Rockstar (Nickelback song)

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Single by Nickelback
from the album All the Right Reasons
Released July 6, 2006 (2006-07-06)
(See release history)
Format CD single, digital download
Recorded May 2005; Mountain View Studios, Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada
Genre Modern rock[1]
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 alternative rock band Nickelback from their fifth album, All the Right Reasons (2005). It was initially only released in the United States and Canada, and has since been re-released worldwide. The lyrics feature the pretentious, materialistic desires of a wannabe rockstar, who desires lots of money, cars and women. Spoken-word vocals between each verse are provided by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

"Rockstar" received overwhelmingly negative reviews from music critics and is considered one of the worst songs of all time, but despite the negative reaction, is Nickelback's most commercial successful single ever, peaking at number two in the United Kingdom and being certified Platinum. It has also sold 4.5 million copies in the United States.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Rolling Stone ranked "Rockstar" at number 100 in their list of the 100 best songs of 2007.[3] Aside from its praise from Rolling Stone and popularity, the song is considered Nickelback's worst song, and some have even labeled it one of the worst songs of all time.[4][5] "Rockstar" was listed at number 2 in BuzzFeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written stating that "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 Guardian's Peter Robinson claimed that the song was "...a Smack the Pony skit without the laughter track; ironic, given that Rockstar is one of the most unintentionally hilarious songs of the last few years. It is also one of most confusing." He concluded his review by stating, "In summary, this song makes literally no sense and is the worst thing of all time."[8]

The song was used to mock the band. The first panel of a 2008 Cyanide and Happiness webcomic shows Kroger performing the chorus, only for one of the strip's characters to come in in the second panel and say "yes you do, Chad Kroeger. Yes you do" to Kroger's apparent dejection.[9] In August of that year, the song appeared in a "banned" commercial for British sofa retailer DFS in the United Kingdom featuring actors miming it while playing air guitar in front of sofas. Four months later, the advert was recognized as one of the worst of all time by a Scottish newspaper.[10][11]

Commercial performance[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 re-entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-seven on week ending date July 7, 2007.[12] 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.[13] 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" reached its 3,000,000 downloads mark in the U.S. in May 2009 and became the best selling rock single of the 21st century before "How You Remind Me".[14] It reached 4 million in sales in the U.S. in June 2012, making it the band's best selling hit in that country.[15] As of January 2015, the song has sold 4.5 million copies in the US.[2]

"Rockstar" was a major success in the United Kingdom, where it at number two on the UK Singles Chart and number one on the UK Singles Downloads Chart, becoming the most successful single overall of Nickelback's career in Britain. The song was released in physical form there 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. "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. 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.[16] In August 2008, the song re-entered the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart at number 27, 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.

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.[17]

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, Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, St Pauls and Tower Bridge in London, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney, and the Reichstag in Berlin. On screen celebrities include multiple shots of Billy Gibbons (who voices his lines in the song), Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Eliza Dushku, Dominique Swain, Gene Simmons, Wayne Gretzky, Erik Rowan, 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, Riki Lindhome 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 on July 13, 2007 at the Comcast Center for the Performing Arts in Mansfield, Massachusetts.[18]

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 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[19]). 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), AC/DC's "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" (1975), Cypress Hill's "(Rock)" and "(Rap) Superstar" (2000) and most recently Weezer's "Beverly Hills" (2005).[citation needed]


Release history[edit]

Country Release date Version
United States August 21, 2006 (2006-08-21) Original
June 6, 2007 (2007-06-06) Re-release
United Kingdom November 12, 2007 (2007-11-12)


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External links[edit]