Before They Were Big: UK Edition

3 minute read

Have you ever wondered what musicians did for a living before they became rich and famous? This time, Before They Were Big will take a look at UK artists to satisfy your curiosity--at least until the next edition.

Ozzy Osbourne - Black Sabbath

Ozzy Osbourne is probably best known as the frontman of Black Sabbath, and has been called the "Godfather of Heavy Metal." But before he was in the band, he left school at the age of 15 and was employed as a construction site labourer, trainee plumber, apprentice toolmaker, car factory horn-tuner, and slaughterhouse worker.

Ian Gillan - Deep Purple

Ian Gillan, frontman for Deep Purple, also had a year-long stint as the vocalist for Black Sabbath. But did you know that he sang the role of Jesus in the original recording of Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar?

Damon Albarn - Blur/Gorillaz

Damon Albarn has been the singer for Blur, and for Gorrilaz. Before his musical career, and upon on leaving drama school, he performed as a mime artist, and worked as a tea boy at the Beat Factory studio.

Gorillaz has worked with band Little Dragon on the album Plastic Beach. Want a free copy of Little Dragon's new album, Ritual Union? Check out our new contest!

Paul McCartney - The Beatles

Paul McCartney was a member of the band Wings, and most famously The Beatles. According to Guinness World Records, he is the most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music. Before his fame and fortune, however, he was a delivery boy for Lewis's Department Store.

George Michael

Geroge Michael started out in the band Wham! then started a solo career, becoming one of the world's best selling artists. Prior to this success, he worked as a shop assistant in the men's department at British Home Stores.

Sinead O'Connor

Before Sinead O'Connor became famous with the release of her debut album, The Lion and the Cobra in the 80s, she delivered French maid kissograms.

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart has stood the test of time, creating music and touring for decades. Surprisingly, before he became famous, he worked as a grave digger.

What were the early jobs of David Bowie, Bono, and Chris Martin? Keep reading to find out.

James Blunt

James Blunt's debut album, Back to Bedlam, brought him to fame in 2005, but because the British Army sponsored his university education, he was required to serve a minimum of four years in the armed forces--he served six. He was an officer in the Life Guards, a Cavalry regiment of the British Army, and served under NATO in Kosovo during the conflict, in 1999.

Bono - U2

Bono is well known as the frontman for U2, as well as for his philanthropic work. Before writing classics like One, Bad, Where the Streets Have No Name, and so many other famous songs, however, he used to be a petrol (gas) pump attendant.

Phil Collins

Phil Collins was a drummer for Genesis, and a successful solo artist. As a child, however, he was an actor, even appearing as an extra in The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night.

Noel Gallagher - Oasis

Noel Gallagher was the lead guitarist, backing vocalist, and primary lyricist for a little band called Oasis. The band rose to fame in 1994 with the release of Definitely Maybe, their debut album. Prior to this, Noel did odd jobs in contruction and was a roadie for the Manchester band Inspiral Carpets.

Elton John

Elton John's four-decade career includes 250 million albums sold and comprises over 50 Top 40 hits. Before he established himself in this role, he served as a tea boy at Mills Music publishers.

Chris Martin - Coldplay

Chris Martin is the lead vocalist, guitarist, and pianist for Coldplay, and also dabbles in solo work. Before that, he worked as a sign painter.

David Bowie

David Bowie is now a well known musician, actor, record producer, and arranger. But early in his career, because of his lack of commercial success, Bowie was forced to try to earn a living in different ways. He featured in a Lyons Maid ice cream commercial, but was rejected for another by Kit Kat. He also worked for a London-based advertising agency.