Rock stars aren’t born famous. Becoming a well-known rock star takes years of practice, dedication, and rejection. Every rock star has a unique origin story of how they stumbled upon fame. Musicians such as Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, and David Bowie all have things from their pasts that most fans never knew. Here are some vintage photos of talented rock stars before they became worldwide sensations.
Why Joan Jett Changed Her Name
Joan Jett was born Joan Marie Larkin in 1958 and grew up in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and Rockville, Maryland.
Jett started playing guitar when she was 13-years-old but quit her lessons because she didn’t want to play folk songs. After moving to Los Angeles as a teen, she changed her name to sound more like a rock star.
Paul McCartney Was Encouraged To Become A Musician
This photo shows a six-year-old Paul McCartney at the center sitting in the grass with his younger brother Mike. McCartney was born in 1942 and grew up in Liverpool, England.
His family was on the lower end of the working-class, but his parents were very supportive of their kids. His father was a musician who encouraged his children to take music lessons.
Ozzy Osbourne Was Inspired By The Beatles
Before Ozzy Osbourne became the frontman for Black Sabbath, he grew up in Birmingham, England. His family of eight lived in a small, two-bedroom home.
While in school he started acting in musicals and credited the Beatles for inspiring him to get into music. After leaving school at 15, he worked odd jobs and ran into trouble with the law before forming his first band.
Jon Bon Jovi Is Related To Another Famous Musician
Jon Bon Jovi was born John Francis Bongiovi Jr. on March 2, 1962, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Some may not know that he is a blood relative of Frank Sinatra.
He started playing music at the age of 13 with his first band called Raze and kept making more bands as he got older.
Elton John Escaped Into A World Of Music
Elton John was originally named Reginald Kenneth Dwight and grew up in Pinner, England. He was interested in the piano at a young age and knew he wanted to pursue a career in music.
His parents often fought while he was growing up, so he escaped with the music of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many more.
Jim Morrison Was A Military Brat
Jim Morrison was raised as a military brat and moved around to places such as Melbourne, Florida, San Diego, California, and Kingsville, Texas.
When he was a toddler he witnessed a car accident that inspired a lot of his work, including the song “Peace Frog.” Morrison was also an avid reader and loved the works of poets and philosophers.
Neil Young Taught Himself How To Play Music
Born on November 12, 1945, Neil Young grew up in Toronto and Omemee, Canada. At the age of seven, he contracted polio.
He first became interested in music during the mid-1950s after hearing artists such as The Ventures, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard on the radio. Then, he taught himself how to play music on a plastic ukulele.
Eric Clapton Thought His Mom Was His Sister
Eric Clapton’s mother was just 16 when he was born and he grew up thinking she was his older sister. He was mostly raised by his grandmother and stepgrandfather.
For his 13th birthday, he received a Hoyer guitar, which he became obsessed with a couple of years later. Ever since then, he had a focus on music and was mostly inspired by blues.
Elvis Presley Came From Small Town Mississippi
Elvis Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi in a two-room home. He had a close bond with his parents growing up and entered a singing contest after being encouraged by his teacher.
He grew up in a lower-class family and often had to rely on government food assistance. As a child, he was described as a loner but was crazy about music.
Steven Tyler Came From A Musical Family
Steven Victor Tallarico, or Steven Tyler, was born on March 26, 1948, in Manhattan, New York. His father was a classical musician who taught high school students.
One of his biggest musical influences as a teenager was the Rolling Stones. He was told that he resembled Mick Jagger and loved the music written by Keith Richards.
Gene Simmons Used To Work At Vogue
Gene Simmons was originally named Chaim Witz and grew up in Israel. His parents had fled to Israel from Hungary during World War II. While his family was very poor, he spent most of his childhood playing guitar.
His family moved to New York City when he was eight. He went on to work some odd jobs before fame such as being the assistant to an editor at Vogue.
Stevie Nicks’ Grandfather Taught Her To Duet
Stevie Nicks moved around a lot as a child because of her father’s job, so they lived in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, California, and more.
When she was about four years old, her grandfather taught her how to sing duets. She received her first guitar when she was 16 and immediately started writing songs.
Freddie Mercury Started A Rock And Roll Cover Band
Farrokh Bulsara, or Freddie Mercury, was born on September 5, 1946 in Zanzibar, which is now Tanzania. He spent most of his childhood in India and started taking piano lessons when he was seven.
By the time he was 12, he started his first band called the Hectics, which was a rock and roll cover band.
Mick Jagger Met Keith Richards In Elementary School
Mick Jagger grew up in a middle-class family in Kent, England, and was encouraged to become an athlete. Jagger always loved singing as a child, so he knew that’s what he wanted to pursue.
He met Rolling Stones band member Keith Richard in elementary school. When the two reconnected several years later, they formed their world-famous band.
David Bowie Grew Up A Gifted Child
David Robert Jones, or David Bowie, was born on January 8, 1947 in Brixton, London, England. He was considered to be a gifted child and participated in choir, dancing, and music classes.
The first time he could remember wanting to become a musician was listening to his father’s Little Richard record with the song “Tutti Frutti.”
Jimi Hendrix Had A Rough Childhood
This photo shows a three-year-old Jimi Hendrix with his father Al. This was the first time the two met since Al wasn’t allowed to leave the military when Jimi was born.
Hendrix started playing guitar at age 15. During his late teens and early 20s, he became a backing band member for musicians such as The Isley Brothers and Little Richard.
Bruce Springsteen Was A Loner In High School
Bruce Springsteen grew up in Freehold, New Jersey. As a child he struggled with his father’s mental health issues.
During high school, he was often thought of as a loner who only wanted to play his guitar. He felt so alienated that he skipped his graduation ceremony. When he was 19 he was called for the Vietnam War draft, but a concussion from a motorcycle accident prevent him from going.
Grace Slick Used To Be A Model
Grace Wing (Slick) was born on October 30, 1939 in Chicago, Illinois and later on her family moved around to several cities in California.
Before becoming a singer, she worked as a model at an I. Magnin department store and would compose music for her husband’s short films. She knew she wanted to pursue music full-time after reading an article about Jefferson Airplane in the newspaper.
Prince Was a Young Athlete and Dancer
Prince grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota where his mother was a jazz singer and his father was a pianist and songwriter. He originally didn’t like his name and would ask people to call him Skipper.
He was quite the athlete in his younger years! Prince played for his school’s football, basketball, and baseball teams. He also practiced ballet.
Janis Joplin Was Ostracized In High School
Janis Joplin was born and raised in Port Arthur, Texas, and would often receive more attention from her parents than her younger siblings.
She was considered an outcast as a teen and never finished college. However, this was also the time she fell in love with blues and folk music and she would sing as much as she could.