I suppose by 'childhood', I mean adolescence, as when you're a kid, heroes are generally concepts like 'an Astronaut' or 'a Fireman', as opposed to individuals. Anyway, here are mine.
Bob Dylan: I think Dylan was the first musician I took note of in a big way, as in, I was interested in the man behind the songs. Outspoken, stylish, bohemian and witty, he was the troubadour that 13-year-old SirNapsALot wanted to be as an adult.
Growing up in a staunchly left-wing family (I guess 'liberal' is the closest U.S. description?), I was particularly impressed by Dylan as someone who used his fame to explore important ideas. I'm a little older and more cynical now, and though I'm no longer entirely convinced by some of Bob's politics and off-stage actions, he's a genuine modern poet and has always been a necessary voice of dissent in mainstream music.
Eric Cantona: Enigmatic captain of Manchester United, and famously strong-willed sporting personality. Again, in a profession where toeing the line and blandness were often encouraged, he broke all the rules and was cool as f*ck whilst doing so. From scoring unbelievable goals to kicking a racist opposition supporter, and quoting Rimbaud in interviews, he earnt his nickname of 'The King'.
My Dad: An incredibly kind, caring guy whose principles I've always massively respected. Could easily have taken a soulless, high-paying corporate job with his qualifications, but worked in a less financially rewarding field because he loved to help people. Sounds a bit corny, and maybe I'm slightly biased , but his ethics were an inspiration to me growing up.
How about fellow ADISCers? Anyone famous, or someone closer to home who was a real inspiration for you growing up?