The most famous rock star vegetarians - and why they gave up meat

1 October 2019, 20:52 | Updated: 1 October 2019, 20:56

Paul and Linda McCartney launch National Vegetarian Day in 1991
Paul and Linda McCartney launch National Vegetarian Day in 1991. Picture: PA/PA Archive/PA Images

It's World Vegetarian Day, so to celebrate, take a look at some of the most high profile veggies and vegans in rock - and why they made the decision to give up meat and animal products.

  1. Paul McCartney

    Probably the world’s most high-profile vegetarian celebrity, the former Beatle gave up meat in the mid-1970s. He explained in 2008: "Many years ago, I was fishing, and as I was reeling in the poor fish, I realized, ‘I am killing him — all for the passing pleasure it brings me'." Paul and wife Linda McCartney became passionate campaigners for the vegetarian lifestylw, with Linda launching a hugely-successful veggie food range and the musician and his daughters Stella and Mary introducing the "Meat-Free Monday" campaign in 2009.

    Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney attend the launch of the new food campaign Meat Free Monday at Inn The Park, St. James Park, London, 15 June 2009.
    Sir Paul McCartney and his daughters Mary and Stella McCartney attend the launch of the new food campaign Meat Free Monday at Inn The Park, St. James Park, London, 15 June 2009. Picture: Carl Court/PA Archive/PA Images
  2. Morrissey

    Second only to Macca as the most famous rock star veggie - former Smiths frontman wrote the anthemic Meat Is Murder, which turned a lot of people into vegetarians. “The truth is, vegans are actually superior beings,” he claimed in 2018. “I refuse to eat anything that had a mother, that’s obvious.” He only went fully vegan in 2015.

    Morrissey during The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder tour in 1985
    Morrissey during The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder tour in 1985. Picture: Sheila Rock/Shutterstock
  3. Johnny Marr

    The co-author of Meat Is Murder told author Neil Taylor that writing the song was one of the proudest moments of his life: "I think that is quite literally rock music changing someone's life,” he said in 2010. “It’s certainly changing the life of animals. It is one of the things I am most proud of."

    Johnny Marr pictured in 2009
    Johnny Marr pictured in 2009. Picture: Jesse Wild/Future Publishing/Shutterstock
  4. Alex James

    The Blur bassist became vegetarian when he was at university - he called it his “passive attempt at being benevolent”. Since then, the star now owns a farm that produces some hugely-popular cheeses.

    Alex James at his farm in the Cotswolds in July 2016
    Alex James at his farm in the Cotswolds in July 2016. Picture: Mike Lawn/Shutterstock
  5. Moby

    Moby became vegan in 1987: he released an album called Animal Rights and the liner notes to Play included an essay on why being a vegan is important. He says: “If you don’t want to be beaten, imprisoned, mutilated, killed or tortured, then you shouldn’t condone such behaviour towards anyone, be they human or not.”

    Moby visits Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on January 26, 2018
    Moby visits Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on January 26, 2018. Picture: David Livingston/Getty Images
  6. Fran Healy

    The Travis frontman became vegetarian after being impressed by a very famous non-meat eater: “When Paul McCartney did a bassline for me on my album, I was trying to think of a way to say thank you. I wanted to do something that was more of a gesture, and I thought it would be ideal to convert [to vegetarianism]”.

    Fran Healy performing live at the Isle Of Wight Festival 2005
    Fran Healy performing live at the Isle Of Wight Festival 2005. Picture: Simon Jones/Shutterstock
  7. Anthony Kiedis

    The Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman was voted “Sexiest Male Vegetarian” in 2008. He had been vegetarian for a number of years, but when he went fully vegan, he told PETA: Soon after I went vegan, I saw some documentary footage of what happens in the factory farming of cows… It sealed the deal.”

    Anthony Kiedis playing at the pyramids in Egypt, March 2019
    Anthony Kiedis playing at the pyramids in Egypt, March 2019. Picture: Nariman El-Mofty/AP/Shutterstock
  8. Thom Yorke

    The Radiohead frontman is vegan but offered this advice to Esquire magazine in 2013: “If you're going to be a vegetarian, you really do have to like lentils. Otherwise you're f**ked.”

    Thom Yorke onstage in New York in 2018
    Thom Yorke onstage in New York in 2018. Picture: Adela Loconte/Shutterstock
  9. Travis Barker

    The Blink-182 drummer became vegan for health reasons - he told MusicRadar: “I went to the doctor and found that I had eight ulcers in my stomach, and then I found that I had a condition from it, from excessive smoking. I had pre-cancerous cells in my throat. Right there, that was a game changer ... I quit everything immediately. It’s made a difference."

    Travis Barker onstage in the USA in July 2019
    Travis Barker onstage in the USA in July 2019. Picture: Larry Marano/Shutterstock