of my life, which I thank God I'll never have to go through again."
7.2 034. Lou Reed
Velvet Underground alumnus, full-time Mr. Rude.
Case History: Perhaps less crazy than pathologically unpleasant and cantankerous. Reed's parents put him on a regimen of electroshock therapy because they thought he was gay. He simulated shooting up onstage, and in 1975 he released Metal Machine Music, four sides of unlistenable electronic noise — and talked it up in classical terms.
Craziest Moment: Recorded a song called "I Wanna Be Black," in which he expresses a desire to be assassinated like Martin Luther King Jr. "and have a big prick, too."
He's So Crazy: "Some claim that I'm a terror, a dictator — and they're right."
8 035. Joy Division
Ian Curtis, lead singer.
Much-troubled Joy Division leader
Case History: The tortured soul of England's Joy Division, Curtis suffered from grand mal epilepsy, the medication for which can have grave affects on the sufferer's mental and physical state. By 1978, he was having epileptic seizures and blackouts onstage. In April 1980, he attempted suicide, only to be pulled out of a hospital the next night to play a gig. But he could perform only two songs. The crowd rioted, and he suffered another breakdown.
Craziest Moment: On the eve of Joy Division's first American tour, Curtis, just 23, hanged himself in his kitchen.
He's So Crazy: "At this moment I wish I were dead. I just can't cope anymore." — From Curtis' suicide note.
7.9 036. Elvis Presley
Guns and pills? Thankyewverymuch!
Case History: Presley had used amphetamines since his army days, but from his 1973 divorce until his death, his drug-taking reached epic levels. His personal physician, Dr. George Nichopolous, prescribed 19,000 doses of pills in his last two years alone. He slept days and worked nights, and became paranoid and clinically depressed, firing revolvers into walls, handing out diamond watches to near-strangers and using his private jet for cross-country sandwich runs.
Craziest Moment: Phoning President Jimmy Carter just weeks before his death, a whacked-out Presley complained he was being "shadowed" by "sinister forces."
8.5 037. Arthur Lee
Chemically enhanced Love frontman and jailbird.
Case History: In 1968, Lee's band, Love, ingested a steady diet of grass, acid and heroin to make the apocalyptic masterpiece Forever Changes. Lee dropped out of sight in the '80s amid rumors of addiction and homelessness, and spent two years in jail after violating probation on an arson charge. In 1996, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for firing a gun while arguing with a neighbor; he was released — after serving five years — on a technicality.
Craziest Moment: While in prison, Lee found God, and later got Love back together on His orders.
8.1 038. Carlos Santana
Friends include angels, dead trumpeters.
Case History: A big fan of hallucinogens as a young man, Afro-Cuban fusion pioneer Santana dropped acid at Woodstock and played his guitar as though he believed it to be a snake. He embraced a less-chemical spirituality after picking up a New Age book at the Milwaukee Airport in 1988. Six years later, he claimed to be guided by an angel named Metatron, who looked a bit like Santa Claus. Credits Metatron with letting him know that 1999's Supernatural was going to be a massive hit; claims that the late Miles Davis talks to him.
Craziest Moment: Santana recorded 1972's Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles: Live! in Hawaii's Diamond Head volcanic crater.
7.8 039. Miles Davis
Jazz icon tried to beat drugs. Succeeded in beating wife.
Case History: Addicted to heroin starting in the early 1950s. After he was rescued from living on the street by trumpeter Clark Terry, Davis repaid him by ransacking his apartment for drug money. He was an infamous wife-beater — his first fled in fear for her life — and was notorious for wandering offstage after playing just a few notes.
Craziest Moment: Davis once demanded that pianist Bill Evans have sex with each of the men in his band. Evans refused.
He's So Crazy: "Some notes you get better in a specific spot on the stage. If I play a high note and don't hear it, I'll move."
7.3 040. Serge Gainsbourg
Put the French and pervert into "French pervert"
Case History: Gainsbourg was an eccentric French songwriting pervert whose work included Rock Around the Bunker (an album of Nazi songs) and "Lemon Incest," a duet with his 14-year-old daughter. He refused to stop drinking even after two-thirds of his liver was removed. He died in his bedroom at age 62 in 1991.
Craziest Moment: Once introduced himself to Whitney Houston on France's equivalent of The View by saying, "I want to fuck you."
He's So Crazy: "There's a trilogy in my life, equilateral triangle, shall we say, of Gitanes, alcoholism and girls."
7.7 041. David Bowie
Glam-rock-pioneering, Satan-exorcizing coke loon.
Case History: Bowie's often erratic behavior reached its nadir during his mid-'70s Thin White Duke period. In the depths of cocaine psychosis, he became convinced Satan was living in his Los Angeles swimming pool, so he performed an exorcism.
Craziest Moment: In 1976, he greeted the world's media at London's Victoria Station with a Nazi salute.
He's So Crazy: "Everyone says, 'Oh, yes, my family is quite mad.' Mine really is. No fucking about. Most of them are nutty — in, just out of, or going into an institution. Or dead."
7.2 042. Little Richard
Invent rock & roll? Check. Watch people fondle your girlfriend? Check.
Case History: By age 14, Richard Penniman had been beaten by his father for effeminacy and sexually abused. On tour, Richard enjoyed watching his girlfriends being serviced by other musicians — including Buddy Holly, who Richard says was hung like a stallion. Cocaine abuse (and arrests in public bathrooms) followed. Richard wasted away to 115 pounds, became nearly schizophrenic and was almost shot over a coke deal.
Craziest Moment: Once renounced rock & roll after a sign from God. (It was actually Sputnik flying over Australia.)
He's So Crazy: "I had to scream like a white lady!"
4.9 043. Mariah Carey
Countless hits. Five octaves. Very few marbles.
Case History:Carey's amateur eccentricity — spitting chewed gum into assistants' hands, kicking carsick journalists into the street — eventually blossomed into online breakdown announcements. Her spin doctors were quick to dismiss claims that she had slit her wrists: "Mariah did break some dishes, but she definitely did not hurt herself intentionally." (Mariah Carey? Doing dishes?) She finally went so bonkers that her record company gave her $5 million to go away.
Craziest Moment: Having her entourage force MTV Europe staff to play adoring fans when the real ones failed to show.
She's So Crazy: After her therapist gave her fruit, Carey insisted on crudités at all times: "I need to make sure this plate of vegetables is here."
8.1 044. Chuck Berry
Duck-walked underage prostitute across state line.
Case History: Berry was sentenced to three years in jail in 1961 for transporting a 14-year-old prostitute across state lines for "immoral purposes," and in 1994 he was sued by 60 women for allegedly video-taping them in the bathroom of his Southern Air restaurant in Wentzville, Missouri.
Craziest Moment: Protected himself from allegations of rape by insisting that female fans strip and pose, smiling, for pictures with him before he'd have sex with them.
6.5 045. James Taylor
Sensitive soul who found comfort in heroin and sanitariums.
Case History: Taylor committed himself to McLean Hospital in Massachusetts for depression at age 17; he wrote his first songs during his year-long stint in the psych ward. Three years after getting out, he checked himself into a sanitarium in the Berkshires — this time, he was addicted to heroin.
Craziest Moment: Never really fully mental. His loopiest act was perhaps leaving McLean — gasp! — without waiting the full three days for his paperwork to go through.
6.9 046. Sid Vicious
Insulted fans. May have killed his girlfriend. What a catch!
Case History: On the Sex Pistols' 1978 U.S. tour, he beat fans with his guitar and carved GIMME A FIX into his chest with glass. Vicious met his match in junkie/lover Nancy Spungen; he was charged with her murder after she was found dead under a sink in a hotel room.
Craziest Moment: Released from detox in 1979, he overdosed on heroin and died in his sleep.
8 047. Jim Morrison
Lived fast, died young, left a good-looking corpse… in the bath.
Case History: In the '60s, Morrison's method of opening "the doors of perception" was to guzzle booze and vacuum LSD and any other drugs he could get his hands on. Was dead in a bathtub by age 27 in 1971.
Craziest Moment: Married a witch in New York City. The happy couple drank each other's blood as part of a pagan ceremony.
4.8 048. R. Kelly
Chart-topping R&B sensation or poster boy for urination? Both!
Case History: He sleeps all day and plays basketball every midnight. He has been known not to change his underwear for days at a time and make his wife knock first before entering rooms in her own house. Then, of course, there's his alleged enthusiasm for home-video hobbyism — plus those 21 counts of child pornography he's dealt with.
Craziest Moment: Secretly marrying the 15-year-old Aaliyah probably could have been better thought out.
He's So Crazy: "Osama bin Laden is the only one who knows what I'm going through."
7.8 049. Peter Green
Voices-hearing Fleetwood Mac guitar virtuoso.
Case History: Fleetwood Mac's founding member was one of the greatest blues guitarists ever. But after bingeing on acid, he tried to persuade his bandmates to donate their earnings to charity. He quit in 1970. He grew his fingernails extraordinarily long so he wouldn't have to play guitar again. He then spent 25 years being subjected to electroshock therapy and taking heavy psychiatric drugs that made him sleep 20 hours a day.
Craziest Moment: Was arrested in 1977 after threatening manager Clifford Davis with a rifle; Davis had been trying to deliver a $50,000 royalty check to his London home.
7.1 050. Elton John
Candle in the wind. Supersize portions of cocaine up the nose.
Case History: Alcoholism, consumerism, eating disorders and snorting fat piles of womble dust have all contributed to the legend of the piano diva. While touring Germany in the '70s, he phoned his agent and demanded something be done about the wind outside that was keeping him awake.
Craziest Moment: In denial, gay Elton married his female sound engineer Renate Blauel in 1984.
He's So Crazy: "They can say I'm a fat old cunt, they can say I'm an untalented bastard, they can call me a poof, but they mustn't tell lies about me."
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