"Rock and roll" is about as perfect a name as a musical style could hope for. Whether screamed in front of a sold-out crowd in Detroit or slurred under the dim lights of some dank club in Chattanooga, those three words are almost onomatopoeic. And it's suited not only to the music style it describes, but to the other sweaty pursuit that birthed the term. The pitchfork-and-torch injuries inflicted on us by spurned Kim Deal fans after our sexiest-frontwomen list have now healed, so we've decided it was time to bring on another riot. Here are forty dudes who epitomize both aspects of rock and roll. Squeeze into (or out of) your leather pants and get to reading. — John Constantine
40) David Gahan
Throughout the 1980s, David Gahan taught pale, shy boys everywhere that it's pretty damn hot to get crushed under the encumbrance of your own penumbras. Unfortunately, Gahan set an impossible standard — few sad lads had his dreamboat visage and none could cocoon their gloom in the Amazing Monocolor Dream Coat of Depeche Mode's synths. This depressing realization likely drove Gahan's fanboys to listen to more Depeche Mode, thus perpetuating the vicious, sexy cycle. — Cyriaque Lamar
39) Ray Davies
There's nothing like the voice of Ray Davies singing, "Girl. I want. To be with you. All of THE time!" to make you jump up from your barstool and drag your crush onto the dance floor. His voice can alternately sound moody, weary and dreamlike ("Sunny Afternoon"), or decisive, charismatic and sunny ("You Really Got Me"). The kooky, British Invasion brand of sexiness Davies sports is the kind of appeal that survives way beyond its native decade. Groovy. — Marian Lorraine
38) Jesse Michaels
For sheer energy and unabashed masculinity that will never confuse you or get you down with the sensitive is-he-or-is-he-not-gay bullshit, Jesse Michaels is your man. Watching Op Ivy perform is like getting let out of school early: it's a million sunshine-tons of Fuck Yes. Jesse Michaels' Myspace page lists his wife under "favorite things," with typical punk frankness. His bio also says he's six-foot-one and average. We'll buy the six-foot-one part. — M.L.
37) Rhett Miller
Equal parts college-crush-you-went-on-a-road trip-to-Tijuana-with-and-almost-got-arrested-because-oops-he-forgot-to-tell-you-it-was-a-coke-deal and responsible-family man-next-door-who-reads-aloud-to-his-dying-grandmother, Rhett Miller is the thinking girls' ladykiller. It's not our fault he can make a Chili's commercial so sexy. Blame it on gravity. — M.L.
36) Kele Okereke
A limelight-eschewing British dude of ambiguous sexuality is one of the world's biggest rock stars? We'd totally drop some banal sound bite here ("A rocker for the Obama era!" or "Rock Deity 2.0!"), but the lead singer of Bloc Party doesn't deserve such pap. Kele's vocals ping-pong from frenetic sensuality (see "Flux") to ethereality ("Tulips") at a moment's notice, making him the perfect po-mo pop candy for those of us too jaded for love songs and too old to be reading Tiger Beat. — C.L.
35) Buddy Holly
One of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Buddy Holly revolutionized the music industry before his death at age twenty-two. In his short career, he learned to embrace his inner dork and make the ladies love it. After trying contact lenses (imagine the comfort of a 1950s pair), he decided to go with the bespectacled look — he had a bold, horn-rimmed pair made especially for him. And it worked. He made the ladies scream. He proposed to his wife at the end of their first date, and she accepted. And John Lennon once wrote, "He made it okay to wear glasses. I was Buddy Holly." Hipsters and Beatlemaniacs everywhere have this talented Texan to thank. — Nicole Ankowski
34) Wayne Coyne
Once a filthy acid hippie, always a filthy acid hippie, and never shall a filthy acid-hippie frontman transcend his grimy roots to attain sexy immortality. It is an impossible wall to scale. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, however, trades in the impossible. He built a spaceship in his Oklahoma backyard to make a movie about celebrating the yuletide on Mars. Because he could. There was also one day in the late '90s when he suddenly went from being a greasy freak singing about Vaseline to a white-suited, curly-haired love machine writing songs about the power of science and sex. One Wayne Coyne is the guy you hang out with at Burning Man. The other Wayne Coyne is a make-out machine from beyond the stars. — John Constantine
33) Nick Cave
There's an immortal passage of dialogue in Wayne's World that speaks directly to the sexual allure of the rocker. A grungy dude startles a rich blonde lady and asks, "Do I scare you?" She blurts out, "No." "Do you want me to?" The answer is yes, of course we do. Sometimes, we want those tingling feelings we get from some singer freaking us out with his grim poetry. Nick Cave writes scary songs about murder and God and trudging through blizzards to find your true love already dead, but they're not crazy-sexy of their own accord. It's his voice, his oil-black stare, and the way he pounds on those piano keys. His music crawls up inside you and makes you shiver in the best kind of way. — J.C.
32) Glenn Danzig
A quick reminder: "ludicrous" sometimes means "unsexy," but often it's quite the opposite. So, yes, Glenn Danzig is ludicrous (believes in werewolves, spends a lot of time getting jacked, closely associated with a questionable hairstyle, etc.). He is also the constant butt of jokes, but then, so is sex itself; indeed, if Danzig is a big target, it may be only because he's larger than life. Watch the classic video for "Mother" (we recommend the censored version, which omits the chicken sacrifice) and try to deny his predatory intensity. As far as rock and roll come-ons go, it doesn't get much better than, "Tell your children not to walk my way." — Peter Smith
31) Lou Reed
All due respect to Debbie Harry, but is there a finer embodiment of downtown cool than Mr. Velvet Underground? Discovered by Andy Warhol, Reed went on to make decades of inimitable, often proudly inaccessible rock. Reed's experimental leanings were in place from the start; early shows at seminal rock club Max's Kansas City included complimentary LSD. And Reed, who as a teen underwent electroshock therapy to "cure" his homosexual leanings, knew from mind-alteration. Despite songs about drag queens ("Candy Says") and junkies ("Heroin"), a (presumably fired) Vatican official scheduled a 2000 concert where Reed performed for Pope John Paul II. Sexy enough, but his demented love letters to New York ("On Avenue B, someone cruised him one night/he took him in an alley and then pulled a knife/And thought of his father, as he cut his windpipe/and finally danced to the rock minuet") had already conferred rock sainthood. — Billy Gray
30) Murray Lightburn
Back in 2001, before the internet's ubiquity had demolished music's international boundaries, there were still some bands you plain wouldn't hear about outside your country of origin. Murray Lightburn and The Dears were a Canadian micro-brew in the grand pub of rock, quietly hidden in the frozen north. It wasn't until 2003 that the world got its first full taste of Lightburn's savage crooning. Watching the man sing "We Can Have It" is equally heart-shattering and arousing. You can practically taste his voice. — J.C.
29) Michael Stipe
Michael Stipe's "sexiness" has always been a topic of heated discussion. No one's disputing his musical genius (okay, we're sure someone, somewhere is). But his sex appeal might be an acquired taste; he doesn't always scream "healthy glow." But the man's got attitude and intelligence — and lips, and eyelashes — for miles. He can rock Blade Runner makeup. He can rock pants made out of duct tape, newsboy caps (plus Gwyneth) and even transform urinals into art. All of that, and he'll still croon softly and share a dollar-beer with you at a dive bar in Athens, where you can stare deeply into his soulful eyes and discuss the latest G4 summit. Sometimes a girl needs these things. — N.A.
28) Phil Lynott
Lessee, which of the following is unsexy: lonesome-cowboy groan? Sinuous bass-playing? Mixed-race heritage? (Irish mother, Brazilian father known only as "The Duke.") Lilting accent? Christ, Lynott has it all. (Then there's early death, which is a drag, but let's not pretend it isn't alluring.) The man had a knack for the ballad ("Running Back"), but to our minds, he was at his irresistible best rocking out tales of romantic losers, hucksters and vagabonds ("Waiting for an Alibi" et al.). Ask Zorro, Han Solo or the Sundance Kid: there are few men sexier than a desperado. — P.S.
Ah Beck, that wily, ingenious, busking Scientologist. Yes, he's fey enough to pick up and put in your pocket. You alternately want to brush his hair with one of those grade-school-picture-day black-plastic combs, or run your fingers over his sweet, sweet lips. (We bet they're chapped on occasion. All the more delicious.) He won us over by embracing his inner "Loser," but what keeps us coming back for more are his constant musical innovations. That the same man birthed "Sexx Laws" and "Sea Change," frankly, blows our minds. He's fearless in his self-expression, not to mention an excellent dancer. Tom Cruise could learn a thing or two. — N.A.
All the lute albums and bad jazz in the world couldn't strip the sexiness from the man who wrote "Message in a Bottle." This son-of-a-milkman not only convinced the entire world to address him by a verb, he also claimed he could make love for seven hours straight. Even after he admitted, "It's more like four hours of begging, then a movie and then dinner," we still thought, yeah, but it's probably the sexiest begging you could ever experience. Special props for still being married to the same woman, working to save the rainforests, and being able to hit the high notes at almost sixty. Even in under an hour, we know he could make us hit 'em. — N.A.
25) Ian Curtis
Dread pervades many of the songs Curtis wrote as lead singer of post-punk pioneers Joy Division. "Lights are flashing, cars are crashing/it's getting frequent now," he sang in his haunting, trademark baritone in "She's Lost Control." Such dark material was hardly a stretch; the short-lived Curtis struggled with depression and poorly medicated epilepsy. But that pain produced searing, melancholy music and performances so intense they bordered on scary. (Concertgoers couldn't distinguish his unorthodox dance moves from the seizures that cut several gigs short.) Curtis is the patron saint of Brooding Brit Rockers, his influence resonating with the likes of Morrissey, Thom Yorke and the petulant brothers Gallagher. Stiff upper lip, be damned. Sometimes there's nothing sexier than a good cry. — B.G.
Just shut up about Bono, okay? We know he's crazy. We know his hair is back-combed and his boots are lifted. We know his current album will never be as good as his earlier work (and his earlier work was never as good as his even-earlier work, ad infinitum). We know he wore way too many sleeveless shirts in the '80s, wraparound glasses in the '90s, and leather bomber jackets in the '00s. We know he thinks he can save the world. But you know what? Maybe he can. At least he's trying. Love him or hate him and his god-complex, nobody else — and we mean nobody — can turn a Letterman appearance into a transcendental experience. And nothing's sexier than a passionate drive you can get swept away in. Okay, the accent — and having the Edge stand in the background — helps, too. — N.A.
23) Jarvis Cocker
There are three stages in the psychosexual superstardom of Pulp's Jarvis Cocker. First there's the horny nostalgia of "Do You Remember the First Time?" and "Disco 2000" — he's pensive, but still snotty enough to wave his fanny at Michael Jackson. Next we have the pissy schadenfreude circa "The Fear" and "Bad Cover Version" — you broke Jarvis' heart, but that doesn't mean he can't delight in the evidence that your new boyfriend is an absolute tit. Finally, we have modern Jarvis, a guy so Zen-like in his world-weariness that the chorus "cunts are still running the world" becomes a mantra. Whichever Jarvis you fancy, trust that he'll be there when your love life spontaneously combusts — and then he'll smother your smoldering issues under the weight of his own Wagnerian insecurities. — C.L.
22) Billy Idol
Despite his gargoyle grimace and proclivity for waltzing about topless all the time, this ex-Generation X bad boy had a fugitive sweetness lost to most modern listeners. Sure, he had that naughty single about wanking, and owned enough motorcycle leather to de-hide the Chisholm Trail, but remember that bottle-blonde crooner with rice-paper-thin skin from the "Eyes without a Face" video? Truly the personification of ivory and anthracite, Billy was a John Lydon you could bring home to mum. — C.L. [See also Lisa Carver's legendary Nerve interview with Idol. — ed.]
21) Anthony Kiedis
In junior high, Sandy Shelby-Case would bring one, and only one, VHS cassette tape to any given sleepover — a copy of the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Under the Bridge." Sandy was hot. Sandy was edgy. Sandy only dated high-school boys. Sandy would ignore us all, perch inches from the TV, and play in slow-motion any scene in which a shirtless Anthony Kiedis ran on the sand. This is what Anthony Kiedis does to women, pubescent girls — hell, anyone. He's the bad-boy addict you shouldn't love. He's dark, flowing hair without Fabio's cheese. He gives a whole new meaning to tube socks. He is the reborn new-age vegan with killer abs and a baby named Bear. He might kiss boys. He might kiss trees. You don't know. You just want him to kiss you. — N.A.
20) Jimi Hendrix
When we finally got up the courage to leave our much older boyfriend in high school, the radio was playing the sweet, wild, electric Jimi Hendrix. It was the first time we'd ever heard him and we knew a new era had begun. Hendrix's power crosses over into alchemy when he touches his guitar. The sounds are so joyful it's almost certain they didn't come from this earth. Voodoo child is right. — M.L.
19) Simon Le Bon
Duran Duran's leading man had the looks of a matinee idol, and he damn well knew it. This probably explains why he frequently dressed like an extra from an Errol Flynn swashbuckler. Although his kerchiefs have gone out of style (MGMT's attempts at resurrecting a hipster hijab notwithstanding), Le Bon's voice is immortal thanks to its fresh-Formica cool. Let the other rock stars screw models. Le Bon married one. — C.L.
18) Elvis Presley
Elvis' sex appeal seems so hokey and self-evident nowadays that it's easy to lose sight of how terrifying he was in his heyday. The man's FBI profile, for example, declares him to be a "definite danger to the security of the United States." We're sure that honor has been bestowed on singers whose artistic ideologies extend beyond who is or is not a hound dog, but with little more than a backbeat, some pelvic thrusts, and a leather jacket, Elvis Presley — once a shy truck driver from Memphis — blew Western Civilization the fuck open. In short, Presley's image upended American society so efficiently that it's still used as a reference point for raw sexuality some fifty years later. So, yeah. Elvis is sexy. — Joe Bernardi
17) John Lennon
Every John Lennon has his appeal. From the bitter, fiery anti-war activist clinging in the buff to his pretentious bride on the cover of Rolling Stone, to the wavy-haired star-child singing about Strawberry Fields, Lennon was always sexy. How could he not be? He's fucking John Lennon. It's our opinion, though, that Lennon's maximum sexiness was captured on film in 1964. The smirking twenty-four-year-old cracking wise in a train car at the beginning of A Hard Day's Night makes us titter and go weak at the knees. When he sings shortly thereafter, we understand why all those chicks were screaming forty-five years ago. — J.C.
16) Paul Westerberg
Listening to Paul Westerberg's more sensitive songs ("Answering Machine," "Sixteen Blue," "Skyway," etc.) you might figure him for a proto-emo sap. But what makes that material work so well is the other half of his persona; what makes "Sixteen Blue" tug so effectively on the heartstrings is that, on the Replacements' classic Let It Be, it immediately follows "Gary's Got a Boner." Westerberg is a cranky, contrary, sarcastic prick by all accounts; he was a surly bastard as a nineteen-year-old singing janitor, and he's a surly bastard now. It only makes his sincerity more affecting. If he's a jerk to everyone else, it'll only makes it more potent when he fixes you with those big peepers and sings "Don't Get Married." At that point, how can you not ditch your stiff of a fiancé and take this shaggy-maned loner into your arms/bed? — P.S. [See also former Nerve editor Ada Calhoun's classic Westerberg paean here. — ed.]
15) David Byrne
Some things get sexier with age (wine, women). Some don't (Bono, sigh). Former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne is firmly in the former camp. Yes, the world adored him during his Talking Heads phase, despite the fact that he dressed as a shrunken head in an oversized suit. But, not one to rest on his laurels, Byrne has won Grammys, Oscars and our hearts for his work in film, photography, opera — he even converted an entire building into a musical instrument. To see him today is to see a towering, silver-haired, silver-tongued god, often garbed in white, his dark eyes hungry and his arms thrown wide as he steals whatever show he's in. He knows how to light his own internal fire, and you get the feeling he'd easily light yours, as well. — N.A.
14) Bob Dylan
Could anyone else make evangelicalism sexy? The Jewish Dylan's brief foray into born-again Christianity (he's now back where he started) produced three gospel albums from which he performs to this day, but it was his famous conversion from acoustic folk to electric rock at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival that secured his iconic place in the pop firmament. Almost universally recognized as the finest songwriter of the last half-century, Dylan is the only popular musician to win a Pulitzer Prize. And if some recent missteps (shilling for Victoria's Secret; borderline incoherent live performances) throw his sexiness into doubt, try to think of another artist who could inspire biographical performances from Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Richard Gere and Cate Blanchett in the same movie. — B.G.
13) Tom Waits
We nowadays regard Thomas Alain Waits as the ne plus ultra elder statesman of weird Americana, but rewind thirty years and you'd be privy to an even weirder sight: a troubadour with the rugged good looks of Saint Gabriel and the larynx of Mephistopheles. Waits' body has caught up with his voice over time, but the man still exerts an undeniable, black-lunged magnetism. There's an easy explanation for this — you had the hots for your college professor, and Waits is the oral historian of every lost weekend. — C.L.
12) Kurt Cobain
The Father of Grunge, along with his Nirvana cohorts, rescued rock from hair metal's bloated cheese and bulging spandex. Cobain proved that smart, angry, and unrelentingly gloomy music can be foot-stompingly catchy. With a goosebump-inducing guttural wail that belied his cherubic looks (piercing baby blues, perpetually mussed, blond locks), Kurt and his countless Seattle-based imitators (not to mention wrecking-ball-and-chain, Courtney Love), defined the sound of a decade. Cobain shot himself fifteen years ago this month, as much a victim of his own success (see: "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" t-shirt worn on the cover of Rolling Stone) as chronic stomach pain and the heroin addiction that fleetingly relieved it. Rock music hasn't found as jolting an innovator since. And plaid flannel will never be the same. — B.G.
11) Jeff Buckley
Back in the '90s, you didn't need to get your date drunk to get laid. All you needed was a loud stereo and copy of Jeff Buckley's Grace. The challenge after that wasn't getting naked, it was getting hot for your date and not Buckley himself. The man's look was a weird mix of James Dean and MTV VJ, but his voice made it work. "Mojo Pin" may be played out a decade later, stripped of its Spanish-fly potency by overexposure, but on the right night, in the right town, Buckley's music is still irresistible. — J.C.
10) Jim Morrison
The archetype for all rock gods, Jim Morrison wore the title of Young Lion after a certain black-and-white photo shoot that left a nation weak at the knees. His moody, mysterious and unpredictable stage presence, his Hiawatha dances in leather pants, and lyrics like "I see a country in your eyes" made him a hypnotic sex symbol. He was too much for everyone, including himself; self-destructive behavior had killed him by twenty-seven, at which time there were about twenty paternity actions pending against him. — M.L.
9) Iggy Pop
The acts that transformed James Osterberg into Iggy Pop — the drug use, the rolling in broken glass, the stage diving — suggest a man obsessed with the pursuit of the id and the loss of self. By filtering that obsession through the tension and release of the Stooges' paranoid garage-blues, Pop stumbled upon a formula for wide-eyed, primal sexuality that, by many standards, remains unmatched to this day. He also looks really, really good without a shirt on. — J.B.
8) Joe Strummer
Punk progenitor Joe Strummer fronted the band that arguably brought that snarled, minimalist, critically derided music mainstream respectability. (For better or worse, sure, but who cares when it sounds this goddamn good?) Their 1980 album London Calling, a genre-defining and defying mélange of punk, pop, rockabilly and reggae, is routinely hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. His genius was to perform political songs (about consumerism, racism, violence, drugs) that refused to hit the fan over the head with their Importance. It's pointed, angry music that somehow makes the listener happy. As for sexy, just slap on a leather jacket, a pair of Wayfarers and some Strummer-style swagger and try fighting off the admirers. — B.G.
7) Bruce Springsteen
Sure, there's something a little mannered about the Boss' palooka-with-a-heart-o'-gold schtick, but his epic-level sexiness is a matter of record — specifically, the best-selling record of summer '84. That magnificent Jersey ass is Springsteen for the millions of Americans who may never listen to Nebraska. Accordant with the large-scale iconography of Born in the U.S.A. are Springsteen's live shows, which essentially constitute two-plus hours of orgasm. Just watch the crowd when our man hits "the highway's jammed with broken heroes" etc. The whole spectacle is so priapic that we once attempted to establish the verb "to Bruce" as a synonym for sexual release. That it failed to catch on was a little embarrassing, but we felt vindicated watching Bruce's epic manhood careen into the camera during this year's Super Bowl halftime show. Lest ye forget, oh faithless America. — P.S.
6) Robert Plant
Tori Amos' I-finally-made-it moment: she was sitting in some club's green room when her phone rang. She picked it up and a slick British voice asked, "Is this Tori?" "Yes, who is this?" "Why, it's Robert Plant, darling." Amos then looked in the mirror and mouthed the words: it's Robert Plant. Seems like the only natural reaction. Back in 1969, the world already had its Jaggers, but it was in no way prepared for this sinewy, shrieking man. The jeans, the lion-mane hair, and the dripping-lemon carnality. The man could melt existence. Plant's sexiness has become less potent in the past three decades, but you can still see it burning, even when he's singing half-baked country songs with Alison Krauss. — J.C.
5) Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury took the sexual pomp and theatrics of glam rock and removed much of the mystique, creating something more relatable and organic. While his unusual mixture of fragility and arena-rock ridiculousness made him a worldwide icon, it was probably his unflagging commitment to short shorts, moustaches and leather-daddy caps that made him a sex symbol. There's also, of course, the simple fact that the vocals to "Don't Stop Me Now" and "Somebody to Love" came out of his mouth. By virtue of that alone, Freddie Mercury could have bagged just about anybody on the planet. — J.B.
4) Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger took the sexual undercurrents of his musical predecessors and removed all of that boring subtlety. While his clean-cut peers were making wink-and-nod appeals to girls' mothers, a longhaired, sneering Jagger was demanding a lay like it was a paycheck. Other groups stood in place and smiled politely at hordes of screaming teenage girls, but Mick was the first performer to visibly feed off the sexual energy rock music gives its priests. His openness about sexual tension and its accompanying frustration brought a spirit of nervous anger to rock and roll that played a considerable part in bringing down the dopey, often willfully ignorant culture of the 1960s. What sociopolitical ramifications has your sexuality had? — J.B.
In the heyday of the Smiths, everyone had a theory about Morrissey's sexuality. (Bi? Gay? Celibate, as he always insisted?) Whatever it was, by cannily refusing to discuss it, he made it implicit in every word out of his mouth. (The celibacy thing has cleared up a little; when we saw David Fricke ask him about it at SXSW 2006, he simply purred, "Everybody has. . . dry spells.") Repression is hot, and Morrissey's lyrics always hummed with unfulfilled lust. After all, the very first track on the first Smiths album finds Moz sweetly crooning, "I dreamt about you last night, and I fell out of bed twice," then making the come-on more explicit still: "You can pin and mount me like a butterfly." Still more engorged is the first verse of "Handsome Devil": "You ask me the time/ But I sense something more/ And I would like to give you what I think you're asking for." That he wants to get his hands on this handsome devil's mammary glands only emphasizes that his preferences regarding genitals are beside the point. He wants us all. We could go on, but this picture probably explains his appeal better than we ever could. — P.S.
2) David Bowie
Bowie hasn't been human in about forty years. When he was twenty, during the "I Dig Everything" era, when he was still singing sunny '60s pop jams, he was just another sharp young Brit with a nice face. Then he wrote "Space Oddity" and transformed into a constantly morphing vessel for sex, a living body for the spirit of attraction. The suave man in the suit, Ziggy Stardust, the generously cod-pieced Jareth. Bowie isn't a sexy frontman. He's a freaking god. — J.C.
Dig if you will a picture: Prince is ahead of you in the grocery-store line. (This is hypothetical, of course: His Royal Badness has people to pick up his arugula.) Would you even notice the guy? A scrawny five-foot-two, blighted by pube-esque facial hair. . . yet here he is, the sexiest frontman in rock history. Talent is sexy, and however much the Purple One has managed to self-sabotage since Sign o' the Times, he's still got talent coming out of his shiny pants. Let that diminutive androgyne pick up a guitar, or a microphone, then go ahead and stick a fork in yourself. We'll give the last word to his coolest sidekicks ever, Wendy and Lisa. Wendy backs us up: "It doesn't matter what sexuality, gender you are. You're in the room with him and he gives you that look and you're like, 'Okay, I'm done. It's over.' He's Casanova. He's Valentino." Lisa? Your thoughts? "He's like a fancy lesbian." Well, maybe that says it all. — P.S.