Rockers Off Their Rockers: 25 Musicians Who Went Kind Of Cray-Cray

They say that there’s a fine line between genius and insanity, which might explain why some of our all-time favorite musicians have a tendency to go off the rails every now and then. Whether obsessive, reclusive, ego-maniacal, or just plain weird, the biggest names in the pop occasionally…errr, flip their lid. Sometimes it’s just a momentary lapse of reason (looking at you, Mariah Carey and Kanye West), sometimes it’s wayyyy too many drugs (love you, James Brown), and other times it’s just wayyyy too many yes-men.

  • James Brown

  • Kanye West

  • Courtney Love

  • Ol’ Dirty Bastard

  • Iggy Pop

  • Sinead O’Connor

  • Axl Rose

  • Jeff Mangum

  • D’Angelo

  • Lauryn Hill

  • Adam Ant

  • Sly Stone

  • Roky Erickson

  • Mariah Carey

  • Lee Scratch Perry

  • Ozzy Osbourne

  • Skip Spence

  • Jaco Pastorius

  • Britney Spears

  • Jim Gordon

  • Phil Spector

  • Peter Green

  • Syd Barrett

  • Brian Wilson

  • Michael Jackson

Don’t get us wrong, we totally sympathize! It’s gotta be weird to have that much adulation, respect, notoriety and cash all at once. Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll rarely equals a healthy lifestyle, and when your reality becomes so totally unreal, it must be hard to stay sane. Wyclef Jean said it best when talking about his former bandmate Lauryn Hill, whose erratic behavior has been raising eyebrows for more than a decade. “When you’re so successful, if you don’t have one person around you that can talk some sense into [you], it’s over,” he told People. Maybe her three month prison sentence for tax evasion will put her feet back on firm ground.

Her story is more common than you may think. Head to the gallery above to hear 25 tales of rock ’n’ roll excess gone awry. Get ready for 25 musicians who have definitely operated outside the realm of “normal.”

[Photo: Getty Images]

RELATED: The 20 Dumbest Celebrity Quotes Of All Time

VH1 Music Editor + Seltzer Enthusiast