music 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had

Katie Mach
689 votes 165 voters 22k views 24 items Embed

Just because someone is a musical genius, doesn't mean that they don't deal with their own interesting, um, quirks, right? Hey, who doesn't? This list of strange phobias, hobbies, and habits of the greatest quirky musicians of all time covers everything from mild bug-collecting to a terrible fear of grass. Musical greats throughout history, from Mozart to Duke Ellington to Tupac, have some pretty surprising interests and tendencies. Perhaps these famous quirks can provide some insight into the minds of these talented musicians. Maybe you too should pick up mixed martial arts or start counting your coffee beans if you want to be a successful musician. 

Check out this list of weird musicians and their habits and vote up the quirks that shocked you!


Freddie Mercury is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo:  uploaded by Katie Mach

Freddie Mercury had at least ten cats, and it says a lot that no one is sure of the exact number. He also enjoyed talking to his cats. The Queen song "Delilah" and his entire solo album Mr. Bad Guy is dedicated to to his felines.

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Age: Died at 45 (1946-1991)

Birthplace: Stone Town, Zanzibar City, Tanzania

Profession: Record producer, Pianist, Musician, Singer-songwriter Singer, + more

Credits: Metropolis, Ted, Shaun of the Dead, Moulin Rouge!

Also Ranked

#1 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#1 on The Best Singers of All Time

#39 on Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

#3 on The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: Barbara Kraft/Wikimedia Commons

There are enough bizarre facts about Mozart to confirm that he was far from a normal guy, but this one is really one of the strangest: the composer enjoyed pretending to be a cat, especially during the rehearsals of his operas. He would often climb over chairs and meow when bored. Okay, he'd officially be the worst person to have next to you on an airplane.

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Age: Died at 35 (1756-1791)

Birthplace: Salzburg, Austria

Profession: Pianist, Musician, Composer, Violist Violinist

Credits: The King's Speech, The Shawshank Redemption, Batman Begins, Alien

Also Ranked

#17 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#34 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#6 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#8 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

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Louis Armstrong is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: World-Telegram staff photographer/Wikimedia Commons

In the early fifties, jazz legend Louis Armstrong lost 100 pounds, which he attributed to an herbal laxative called "Swiss Kriss." After his success with the product, he became probably the most loyal customer of all time, and distributed it to friends, family, and acquaintances. Nothing says "I care" like "I'm worried about your bowel movements."

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Age: Died at 70 (1901-1971)

Birthplace: USA, New Orleans, Louisiana

Profession: Musician, Actor, Trumpeter, Singer

Credits: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Blue Jasmine, WALL·E, Twelve Monkeys

Also Ranked

#49 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#75 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#31 on The Greatest Male Pop Singers of All Time

#7 on The Greatest Crooners of All Time

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Ludwig van Beethoven is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: Joseph Karl Stieler/Wikimedia Commons

Like any successful person, Beethoven was nothing without his coffee. But unlike most casual drinkers, he insisted upon counting his coffee beans in order to make sure that exactly sixty went into his daily cup. It's unclear what catastrophic scenario would unfold if this number was off, but maybe he knew something that we don't know.

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Age: Died at 57 (1770-1827)

Birthplace: Bonn, Germany

Profession: Songwriter, Pianist, Musician, Lyricist Composer, + more

Credits: Django Unchained, A Clockwork Orange, The King's Speech, The Pianist

Also Ranked

#9 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#53 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#37 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#17 on The Greatest Minds of All Time

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John Lennon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: ㊣/flickr/CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

For someone who was the lead singer of one of the most successful bands of all time, John Lennon was pretty nervous about his singing voice. He liked double-tracking his vocals for this reason, and apparently asked his producer to cover up his voice as much as possible: “Can’t you smother it with tomato ketchup or something?”

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Age: Died at 40 (1940-1980)

Birthplace: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Profession: Activist, Film Score Composer, Record producer, Musician Film Producer, + more

Credits: A Hard Day's Night, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Yellow Submarine, Children of Men

Also Ranked

#18 on The Greatest Musical Artists of All Time

#6 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#11 on The Best Singers of All Time

#75 on The Greatest Classic Rock Bands

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Kurt Cobain is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: Film Forward

When Kurt Cobain was a little kid, he was certain that his parents weren't his real parents. But the Nirvana frontman didn't think he was just adopted; it went a bit weirder than that. In a 1993 interview, he told journalist Michael Azerrad that he was certain he was actually an alien. “I always used to think that I was adopted by my mother because she found me after a spaceship left me from a different time or a different planet. Every night I used to talk to my real parents in the skies. I knew that there were thousands of other alien babies dropped off who were all over the place and I’d met quite a few of them. It’s just something I’d always like to toy with in my mind… it was really fun to pretend that there’s some special reason for me to be here."

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Age: Died at 27 (1967-1994)

Birthplace: Aberdeen, Washington, United States of America

Profession: Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, Singer Artist

Credits: Moulin Rouge!, Jerry Maguire, The Big Short, Jarhead

Also Ranked

#24 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#93 on The Best Singers of All Time

#30 on The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years

#10 on The Best Frontmen in Rock

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Duke Ellington is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo: Gordon Parks/Wikimedia Commons

This influential jazz composer and performer played in clubs for over fifty years, but he found the countryside a lot more stressful. Duke Ellington hated grassy fields because they reminded him of graveyards, and the association was strong enough that he refused to even wear the color green.

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Age: Died at 75 (1899-1974)

Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Pianist, Musician, Bandleader Lyricist, + more

Credits: Anatomy of a Murder, Ådalen 31, Check and Double Check, Paris Blues NET Playhouse, + more

Also Ranked

#27 on The Greatest Jazz Pianists of All Time

#1 on The Best Jazz Composers of All Time

#18 on The Best Piano Composers Ever, Ranked

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Phil Collins is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 21 Extremely Peculiar Personal Quirks that Historic Musicians Had
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Wikimedia Commons

Who remembers The Alamo? The famous lead vocalist of the British band Genesis remembers The Alamo. Phil Collins became fascinated with Davey Crockett as a five year old boy in London, and now has one of the largest collections of Alamo artifacts in the world. He even wrote an absolutely massive book about his passion: "The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector's Journey."

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Age: 66

Birthplace: Hounslow, London, England

Profession: Record producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter, Author Actor, + more

Credits: Tarzan, American Psycho, Brother Bear, The Hangover

Also Ranked

#30 on The Best Rock Vocalists

#35 on The Best Singers of All Time

#26 on Musicians Who Belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

#32 on The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters

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