15 Musicians Who Went Broke

There’s no denying that the rock and roll lifestyle is volatile, and so are the people who find themselves living it. As a result, it seems like you hear stories about once-famous musicians going broke every other day. When you’re living fast and hard, you can’t afford to think about things like stocks, bonds and other investments!

A list of musicians who’ve gone broke, then, could rather easily fill a novel. For your convenience, though, we’ve identified the 15 most incredible stories of musicians who’ve gone broke. Thankfully, many of these stories have happy endings, but a few do not. Think you know who these musicians are going to be? You might be surprised…

1. David Crosby

Maybe he should have just stuck to being the “C” in CSNY. Rocker David Crosby found great success in the ‘60s and ‘70s playing with iconic bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash & Young along with its numerous incarnations (which usually hinged on Neil Young’s mood) but struggled to stand alone after going solo. Poor album sales combined with multiple arrests in the early 1980s for drug, weapons and impaired driving charges forced the musician to file for bankruptcy in 1985.

Crosby blames his longstanding drug habit for his financial woes, once admitting that he’d spent “many, many millions of dollars” on his drug habit over the years. Crosby has since kicked his hard drug habit but admits he still enjoys the occasional “jazz cigarette.”

Whether he’s been able to solve his financial troubles, it’s hard to say; it’s rumored that Phil Collins helped him pay for his highly talked about liver transplant in 1994.

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

2. Ted Nugent

Known as the “Motor City Madman,” Ted Nugent is the man we have to thank for songs like “Cat Scratch Fever.” Now, when you hear about rock musicians who go broke, you typically believe that drugs are to blame. This is not the case with Ted Nugent, who has been straight-edge since before being straight-edge was the cool thing to do.

Instead, his bankruptcy, which occurred in the 1980s, had to do with the poor management of his wealth. In conjunction with his advisors, “The Nuge” invested in a number of poorly advised ventures, a mink farm among them. Without drugs to dampen his spirit, though, Ted eventually got back on his feet, and he remains a performer today.

Doug James / Shutterstock.com

Doug James / Shutterstock.com

3. Mick Fleetwood

How popular is and was Fleetwood Mac? Well, the next time they go on tour, look for two things. One, see how expensive the tickets are – they’re ridiculous! Two, see how quickly they sell out. Oh, and don’t forget that Fleetwood Mac released one of the best-selling albums of all time, Rumours, which has sold an estimated 40 million copies to this day.

With popularity and royalty checks like that, you’d expect the finances of someone like Mick Fleetwood to be perpetually in order. But here’s the thing: cocaine is a hell of a drug. While spending lavishly throughout the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Mick was also indulging in a multi-million-dollar nose-candy habit. This ultimately led to a bankruptcy filing in 1984, which it took the drummer almost a decade to crawl out under from.

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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