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 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.
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!
#1 on The Best Rock Vocalistssee more on Freddie Mercury
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."
Age: Died at 70 (1901-1971)
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America
Profession: Musician, Actor, Trumpeter, Singer
Credits: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Blue Jasmine, WALL·E, Twelve Monkeys
#52 on The Best Singers of All Timesee more on Louis Armstrong
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.
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 Rankedsee more on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
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.
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 Rankedsee more on Ludwig van Beethoven
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."
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
#23 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#85 on The Best Singers of All Time
#10 on The Best Frontmen in Rocksee more on Kurt Cobain
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?”
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
#6 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#12 on The Best Singers of All Timesee more on John Lennon
Maybe it was the cane, or maybe the mustache or the hat, but something about Charlie Chaplin just really charmed the heck out of Bob Dylan. The musician known for his groundbreaking style and lyrics has said that he is "always conscious of the Chaplin tramp," and early in on his musical career, he would perform with a prop hat in reference to the film star. His love has not faded with time. In 2006, Dylan released the album Modern Times, which shares its name with a classic 1936 Chaplin film.
Birthplace: Duluth, Minnesota, United States of America
Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Poet, Guitarist Musician, + more
Credits: Forrest Gump, American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook, The Big Lebowski
#68 on The Best Rock Vocalistssee more on Bob Dylan
The English solo artist and frontman of The Police clearly knows his way around a guitar, but his real passion is the lute. Sting's lute album, "Songs From the Labyrinth," is a collection of Renaissance music As Interpreted By Sting, which is something that every single person in the world needs to hear. And the music videos are even better. Seriously, please watch.
Birthplace: Wallsend, United Kingdom
Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Musician, Singer-songwriter Actor, + more
Credits: Léon: The Professional, The Emperor's New Groove, Cold Mountain, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
#28 on The Best Rock Vocalists
#55 on The Best Singers of All Timesee more on Sting