Before she cashed her first royalty check, pop diva Mariah Carey checked hats, waited tables, and seated guests in more than 20 New York restaurants from 1987 to ‘88. But Carey is hardly the only musician who had to scrounge before stardom hit. Here’s how other once-struggling artists paid their dues and their bills:
Jon Bon Jovi Circa 1980, he chased dust bunnies with a broom at the Record Plant recording studio in New York.
Eric Clapton In 1962, he was a street musician and a construction worker.
Elvis Costello In 1971, he was a 16-year-old computer operator at an Elizabeth Arden factory in Liverpool.
Chuck D and Flavor Flav Before 1982, these members of Public Enemy worked at Chuck’s father’s trucking company in Roosevelt, L.I.
Bryan Ferry He was a ceramics teacher in 1968 at a girl’s school in London.
Madonna Circa 1977, she sold doughnuts at a shop in Times Square.
Sinead O’Connor She was a singing kiss-o-gram French maid in Dublin in 1985.
Ozzy Osbourne After two months in prison for burglary in ‘67, he became a slaughterhouse employee in Britain.
Joe Perry Aerosmith’s guitarist scooped cones in 1970 at the Anchorage, a Lake Sunapee, N.H., ice cream parlor.
Luther Vandross Back in ‘73, he was a defective-merchandise clerk at S&H trading stamps.
Cindy Wilson The B-52’s singer shook her cosmic thing as a milkshaketress at Whirly-Q in Athens, Ga., back in ‘76.