Follow TV Tropes


The Rock Star

Go To

When they were young, everyone dreamed of being a Rock Star. They're living idols that people look up to. They follow every Rule of Cool and wear lots of tight leather and make up. They're loud. They're fun. They're rolling in girls and money, have a Cool Car and a Cool House. They're larger than life and they're part of the jet set.

The Rock Star is often found around Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll, but on occasion this is subverted and they are found to actually be the character with their heads screwed on the best. If this character is an adventurer they tend to use The Power of Rock as their weapon; or, failing that, they will be a Musical Assassin.

Not to Be Confused with Rock Star Song, which is a song about being one of these. British Rockstar is a specific subtrope that tends to focus on the less likable and/or glamorous tendencies of rockers.

Real Life examples of this trope would fall under Music.


    open/close all folders 


    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Dazzler was originally a mutant who can change sound waves into light waves, and uses this as part of her disco stage show, making her one of the few not nigh-universally hated mutants in the 'verse.
    • Longshot had all of the qualities of this trope without actually being a musician, though he did upstage Dazzler the one time he did sing on-panel. He wasdeliberately produced as Estrogen Brigade Bait by Mojo for shows in his dimension.
  • The comic Greatest Hits is about a The Beatles Expy rock group called The Mates who also have superpowers, but those powers are unrelated to their rockstarness.
  • Todd Ingram, in both the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels and movie, cites this as the reason why he's allowed to be a Karma Houdini. It fails miserably.
  • 2000 AD had Zenith, an 80s superhero who was also a New Wave/Glam popstar.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Sing, Ash the punk rock porcupine fits this role within the theatre troupe. The sequel introduces rock legend Clay Calloway, one of Ash's idols who became a recluse after his wife died fifteen years prior.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence!: He is a handsome villain with music-themed powers and has a thing for pirate rock concerts that many civilians are overjoyed to experience.
  • Zal of the Quantum Gravity series is an elf rock star, though one of the points he likes to make is that he does not limit himself to rock music, because every genre can be good. Incidentally, becoming a rock star is all part of his plan to make "a lot of people free," as Malachi puts it. It's weird, but it works.
  • Cole Saint Clair of Wolves of Mercy Falls Series, former lead singer of NARKOTIKA, an in universe popular rock band. He's loud and abrasive, and utterly charmed by himself. Flashbacks make it clear he had that "rolling in girls and money" thing down pat.
  • Lestat of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles becomes one of these in the nineteen-eighties, and is very pleased with himself about it. He uses it as a platform to try and reveal vampires to mortals, but he doesn't deny that he's also just enjoying the fame.
  • Imp y Celyn ("Buddy") in Soul Music is the Discworld's first (and, despite the attempts of people like Crash to follow in his footsteps, only) Music with Rocks in star.

    Live-Action TV 

Particularly famous Real Life examples who often inspire fictional ones:
  • Elvis Presley.
  • The Beatles.
  • David Bowie, whose exploration of this trope (i.e., The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars) in The '70s paved the way for him to outright live it.
  • Michael Jackson.
  • Amy Winehouse.
  • This is a bit of a stretch, but her lifestyle and personality fit: Lady Gaga.
  • The Rolling Stones.
  • The Ur-Example would be 19th-century violinist Niccolò Paganini. He reputedly sold his soul to the devil for his abilities and learned his signature move of playing on one string in prison, where he was only allowed one string. He had long fiery-red hair (at the time a sure sign of demonic influence) and at a time when bright colours were the height of fashion dressed only in black. He was almost as well known for drinking, gambling and womanising as he was for playing the violin.
    • For bonus points, it is said he can play the violin behind his back.
  • Franz Liszt was inspired by Paganini to become a piano virtuoso. The term "Lisztomania" was coined in 1844 (therefore, older than Phoenix) to describe the effects of his performances and his fame.
  • Freddie Mercury, of the group Queen.
  • Jim Morrison is often said to be the Trope Codifier for this.
  • The Who are real-life examples of four different garden-variety rock-star stereotypes: the sex symbol (Roger Daltrey), the hotel-wrecking, drug-running madman (Keith Moon), the tortured artist trying to keep his head and his band together (Pete Townshend), and The Quiet One who's nevertheless Not So Above It All (John Entwistle). It could be argued that any example of this trope will fall under one or more of these categories.
  • KISS
  • Guns N' Roses
  • Many of the Hair Metal bands of The '80s were these, with varying degrees of success. That arguably includes those that were trying too hard, too.
  • For Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, this was an Unbuilt Trope. He lived in relative luxury on a generous royal commission, but his lavish lifestyle and alcohol and drug use kept him in poverty, and he died young. While his music was well-known in his own time, much of it was considered incomprehensible by his benefactors and audiences alike.
  • MC Hammer helped bring the rock star lifestyle into Hip-Hop, arguably serving as the Ur-Example for Glam Rap, an entire subgenre built around this trope. His living beyond his means infamously drove him into bankruptcy, causing him to mellow out considerably later in life; these days, he's a Pentecostal minister.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun. The supplement Shadowbeat had rules for player characters to be musicians, including rock stars.
  • Cyberpunk 2020. Player characters could be Rockerboys, with "Charismatic Leadership" that allowed control of other people by playing music.

  • The Masters Of The Universe Power Tour, a live stage show from 1987, featured the new character Songster — simply put, an Eternian rock star. The Power Tour was the only medium to ever feature the character... which is arguably for the best.
  • The "Coming Out of Their Shells Tour" was a 1990 stage show which turned the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into this. Theoretically, anyway.

    Video Games 
  • Nikki from Chrono Cross. One of his concerts is a plot event at one point in the game.
  • Lord Raptor from Darkstalkers, who's also a zombie. A cameo in Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes shows he plays alongside a self-playing guitar and his audience is made up of mohawk donning Skeletons.
  • Despite taking place many years before rock was invented, the Jester of Darkest Dungeon has the personality, the power slide, and the solos of a rock star. With a lute instead of a guitar.
  • Total Distortion features three rock stars in the Distortion Dimension. Two of them, Johnny Fang and Betty Pink, appear in a stage you have to pay to watch, while the third, Edgar Death, shows up in a cemetery. Finding recorded footage of these characters in the game is the most valuable item you can get, since your main objective is to make music videos based in this dimension.
  • Rockstar Cookie from Cookie Run is about as apt an example as you can get. His jump and slide sounds are even guitar riffs!
  • Due to the rockerboy/rockergirl subculture being a prominent part of Cyberpunk 2077 's setting, you get to meet quite a few of them.
    • Johnny Silverhand, the game's Deuteragonist, is arguably the face of the whole movement and the frontman of Samurai. Unfortunately for V, this means that they're stuck with a narcissistic, angry and hedonistic ghost in their head.
    • Kerry Eurodyne, another member of Samurai, is still alive fifty years later and still creating new (solo) music. He's in a bit of a slump, but Johnny and V can take him out of it, as a part of Johnny's questline. He's also a romance option for V, despite his age. Then again, one can argue that having a young lover is a part of the lifestyle.
    • Denny, Henry and Nancy, the other three members of Samurai are also still here and can be assembled for one last concert in a sidequest. Only Denny still works in the industry; Henry's been between rehabs and benders, and Nancy works as an accomplished journalist.
    • One of the fixers, Dino, used to be a rockerboy. Other than his clothes, he works as a fixer, setting up jobs for local mercenaries, and doesn't have much to do with music anymore.
  • The gym leader Roxie from Pokémon Black 2 and White 2. Interestingly, she's also a gym leader and her gym is also where she holds her concerts.

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • Rock Zilla in My Dad the Rock Star prefers to act like a space case, but is actually classically trained and can keep up with his snooty, orchestrally trained father when he is of a mind to.
  • Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: The show centers around the escapades of two rock stars, Ami and Yumi, who are in the eponymous band. They perform at stadiums... when the plot doesn't get in the way.
  • Sonic, Sonia, and Manic in Sonic Underground.
  • All five Dethklok members in Metalocalypse.
  • One episode of the Beetlejuice cartoon sees the title character and Lydia trying to help their buddy Prince Vince become this, as he's inspired by an Elvis Presley knockoff. It only works as long as it does because the people are willing to pretend that he's not a Dreadful Musician.
  • Jagged Stone in Miraculous Ladybug is a world-famous rock star who revels in the stereotypical rocker lifestyle, minus the seedier aspects since it's a children's cartoon. Though it's likely that the reason he doesn't use drugs is he doesn't need them to get high.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Camille and her pack are this to a T. One of the reason why they bonded with Kipo was due to her being a musician. Helps that she is voiced by real-life rock star Joan Jett.
  • Luna Loud from The Loud House.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Duffy and Leiko used to be in a rock duo and still seek opportunities to whip out their electric guitars. For example, Duffy wanted to play an aggressive rock song for the baby fish in "Gift For a Fish" before Mr. E vetoed it.


Video Example(s):


Lil' Sweet

He has all of the looks and mannerisms of a Glam Rock sensation, to the point where most think he was inspired by Prince.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheRockStar

Media sources: