25 Short Musicians

Joesph “Joe C” Calleja

Putting a list of short musicians together seems like the only proper thing to do after the list of tall musicians that was posted recently. Before putting this together I had to decide just what should be considered short – 6’4” (193cm) was our cut-off for the tall crew – and let’s face it, what’s short to one person is average to another! I plucked out 5’8” (173cm) as the mark which I guess isn’t really that short. In fact I was surprised that there weren’t more vertically challenged stars out there – although there are some big names in this list.

1. Joseph “Joe C” Calleja (3’9″, 1.14cm)
The Kid Rock sideman and rapper sadly died at 26 of the medical conditions that his dwarfism brought on. He also achieved some fame on the wrestling circuit and his Simpson’s guest slot was a classic.

2. Angry Anderson (5’1″, 1.55cm)
Rose Tattoo’s frontman is still rocking and is a committed activist for men’s health issues having seen five of his former Rose Tattoo bandmates die of cancer.

Angus and Malcolm Young

3. Angus Young (5’2″, 1.57cm)
The Scottish-born guitarist from AC/DC is one of the most famous shorties. Angus tried a number of stage costumes, such as Spider-Man, Zorro, a gorilla, and a parody of Superman, named Super-Ang, before settling on his signature schoolboy look at the suggestion of his sister.

4. Prince (5’2″, 1.57cm)
Prince Rogers Nelson is a musical giant who has influenced countless stars. Prince has reportedly needed double-hip-replacement surgery since 2005 but won’t undergo the operation unless it is a bloodless surgery because Jehovah’s Witnesses (which he is) do not accept blood transfusions.

5. Malcom Young (5’3″, 1.60cm)
Malcolm scored the same height genes as his brother. Young is one of the best rhythm guitarists ever and is the subject of a song (and album) by Australian punk rock band Frenzal Rhomb: Forever Malcolm Young.

Paul Simon

6. Paul Simon (5’3″, 1.60cm)
Simon is a proponent of music education for children, and together with his younger brother, Eddie Simon, founded The Guitar Study Center in New York City. Oh, and also penned a few classic hits over the years.

7. Ronny James Dio (5’4″, 1.63cm)
The Rainbow/Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell sadly died in 2010. Rolling Stone magazine eulogized Dio with these words: “It wasn’t just his mighty pipes that made him Ronnie James Dio — it was his moral fervor…what always stood out was Dio’s raging compassion for the lost rock & roll children in his audience.”

8. Klaus Meine (5’4″, 1.63cm)
The German lead singer of the Scorpions s well-noted for his unique tenor voice, strong German accent and polished delivery which ranges from high notes to soft ballads.

Dani Filth

9. Dani Filth (5’5″, 1.65cm)
The Cradle of Filth frontman took up a job at a Chinese restaurant at 18. He later chose his career in music over an internship at a newspaper,although his “Dani’s Inferno” column ran for two years in Metal Hammer magazine during the late 1990s.

10. Lou Reed (5’5″, 1.65cm)
The Velvet Underground and solo legend released a double album of feedback loops in 1975, Metal Machine Music, upon which he later commented, “No one is supposed to be able to do a thing like that and survive.”

Steve & Josie Stevens

11. Steve Stevens (5’5″, 1.65cm)
Best known for playing for other artists like Billy Idol, Michael Jackson, and Vince Neil, Stevens is also a television personality on the E! show Married to Rock, alongside his wife, Josie Stevens.

12. Thom Yorke (5’5.25″, 1.66cm)
Radiohead’s genius postponed going to university for a year after leaving school. During that time he worked in a few jobs and was involved in a car accident that made him wary of any kind of mechanised transport.

13. Bruce Dickinson (5’6″, 1.68cm)
The Iron Maiden legend has interests including literature, writing, fencing (at which he has competed internationally, placing 7th in Great Britain, and has founded a fencing equipment company under the brand name “Duellist”.


14. Flea (5’6″, 1.68cm)
Michael Peter Balzary was born in Australia then moved to the US where he was nicknamed Mike B the Flea at Fairfax High School. He was a bit of an outcast due to his taste in music – but I guess he showed them all later!

15. Willie Nelson (5’6″, 1.68cm)
Nelson traces his genealogy to the American Revolutionary War, in which his ancestor John Nelson served as a major. His colourful career has also seen him arrested several times for marijuana possession.

I probably think that sub 5’6” is actually the mark for truly short stars, but there are a bunch an inch or two taller – so here they are!

16. Billy Joe Armstrong (5’7″, 1.70cm) – Green Day
17. Bob Dylan (5’7″, 1.70cm) – Simply a legend!
18. Bob Marley (5’7″, 1.70cm) …and the Wailers
19. John Mellancamp (5’7″, 1.70cm) – solo star
20. Roger Daltry (5’7″, 1.70cm) – The Who
21. Beck Hansen (5’7.5″, 1.71cm) – Beck
22. Bono (5’7.5″, 1.71cm) – U2
23. Eddie Vedder (5’7.5″, 1.71cm) – Pearl Jam
24. Iggy Pop (5’7.5″, 1.71cm) – The Stooges
25. Axl Rose (5’7.5″, 1.73cm) – Guns N’Roses

And on a final note on Randy Newman who penned the most famous song on the subject – Short People – is just over 6′! Whilst it seems to be a pretty impressive attack on the short, Newman has always stated the song is about prejudice.

17 Comments on “25 Short Musicians

  1. Pingback: 25 Tall Musicians - The Cavan Project

    • Hmm, I’m sure when I originally did this list there were a number of places that listed him as 5’5″, but you are right that lost of places have him a t 5’10” (and a couple at 5’8″). Thanks for the heads up.

      • Wrong, I stood next to him many times and we were eye to eye and I’m clocking 5′ 7″ on a good day.

  2. Kenny Chesney skies high at a challanged vertical of only 5’5 – I was suprised (considering his fame) that he was passed on this list.
    Great Job. Very interesting.

  3. Don’t forget the Small Faces in the 1960s. They were all short. They changed their name to the Faces when two tall guys joined — Rod Stewart and Ron Wood.

  4. Jeremy Spencer, Slide guitarist, pianist and vocalist with the original Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green) was only 5 ft 4 in. In contrast Mick Fleetwood was 6 ft 5 in.

    • Some that you overlooked:

      Nils Lofgren 5’3″
      Davey Jones (Monkees) 5’3″
      Billy Joel 5’5″
      Van Morrison 5’5″
      Ringo Starr 5’6″

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