Like actors, rockstars often look bigger in their music videos and on stage. In reality, many of the best musicians and entertainers are actually shorter guys.
Here are our 32 favorite short musicians, rock stars and entertainers.
|Billy Joe Armstrong||5’7”|
|Cee Lo Green||5’6”|
Let’s start with a classic. Roger Daltrey is a legend. He is a singer, songwriter, actor, musician and founder of one of the best rock bands of all time, The Who.
Although he wasn’t the most prominent songwriter in the band, he did write a handful of hit songs for The Who, as well as several other groups.
He also created the deity-esqe persona that influenced some of the biggest rock-n-roll front men of his generation (and those to follow).
At just 5’7″ tall, Daltrey supposedly ran the show – on stage and off. He wouldn’t shy away from confrontation, and he readily got his point across with his fists.
He was confident on stage and is known for his signature move of swinging the microphone around his head. Daltrey was the lifeblood of one of the best rock bands of our time.
First of all, if you are universally known by one name – nay, one syllable – you know you’ve made it. Prince is a musical genius who has produced 10 platinum albums and 30 hit singles over the course of his career.
Although he is usually seen as a flamboyant, tight pants wearing front man, he is actually an extremely gifted mulch-instrumentalist who has won seven Grammy Awards. By this, I mean that he ridiculous at guitar, bass, drums and a bunch of other instruments.
In fact, especially in the early days of his career, the recorded and produced all of his own stuff. He would simply play every instrument for every song (all of which he wrote, by the way).
Oh, and did I mention he is a ladies man? He’s dated fashion models (Kim Basinger), pop stars (Madonna), and actresses (Carmen Electra). Most of them were several inches taller than him.
Best known for his all-American brand of pop/rock, John “Cougar” Mellencamp is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who has received critical acclaim for his early work as well as his latest album (and most of the stuff in between).
Mellencamp captured the voice of small town America. He wrote about regular people trying to make it in the real world, which was a breath of fresh air amongst all of the glam rock and bubble gum pop.
He stays true to his roots, too. Mellencamp lives on a lake in Indiana, and his vacation homes are in Georgia and South Carolina, not the Caribbean and the Hamptons.
Being 5’7″ didn’t stop Johnny Cougar from marrying supermodel Elaine Irwin (5’11”), releasing over 20 hit songs, being nominated for 13 Grammy Awards, and co-founding Farm Aid.
No matter where you’re from or what kind of music you listen to, you know who Bob Marley is. You can probably even name (and sing) a handful of his songs:
“I Shot the Sheriff”, “No Woman, No Cry”, “Stir It Up”, “Jammin”, “Redemption Song”, and so on.
Marley was a Jamaican singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was the lead singer of his band, Bob Marley & The Wailers.
Although hardcore reggae people will probably take issue with this, Marley was basically responsible for the genre’s popularity in the U.S. The compilation album Legend that was released after his death sold over 25 million copies.
Bob Marley died from cancer when he was just 36 years old. A Rastafarian and generally spiritual man, his last words were to his son Ziggy:
“Money can’t buy life.”
Marley may have only been 5’8″ tall, but had the spirit and presence of a lion.
Like Prince, Paul David Hewson is internationally known by his stage name, Bono. This singer, humanitarian, writer, activist and philanthropist is the only person in the world to be nominated for a Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and Nobel Peace Prize. That’s like the Triple Crown of life.
Oh, and he was granted honorary knighthood by the Queen of England.
Although Bono has been made fun of for his accolades and activism, the fact is he is an amazing person. He’s played a ton of benefit concerts, organized multiple charities and non-profit campaigns, met with decision-making politicians like Bush and Obama, and written all of the lyrics for one of the most successful rock and roll acts of our time.
I hope this list of short rockstars has inspired (or at least entertained) you. These guys all knew that it’s not about your height. It’s about what you do with it. Personally, my new goal is to join Prince and Bono by being known only as “Brock”. Knighthood would be cool too.
Standing 5’1” tall, Gary Stephen “Angry” Anderson AM Australian actor, television presenter, and singer-songwriter.
He has been rocking out as the lead vocalist of the band Rose Tattoo since the mid-1970s.
Co-founder, lead guitarist, and songwriter for the world-famous hard rock band AC/DC Angus McKinnon Young stands at 5’2” tall.
This talented musician was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as the 24th greatest guitarist of all time.
Older brother of Angus Young, famous short rockstar Malcolm Young measures 5’3” tall.
He acted as a backing vocalist and songwriter for AC/DC and became one of the best rhythm guitarists in the world of hard rock.
5’3” Paul Simon is an American singer-songwriter and actor.
He’s a strong proponent of music education for budding young guitarists, and alongside his brother Eddie Simon, founded The Guitar Study Center in New York City.
German vocalist Klaus Mein, 5’4”, is perhaps best known as the lead singer of hard rock band Scorpions.
He’s one of only two band members to appear on every single Scorpions album. In 2006, Hit Parader ranked Meine as the 22nd top heavy metal vocalist of all time.
5’5” Dani Filth, born Daniel Lloyd Davey, is the is the lyricist, vocalist and founding member of the heavy metal band Cradle of Filth.
He’s also been lending his voice to the group Devilment as a side project.
Lou Reed is an American musician, singer, and songwriter who acted as lead guitarist and primary songwriter for the rock band Velvet Underground.
The 5’8″ musician also released a solo double album of feedback loops in 1975 called Metal Machine Music.
Sometimes referred to as “The Duke of Darkness,” 5’6” Steve Stevens is best known for his collaborative efforts with artists such as Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, and Vince Neil.
He’s also released a limited amount of solo guitar work.
At just over 5’5”, Thomas Edward Yorke is an English musician and composer.
Most people know this famous shorter man as the singer and main songwriter in the hit band Radiohead. A talented artist, he was ranked the 66th greatest singer of all time by Rolling Stone in 2008.
English songwriter and lead singer of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, stands at 5’6” tall.
Not only is he a talented vocalist, but also an airline pilot, an entrepreneur, an author, and a radio personality.
Born Michael Peter Balzary, 5’6” singer Flea was born in Australia before moving to the US as a kid.
He got his stage name in high school, where other kids dubbed him Mike B the Flea at Fairfax High School.
Flea is the founding member of the world-famous band The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Most people know American country musician, singer, and songwriter Willie Nelson for his hippie persona and messages of peace and togetherness.
Not only has the 5’6” musician come out with several hit album but is also a published poet, author, and activist.
Billy Joe Armstrong
Lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of Green Day, 5’7” Billy Joe Armstrong’s career took off when he co-founded the punk rock band.
He also provides vocals for side projects, including Foxboro Hot Tubs, The Network, and The Longshot.
One of America’s most famous and influential musicians, Bob Dylan stands at 5’7” tall.
He’s been a popular figure in music for more than five decades, producing classics such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin'” that later became anthems for the Civil Rights Movement.
Beck Hansen, better known simply as “Beck,” is a talented singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist who stands just over 5’7”.
He comes out with an eclectic variety of music that ranges from folk to funk.
Standing just over 5’7”, Eddie Vedder was born Edward Louis Severson III.
This musician, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter is known by most people as a guitarist and lead vocalist in the rock band Pearl Jam.
James Newell Osterberg Jr., known to most by his stage name Iggy Pop, stands just over 5’6” tall.
He’s considered to be the “Godfather of Punk” and was the lead vocalist of the proto-punk band Stooges.
American singer, songwriter, record producer, and musician Axl Rose us the lead vocalist of hard rock band Guns N’ Roses and AC/DC.
Measuring just over 5’8” in height, Axl Rose has been named one of the greatest singers of all time by Rolling Stone, NME, and several other media outlets.
Cee Lo Green
Thomas DeCarlo Callaway, also known as Cee Lo Green, is a 5’6” American singer, songwriter, rapper, and record producer.
He started his music career as a member of the hip-hop group Goodie Mob and as part of the soul duo Gnarls Barkley before going solo.
Shad Gregory Moss, formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow and now known as just Bow Wow, is a rapper, actor, and television host.
The 5’7” artist has been in the music business since the age of thirteen when he released his first album, Beware of Dog.
5’5” musician Bruno Mars has had an astronomical rise to fame in the past couple of years.
He’s not only a talented vocalist but also a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and dancer.
As a kid, he was known as Jeffrey Bruce Atkins, but now, the 5’9” rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer is more widely known by his stage name Ja Rule.
Much of his work is solo, though he has put out several hit collaborative pieces.
Standing at 5’7”, Joel Madden is the lead vocalist for the pop-punk band Good Charlotte and collaboration The Madden Brothers alongside his twin, Benji Madden.
In addition to singing, Joel Madden is also an actor, DJ, and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Dwayne Michael Carter Jr. was discovered at age nine by Bryan “Baby” Williams, becoming the youngest member of the Cash Money Records Label.
The 5’6” artist soon became known as rapper Lil Wayne with his debut album, Tha Block is Hot.
Omari Ishmael Grandberry is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, and dancer is best known as being the lead singer of the R&B boy band B2K in the early 2000s.
The 5’6” musician launched a solo career after splitting from the group, and his first album O received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album.
Phil Collins is a multitalented vocalist and musician who is known both as a solo artist and as the drummer and singer of rock band Genesis.
Almost 30 of the 5’6” artist’s songs have hit the UK’s Top 40 chart.
Lead singer and frontman of punk band Sum 41 stands at 5’7” tall.
He’s managed to snag himself a gorgeous taller woman who loves short men, though, with his wife, Ari Cooper.
If you missed part one of this series, check it out – Incredibly Famous Short Actors & Movie Stars.
Glenn Danzig is only 5’3 and he’s not even on the list?
Robin Zander 5’8”
Don’t know why JaRule is on the list. If he’s 5’9, that’s average.
Frankie Valli is 5’ 4”
Lots of tiny female powerhouses too.
Keith Emerson was 5’ 4”
Billy Joel is 5’ 5”
Jon Anderson (from Yes) is 5’ 5”
Ronnie James Dio was 5’ 4”
Eric Burden 5’5″
Mark Farner, Mr Grand Funk Railroad, is 5’ 7”
it’s billie joe armstrong, but billy
Mick Jagger is 5’11”
How about Mick Jagger, 5′-7″ after watering his feet in the morning.
I nominate Van Morrison. And Paul Simon is nowhere near 5’3″.
Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, both 5’ 5”
Marriott, one of the best vocalists, ever.
Rob Boyd says
Ronnie Van Zant, of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was 5’7″ or shorter. Nobody ever ran a band or owned a crowd any more powerfully than he did.
David Lee Roth
Mike O says
David Lee Roth is a great showman but Ronnie Van Sant was a legendary performer at another level. From a height perspective, David Lee Roth is kind of a bigger guy, a solid 6′.
David Lee Roth is 6’1 or 6’2″ according to ex-manager Noel Monk
Nita Khurana says
Great list! Only one I would add is Billy Joel 5’5”
Yeah, he forgot about Billy Joel. Thanks Nita.
Preston Shurtleff says
And Kurt Cobain
Dena turedtequila says
Exactly. I met Tom Cruise and Kurt, Tom was maybe 1” shorter (drunk British jackasses in the crowd were calling him a midget), but Kurt was _significantly_ shorter than me
Hey not all Brits are jackals.
and Neal Schon, his site lists him 5’9Z” but when he stands next to Eddie Van Halen who was 5’8″ he is clearly a couple of inches shorter than Ed.
Maynard James Keenan is 5’7″
Ronnie James Dio-5’3″
You forgot Dio
Ronnie James Dio and Udo Dirkschneider