Famous Rock Star Best Friends

At the peak of their stardom, musicians might seem otherworldly. Or at least, their lives look completely different from ours — but they're really not. Famous rock stars have friends, families, break ups, and all the ups and downs of a human life. In fact, friendships often inspire great songs. 

A perfect example of the rock star bestie relationship is Paul McCartney and John Lennon — their up-and-down relationship gave us some great music, like "Too Many People," "How Do You Sleep," and "Here Today," which was written after Lennon's untimely death (via Far Out Magazine). McCartney explained to the Los Angeles Times (via the Paul McCartney Archives) that "Here Today" was an ode to his friend and an attempt to rewrite the feud portrayed by the media throughout the 1970s. 

So it goes for many other rock stars. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, their best friends are also in the music business, whether it's networking parties or common interests bringing them together. So here some of the most famous rock stars best friends.

Dave Grohl and Josh Homme

When NME showed Josh Homme a picture of Dave Grohl, Homme said, "That's my brother from another mother." Indeed, Homme and Grohl are as close as brothers, and they have known each other for close to a lifetime, too. As Music Radar confirms, the two were already old friends in 2002, when Homme invited Grohl to play drums on the Queens of the Stone Age album "Songs for the Deaf."

Throughout their lives and spectacular musical careers, Grohl and Homme have collaborated several times. Their culmination, arguably, is the heavy rock/metal supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, which the two pals formed with Led Zeppelin legend John Paul Jones (via Westword). Homme commented about playing with Grohl for the project: "It almost felt like a lot of dumb smiling." Grohl took it up a notch when he spoke to NME about his friendship and musical collaboration with Homme: "When Josh and I play, it's like a conversation between two old friends that have had too much to drink."

As per Louder, Them Crooked Vultures reunited for the 2022 Taylor Hawkins tribute concert organized by Grohl. It's safe to say fans will be seeing the two best friends play together in the future as well.

Iggy Pop and David Bowie

As pictures show on Art Sheep, Iggy Pop and David Bowie performing or wreaking havoc together was a common sight throughout the 1970s. Bowie produced Pop's first two solo albums, and the two were flatmates in West Berlin, as per NME. Their friendship lasted until 2016, when Bowie succumbed to cancer, as per BBC News. Following the tragic news, Pop tweeted, "David's friendship was the light of my life. I never met such a brilliant person. He was the best there is."

After Bowie's death, Pop also opened up to the New York Times about the deeper meaning of their close friendship: "The friendship was basically that this guy salvaged me from certain professional and maybe personal annihilation – simple as that ... He resurrected me." As it turns out, both musicians were abusing hard drugs at the time, notes NME, but Bowie was sober (and kind) enough to help Pop renounce his self-destructing habits. 

Pop went on to write his famous song, "Nightclubbing," about his and Bowie's fun, albeit dangerous times during their European tour. In turn, Bowie visited Pop's parents in their Detroit trailer home, worrying their neighbors with his fancy car and bodyguards. Pop credits Bowie with teaching him how to behave like a rock star, introducing him to the Beatles, and of course, saving his life.

St. Vincent and Carrie Brownstein

When the musical meta-documentary/comedy/thriller "The Nowhere Inn" came out in 2020, a close-knit friendship became public. Annie Clark (stage name St. Vincent) has been best friends with rock star/"Portlandia" star Carrie Brownstein for quite some time, as per Texas Monthly. They met in 2006, when Brownstein performed with her rock trio Sleater-Kinney, and Clark performed with Polyphonic Spree at the SXSW festival in Texas.

In 2020, the two friends decided to make a film disguised as a documentary, in which Brownstein plays a director who is making a documentary about St. Vincent. Clark plays both herself and St. Vincent, her rock star persona, and Brownstein plays the director even though she did not direct the movie (Bill Benz did). As Clark herself told Nylon, the movie is a meta-meditation on life and the authenticity of art but also on friendship, with Clark and Brownstein at the center. 

While their friendship is slightly fictionalized for the sake of creativity and humor, the fact that they're BFFs remains unchanged, as the Annie Clark character states in the mockumentary, "I wanted people to know who I really am. I wanted it to be intimate and revealing –- I asked my best friend to direct it."

Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy Kilmister

Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy Kilmister's friendship spanned five decades. The two met in the 1970s when Kilmister was still playing with Hawkwind (Osbourne was already the Black Sabbath frontman), as per Rolling Stone. The two became inseparable afterward, also collaborating on musical projects like Osbourne's songs "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and "I Don't Want To Change The World" (via Louder).

As long as he's known Kilmister, Osbourne remembers he was shocked by his aptitude to stay awake for days on end (sometimes 10 to 12, at least, according to Kilmister). As per Osbourne (via Rolling Stone), the two friends used to joke about which one of them would be the first to succumb to their crazy lifestyle: "But I curbed my ways, staying up all night and all that s***, a long time ago. But Lemmy said to me one time, 'What's the point of living to 99 if you're not enjoying it? It's my life and I want to have fun with it.'" 

Kilmister lost his life to cancer in December 2015, just a few days after he turned 70. On his last day, Kilmister wanted to say goodbye to his best friend on the phone. Osbourne said (via Louder), "I was talking to Lemmy on the morning that he died, but I couldn't understand what he was talking about." It was a sad and shocking end for Osbourne, but he confessed to thinking about his best friend pretty much every day.

Brian May and Tony Iommi

Both Brian May and Tony Iommi are legendary guitarists and acclaimed songwriters, associated with the giant names of Queen and Black Sabbath. But when they talk about each other, they do so with the utmost humbleness and admiration. May told Total Guitar, "He [Iommi] is really my dearest friend in the business and has been for so many years. I could write books about Tony because he's ... a luminous human being ... with a wonderful, kind nature and an incredibly baffling sense of humor. And, of course, he is the father of heavy metal. He did that." These are big words from someone who had just been named the best rock guitarist of all time by Total Guitar.

But Iommi returned the favor, naming May a "rock god" to BBC Radio 2 (via Metal Castle): "We had a very fast connection and we used to talk to each other at all hours of the night in the early days." Iommi also revealed that the two are best friends to this day, and that he always has an extra guitar at home for when May decides to visit him for a jam. Their friendship also led to collaborations, such as Iommi's song "Goodbye Lament," which also features Dave Grohl on vocals.

Stevie Nicks and Lana del Rey

It's no secret that Stevie Nicks is Lana Del Rey's hero and witchy woman/rock star inspiration. Del Rey told KROQ (via Far Out Magazine), "She's just everything you hope she's gonna be." Del Rey went on to further applaud Nicks' process of going wherever inspiration may take her across projects like tours, new albums, and solo work. But after Nicks sang on Del Rey's 2017 album "Lust for Life," she said their collaboration was equally life-changing.

Since then, Nicks and Del Rey have become best buddies, and their interview shared by V Magazine speaks volumes. Nicks enthused over her newly found friend and the chance of them meeting: "I think all of these little things, in a really fairy tale way, lead me to you and lead you to me in a strange witchy way ... We are witchy sisters and that's it." Nicks went as far as saying Del Rey makes her a better person, and that's the only reason she wants to keep singing with her, in this life or the next. While they are generations apart, it's clear Nicks and Del Rey are lucky to have found each other in this lifetime.

Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell

In 2020, Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder spoke to Howard Stern about his lifelong friendship with Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog frontman Chris Cornell. The very beginnings of Pearl Jam lie in Seattle, in 1990. But Vedder had to move house to form the band, and by a stroke of luck, he became neighbors with Cornell. They instantly became best friends, and their lives became forever intertwined — as he confessed to Stern, Vedder taught Cornell's daughter to surf, and she in turn is like an older sister to Vedder's two daughters.

But the story of the singers' friendship came to a bitter end in 2017, when Cornell was found dead in his hotel room while touring, as per All That's Interesting. It seems like Cornell took his own life, but according to his wife, he was never the suicidal type — she blames a horrific mixture of mind-altering prescription drugs. Vedder is still not fully over losing his best friend, as he told Stern, "I've had to be somewhat in denial. ... I don't even feel like I had a choice. I was just terrified where I'd go if I allowed myself to feel what I needed to feel."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney

There are quite a few similarities between Dave Grohl and Paul McCartney: Both were founding members of legendary rock bands, and both led impressive second acts after the bands broke up (Macca made their similarities all too clear when he inducted the Foo Fighters into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as per Variety). But when Grohl first met McCartney, he was dumbstruck (via Instagram): "I don't recall exactly how Paul and I were introduced, what was said, or how long we talked, but I do remember putting on my best 'this is not the most incredible thing ever to happen to me' face while trying to keep from making a fool of myself."

Grohl might have been intimidated by the ex-Beatle initially, but the two went on to form a very close friendship. As he confessed to Graham Norton, their wives are also besties now. And one time, Macca visited the Grohl family for dinner and ended up writing a song on the piano with Grohl's daughter, Harper. When he also played "Lady Madonna," Grohl thought, "This is like the most full-circle crazy moment of my entire life."

The two friends have had several collaborations, like the "Cut Me Some Slack" song for Grohl's "Sound City" documentary, or Grohl joining Macca on stage during his 2022 Glastonbury concert.

Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page's friendship might be one of the oldest ones in rock 'n' roll. As per this 1966 interview, the two guitarists were already friends in 1965, when Eric Clapton left the Yardbirds. According to  Far Out Magazine, Clapton recommended Page, and Page recommended Beck instead. Page and Beck ended up playing together for a few years in the Yardbirds (sometimes both of them playing lead guitar). After the band broke up, Page went on to form Led Zeppelin, and Beck had an impressive solo career. But their friendship never withered out.

Page remembers the very beginnings of their friendship on Fender, recalling how the two were brought together by Beck's sister. Apparently Beck was teaching himself to play guitar on a homemade instrument by listening to records. Beck went to a record collector friend for some help. The record collector brought Beck and Page together simply because there weren't that many guitars in Epsom in the early 1960s. 

According to Page, they became instant besties and stayed so to this day. Page deeply cherished the guitar he received as a gift from Beck, and as per Far Out Magazine, Led Zeppelin went on to jam with Beck, and they did it so well, Zeppelin drummer John Bonham tore his clothes off.

Marc Bolan and Elton John

Elton John remembers meeting T Rex star Marc Bolan for the first time (via Twitter): "Marc Bolan seemed like he had come from another planet, just passing through Earth on his way somewhere else. At a time when I was still becoming Elton John, he was a great mentor." The two musicians enjoyed glam rock and otherworldly fashion equally, and they formed a tight friendship somewhere around 1970. In 1971, they performed the T Rex song "Bang A Gong (Get It On)" together on "Top of the Pops." The more John saw Bolan play, the more he was inspired by him. As he told the Guardian, "I thought, 'This guy doesn't give a f***, he's just being who he is and he's loving every single minute of it.' And that had a great effect on me."

Bolan was the victim of a horrific car crash in 1977, as a result of which he lost his life (via The Guardian). But the T Rex star remains intriguing and mysterious to many rock listeners, as he remains forever in John's heart. "He was always encouraging, never belittling; being with him was like having a hundred B12 injections at once," he said.

Corey Taylor and Jason Christopher

Metal fans probably know Corey Taylor for his blood-chilling growls in Slipknot. As it turns out, he's not very different in day-to-day life, either. His best friend, Prong bass player Jason Christopher confirms this to Slasher Pepper. He reminisces about the day the friends first met, inside the Rainbow Bar and Grill, both of them beyond inebriated: "I'm a loud drunk, I like Jack and Cokes, and a lot of cocaine [and] I like to be the center of attention and so does Corey." When they accidentally touched each other's backs, they started yelling at each other.

That's when their mutual friend recommended they hung out instead of fighting. A second later, they were best buddies. "It was like when you're eight years old and somebody's being mean to you and then all of a sudden you're best friends," he said. Taylor's wife also confirmed the musicians' close relationship in 2020, when Christopher got a Twitter account and she introduced him as "Corey's best friend of a million years."

Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell

Alice In Chains bandmates Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell were closer than brothers throughout their time in the band, as Cantrell confirmed in this 1995 interview: "He's very insightful ... very sensitive, you know, very intuitive to what's going on around him and with other people ... He's my best friend in the world." As Ultimate Classic Rock reports, Staley passed away in 2002, following a speedball overdose (which was only the end of a decade-long depression and addiction).

Cantrell went on to pursue a solo career after his best friend's death, but as he told Louder, his musical peak, in his opinion, were the incredible harmonies he would do naturally with Staley. "We felt like a natural fit," he said, comparing their collaboration to that of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and the Eagles. "Someone reviewed us once and called us 'The Satanic Everly Brothers.'"

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).