Instant Improver

The Best bad boys Ever


…in all likelihood. Don’t argue with us, basically. Michael Hogan pays tribute to the hellraisers that fling whisky in the face of good behaviour

As Wham!-era George Michael once sagely observed, bad boys are never sad boys. Well, at least when they’re not tumbling out of moving cars, they’re not. They’re devil-may-care catalysts for chaos. We want to be them, just for one day, because they say the unsayable and do the unpredictable.

So snarl in admiration of our 15 best and baddest…

  • The Best bad boys Ever

    15. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

    The Swedish striker is 6ft 5in of ponytailed genius. If he’s not scoring with back-heels or bicycle kicks, he’s losing patience with team-mates and refs. Only last week, he said: “We usually say you cannot become a legend before death, but I am a living legend.“

    Baddest moment: Telling Barca boss Pep Guardiola, who played him as a link man: “You bought a Ferrari but you’re driving it like a Fiat.”

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    14. Robert Shaw

    A legendary character actor with the roguish demeanour of a bar-propping soak. Sir John Gielgud once told him: “I admire you and I’d like to help you, but you make me so nervous.” Shaw had 10 children by three wives and was a prolific writer.

    Baddest moment: He told an interviewer: “Sure, I drink too much. But tell me one great actor who doesn’t?”

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    13. Liam Gallagher

    Never mind the simian swagger and icon contribution, the best thing about Gallagher Jr is his continuing work as a consummate, quotable wind-up. He’s the Poet Laureate of p*ss-taking (to recap, Rastamouse and Justin Bieber: good, Daft Punk and Pete Doherty: bad). His older brother Noel put it best, infamously describing Liam as “a man with a fork in a world of soup”.

    Baddest moment: The 1996 Brits acceptance speech, when he sang

    Blur p*sstake Shitelife, called Chris Evans “ginger bollocks”, then shoved his award up his own arse.

  • The Best bad boys Ever 3

    12. JFK

    The “playboy president”, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had affairs with actresses, socialites and White House staffers by the dozen. That he maintained an image of wholesomeness while sneaking air hostesses into the White House only enhances his brazen complexity.

    “I can't help it,” he wrote. “It can’t be my good looks, because I’m not much handsomer than anybody else. It must be my personality.”

    Baddest moment: Told spluttering British PM Harold Macmillan that he suffered headaches if he went three days without sex.

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    11. Roy Keane

    A ferociously competitive born leader whose unblinking hunger for greatness means he has no tolerance for mediocrity or Gareth Southgate. Keano now livens up ITV’s coverage with psycho-stares and contrary huffing.

    Baddest moment: Telling Ireland boss Mick McCarthy to (somewhat confusingly) “stick it up yer bollix” and slagging off team-mate Rio Ferdinand thus: “Just because he’s paid £120,000 a week and played well for 20 minutes against Tottenham, he thinks he’s a superstar.” In the midst of the subsequent media storms, he’d simply take his labrador, Triggs, for a moody walk.

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    10. Ronnie O’Sullivan

    Snooker’s most gifted and most troubled player. The five-time world champ can clear a table in record time (with either hand), yet has assaulted officials and

    been reprimanded for obscene gestures.

    Baddest moment: Testing positive for marijuana after winning the 1998 Irish Masters, he was stripped of the title with a shrug.

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    9. Lemmy

    Born plain old Ian Kilmister, the mutton-chopped, warty-faced moustachioed frontman of Motörhead later became anything but ordinary. He’s slept with around 1,200 women and drinks a bottle of Jack Daniel’s a day. Dave Grohl describes him as “a living, breathing, drinking and snorting f*cking legend”.

    Baddest moment: Stayed awake for a fortnight on a diet of speed, two yoghurts and a couple of blackcurrant pies.

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    8. John Lydon

    As Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten, he caused panic with his hair, piercings and fetish trousers. And the swearing, spitting, sneering and anti-royal anarchy. Still a master provocateur, albeit a butter-peddling one.

    Baddest moment: Last year on Question Time, he had the panel in giggles by staring and intoning: “I don’t want my drugs taxed.”

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    7. Lee Marvin

    Prematurely white-haired and pickled in tequila, the former Marine sniper starred in war films, crime flicks, westerns and cult classics, including Point Blank. Never enamoured with his job, he once growled: “You spend the first 40 years of your life trying to get into this f*cking business and the next 40 trying to get out.”

    Baddest moment: Out-acting co-stars Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland in The Dirty Dozen, but also out-partying them off-set.

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    6. Robert Mitchum

    A former chain gang worker, jailbird and pro boxer, Mitchum’s rumpled face alone said cool loner. Off-screen, he was a pot-smoker and prankster who loved “booze, brawls and broads”.

    Baddest moment: Mitchum refused to take acting seriously, telling interviewer Barry Norman: “Look, I have two kinds of acting. One on a horse and one off a horse. That’s it.”

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    5. Louis CK

    A renegade comic in the truest sense. Louis Szekely is an unflinchingly honest taboo-buster who makes his mate Ricky Gervais look like Michael McIntyre. Other stand-ups aim for cheap shocks, Louis articulates our murkiest thoughts just by being himself.

    Baddest moment: Asking Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld live on radio if he was in fact a “reptilian space alien who eats the poor”. Rumsfeld refused to answer.

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    4. Keith Richards

    Rock’n’roll’s abiding badass and an icon of tight-trousered troublemaking, but the best thing about Keef is that he’s a living, cackling rejoinder to the teachings of every doctor and health official. That he’s survived years of hard-living (and the odd fall from a coconut tree) only makes him more impressive.

    Baddest moment: Swinging his guitar at the head of a 1981 stage invader (“The cat was on my turf. I had to chop the mutha down”) before launching into another riff.

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    3. Frank Sinatra

    Ol’ Blue Eyes. The Chairman Of The Board. Sultan Of Swoon. The Voice. The Bourbon Baritone. Leader of the Rat Pack. The Mafia-linked carouser qualified

    for his multiple business-card options alone.

    Baddest moment: A tumbler of Jack Daniel’s was Frank’s signature drink, so he was buried in 1998 with a bottle of JD slipped into his pocket.

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    2. Henry VIII

    The wife-collecting monarch was a skilled hunter, jouster, author and musician who recently topped a poll of British rebels. Yes, there were beheadings, but anyone who created an entire religion to get their own way has our respect.

    Baddest moment: Of his wives, he quipped: “Don’t get bored with yourself. Marry and be bored with someone else.”

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    1. Jack Nicholson

    Voted Hollywood’s greatest hellraiser, three-time Oscar winner Mad Jack is rarely seen without hangover-hiding shades and, well into his seventies, often

    banished from LA Lakers games for giving referees grief. Those eyebrows. That laugh. He’s made bad behaviour an art form.

    Baddest moment: When he lived next door to Marlon Brando, locals nicknamed Mulholland Drive “Bad Boy Drive”. After Brando’s death, Jack bought his dilapidated mansion for $6m and had it demolished so it didn‘t become a symbol of Brando‘s sad demise.


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