Rockstar (Nickelback song)

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Single by Nickelback
from the album All the Right Reasons
Released August 22, 2006 (2006-08-22)
(See release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded January–May 2005 at Mountainview Studios, Abbotsford, British Columbia
Genre Alternative rock, country rock
Length 4:14
Label Roadrunner
Writer(s) Chad Kroeger, Ryan Peake, Mike Kroeger, Daniel Adair
Nickelback chronology
"Far Away"
"If Everyone Cared"
Nickelback UK singles chronology
"Savin' Me"
"Photograph (re-release)"
Billy Gibbons/ZZ Top chronology
Music video
"Rockstar" on YouTube

"Rockstar" is the fifth U.S. single by the Canadian rock band Nickelback from their 2005 fifth studio album, All the Right Reasons. It was only released in the United States and Canada, and has since been re-released worldwide. Spoken-word vocals between each verse are provided by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

Release and re-release[edit]

During the song's original release "Far Away" was more successful on the Billboard Hot 100 and U.S. Pop charts, while "Rockstar" instead found moderate success on the rock charts. It peaked at #4 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and #37 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #54, during its original run.

The song was re-shipped to radio for ads on 5 June 2007, and a video was made to accompany the re-release. After its re-release, became active on most charts again, reaching new peaks on numerous charts like The Hot 100, the Adult Top 40, and Pop 100. It also registered on charts it had previously failed to do on first release, such as the Pop 100 Airplay. "Rockstar" is now the band's best selling digital single to date in the United States, with digital sales there at 4,229,000 as of July 2013.[1] On 12 September 2007, "Rockstar" reached a new peak of #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, faring better than "Far Away"; becoming Nickelback's third Top 10 hit from All the Right Reasons, and their fifth career Top Ten on the Hot 100 overall.

"Rockstar" was a success in the United Kingdom, and the most successful single overall of Nickelback's career there, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart and number one on the UK Official Download Chart. The song was released in physical form in the country after becoming popular online and climbing into the top 50 on downloads alone. Over two years after the release of All the Right Reasons, it became the band's biggest hit in the country, selling 587,000 copies. The release of "Rockstar" also helped All the Right Reasons achieve a top 10 position in the UK Albums Chart for the first time, becoming their third top 10 album there. It also pushed sales of the album there from under 200,000 to over half a million. It became the United Kingdom's fifth biggest selling single of 2008.[2] In August 2008, the song re-entered the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart at number twenty seven, and stayed there for an extra four weeks, taking its total of weeks in the top 40 up to 35. The song remained on the chart for 50 consecutive weeks, before falling off in October 2008.


Rolling Stone ranked "Rockstar" at number 100 in their list of the 100 best songs of 2007.[3] Aside from its popularity, the song is considered one of the worst songs of all time by critics.[4][5] The song was listed at number 2 in Buzzfeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written. They said: "If aliens came to earth and asked why everyone hates Nickelback so much, this song would be a perfect explanation.[6] A 2008 Popjustice poll, voted "Rockstar" as the worst single of the year.[7]

The song appeared in an advert for sofa retailer DFS in the UK. The advert featured actors miming "Rock Star" while playing air guitar in front of sofas. The advert was also given the distinction as one of the worst adverts of all time.[8][9]

Track listing[edit]


  1. "Rockstar" (Album Version) - 4:15
  2. "Rockstar" (Clean Version) - 4:15
  3. "Never Again" (Live in Atlanta) - 4:16
  4. "Photograph" (Live in Atlanta) - 4:38
  5. "Rockstar" (Video)

Pop culture references[edit]

The lyrics can be taken as generalization of the stereotypical rockstar lifestyle celebrating material success at the expense of artistic integrity. The material desires of the rockstar are listed, but the practice needed to become proficient at rock music is never mentioned. For example:

The song has been compared to earlier satirical odes to the rockstar lifestyle, including Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" (1985), Joe Walsh's "Life's Been Good" (1978), Dr. Hook's "Cover of the Rolling Stone" (1973), The Jam's "To Be Someone" from their album All Mod Cons (1978), The Byrds' "So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star" (1967) and AC/DC's It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll).

The song makes several references to American popular culture: MTV Cribs (Chad Kroeger, the band's frontman, appeared on an episode of the show), the Playboy Mansion and Playmates, and a spot between James Dean and Cher on Hollywood's Walk of Fame (Nickelback is already on Canada's Walk of Fame[11]).

Music video[edit]

When the song was first released in August 2006, a music video was not made for the single. Dori Oskowitz, who directed the band's "If Everyone Cared" video, returned to direct the music video for the song's re-release.[12]

Filming outside the Reichstag in Berlin on 23 July 2007

The video features celebrities and non-celebrities lip synching to the lyrics. The non-celebrities are filmed around the world, in front of iconic landmarks, such as Times Square in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, St Pauls in London and Sydney Opera House in Australia. Celebrities include Billy Gibbons (who voices his lines in the song), Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Eliza Dushku, Gene Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, Big & Rich's John Rich, the cast of The Girls Next Door, Kid Rock, Lupe Fiasco, Twista, Nelly Furtado, the crew from American Chopper, Paul Wall, Ted Nugent, Grant Hill, Taryn Manning, Tom Petkos, Lindsey Shaw, and numerous others. Sometimes the lyric they are lip synching relates to themselves. At the end of the video Nickelback is shown playing live on stage; this shot was filmed 13 July 2007 at the Comcast Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, Massachusetts.[13]

The full cast list for the video (and accompanying lyrics 'sung' by each) is as follows:

  1. Boy at a baseball field "I'm through with standing in line to clubs I'll never get in"
  2. Woman in front of the Cloud Gate "It's like the bottom of the ninth"
  3. Man in front of the Flatiron Building "and I'm never gonna win"
  4. Cindy Taylor on a pool float "this life hasn't turned out"
  5. Old woman on the Millennium Bridge (London) in front of St. Paul's Cathedral "Quite the way I want it to be"
  6. Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top "Tell me what you want" (voiceover)
  7. Wayne Gretzky "I want a brand-new house"
  8. Three women in Times Square "on an episode of Cribs"
  9. Kendra Wilkinson in front of the Playboy Mansion "and a bathroom I can play baseball in"
  10. New York City policeman "and a king size tub"
  11. Gene Simmons of KISS in front of his wall of gold and platinum records "big enough for ten"
  12. Paul Wall in front of a highway "plus me"
  13. Billy Gibbons again "Yeah, so whatcha need" (voiceover)
  14. Park ranger at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park "I need uh, a credit card"
  15. Dominique Swain in a bubblebath "that's got no limit"
  16. Three men (one US MP, one East German border guard, and one civilian) at Checkpoint Charlie facing the American Sector "and a big black jet"
  17. Twista riding in a limo "with a bedroom in it"
  18. Man in Grand Central Terminal "gonna join the mile-high club"
  19. Holly Madison in the Playboy Mansion grotto "at 37,000 feet"
  20. Woman in Los Angeles "been there, done that" (Billy Gibbons voiceover)
  21. Street musician in Union Square "I want a new tour bus"
  22. Same street musician with performers in Union Square "full of old guitars"
  23. Three girls on the bank of the Chicago River in front of Marina City "my own star on Hollywood Boulevard"
  24. Gene Simmons again "somewhere between Cher"
  25. Paul Teutul, Sr. of Orange County Choppers "and James Dean is fine for me"
  26. Billy Gibbons again "So how you gonna do it?" (voiceover)
  27. John Rich on a pool table with a banjo "I'm gonna trade this life"
  28. Woman in Union Square "for fortune and fame"
  29. UFC fighter Chuck "Iceman" Lidell "I'll even cut my hair"
  30. Joe Hahn from Linkin Park in a Chinese restaurant "and change my name"
  31. Two Daisy Duke wannabes in front of a General Lee-inspired RV "'cause we all just wanna be"
  32. Eight kids in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge "big rock stars"
  33. Wayne Gretzky again "and live in hill-top houses"
  34. Parking valet at Jones Hollywood in West Hollywood "driving fifteen cars"
  35. Old man on the bank of the River Thames in front of the Houses of Parliament "the girls come easy and the (drugs) come cheap"
  36. Jenna Westerbeck sunbathing "we'll all stay skinny"
  37. Kid Rock "cause we just won't eat/and we'll"
  38. Twista again "hang out in the coolest bars"
  39. Jessie Coleman in Grand Central Terminal "in the VIP"
  40. Eliza Dushku "with the movie stars"
  41. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "every good gold digger's"
  42. Taryn Manning "gonna wind up there"
  43. Paul Wall again "every Playboy bunny"
  44. Two women in the middle of Davie Street "with her bleach-blond hair"
  45. Jerry Cantrell under Chicago's El tracks and in front of Double Door "and we'll / hey, hey"
  46. Liam Lynch in Union Square "I wanna be a"
  47. Nelly Furtado on tour bus "rock star"
  48. Man in front of a highway (like Paul Wall, no 12)
  49. Man in Union Square
  50. Two women in Grand Central Terminal "hey"
  51. Chuck Liddell with Elliot Segal from DC101 in a headlock "hey"
  52. Boy in grocery store "I wanna be a rock star"
  53. Paul Teutul, Jr., Paul Teutul, Sr., and Mikey from Orange County Choppers
  54. Man in front of Marina City "I wanna be great like Elvis"
  55. Elvis impersonator "without the tassels"
  56. Federico Castelluccio from The Sopranos "hire eight bodyguards"
  57. Chuck Liddell again "who love to beat up (assholes)"
  58. Grant Hill signing basketball "sign a couple autographs so I can"
  59. Man in Union Square again "eat my meals for free"
  60. Billy Gibbons again "I'll have the quesadilla" (voiceover)
  61. Paul Wall again
  62. Man and woman in the middle of Davie Street "I'm gonna dress my (ass)"
  63. Ted Nugent "with the latest fashion"
  64. Man and woman in front of the Cloud Gate "get a front-door key"
  65. Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, and Bridget Marquardt from The Girls Next Door "to the Playboy mansion"
  66. Man in front of the Flatiron Building "Gonna date a centerfold"
  67. Two men in Washington Square Park "that loves to blow my money for me"
  68. Billy Gibbons again "So how you gonna do it" (voiceover)
  69. Paul Teutul, Sr. again "I'm gonna trade this life"
  70. Man and woman in front of the Reichstag building Berlin Germany "for fortune and fame"
  71. Jordan Carlos overlooking Los Angeles "I'd even cut my hair"
  72. Man in front of the New York Stock Exchange "and change my name"
  73. Man at a pink bus-stop bench on Davie Street "'cause we all just wanna be"
  74. Lupe Fiasco on a table "big rockstars"
  75. Woman in front of the Brandenburg Gate Berlin Germany "and live in hill-top houses"
  76. Woman in front of the Chicago Theater "driving fifteen cars"
  77. Two women at the beach "the girls come easy"
  78. Taryn Manning again "and the (drugs) come cheap"
  79. Eliza Dushku again "we'll all stay skinny"
  80. Woman in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge "'cause we just won't eat"
  81. Three women dancing "and we'll hang out in the coolest bars"
  82. Gene Simmons again "in the VIP"
  83. Dominique Swain again "with the movie stars"
  84. Lupe Fiasco again "every good gold-digger's"
  85. Chuck Liddell again "gonna wind up there"
  86. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. again "every Playboy bunny"
  87. Two girls in Times Square "with her bleach-blond hair"
  88. Man in front of Beverly Hills High School "and we'll hide out in the private rooms"
  89. Eliza Dushku again "with the latest dictionary"
  90. Federico Castelluccio again "of today's who's who"
  91. Riki Lindhome at the beach "they'll get you anything with that evil smile"
  92. Kid Rock again "everybody's got a (drug dealer) on speed dial, well"
  93. Steel worker "hey, hey I wanna be a rock star"
  94. John Rich again, smashing guitar
  95. Three women in the middle of Davie Street "I'm gonna sing those songs that offend the censors"
  96. Te'DeVan Rocketman Wacha Kurzweil in Union Square "gonna pop my (pills) from a Pez dispenser"
  97. Lupe Fiasco again "get washed-up singers"
  98. Boy at a mixing board "writing all my songs"
  99. Woman overlooking Los Angeles "lip-synch 'em every night"
  100. Man in yellow shirt at City Market in Raleigh "so I don't get 'em wrong"
  101. Man on street corner in New York City's Chinatown "well we all just wanna be"
  102. Man in front of Big Acorn in Raleigh "big rock stars"
  103. Eight Daisy Duke wannabes in front of a General Lee-inspired RV at City Market in Raleigh "and live in hill-top houses"
  104. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. again "driving fifteen cars"
  105. The Naked Cowboy in Times Square "the girls come easy and the (drugs) come cheap"
  106. Woman at the beach "we'll all stay skinny"
  107. Boy in Times Square "'cause we just won't eat"
  108. Cindy Taylor again "and we'll hang out in the coolest bars"
  109. Pornstar Rachel Starr in front of Buckingham Fountain "in the VIP"
  110. Grant Hill again "with the movie stars"
  111. Jayson Woolley in Union Square "every good gold digger's"
  112. Ted Nugent again "gonna wind up there"
  113. Holly Madison again "every Playboy"
  114. Bridget Marquardt in a pink bed "bunny with her bleach"
  115. Kendra Wilkinson again "blond hair, and we'll"
  116. Paul Nealon in front of Tower Bridge "hide out in the private rooms"
  117. Nelly Furtado again "with the latest dictionary of today's"
  118. Two women at Mrs Macquarie Point with a Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge backdrop "who's who/they'll get you anything"
  119. Kid Rock again "with that evil smile/everybody's"
  120. Ted Nugent again "got a (drug dealer) on speed dial, well"
  121. John Rich again "hey"
  122. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. again "hey"
  123. Worker in front of Marina City "I wanna be a rock star"
  124. Wayne Gretzky again, splashing a pool with a hockey stick
  125. Kendra Wilkinson again
  126. Nelly Furtado again "hey"
  127. Gene Simmons again "hey"
  128. Nickelback fans at Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts concert singing "I wanna be a rockstar" / pan to Chad Kroeger / pan to Mike Kroeger and Ryan Peake

Release history[edit]

Country Release date Version
United States August 22, 2006 (2006-08-22) Original
June 6, 2007 (2007-06-06) Re-release
United Kingdom November 12, 2007 (2007-11-12)


Chart (2006–07) Peak
Australian ARIA Physical Singles Chart[14] 60
Austrian Singles Chart[15] 5
Bulgarian Singles Chart 36
Canadian Hot 100[16] 39
Slovak Airplay Chart 28
Czech Airplay Chart 17
Denmark Singles Chart 32
Belgian Singles Chart 23
Danish Singles Chart[15] 32
Dutch Top 40[15] 14
European Hot 100 Singles 7
German Singles Chart[15] 23
Irish Singles Chart[15] 2
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[17] 28
Swedish Singles Chart[15] 10
Swiss Singles Chart[15] 14
UK Singles Chart[15] 2
UK Rock Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[15] 6
U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 4
U.S. Billboard Alternative Songs 37
U.S. Billboard Pop Songs 6
U.S. Billboard Adult Pop Songs 6
Chart (2000–2009) Peak
UK Top 100 Songs of the Decade 54[18]

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2007) Rank
German Singles Chart[19] 77
  • "Rockstar" has sold over 4,000,000 downloads in the United States as of June 2012, making it the band's best selling hit in that country.[20]
  • "Rockstar" has sold over 3,000,000 downloads in the U.S. as of May 2009 and it is the best selling rock single of the 21st century before "How You Remind Me".[21]
  • In the United Kingdom, "Rockstar" debuted on the UK Singles Chart on October 21, 2007 ― week ending date October 27, 2007 ― and lasted almost nine months on the chart. On August 10, 2008 ― week ending date August 16, 2008 ― the song re-entered the chart.
  • It re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-seven on week ending date July 7, 2007.[22]


  1. ^ Paul Grein (July 17, 2013). "Week Ending July 14, 2013. Songs: Seven For Jay-Z". Chart Watch (Yahoo). 
  2. ^ "Duffy and Burke top 2008 charts". BBC. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  3. ^ "The 100 Best Songs of 2007". Archived at Wayback Machine. Rolling Stone. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Robinson, Peter (9 February 2008). "How bad can Nickelback be? Phenomenally, says Peter Robinson". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  5. ^ "To See Or Not To See: Nickelback". Metro. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  6. ^ Broderick, Ryan (12 June 2012). "Thes are the 30 of the worst songs ever written". Buzzfeed. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Popjustice Readers’ Poll Results 2008". Popjustice. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "10 of the best - worst adverts of all time". Daily Record. 12 December 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Sweney, Mark (11 December 2008). "The worst TV ads of 2008: Federer, Woods and Henry take a bow". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Nickelback - Rockstar lyrics
  11. ^ Canada's Walk of Fame: Nickelback
  12. ^ Video Static: Music Video News: June 3, 2007 - June 9, 2007
  13. ^ YouTube - Nickelback making video
  14. ^ [1] ARIA Report 918. Retrieved 2012-10-12
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nickelback - Rockstar at
  16. ^ "Rockstar - Nickelback". Billboard. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  17. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200745 into search.
  18. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29th December 2009, presented by Nihal
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Billboard Hot 100, Issue Date: Saturday July 7th, 2007 α

External links[edit]