NME.COM

Rock star tattoos - the good, the bad, the ugly

  • In Arctic Monkeys' new video for R U Mine, Alex Turner reveals a new, Yorkshire rose tattoo.

    Photo:

    Added: 29 Feb 2012

  • It's not the first time the Arctic Monkeys frontman has had ink done. He already has punk rock poet John Cooper Clarke's name tattooed on his arm. Here's a look at other notable rock and roll tatts...

    Photo:

    Added: 29 Feb 2012

  • A ice-cream shooting bolts of red lightning - who wouldn't want that all over their face? Rapper Gucci Mane certainly thought it was a good idea, though since he'd just come out of a mental facility when he had it done, we probably shouldn't mock.

    Photo:

    Added: 26 Jan 2011

  • Professor Green had 'Lucky' tattooed on his neck in early 2009. Just weeks later he was stabbed in the neck with a broken beer bottle in an altercation. "I thought I was going to die when I was outside on the pavement holding my neck and face together," he said of the incident.

    Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Courtney Love unveiled these flower designs via Twitter a while back, after a period of Twitter silence. "I've returned TRIUMPHANT," she yammered, though that's probably not the word we'd use.

    Photo: Splash

    Added: 13 Jan 2010

  • When he's not glugging his own weight in purple drank, Lil Wayne likes to get slightly rubbish stuff etched on his face. The rapper has "I am music" written above his eyebrow (so modest), and "Fear God" tattooed on his eyelids - ouch. The four tears, meanwhile, represent people in his family who have died.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Immortalised on the sleeve of the second Libertines album, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat had "Libertine" (etched in each other's handwriting) tattooed on their arms during a recording session in New York, May 2003. The prelude to this moment can be heard on 'The Good Old Days', in which, after the lyric, "A list of things we said we'd do tomorrow," Doherty yells 'Get a tattoo!'

    Photo:

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Frank Carter of Gallows isn't just heavily tattooed himself - he's a proper tattoo artist. "In the tattoos I do for other people, the imagery I like to focus on is Victorian," he explains. I walk around Buckingham Palace, and I'm gobsmacked." So if you go to him and end up with a tattoo of a Beefeater, don't say you weren't warned.

    Photo: Danny North/NME

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • The Prodigy's Liam Howlett had the phrase "I have arrived" tattooed on his neck in 2008. Or, in other words, "I've just come."

    Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Lady Gaga: she's so deep. The tattoo on her left arm is a quote by poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and translates as: “Confess to yourself in the deepest hour of the night whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. Dig deep into your heart, where the answer spreads its roots in your being, and ask yourself solemnly, Must I write?”

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Edwyn Collins produced Frankie And The Heartstrings' debut album. To say thank you, singer Frankie Francis had a self-portrait of Collins - made when the Orange Juice legend was recovering from a brain haemorrhage in 2005 - tattooed on his arm. Aww.

    Photo: Press

    Added: 26 Jan 2011

  • Boy George had a Star Of David and lotus flower tattoo etched on his bald head in 2005, when he was going through a Kabbalah phase. We can only assume he got a passing five-year-old to do the design, because frankly it's piss poor.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Here's Sam from Trash Talk, showing off a weird sort of cat/snake/dragon design that we can only assume he massively regretted once he'd sobered up and realised he'd have an amateurish line drawing covering his entire torso for, like, ever.

    Photo: Roger Sargent/NME

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Why has Cee-Lo Green got the word "trill" tattooed above his right ear? Well, according to the Urban Dictionary, it's "an adjective used in hip-hop culture to describe someone who is considered to be well respected, coming from a combination of the words 'true' and 'real'." So now you know.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Ex-Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee courted controversy when he had a Nazi swastika tattoo drawn on his arm in 1998. Wisely, he has since had it removed.

    Photo: Capital Pictures

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • In addition to the design on her left thigh, Pink also has a memorial to her late bulldog Elvis on her left arm. She had it done after the pet drowned in her swimming pool. The tattoo reads, "A time to weep. A time to mourn. Sleep in peace."

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis is of native American descent, and his tattoos reflect this. The stylized eagle across his back is reminiscent of artwork produced by the pre-Columbian societies of the Pacific North West.

    Photo: Big Pictures

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Ex-Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker, who recently narrowly escaped death in a plane crash, has an enormous number of tattoos, the largest of them being a boom-box on his stomach, a reference to his childhood love of breakdancing.

    Photo: Big Pictures

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • In addition to florid 'Everything' across his shoulders, ex-Queens Of The Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri also has a tattoo bearing the legend 'Freitag (Friday) 4.15'. This is a reference to a gig QOTSA played at Germany's Rock Am Ring festival in Germany in 2002. It was a disaster, so the band decided to immortalise the date and time with matching tattoos.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Katy Perry (born Katherine Elizabeth Hudson) has the word 'Jesus' scribed on the inside of her left wrist. The first line of her debut album's liner thanks God too - despite her songs referring to lesbianism. Perry was the middle child of two pastors in California and developed a taste for singing at her local gospel church.

    Photo: Ben Cannon/NME

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has an ancient Celtic "Triskell" icon on his chest. Thought to be the oldest Celtic symbol of all, predating Christianity's arrival in Ireland by 3,000 years, it is supposed to represent the three stages of man: Birth, Death, Eternity.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil gets his ink done at Tribe Tattoo in Glasgow and has lost count of how many tats he's got. Designs include a two-headed baby, his wife's lips, a pistol, Jesus on the cross, a painting by late mum Eleanor, Beach Boys lyrics, a portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci, and a life-size outline of Matt Cardle's face. One of these may have been made up.

    Photo: Tom Oxley/NME

    Added: 25 Jan 2011

  • Henry Rollins, best known for fronting hardcore legends Black Flag, has many tattoos covering his body, including an assortment on his arms, the Black Flag logo on the back of his neck, and a large sun on his back accompanied with the words "Search and Destroy".

    Photo: PA

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • As of September 2008, R&B star Rihanna had tattoos in 10 separate places, including a cluster of stars running down her neck, a Pisces symbol behind her left ear, musical notation on her left foot, and a skull on the back of her right foot.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Fall Out Boy frontman Pete Wentz has a number of gothic tattoos, including an image of Jack Skellington - from the Tim Burton film 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' - on his right arm. Below his navel he has the bat/skull logo of his own Clandestine Industries clothing line.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Shock-rocker Marilyn Manson has a green Cyclops tattoo on his right arm, which is is based on a drawing he did himself. The winged creature below it is a Satanic insignia standing for Beelzebub, which is ancient Hebrew for Lord Of The Flies.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Subways frontman Billy Lunn had 'Strawberry Blonde' tattooed across his stomach as a tribute to the song of the same name, which appears on the band's recently-released sophomore album 'All Or Nothing'. It could also, of course, refer to bandmate and ex-girlfriend Charlotte Cooper (pictured left).

    Photo: Danny North/NME

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • In addition to these pink angel wings on her shoulder blades, socialite Kelly Osbourne also has a crudely-drawn vintage synthesizer on her right forearm. She claims not to remember having it done.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Gossip's frontwoman Beth Ditto showing an anchor tattoo inscribed with the word 'Mama' across it. The rock singer claims the inspiration for it was her close but uncomfortable tie with her Mum and trying to grow up in a Bible-belt town whilst coming to terms with her sexuality.

    Photo: Wenn

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Björk has described the tattoo on her upper left arm as a Viking's compass. "It's so I don't get lost," she explains. "If the Vikings had bad weather or fog, they used to draw it on their foreheads with a piece of coal. I thought that was a bit much, so I put it there."

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • The tattoo on Eminem's right arm is a portrait of his daughter Hailie Jade, accompanied by the words Bonnie And Clyde. These designs cover up a previous tattoo, which read simply 'Eminem'. On Eminem's belly is the legend 'Rot In Pieces', a dig aimed at his ex-wife Kim Scott.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Courtney Love's back tattoo, which consists of an angel intertwined with two hearts, is a surprisingly conventional design for someone whose lifsetyle is otherwise so extreme.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Britney Spears' Tinkerbell tattoo. According to psychologists, Tinkerbell tattoos traditionally symbolise the "overpowering nature of corporate America", whereas fairies as a whole are symbols of youthful innocence and a desire to retain a childlike imagination.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Jon Bon Jovi with a Superman tattoo on his left arm. The New-Jersey-based rocker got the tattoo in July 1987 after his band's third album 'Slippery When Wet' claimed the top spot on the Billboard 200.

    Photo: PA

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Billie Joe Armstrong, frontman of Green Day, has a photostrip of his wife Adrienne, as well as her name, tattooed on his right arm. He also has the 'Jesus Christ Superstar' logo, the 'Riverdales' logo and his son's name to add to his collection of over 15 more around his body.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Christina Aguilera with her name tattooed on the back of her neck. The songstress also has 'Te Ame Siempre' scribed on her left forearm, which is Spanish for 'I love you always', and her husband Jordan Bratman's initials tattooed on her lower back.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Amy Winehouse and three of 11 tattoos. Each of the designs is based around either 1950's pin-up fashions - shown by the 'Cynthia' design on her right arm, or her husband Blake - shown by the shirt pocket design and his name tattooed above her heart. This is said to suggest that her heart belongs to the incarcerated Blake Fielder-Civil, whom Amy married in 2007.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Dave Navarro from 'Jane's Addiction' and 'The Panic Channel' fame. The heavily tattooed rocker was inspired to get a unique tattoo on his right arm after sitting next to a woman on a plane who showed him her concentration camp markings. He says, "I was on an airplane with a woman looking at my tattoos and she said, 'I have a tattoo, but not by choice.' And she rolled up her sleeve and showed me the numbers on her arm. She had been in Auschwitz."

    Photo: PA

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Janet Jackson has a Japanese 'kanji' tattooed on the back of her neck. It is sometimes described as symbolising balance and continuity and sometimes as friendship. She shares this kanji tattoo with two of her best friends who work with her as dancers.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Kelly Osbourne, daughter of Ozzy, has a tattoo of a heart on her lower left stomach, a pair of pink angel wings on her back, a star star at base of her neck, a skull & cross bones on top of each foot, "Daddy" on her forearm with a lock and key underneath and a banner that says "this too shall pass", a small pink heart on her little finger, and an anchor under left forearm.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Among Amy Winehouse's many tattoos are an angel, a horseshoe, a feather, a singing bird, an anchor, a lightning bolt, the words "Daddy's girl", three 1950s pin-up women, Betty Boo, and her husband Blake Fielder-Civil's first name beside a pocket on her left breast.

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 26 Jan 2009

  • Pink displays her shoulder tattoos. The multi-million selling pop star's upcoming album, 'Funhouse', will be released in October 2008, and has been preceded by her first solo number one ever on the Billboard Hot 100, 'So What.'

    Photo: Pa Photos

    Added: 22 Jan 2009