Pete Doherty has been voted one of the greatest rock heroes of all time by readers of the NME – but the magazine itself has dismissed him as “just a worn-out drug addict”.
The troubled singer came second in the list of all-time greats, runner-up to the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
But the NME – which only two years ago named Doherty as its “Cool Icon” - expressed dismay at his inclusion.
The magazine admitted it was “a bit surprised” that the crack-addicted star is still considered a hero to so many.
“Yes, there was a time when Pete Doherty lived his life with an unrivalled romantic zest, when he represented a truly anti-establishment voice,” it tells readers in the latest issue.
“But is he really still your hero? Now that his second home seems to be the courtroom? Now that he misses more gigs than he plays? Now that the performances in flats are cynical ploys to make crack money? Now that the ‘sensitive songwriter’ has a black eye every other week? Now that he’s spotted in the tabloids every other day looking no different to the junkies passed out on Kentish Town High Street?
“Surely he’s no longer anti-establishment, surely he’s just a worn-out drug addict who needs help if he’s every going to make decent music again? Don’t you deserve better?”
In 2004 the magazine’s writers chose Doherty as their Cool Icon and said: “It is not a heroin addiction which makes Pete Doherty the coolest. He is a very talented musician who has become a modern-day minstrel, wandering the country playing for anyone who wants to see him.
“There is something seductive about the idea of doomed destructive youth, which goes back to the Romantic poets.”
Two thousand NME readers voted in the survey.
Cobain, who shot himself dead in 1994, topped the poll.
Morrissey was third, followed by Liam Gallagher and Doherty’s former Libertines bandmate Carl Barat.
Thom Yorke of Radiohead was sixth, Noel Gallagher seventh, David Bowie eighth, Ian Brown ninth and the late Ian Curtis in tenth place.
The top 20 included The Clash’s Joe Strummer, Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Richey Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers, who disappeared in 1994.
NME editor Conor McNicholas said: “It’s difficult to imagine the rock landscape without any of these icons – they are more than simply musicians, they have shaped the cultural landscape of the last 50 years. Every single one of these artists is mirrored in some form in the bands of 2006.”
Top 20 Rock Heroes
1 Kurt Cobain
2 Pete Doherty
4 Liam Gallagher
5 Carl Barat
6 Thom Yorke
7 Noel Gallagher
8 David Bowie
9 Ian Brown
10 Ian Curtis
11 Richey Edwards
12 Jack White
13 Joe Strummer
14 Matt Bellamy
15 Axl Rose
16 Bob Dylan
17 Julian Casablancas
18 John Lennon
19 Elliott Smith
20 Alex Kapranos
The full list is published in this week’s edition of the NME.