When you’re a famous rock star at the height
of your career, the wave of success might seem endless. But everyone knows nothing lasts forever and
many musicians aren’t exactly brilliant at saving up that nest egg. Here are the rockers who went completely broke. (And a few who clawed their way back.) English bad-boy rocker Pete Doherty founded
the rock band The Libertines in 1997. And when the group banned him from playing,
due to his drug abuse and jail time, Doherty simply started another band, the Babyshambles,
in 2003. “I long for a mediocre gig” But his addiction didn’t just affect his relationships,
it affected his bottom line. In 2007, the Evening Standard reported that
despite earning millions with The Libertines and his recent Babyshambles album selling
100,000 copies, Doherty was quote, “on the verge of bankruptcy.” While it was assumed his addictions didn’t
help financial matters, his investments hadn’t done well either and all the money was seemingly
gone. “It was a part of a way of life that I was
locked into” Fortunately, he’d managed to snag supermodel
Kate Moss along the way, and her millions were keeping him afloat at the time. But Moss was long gone by 2010, when The Sun
claimed that the rocker was quote, “completely broke,” and living in a basement apartment. Fact or tabloid fiction, Doherty was done…that
is, until he formed a new band, Peter Doherty and the P— Madres. In 2005, Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard
Cohen thought he had more than $5 million stashed away for retirement. It’s probably why he felt comfortable semi-retiring,
living in a monastery for a decade and only releasing two albums since 1992. “You never know what… you never know what’s
going to happen” But Billboard reported he suddenly learned
he had just $150,000 and that his longtime manager, Kelley Lynch, had been embezzling
millions, and selling some publishing rights. This resulted in complicated back-and-forth
legal filings, including one by Cohen’s financial adviser that accused the singer of, “[Leading] a lavish celebrity lifestyle and
then [turning] bitter and vindictive when he discovered the money had run out.” Meanwhile Lynch claimed Cohen, quote, “demanded
she discuss business matters while he soaked in a bubble bath” and once called a SWAT team
on her. Cohen, for his part, denied anything of the
sort, claiming he’d been unknowingly paying Lynch’s credit card bills, including one for
$75,000 just days before he found out about the theft. Even after he fired her, she tried to withdraw
$40,000 from his account. Forensic accountants found that a total of
$8.4 million had disappeared over the years. Because of the legal issues, Cohen couldn’t
even access that final $150,000. He had to take out a mortgage on his house
to pay his lawyers. At 71, he started touring again to pay the
bills, and released three more albums. He died in 2016, at age 82. Courtney Love is a successful rocker in her
own right, but her real money comes from her late husband Kurt Cobain’s publishing rights. Yet, she told The Fix, that after Cobain died,
she lost track of the money, claiming, “I was doing drugs from the moment I woke
up till the time I went to bed. I was out of it most of the time.” By the time she realized what was happening,
she was totally broke. She and daughter, Frances, moved in with Love’s
stepfather, and she claims they didn’t even have enough money to eat. Then in 2013, according to Clash Music, Love
again said she was near bankruptcy because money had been taken from her accounts. “I think betting against me is probably not
a good move, just because I tend to get what I …want” However, as the outlet noted, there has been
controversy over her claims of so-called poverty. In a 2009 court filing, Frances claimed that
her mother was: “Obsessed with uncovering fraud and spends
much of her day raging about the fraud that has been perpetrated on her.” What’s definitely true, however, is that Love
has trouble paying taxes. The Blast reported the IRS came after her
for nonpayment of hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2016. The last bill was the largest one yet, for
over $500,000. When Tom Petty filed for bankruptcy in 1979,
it was a strategic choice. Petty was the first artist to figure out how
to legally say he had no money to get out of a bad recording contract. As History reported, the music industry is
quote, “notorious for its creative accounting practices,” and that can mean a very successful
act might somehow have no money or perhaps owes their label lots of cash. “This is why people find me difficult sometimes,
but it makes perfect sense to me” In 1979, Petty found himself with two hit
albums, numerous hit singles, and what he thought was an unfair cut of the sales, due
to a bad contract he claims he signed against his will. So he completed a third album, which he financed
himself, but refused to let the record company release it. This left him $500,000 in debt, and he filed
for bankruptcy. According to Rolling Stone in 1980, Petty’s
record label sued him and refused to let him perform in concert. Petty filing for bankruptcy and announcing
he’d only made $36,000 the previous year was also very embarrassing for the label. Billboard reports this strategy was concerning
to the record industry, since other artists might follow suit. So the label folded, offering the broke Petty
an attractive $3 million contract. In 1984, Mick Fleetwood filed for bankruptcy
which was absurd, since he had founded Fleetwood Mac 17 years prior. It’s also important to note that according
to Paste in 2018, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours was the seventh best-selling album of all
time. Part of the problem was that as the drummer,
Fleetwood didn’t write any of the band’s songs, so he made the least amount of everyone, according
to the Telegraph. In ’84, his lawyer was also quick to point
out that Fleetwood was not blowing money on drugs. Or was he? “I never took anything quote in the opiate
area.” “Booze and cocae” But he was definitely up to his neck in real
estate. Fleetwood bought and then quickly sold property
in Australia and quote “took a bath” on the transactions financially. Then he bought a mansion and took out a huge
loan when interest rates were at their peak. As Fleetwood Mac band members took time off
for solo projects, his yearly income plummeted to only a couple hundred thousand. Then there were various investments that flopped. In 2014, Fleetwood told the Telegraph he’d
“lost count” of how many times he had filed for bankruptcy. David Crosby saw huge success with two legendary
bands: The Byrds and supergroup Crosby, Stills, & Nash and sometimes Young. “Yes we did good singing, yes we did good
guitar playing, but the key was we had songs that made you feel something.” But that all fell apart in the ’80s. Ultimate Classic Rock reported Crosby’s first
run-in with the law happened when he crashed his car while on cocaine. He also had a concealed weapon on him. Then just three weeks later he was busted
with more cocaine and a gun in a nightclub where he was performing. According to the LA Times, the conviction
was overturned on appeal, but then in 1984, Crosby got three years’ probation for driving
on a suspended license while drunk. A year later he crashed his car again and,
as was charged with possession of a concealed pistol and narcotics paraphernalia, and hit-and-run
driving. “I remember trading a 1939 Herringbone Dreadnought…stunner…
for substance” Eventually, Crosby did hard time, with Bankrate
reporting that in 1985, he filed for bankruptcy. When he got out of jail, he was so broke that
he had to live in a friend’s spare bedroom and borrow his clothes. In 2003, Crosby told the outlet that he estimated
he’d burned through $25 million over the course of his career. He eventually made his money back by continuing
to work, but CNN reported he was arrested for possessing a gun and drugs yet again,
in 2004. “Rock stars are cute. They got nice haircuts” “But I’m more into just working hard, playing
hard, making great music and going hunting” These days Ted Nugent is known for his opinions
on guns, his vocal support of Donald Trump, and even for visiting the White House with
Sarah Palin and Kid Rock, but he’s first and foremost a successful rock star. He also seemed to care about his money, calling
his accountant quote, “kick ass” in a 1979 Rolling Stone interview, and saying the guy
got a quote, “sensual thrill” out of doing Nugent’s books. But in that same interview, the reporter watched
Nugent quickly sign a packet of bonus checks for his employees, totalling $87,000 in 1979. Nugent claimed he paid everyone handsomely
from his musicians, roadies, agents, and accountants to the farmers on his mink ranch. “And people wonder why I have this attitude” According to Texas Monthly, within a year
of that Rolling Stone interview, Nugent was bankrupt. The mink farm, as well as other esoteric investments
like a hotel in Flint, Michigan, and a herd of Clydesdales, had been failures. But these days, it seems like he’s not dwelling
on the past. “I’m having the time of my life. And someday someone will acknowledge that
these are some of the greatest rock n roll songs ever written” In the mid-’80s, Twisted Sister was riding
high with a quadruple platinum album and crazy music videos that went viral well before YouTube. And Dee Snider, as the main songwriter, was
making a ton of money, according to Hard Rock Daddy. But then he was called before the Senate to
defend his violent music videos. In order to get politicians on his side, Snider
mentioned he was, “A teetotaling family man who never drank,
smoked, or did drugs.” “I don’t advocate sexism, the use of drugs,
and drinking. So I don’t write about those things. I only write about things I believe in” That statement ruined his credibility with
his fans and Twisted Sister was over. Radar Online reported this dramatic fall resulted
in Snider filing for bankruptcy. He told Fox News that by 1995 he was quote
“flat broke,” claiming that unlike other bankrupt musicians, he didn’t have a drug problem or
a corrupt manager he could blame for his financial problems. Snider said at that point he couldn’t even
afford to buy his kids a piece of candy, although thanks to nostalgia and time on Broadway,
he’s since bounced back financially. “So we might as well start at the beginning…Why? It’s much better to start at the end and go
backwards” At one point in rock history, Meat Loaf was
massive. His 1977 album Bat Out of Hell was one of
the best selling in pop history, according to the LA Times. But his record company lied to him about just
how many albums he was actually selling, so the money wasn’t rolling in like it should
have been. I don’t make anything look easy and I don’t
ever let anything be easy” Loaf said he suspected his sales were being
lowballed during the ’80s, but it wasn’t until the early ’90s, when accounting technology
got better, that he could prove it estimating that his record company owed him $14 million
in 1996-era money. And all that cash would have come in really
handy for Loaf in the early ’80s. In 1983, Loaf’s publisher and manager, among
others, sued him with 22 separate lawsuits for $85 million total and they wiped him out. Having filed for Chapter 11, Loaf claims he
lost his home and even the publishing rights to his songs. When they first started out, The Goo Goo Dolls
were so desperate for a record deal they were basically willing to sign any contract. After releasing a couple of albums in the
late ’80s, the band signed with Metal Blade Records. They would later claim in a lawsuit, according
to Billboard, that the company quote “exploited their naivete” and got them to sign an unfair
contract, one that saw them quote, “sign away most of their royalty rights.” This meant that while they toiled away trying
to make it, the band members all still held down part-time jobs.. But then in ’95, their smash hit album A Boy
Named Goo came out. Led by the single “Name,” it sold millions
of copies. The band should have been rolling in it, except
the money never came. Each member got a measly $6,000 a year from
their label. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea” Unable to pay the bills, they went on tour
for two years. It wasn’t always fun for them, like when they
joined up with Bush and No Doubt, an experience one member said was like: “Having a dentist enter through your ass to
pull your wisdom teeth out.” So they sued their label. They won, and signed a much better contract,
but there were still money issues, like when their drummer left over financial disagreements. “Doesn’t it feel like there’s more out there? Out where. Everywhere. Whatever’s out there, let’s find it” Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Grunge videos about your favorite
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