Billy Joel owns a motorcycle shop

We all know Billy Joel for his timeless hits like Piano Man and Uptown Girl, but you might not have known he’s also a major motorcycle enthusiast. To this end, Joel opened 20th Century Cycles in 2010. Not technically a retailer of motorcycles or motorcycle parts, the Oyster Bay, Long Island shop is essentially a museum of Joel’s own extensive motorcycle collection.

MC Hammer is a pastor

Off the back of his massive 1990 hit U Can’t Touch This, MC Hammer was briefly one of the biggest music stars in the world. Unfortunately for the Californian rapper, changing tastes and various personal and business issues left him bankrupt. Leaving music behind, Hammer (real name Stanley Burrell) embraced his Christian faith and became an ordained minister.

Erykah Badu is a doula

Erykah Badu has enjoyed huge success as a soul singer and rapper, recording five acclaimed albums and winning four Grammys, amongst many other accolades. Badu has another notable string to her bow, however: she’s a doula, providing support to pregnant women. She initially fell into this role while helping a friend through childbirth, but has since given similar support to dozens of new mothers.

Blur’s Alex James makes cheese

Back in the 90s, Alex James was a renowned musician and heartthrob as the bass player of Blur and Fat Les. Stepping back from music in the early 2000s, James decided to pursue another of his life’s great passions: cheese. After buying a farm in Oxfordshire, James began producing a range of award-winning artisan cheeses, whilst enjoying occasional reunions with Blur over the years.

Kevin Jonas is a building contractor

After landing on the scene in 2005, the Jonas Brothers enjoyed huge musical success until they split in 2013. While Nick and Joe Jonas stayed in the limelight, Kevin Jonas went in a somewhat different direction, founding a real estate development and construction company. This went on for several years, although the Jonas Brothers have since reunited.

Vanilla Ice flips houses

Emerging more or less back-to-back with MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) was briefly a pop-rap megastar thanks to his hit single Ice, Ice Baby. When the hits stopped coming, Ice decided to stop, collaborate and listen to his better judgment, moving into real estate. This became the basis of his reality show The Vanilla Ice Project, which ran for nine seasons.

Tiffany opened a clothing store

Tiffany Darwish, better known by the mononym Tiffany, skyrocketed to fame whilst still a teenager with 1987 hit single I Think We’re Alone Now. She continued pursuing music into the 2000s, but the sales dropped off, prompting her to move into the fashion world with Tiffany’s Boutique, a vintage clothing store in Nashville. However, this store has since closed, and Tiffany has returned to music.

Terminator X quit Public Enemy to be an ostrich farmer

New York’s Public Enemy was one of the most influential hip hop acts ever, and DJ Norman ‘Terminator X’ Rogers was a vital part of their success. He quit the group in 1998, and wound up pursuing a very different line of work: running an ostrich farm in Carolina. However, he has since worked with Public Enemy again, on 2015 album Man Plans God Laughs.

Pulp’s Russell Senior is an antiques dealer

Russell Senior of Britpop band Pulp already enjoyed a fairly unique position, as few bands of the time employed a full-time violinist (although Senior also played guitar). Tiring of the music business, Senior left Pulp in 1997 and became an antiques dealer, although he did briefly reunite with Jarvis Cocker and company when Pulp reformed in 2011.

Anthrax’s Dan Spitz is a watchmaker

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With Dan Spitz on guitar and backing vocals, US rockers Anthrax became one of the pioneering thrash metal bands, but by 1995 Spitz put down the axe to learn the very different art of watchmaking. Studying in Switzerland, Spitz earned a degree in micro-mechanical engineering, with which he went into business as a luxury watchmaker, although he has also reunited with Anthrax over the years.

Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson worked as a fish farmer

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In the 1980s, rocker Ian Anderson, best known for his work with the band Jethro Tull, started a fish farming business at his Scottish estate. The business was successful, employing 400 people and turning over $15 million a year. Anderson eventually left the fish farming business, citing ethical reasons and environmental concerns.

The Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman got into metal detecting

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Bill Wyman may be known best as the bassist of the Rolling Stones, but he’s more than just a musician. Wyman spent decades as a fan of metal detecting and amassed quite a collection. In fact, his passion for hunting down valuable relics became another career for him after he left the band in 1993. He even created his own metal detectors and published a book about his findings.

Al Green became a minister after a tragedy

When Al Green was at the peak of his popularity in 1974, he found himself questioning fame and fortune. After being severely burned by his girlfriend, Green retreated from the limelight and became an ordained minister. In December 1976, Green opened the Full Gospel Tabernacle church in Memphis and still preaches there most Sundays.

The Supremes’ Cindy Birdsong went into nursing

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Former Supreme Cindy Birdsong left the group in the early 1970s, and though she later returned to singing, she did not achieve the level of success enjoyed by Diana Ross. Birdsong’s post-music career has been varied, with stints as a nurse, minister and even Motown Records staffer.

Willa Ford became an interior designer

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Willa Ford, who rose to fame in the early 2000s with her pop hit I Wanna Be Bad, has since made a name for herself as an interior designer. After her career slowed down, Ford started her own interior design company, W Ford Interiors. She eventually appeared on the show Flip It Like Disick, where she helped give formerly bad homes a makeover.

The Cheeky Girls sell second-hand cars

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The Cheeky Girls, a pop duo composed of twin sisters Gabriella and Monica Irima, burst onto the UK music scene in 2002 when they auditioned for Popstars: The Rivals. Their single – Cheeky Song – sold 1.2 million copies worldwide. Since then, they have both turned to selling second-hand cars. Gabriella works at a Hyundai dealership in York, while Monica is a sales executive in Lincolnshire.

Bill Berry quit R.E.M to pursue farming

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With the release of their 11th album, Up, just around the corner, R.E.M. founding member Bill Berry decided to leave the band in early 1997. He then pursued a career in farming, which he had been interested in for some time. R.E.M. continued to tour as a three-piece before announcing their retirement in 2011.

Kim Wilde is now a gardener

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During the ’90s, one of Britain’s biggest pop stars at the time, Kim Wilde, gave up her singing career to become a garden designer. She developed a love for gardening while pregnant with her first child and today is considered one of Britain’s leading garden designers – even winning a Gold award for her courtyard garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2005.

Garfunkel from Simon and Garfunkel tried out teaching

After Art Garfunkel left Paul Simon in 1970, he decided to focus on his long-time interest in mathematics. In 1971, Garfunkel became a geometry teacher at a Connecticut academy. When asked about his teaching experiences, Garfunkel said that the students always asked him about The Beatles. The singer eventually quit teaching and restarted his music career.

Liam Gallagher runs a clothing line

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For a few years in the 1990s, Oasis was one of the biggest bands in the world – until brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher had an argument that led to Noel quitting the band in 2009. After his music career ended, Liam founded the fashion label Pretty Green. The company is based in London and specializes in menswear.

Coolio was working as a chef

In 1994, American rapper Coolio achieved international success with his hit album It Takes a Thief, which featured the Grammy-winning song Gangsta’s Paradise. Later in his career, he traded his rapper hat for an apron and hosted the web series Cookin’ with Coolio. He also released an accompanying cookbook before sadly passing away in 2022.

The Clash’s Terry Chimes became a chiropractor

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Terry Chimes drummed for the rock band The Clash when the band was still up and coming. He left after recording their first album, titled The Clash. Chimes has been a qualified chiropractor since 1994, and in 2008 he was recognized as an ambassador for the Scout Association of Greater London.

Rapper Mims turned to app development

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Although Mims had a hit with This is Why I’m Hot, he was disappointed when his record deal with Capitol Records wasn’t as lucrative as he’d hoped. The former rapper went on to develop an app called Cre8tor, which is a platform for producers, artists and other creatives to collaborate.

Disney star Jordan Pruitt opened her own businesses

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Jordan Pruitt first gained fame as a teen idol, appearing on Disney Channel soundtracks and touring with the Cheetah Girls. In 2012, she appeared on Season Three of The Voice. Pruitt and her husband, Brian Fuente, eventually moved to Nashville and now co-own two small businesses: The Aerobar, a bartending service, and Aero Build, which manufactures custom RVs and trailers.

Rapper Capital D now works as a lawyer

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David Kelly is currently a general counsel for the Golden State Warriors, an NBA team. However, he was previously known as rapper Capital D – with six albums under his belt. After marrying in 2000, Kelly made the decision to quit rapping and attend law school. He graduated in 2005 and joined a prestigious Chicago law firm for two years before joining the Warriors.

Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett focused on gardening

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Syd Barrett was a founding member of the wildly successful rock group Pink Floyd. Despite the success of Pink Floyd, band leader Syd Barrett retired from public life and chose to live on a quiet suburban street in his hometown of Cambridge, where he focused on creating large abstract paintings and gardening.

ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog became an astrologist

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In the 1970s and ’80s, Swedish pop group ABBA had a worldwide impact on popular music. Its four members – Agnetha Faltskog, Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Bjorn Ulvaeus – were known for their catchy tunes and famous tours. After ABBA disbanded and Agnetha’s solo career failed to take off, the Swedish musician bought a house in Sweden and spent her time studying astrology, yoga and horse-riding.

Rapper Kurtis Blow founded a church

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Kurtis Blow, born Kurt Walker, was the first commercially successful rapper to sign with a major record label. The Breaks is his most famous song, which went on to become the first certified gold rap song. He released 15 albums before becoming a born-again Christian in 1994 and was ordained a minister in 2009. He later went on to found Hip Hop Church in Harlem.

Jack Conte of Pomplamoose co-created Patreon

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Jack Conte has had a successful career as a musician. Primarily working with his wife, Nataly Dawn, the duo formed Pomplamoose in the early 2010s and have gained notoriety for their creative cover songs. Since then, Conte went on to co-found Patreon in 2013 to help creators monetize their work fairly and more regularly.

Queen’s Brian May became an astrophysicist

In addition to being a member of the band Queen, Brian May returned to Imperial College London in the 2000s to complete his Ph.D. in physics. He co-authored two books with astrophysicist Chris Lintott and founded Asteroid Day, an annual awareness-raising campaign that aims to bring more attention to the probability of asteroids hitting the earth.

David Lee Roth worked as an EMT

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David Lee Roth is a 68-year-old rock star who’s still full of energy. During the 1970s and ’80s, he was known for his wild antics and crowds of adoring fans. But Roth doesn’t just play – the musician spent several years working in the emergency services. In his 50s, Roth decided he wanted a new adventure, so he got a job as an EMT in New York.

Tinie Tempah now presents property shows

British rapper Tinie Tempah, who achieved chart success with his song Pass Out, is now focusing on a new area: property. Since 2021, he has presented Extraordinary Extensions on Channel 4. When the pandemic struck, Tinie revealed how he was hit hard by the lack of gigs. However, he soon got a call from someone in the property industry who wanted him to do a show about houses.

JLS’s JB is now a farmer

JB Gill was a member of British boyband JLS, who finished second to Alexandra Burke in the 2008 series of The X Factor. In 2013, the band split, and JB moved to Kent to pursue a career in farming. JB and his wife, Chloe Tangney, bought a turkey farm in Sevenoaks, Kent. He loves rural life and enjoys the fact that there is always something to do on the farm.

Mark Feehily of Westlife works in catering

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Mark Feehily, who rose to fame as a member of the Irish boyband Westlife, now owns his own food truck. He launched the venture in 2015 and specializes in selling coffee and crepes. Mark revealed that the business was going well and that he had been booked for a number of festivals.

Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson became a pilot

After leaving Iron Maiden in 1993, lead singer Bruce Dickinson took up piloting. Born in Worksop, England, Dickinson had earned his recreational pilot’s license in Florida prior to leaving the band. Dickinson joined the British airline Astreaus as a captain, flying Boeing 757s. He became the company’s Marketing Director in 2010 and when Astreaus closed down, he launched Cardiff Aviation Ltd in 2012.

Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails went into app development

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Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor knows that life can be challenging. But he also knows that the music he makes helps others find their own voices, and he wants to share that with the world. That’s why he has released several songs under a Creative Commons license so that others can learn from his talent. He also collaborated with Apple to redesign Beats Music, helping promising new artists get their start.

Bassist Ailidh Lennon runs a pizza business

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Scottish rock band Sons and Daughters broke up in 2012 after releasing their fourth album, Mirror Mirror. Since then, former bassist Ailidh Lennon has been pursuing a very different career. She lives on the Isle of Iona and is both a textile maker and runs a pizza business titled Ailidh, where she makes pizzas in her oven.

Nikki Blonsky worked in a salon

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Although Nikki Blonsky, who played Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 film Hairspray, never completely left the spotlight, she apparently did spend some time working at a salon in her hometown of Great Neck, Long Island. Though Blonsky herself reported she was working at the salon in 2011, she later denied these claims in a 2013 interview and stated that she was only a customer.

Dexter Holland is now a molecular biologist

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Dexter Holland, the frontman of punk rock band The Offspring, attended college while pursuing his musical career. However, he dropped out after becoming a professional musician to focus on his band. Years later, he returned to school and eventually graduated with a biology degree before going on to obtain his Ph.D. in molecular biology.

Jeffrey “Skunk” Allen Baxter became a defense consultant

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Guitarist Jeffrey “Skunk” Allen Baxter is best known for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. He has also played on albums by Dolly Parton, Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and others. However, he eventually stepped away from his music career and started working as a consultant for the US Department of Defense – advising members of Congress on missile defense.

Tom Lehrer returned to teaching

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Tom Lehrer was a musical satirist who sang about science and math. He is most well-known for his song The Elements, but he also released several albums of satirical songs. Lehrer’s popularity extended beyond the United States, with successful tours in Australia and Europe. But by 1965 his recording career was over. By 1972 he had stopped touring and returned to teaching mathematics and musical theater.

Captain Beefheart retired to paint

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Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart) was a cult-figure in the music world thanks to his innovative albums. However, in 1982, after a decade in the music industry, he decided to retire from music and focus on painting instead. In 2003, Vliet’s former backing reformed and toured, however, Vliet chose not to participate and focused on his career as a visual artist instead.

Fred Neil turned to saving dolphins

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Fred Neil was a singer-songwriter who helped launch Bob Dylan’s career. He wrote one of the most famous songs of all time, Everybody’s Talking, which was made famous by Harry Nilsson. While Neil kept up friendships with bands in the ’70s, he increasingly focused on dolphins. He helped create the Dolphin Research Project, an organization dedicated to the preservation of dolphins.

The Rakes’ Alan Donohoe became a software developer

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The Rakes were a British alternative rock band from London. Their first single, 22 Grand Job, was released in 2004 and was an immediate hit with indie music fans. Despite their success, the Rakes soon found themselves struggling and decided to call it quits in 2009. After the band broke up, lead singer Alan Donohoe moved to Brighton and started a career in software development.

Grace Slick became a painter

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Singer Grace Slick was a central figure in the San Francisco psychedelic rock scene of the ’60s and ’70s, performing with such groups as Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Slick retired from the music scene in 1989, saying that “all rock and rollers over 50 look stupid and should retire.” She turned to painting, drawing and writing.

Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys opened a health food store

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Brian Wilson, a founding member of the Beach Boys, saw major success in 1962. However, he was quickly overwhelmed by fame and decided to stop touring with the band to focus solely on songwriting. He even opened a health-food store and retired from music until 1988, when he released a solo album.

Dave Rowntree from Blur became a paralegal

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Dave Rowntree was the drummer for Britpop boyband Blur, who had a string of hits throughout the 90s and 2000s. During the group’s hiatus, Rowntree took on many other careers. He started an animation company and even became a pilot before embarking on his most exciting journey: being a paralegal. He worked as a criminal lawyer in London and received an honorary doctorate in 2017.

Greg Graffin is now a science teacher

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Punk rock band Bad Religion formed in Southern California in 1980, when its founder Greg Graffin was only 15 years old. The band briefly disbanded in 1985 before reforming in 1986. In the late 1980s, Graffin decided to leave Bad Religion in order to pursue a career in science. He currently teaches at Cornell, where he obtained his Ph.D. in zoology.

Ross Valory started a children’s clothing company

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Ross Valory is best known for his work with the rock group Journey, joining in 1973 and leaving in 1985. He also owns a children’s clothing company. In the 1980s, Valory saw his friends’ kids play acting by extending their arms to make huge monster mouths. Years later, he was inspired to cofound Mouthman – a company which makes costumes for kids.

Alice Nutter became a writer

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Alice Nutter, who sang on the one-hit-wonder “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba, eventually left her musical career behind to pursue writing full-time. Nutter now writes for the stage, television and film. She has notably written episodes of the shows Casualty, The White Princess and Trust.

Drummer Patrick Foley is working as a firefighter

In 2012, drummer Patrick Foley answered an online advertisement posted by Patty Walters. The two musicians soon started playing together in As It Is, a rock band that gained popularity throughout the United Kingdom. After eight years in the band, Foley announced on his Twitter account in 2020 that he was leaving the group to become a firefighter.

Zia McCabe from The Dandy Warhols became an estate agent

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Zia McCabe, lead singer of The Dandy Warhols, used to tour the world. Now she’s an estate agent in Oregon. McCabe has relished working as an estate agent since leaving her life as a rock star behind. The band still makes occasional appearances at festivals, but being an estate agent is McCabe’s main occupation.

The Thompson Twins’ Alannah Currie got into upholstering

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After the Thompson Twins split up in the early 1990s, vocalist/percussionist Alannah Currie returned to her native New Zealand and set up a glass-casting studio. Hill also got into upholstering, and her upholstered furniture has been exhibited at the Geffrye Museum in London. If you want to buy one of her pieces, be prepared to spend a lot of money.

Guitarist Jim Martin became a pumpkin farmer

American guitarist James Martin was best known for being a member of the rock band Faith No More, as well as for his long hair and trademark red-rimmed glasses. After leaving the music world behind in the 2000s, Martin became a pumpkin farmer in California. He has gained fame in recent years for growing champion pumpkins.

Bassist Lloyd Dobbs from The Paddingtons is now a charity manager

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Lloyd Dobbs was the bassist for The Paddingtons, a popular indie rock band that enjoyed success throughout the UK in the mid-2000s. After the band disbanded in 2009, Dobbs went on to work at the Goodwin Development Trust. The organization works to improve the quality of life in Hull, his hometown.

Benedict Gautrey works as a managing director

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Benedict Gautrey is an English singer-songwriter who previously fronted the band The Cooper Temple Clause – an alternative rock band that saw success in the 90s and 2000s. After The Cooper Temple Clause split in 2009, Gautrey became chairman of Wokingham Chestnuts Cricket Club and later pursued a degree in psychology. He is now managing director at Great Place to Work UK.

Vashti Bunyan started a career as a farmer

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Vashti Bunyan is an English folk singer whose debut album, Just Another Diamond Day, was released in 1970. Unfortunately, the album sold very few copies and Bunyan abandoned her musical ambitions and spent the next 30 years as a farmer in rural Scotland and Ireland. Surprisingly, Bunyan’s music gained a loyal cult following over the years and she released two more albums in the early 2000s.

Pete Best became a civil servant

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Pete Best was an English musician who was the drummer for the Beatles from 1960 to 1962. Although he had been replaced by Ringo Starr before the band became famous, he did play on some of their early recordings. Soon after, Best left the music industry and took up a job as a bread loader, before becoming a civil servant and training manager.

Sixto Rodriguez worked in demolition

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Rodriguez, a Detroit-born singer-songwriter, found huge international success in South Africa, despite having only a moderate following in the United States. Although Rodriguez quit his music career in 1975 and worked in demolition for many years, he eventually resumed his music career in 2013 after he was the subject of the Academy Award-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man.

Ka’s day job is as a firefighter

Kaseem Ryan, better known by his stage name Ka, is an American rapper whose work with the group Natural Elements and solo albums Iron Works and Grief Pedigree have earned him a devoted following. Ka still raps and releases music, however, his day job is as a firefighter in Brooklyn. In a 2013 interview, Ka referred to firefighting as his “full-time job.”