Culture The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World  

Matthew Cole Weiss
3.6k votes 859 voters 49.2k views 14 items

Behind every love song there exists a story of true love. From John Lennon to Mick Jagger to Peter Gabriel to Bob Dylan, these rockstars owe some of their most popular hits to the ladies behind them. Granted, there have been many male muses (it's rumored that Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" is about Warren Beatty and Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know" is about Dave Coulier), but the majority of history's most famous muses of rockstars have been women. 

Some of these famous musician muses were pivotal in the careers of multiple musicians, like Pattie Boyd (who was a muse for both George Harrison and Eric Clapton) or Courtney Love (who inspired both Kurt Cobain and Billy Corgan). And some muses inspired people who didn't even know them (Neil Diamond thanks Caroline Kennedy for inspiring the biggest hit of his career).

This list includes some of the music's all time greatest muses. They weren't just groupies. They weren't just side pieces. They weren't just flashes in the pan. They were people who helped create some of the best songs to ever be produced, and without them, the world would be missing out on some true musical magic.
1 439 VOTES
Linda McCartney is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World
Photo: Capitol Records/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Linda Eastman married Paul McCartney in 1969, and from then on was McCartney's mate and inspiration for every love song he wrote from then on out. The Beatles' song "I Will," as well as Wings' "My Love" and Paul's "Maybe I'm Amazed" were all written for Linda, who passed away in 1998 from cancer. "Any love song I write," Paul said in 1997, "is written for Linda."

Age: Dec. at 57 (1941-1998)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Profession: Film Score Composer, Entrepreneur, Musician, Film Producer, Actor, + more

Cause Of Death: Breast cancer

Place Of Death: Tucson, Arizona, United States of America

Children: James McCartney, Mary McCartney, Heather McCartney, Stella McCartney

Also Ranked

#97 on Rock Stars Whose Deaths Were The Most Untimely

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Françoise Hardy
Françoise Hardy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World
Photo: Joost Evers/Anefo/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0 NL

Françoise Hardy was able to capture the attention of the most illustrious and hard-working musicians around in the 1960s. Her most notable suitor was Bob Dylan, who once refused to come out on stage until she showed up at his concert. He had written a song about Hardy without ever meeting her, and he needed to be introduced to her in person. 

She also managed to turn the heads of rockers like Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Brian Jones, and John Lennon. She had a magnetic voice, and her own music (generally French) would help to solidify her own personal fame. She slipped into a coma in 2016, only to awake from it two years later and release an album. She's proven to be even tougher than the rock legends she inspired. 

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Pattie Boyd is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World
Photo: Eddie Janssens/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
Pattie Boyd is most famous for being the real Layla in the Eric Clapton song of the same name, as well as the inspiration for his song "Wonderful Tonight." She was also George Harrison's "Something" muse (as well as his wife for many years). When interviewed by ABC News's Elizabeth Vargas about why she was such a strong muse for artists, Boyd responded, "I wish I knew.  Like, I wish I could tell you. I don't know."
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Bebe Buell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The All Time Greatest Muses in the Music World
Photo: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 3.0

During the 1970s, Bebe Buell was known as a rock muse to the likes of Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger, inspiring some of their top hits. Other rock stars she dated or inspired included Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, Todd Rundgren, and Elvis Costello.

Buell was the basis for the character Penny Lane in the film Almost Famous, and she is the mother of actress Liv Tyler.

Age: 65

Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States of America

Nationality: United States of America

Profession: Model, Singer

Children: Liv Tyler

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