Some rock stars are considered idols, with their powerhouse vocals, musical talents, and controversial ways, making them well-known worldwide. Talents such as Pat Benatar and Dave Grohl pushed their bands to chart-topping heights, but where did they end up?
While some are still on stage, singing their hearts out, strumming their guitars, and pounding the drums, others have hung up their leather pants, opting to focus on philanthropic work. Keep reading and learn what happened to some of the world’s leading rockers.
Jon Bon Jovi – Then
In 1983, the rock band Bon Jovi formed, and the world was introduced to the musical talents of the one and only Jon Bon Jovi. Unlike other bands of the time, Bon Jovi hit the ground running, finding fame virtually right away and playing sold-out concerts.
Their debut single “Runaway” even managed to make it into the Top 40. From there, the band only went higher in the charts with “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Both reached number one.
Jon Bon Jovi – Now
Bon Jovi has released three live albums and 14 studio albums and has sold more than 100 million records worldwide. The band was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a few years later, in 2018.
In 2020, the band released their fifteenth album titled 2020. Outside of music, Bon Jovi has opened The Bond Jovi Soul Foundation, an organization working to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in local communities.
Pat Benatar – Then
Pat Benatar came on the rock and roll music scene in 1979 with the release of her debut album In the Heat of the Night. The album reached the number 12 spot on the Billboard chart. She gained a lot of attention the following year, with the release of her LP Crimes of Passion and the single “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.”
The song sold more than one million copies in the United States, hitting gold status. With the release of “Love is a Battlefield,” Benatar became one of the genre’s leading ladies.
Pat Benatar – Now
Four-time Grammy Award-winning artist and two-time RIAA-certified multi-platinum album artist Pat Benatar has made quite a name for herself through the years. Even so, the rock star has only released one album since 1997, the 2003 album Go.
Then to support the Women’s March in 2017, Benatar released her first original non-Christmas song in over ten years, a song called “Shine.” That same year she also released “Dancing Through the Wreckage,” which was the feature song in the documentary Served Like a Girl.
Steven Tyler – Aerosmith – Then
Formed in the late 1970s, Aerosmith, led by lead vocalist Steven Tyler, had a sound ground in blues-based hard rock. Sometimes referred to as “the bad boys from Boston,” Aerosmith signed with Columbia Records in 1972, releasing silver and platinum records from the get-go.
Throughout the 70s, the rock band toured all over, charting dozens of hit singles like “Dream On” and “Walk this Way,” and becoming one of the most famous rock bands by the end of the decade.
Steven Tyler – Aerosmith – Now
Today, Aerosmith is the best-selling American hard rock band in the history of music, selling more than 150 million records worldwide, including more than 70 million in just the United States. In 2001, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Then, in 2013, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, the band’s songwriters, were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Dave Grohl – Nirvana And The Foo Fighters – Then
Musician David Grohl joined the rock band Nirvana when he was only a teenager, coming in as their drummer to record their second studio album Nevermind. The 1991 album was a huge success; with its cleaner sound and hit singles, the album became number one of that year, according to Pazz & Jop critics’ poll.
Grohl’s time with Nirvana came to a screeching halt in 1994, but his musical aspirations did not. That year, he became the one-man-band in a little project he named the Foo Fighters.
Dave Grohl – The Foo Fighters – Now
Today, David Grohl is considered to be one of the most influential musicians in the past 20 years, being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.
Outside of music, Grohl is a huge advocate for anti-substance abuse campaigns as well as LGBTQ+ rights.
Billy Idol – Then
First finding fame as the lead singer of the punk rock band Generation X, Billy Idol soon made a name for himself as a solo artist. His singles “Dancing with Myself” and “White Wedding” helped lead to the United States’ Second British Invasion.
He continued to find success in the early 80s with his hit album Rebel Yell. Selling two million copies in the United States, the album was certified double platinum by the RIAA.
Billy Idol – Now
After 12 years, Billy Idol released an album of new material in 2005 titled Devil’s Playground. The album threw him back into the music scene where he found himself back on stage the next year and recording with various other artists once again.
In 2020, Idol took part in “Billy Never Idles,” a campaign to fight the idling of cars in New York City in the hopes of reducing air pollution.
Debbie Harry – Blondie – Then
In the backdrop of 1974, New York, Debbie Harry co-founded what was about to be one of the most popular new wave groups of the 70s and 80s, Blondie. Although their first two albums were successful in the US, it wasn’t until their third, Parallel Lines, that they found worldwide success.
The album included the hit single “Heart of Glass,” a track that wound up selling nearly two million copies in the United States alone! Even after the band took a break in the late 80s, Harry continued in the industry as a solo artist.
Debbie Harry – Blondie – Now
Now, Debbie Harry is considered a female punk icon, releasing five solo albums on top of what she did with Blondie. Most recently, Harry performed on the Coachella stage in 2014 and started a residency in New York at the Café Carlyle the following year.
Aside from her music, in 2019, Harry released a memoir titled Face It. And in 2020, she guest-starred in the romantic comedy Hulu series called High Fidelity.
Keith Richards – The Rolling Stones – Then
Co-founder of the English rock band The Rolling Stones, guitarist Keith Richards helped lead the band to international stardom. Starting off playing covers, the band soon became identified with youth’s counterculture in the 60s, especially when they began playing their own material.
The songs “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction)” and “Paint It Black” were two of their biggest hits in the late 60s, with their album Aftermath becoming one of their most well-known records.
Keith Richards – The Rolling Stones – Now
Due to his contributions to The Rolling Stones and lyrics he’s written for other artists, Keith Richards was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993. Rolling Stone magazine has also named him one of the best guitarists of all time.
n 2007, Richards made a cameo as Jack Sparrow’s pirate father in The Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End.
Hall & Oates – Then
Daryl Hall and John Oats formed their two-man pop-rock band back in 1970. Since their start, Hall & Oats has sold more than 60 million records and has had six hit singles, including “Kiss on My List,” ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Private Eyes,” and “Out of Touch.”
Their peak fame was throughout the 70s and 80s, with people flocking to buy their funky albums that fused rock and roll with rhythm and blues.
Hall & Oates – Now
Hall & Oats were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, with Billboard naming them the number one duo in music.
Then, in 2014, they were honored with a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.
Gwen Stefani – No Doubt – Then
California-born Gwen Stefani stepped onto the music scene in 1986 as the lead singer of the rock band No Doubt. While the band had a rough time gaining a following, their second studio album, The Beacon Street Collection, paved their way to becoming one of the most-listened-to bands of the 90s.
Their 1995 Tragic Kingdom single “Don’t Speak” wound up spending 16 weeks as the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100.
Gwen Stefani – No Doubt – Now
After No Doubt disbanded, Gwen Stefani made quite a name for herself as a solo artist, releasing multiple singles on her debut album Love. Angle. Music. Baby. Some of the more popular songs include “Hollaback Girl,” “Cool,” and “Rich Girl.”
Most recently, the singer is one o the judges on the competitive singing show The Voice.
Gene Simmons – KISS – Then
Also known as The Demon, Gene Simmons is co-founder, bassist, and co-lead singer of the band KISS. Coming together in the 70s, the face-painted guys that formed the rock band didn’t hit the charts until the 80s when they became one of the more popular bands around.
Singles like “Crazy Crazy Nights” and “I Was Made For Loving You” dominated the charts and made KISS one of the most popular bands in all of rock and roll history.
Gene Simmons – KISS – Now
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013, Gene Simmons still tours with KISS. But the rock star has been busy with other ventures as well. The KISS frontman manages his own record label, Simmons Records, and publishes his own magazine, Gene Simmons Tongue Magazine.
He also had his own animated television show, My Dad the Rock Star, which was canceled back in 2003. With all of his extra income, it’s rumored that Simmons is one of the world’s wealthiest rock stars.
Angus Young – AC/DC – Then
Along with his brother Malcolm, in 1973, Angus Young co-founded the Australian rock band AC/DC. Known for his schoolboy uniform, energetic performances, and infamous duck walk, Young and his brother found mild success in the early 70s.
It wasn’t until they released the 1979 album Highway to Hell and the 1980 release of Back in Black that their rock-star status skyrocketed. The latter album is now considered one of the best-selling albums of all time.
Angus Young – AC/DC – Now
With the music they brought into the world during the 70s, 80s, 90s, and into the 2000s, AC/DC was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Angus Young is the only original member of the band.
Even all these years later, Young is still all about the music, not really partaking in any other ventures outside of AC/DC.
Mick Jagger – The Rolling Stones – Then
Mick Jagger found worldwide fame as one of the founders of the band The Rolling Stones. As the lead singer, Jagger became one of the voices of the 60s and 70s, singing hits such as “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.”
His energetic performances, along with his distinctive voice, helped The Rolling Stones secure their fanbase and sell out more than a few stadiums during their prime. In 1989, Jagger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Mick Jagger – The Rolling Stones – Now
With his countless contributions to music and rock and roll, Mick Jagger is now wildly considered as one of the most influential frontmen of the genre. Selling millions of records with The Rolling Stones as well as a solo artist, Jagger is thought to be worth over $500 million.
Outside of his own music, Jagger is a huge advocate for promoting music in schools, which he does through his Red Rooster Programme. The organization is named after one of The Rolling Stones’ earliest songs.
Ozzy Osbourne – Black Sabbath – Then
Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness, was the lead vocalist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath back, starting in the 70s. It didn’t take long for people to recognize Osbourne for his talent, but also for his outrageous stage presence.
While Black Sabbath gained attention, Osbourne was fired as the singer. He went on as a solo artist, recording twelve studio albums, the first seven of which went on to receive multi-platinum certifications.
Ozzy Osbourne – Black Sabbath – Now
Due to his long-standing work in the music industry, Ozzy Osbourne earned the nickname The Godfather of Metal. Combining his solo work with that of Black Sabbath, Osbourne has sold well over 100 million albums, making him one of the most successful artists of all time.
Aside from his music, though, Osbourne has had a few stints as a reality TV star. Most recently, he co-stars with his two kids, Jack and Kelly, on the series Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour.
Jared Leto – Thirty Seconds To Mars – Then
Formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1998, the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars consists of the brother duo of Jared and Shannan Leto. While their line-up was everchanging, the brothers were the one constant when they released their first album, 30 Seconds to Mars, in 2002.
While the album garnered positive reviews, it wasn’t until their second album, A Beautiful Lie, was released in 2005 that the band found worldwide fame.
Jared Leto – Thirty Seconds To Mars – Now
In 2018, Thirty Seconds to Mars released the single “Dangerous Night” from their upcoming fifth studio album America. The album released at number two on the Billboard 200, becoming the band’s highest debut entry on the chart.
But, most recently, lead singer Jared Leto has proven to be a triple threat, acting and dancing his way through Hollywood as an Academy Award-winning actor.