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Rockstar (Nickelback song)

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Single by Nickelback
from the album All the Right Reasons
B-side"Leader of Men"
ReleasedAugust 14, 2006 (2006-08-14)
StudioMountain View (Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada)
GenreCountry rock[1]
Nickelback singles chronology
"Savin' Me"
"If Everyone Cared"
Music video
"Rockstar" on YouTube

"Rockstar" a song by Canadian rock band Nickelback, released as the fifth overall single 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 hopes of someone who desires to be a rockstar. Spoken-word vocals between each verse are provided by Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top.

"Rockstar" is one of Nickelback's most popular singles to date, peaking at number two in the United Kingdom (their highest-charting single in that country) and being certified Platinum. It has also sold 4.5 million copies in the United States.[2]


According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Publishing, the song is written in the key of G major and is set in time signature of common time with a tempo of 76 beats per minute.[3]


In May 2020, Kirk Johnston, the guitarist for Texas rock band Snowblind Revival, sued Nickelback over the song's composition, which he believes is too similar to the Snowblind Revival song "Rock Star".[4] In August 2021, Johnston filed a lawsuit against Nickelback, Warner/Chappell Music, Roadrunner Records, and Live Nation for copyright infringement.[5]

Critical reception

Rolling Stone ranked "Rockstar" at number 100 in their list of the 100 best songs of 2007.[6] Aside from its praise from Rolling Stone and popularity, some have even labelled it one of the worst songs of all time.[7][8] "Rockstar" was listed at number 2 in BuzzFeed's list of the 30 worst songs ever written[9] 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."[10]

Sea shanty version

As part of the January 2021 surge in popularity of the sea shanty form, the British Indie group The Lottery Winners produced a sea shanty version of "Rockstar" via the TikTok app; Nickelback subsequently collaborated with The Lottery Winners to release a full-length shanty version.[11]

Chart performance

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 number four on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and number 37 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It entered the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 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 September 12, 2007, "Rockstar" reached a new peak of number six on the Billboard Hot 100, faring better than "Far Away". It became 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 peaked 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

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 in 2007

The video features celebrities and anonymous people lip synching to the lyrics. The non-celebrities are filmed around the world, in front of iconic landmarks, such as Times Square, the Flatiron Building and Grand Central Station in New York City, Millennium Park and the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago, Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, St Pauls and Tower Bridge in London, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge in Sydney, and the Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie and Reichstag in Berlin.

On-screen celebrities include ZZ Top frontman Billy Gibbons (who voices his lines in the song), UFC fighter Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell, actress Cindy Taylor, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., actresses Eliza Dushku and Dominique Swain, KISS bassist Gene Simmons, ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, country music duo Big & Rich’s John Rich, Playboy models Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt from reality television series The Girls Next Door, actor Tom Petkos, musician Kid Rock, actress Stacey Travis, rappers Lupe Fiasco and Twista, singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado, the crew from motorcycle-themed reality television show American Chopper, rapper/DJ Paul Wall, musician Ted Nugent, basketballer Grant Hill, actresses Taryn Manning, Lindsey Shaw and Riki Lindhome, actor Federico Castelluccio, filmmaker/musician Liam Lynch, comedian Jordan Carlos, the Naked Cowboy, hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia, cyclist Brian Walton and numerous others. Sometimes the lyric they are lip synching relates to themselves.[citation needed] 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 listings and formats

  • AUS Maxi CD Single[19]
  1. "Rockstar" (Radio Edit) – 4:15
  2. "Never Again" (Live in Atlanta) – 4:16
  3. "Leader of Men"  – 3:29
  • EU Maxi CD Single[20]
  1. "Rockstar" (Radio Edit) – 4:15
  2. "Never Again" (Live in Atlanta) – 4:16
  3. "Photograph" (Live in Atlanta) – 4:38

Credits and personnel

Credits and personnel adapted from "Rockstar" CD single liner notes.[20]


Certifications and sales

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[63] Gold 4,000^
Germany (BVMI)[64] Platinum 300,000
United Kingdom (BPI)[65] 3× Platinum 1,800,000
United States 4,500,000[2]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Region Version Release date Ref.
United States Original August 14, 2006 [66]
Re-release June 6, 2007 (2007-06-06)
United Kingdom November 2007 (2007-11) [67]


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External links