These Insane Rock Star Rumors Are Actually True

Jenna Goldberg | February 20, 2018 2:29 pm

The wonderful world of rock ‘n’ roll has given us many things over the years — not just some killer songs. We’ve seen scandal upon scandal erupt, turning musicians into entertainment figures. The rumor mill always runs wild when it comes to these guys, so much so that it can be hard to separate fact from fiction…until now.

Charles Manson Wrote For The Beach Boys

Infamous cult leader Charles Manson might be the last person you’d associate with the fun-loving, all American surf band The Beach Boys, but at one point they were close. After Manson was released from his second stint in prison in 1967, he tried to make it in the music business. When one of his songs caught the attention of Dennis Wilson, Wilson recorded it, changing very little.

The pair became friends, and Charles stayed in Wilson’s home for some time before his strange behavior got him thrown out. Shortly after, he became the infamous cult leader we know him as today.

Michael Jackson Wrote Music For Sonic The Hedgehog

The late, great Michael Jackson is known as the King of Pop for a reason. He had so many hits that he’ll forever be known as one of the most prolific musicians of all time – that’s no easy feat. While he may have concentrated his attention on making his own hit records, a mega fan noticed that the background music for the video game Sonic 3 sounded incredibly similar to Jackson’s style.

After he did some digging, the rumor mill started whirling. Eventually, in 2016, composers confirmed that MJ did contribute to the soundtrack.

The Rolling Stone’s Bassist Fell For A 13-Year-Old

This one is a little creepy. When you think of The Rolling Stones, most people focus on the antics of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ronnie Wood. However, bassist Bill Wyman (who played with the band from 1962 up to 1993) has some skeletons in his closet – and they’re pretty big. In 1989 at 52 years old, Wyman married 18-year-old Mandy Smith.

The pair had been dating since Smith was just 13 years old. According to her accounts, they consummated their relationship when she was 14, making this union illegal on so many counts. Needless to say, the marriage was short-lived and the pair divorced in 1991.

Gary Glitter Used His Fame To Get Young Girls

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Gary Glitter was an extremely popular icon during his time. In the ’70s the glam rock singer sold out dozens of arenas and racked up over 20 million units in record sales. While he was always eccentric, people put that down to his artistic nature. In the ’90s, he was charged with having indecent images of children in one of the most spectacular falls from grace of a modern icon the world had ever seen.

As the extent of his crimes became apparent, he was sentenced to 16 years in prison in 2015 for several sexual assault crimes against girls as young as 10.

Rapper Danny Brown Received Some Loving While Performing

Since the dawn of modern-age musicians, there have been those who like to take things a step further on stage. While we all like a bit of showmanship, American rapper Danny Brown took it to the extremes in 2013 while performing. He untucked his shirt, unbuckled his pants and let a fan in the front row go to town on his crotch – all the while singing like nothing was happening.

Media outlets reported on the story far and wide. One thing’s for sure, Danny Brown definitely made a name for himself – albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Members of Led Zeppelin Used A Fish On A Groupie

If you thought our last entry was a little raucous, then wait until you hear this one. It’s no secret that rock stars love to party, especially in the ’60s and ’70s when everyone was big on free love. On one particular date in July of 1969, the band was staying at Seattle’s Edgewater Inn and indulged in a spot of fishing from their balcony.

Later on, when things started to get truly wet ‘n’ wild, members of the band inserted the fish they had caught into certain areas of a particular groupie. What a way to end a night.

Ozzy Osbourne Didn’t Just Bite A Bat

Ozzy Osbourne is known as the Prince of Darkness. There’s a pretty good reason for that. The frontman of the heavy metal group Black Sabbath may not look like he’d say boo to a ghost off stage now, but when it comes to his music he used to get pretty wild. We’ve all heard the story about him biting the head off of a bat, but did you know that when he first met with Columbia Records he bit the head off of a dove?

His wife Sharon said he would make a good impression if he let two of the white birds free into the office. He did, but also chomped the head off of one for good measure.

Jerry Lewis Married His 13-Year-Old Cousin

It looks like Bill Wyman wasn’t the only one who preferred his brides young. As Elvis was being drafted into the military in 1958, Lewis was set to fill his boots as the biggest name in rock ‘n’ roll. However, his personal life put a stop to that.

Lewis married Myra Gale Brown, the 13-year-old daughter of his first cousin before he was due to set out on a European tour. When his fans found out, they were disgusted and stormed the stages. It would be years before his reputation would recover.

David Bowie And Mick Jagger Had An Affair

David Bowie was unlike anything the music scene had ever encountered before. The gender-fluid taboo-breaking musician was the center of a plethora of rumors, not least that he was once found naked in bed with Mick Jagger.

Bowie’s first wife Angie made waves when she claimed that she stumbled in on her then-husband and the singer of The Rolling Stones in a compromising position. However, she later stated that they were both passed out and weren’t engaging in any extra-curricular activity.

Steven Tyler Adopted His Girlfriend

This scandal is probably one of the most well known in rock ‘n’ roll. In 1975, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith convinced the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Julia Holcomb, to legally sign over guardianship to him so that he could take her on tour with the band.

The couple embarked on a three-year tumultuous relationship that would have all manner of negative effects on the teenager. Not only was she introduced to alcohol and drugs, she fell pregnant and had an abortion. The relationship fell apart soon after.

Keith Moon And Mama Cass Died In The Same Place

Keith Moon of The Who was a troubled soul, who struggled with alcoholism. He died in an upmarket apartment he rented from Harry Nilsson in 1978, having overdosed on pills prescribed to him for alcohol withdrawal. Before renting the upscale Mayfair residence to Moon, Nilsson informed him that Mama Cass Elliot of Mamas and Papas had died there four years prior to heart failure.

Harry was concerned – he believed it was cursed. Moon told him not to worry – “Lightning wouldn’t strike the same place twice,” he said. His last words were quite legendary.

Van Halen Banned Brown M&M’s

This one is pretty interesting. Whenever Van Halen would perform, they would specifically request that the venue ensure there were M&M’s in the dressing room – but that all of the brown ones had been taken out. You may think that this is a case of rock stars being spoiled, but there was a surprisingly good reason behind it.

Van Halen really didn’t have anything against brown M&M’s, but if they had been taken out then the band would know that all of their other requests on the rider – including safety requests – had been followed to the T.

Van Morrison Recorded 30 Songs In A Single Day

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget in the midst of all the rumors surrounding their personal lives, that musicians are really great at what they do – none more so than Van Morrison. The songwriting legend has created some of the best works in history, but on one day in 1967, he outdid even himself.

Over the course of that year, Morrison was stuck in a recording contract that he loathed, but he stilled owed executives 36 songs. Rather than waiting around, he went into the studio and recorded 30 horrendously awful tunes, dubbed “revenge songs” that technically fulfilled his contract. What a dude.

Ozzy Osbourne Snorted Ants

Yep, he’s at it again. It almost seems like there isn’t an animal that Osbourne won’t ingest in some way. In his early career, the star was known for his wild and out of control antics on and off the stage. More often than not, he was a drug-fueled mess.

While the singer was on tour with glam-rock band Motley Crue he got into an ill-advised game of truth or dare with Nikki Sixx. The pair battled it out until Ozzy snorted a line of ants crawling on the pavement near them. He was declared the winner.

David Bowie Couldn’t Remember Station to Station

While Bowie managed to sort his act out during his career, going on to live a sober and fulfilling life before sadly passing away in 2016, there was a time when he could ham it up with the best of them.

When recording Station to Station in 1975, he was reportedly so addicted to cocaine that he would later profess to not remembering the 10 days he spent in the studio. Despite his drug-addled state, the album was a great success and would go down as one of his defining works. It was a commercial and critical hit.

Keith Richards Doesn’t Sleep

The notion that Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones doesn’t sleep has been around for decades. Of course, it isn’t humanly possible for someone to survive on no sleep whatsoever, but Richards has given it a pretty good go in the past. While recording an album in 1978, he managed to stay conscious for five straight days.

In another incident, he claims to have managed nine days without sleep, although this ended in injury when he collapsed unexpectedly and woke up in a pool of his own blood. Rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not for the weak.

Gram Parsons Was Kidnapped – After He Died

He may be among those slightly less well-known in the industry, but Gram Parsons was part of The Byrds, a folk-rock music group. He would go on to release two widely praised solo albums, but would tragically die of a morphine overdose at the tender age of 26 while on a trip to Joshua Tree.

As his family was trying to make arrangements for Parsons’ body to be flown back to Louisiana, his friend Phil Kaufman stole his corpse. He tried to set his coffin on fire to make good on a pact in which his buddy had asked for his ashes to be scattered in Joshua Tree. The plan didn’t quite work and Kaufman dumped Parsons’ body when he was chased by authorities.

Prince Was A Working Jehovah’s Witness

Yes, Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness, but this was no secret. It was widely acknowledged throughout his life. What may surprise you is that he actually continued to do what most Jehovah’s Witnesses do – knock on doors and try to spread the word of their savior. Despite his celebrity, he continued to do this for years.

In 2008 he told The New Yorker, “Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they’re really cool about it.” One lady who had a visit from the “Purple Rain” singer described her shock at the star trying to convert her Jewish household. She wasn’t interested.

Axl Rose Used Real Love-Making Sounds On Rocket Queen

Bad-boy of rock and frontman of one of the most successful bands of all time, Guns N Roses, Axl Rose really suffered for his art. During his time with the band, he was known for being overtly obnoxious and famously feuded with Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain.

When it came to recording “Rocket Queen” for Appetite for Destruction, he wanted some pornographic sounds for the break. Instinctively, he brought in Adriana Smith, a 19-year-old stripper who also happened to be the girlfriend of drummer Steve Adler. The pair had sex in the studio and the sounds were used.

Iggy Pop Checked Into A Mental Hospital & Bowie Brought Him Cocaine

In 1974, Iggy Pop was struggling with his career and his addictions. He admitted himself into the UCLA neuropsychiatric institute in order to get back on track. Bowie recalled visiting his friend during a 2002 interview with Blender. He explained, “We trooped into the hospital with a load of drugs for him. He wasn’t well; that’s all we knew.

We thought we should bring him some drugs because he probably hadn’t had any for days!” However, drugs weren’t allowed in the facility, and the staff wouldn’t let Bowie bring them inside. Fortunately, Bowie’s friendship helped Iggy get himself back together and move forward in his career.

The White Stripes Weren’t Really Siblings After All

Jack and Meg White formed the White Stripes in 1997 and rose to prominence five years later as part of the garage rock revival scene. Early on in their career, the duo claimed they were siblings — the youngest two of 10 children to be exact. After the band garnered more attention (winning a Grammy will do that to you), rumors spread that the Whites were actually brother and sister.

Eventually, a marriage certificate revealed the truth. Jack and Meg had been married in 1996, with Jack taking Meg’s surname. The couple divorced in 2000 but continued making music together until they called it quits in 2011.

Rick James Really Was High On American Bandstand

After Rick James appeared on American Bandstand, viewers couldn’t stop speculating that the rocker must have been high out of his mind. In addition to his outlandish behavior, he appeared to have a pretty serious cocaine drip going on. While fan and non-fans alike speculated whether or not he had been under the influence for years, it seemed like it was a tale that would never be confirmed — this is, until Rick James released his autobiography.

In his book he spoke candidly about his life and admitted, “I started sniffing and wiping myself until it had to be obvious to Dick and a million viewers what was really going on.”

Prince Had A Son Who Passed Away

After Prince’s tragic death, his ex-wife Mayte Garcia confirmed crazy rumors confirming a child the former couple had conceived nearly two decades prior. Garcia revealed the harrowing story of the death of their baby boy and her rough pregnancy. Their son, Amiir Gregory Nelson, was born with Pfeiffer syndrome type 2.

This genetic condition can cause multiple physical deformities such as webbed hands and feet, a misshapen head, and eyes that form outside of the sockets. Amiir sadly died just six days after he was born and the couple’s marriage could not survive the tragic loss and the two divorced.

The Beatles Honed Their Skills In A Strip Club

Photo Credits: Getty Images
Photo Credits: Getty Images

The Beatles weren’t always playing sold-out stadium shows with school girls crawling all over them. Between August 1960 and December 1962, the Beatles played over 250 nights in the city of Hamburg, a worn down and seedy seaport where they played mostly for “inebriated seamen and bored whores.”

In the beginning, much of their time was spent playing background music in strip clubs where they were forced to play four to five hours a night relying on pills to keep them on their feet. However, it was during this time that many have suggested that the band refined and perfected their skills as live performers and that they wouldn’t have become the band they did without this period of their careers.

Danny Kirwan Departure From Fleetwood Mac Was Actually Attributed To A Bad LSD Trip

Fleetwood Mac’s lineup was seemingly constantly revolving for a few years, with band members coming and going. But when Danny Kirwan left for “personal reasons” rumors circulated that his reason for leaving had to do more with a bad LSD trip. As it turns out, the rumors weren’t far off and things were pretty tumultuous amongst the band members.

Things came to a head when Kirwan wildly ran off the stage to a bathroom where he smashed his head into the wall and then proceeded to break his guitar right before a big show. Eventually, band members admitted his breakdown was at least partially attributed to a bad LSD trip.

Christine McVie Wrote A Song About Having An Affair, Told Her Husband It Was About Her Dog

If you were having an affair, chances are you would do everything possible to cover it up, right? Christine McVie didn’t get the memo. The Fleetwood Mac star wrote and sang the song “You Make Loving Fun,” which peaked on the album Rumors at No. 9.

The song is pretty blatantly about McVie’s affair with one of the band’s lighting directors, Curry Grant — but McVie told her husband, John, the sweet lyrics were really about her dog. Hmm. Unsurprisingly, John eventually found out what the lyrics were really about and things got rockier from there.

He Carved An X Into His Chest

Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images
Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

When The Stooges dismantled, Iggy performed solo for the first time at Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco on Aug. 11, 1974. He called the performance “The Murder Of A Virgin.” He asked concertgoers, “Do you want to see blood?” Overwhelmingly, they shouted that they did. Iggy encouraged his guitarist Ron Asheton, who was wearing a Nazi uniform, to whip him.

Then Iggy brought a steak knife on stage and proceeded to verbally attack a black audience member, hoping his racial slurs would coax the man into attacking him. When nothing happened, Iggy used the knife on himself and carved an X into his chest.

John Phillips’ Incestual Secrets Were Horrifyingly True

This is one of the most disturbing rumors that turned out to be true. Rumors had circulated about the apparent incestual relationship between John Phillips and his daughter, Mackenzie. John, who was a member of The Mamas and the Papas, was also the father of several children who went on to have successful careers the entertainment and music industries — actress Mackenzie Phillips, Chynna Phillips (of the pop group Wilson Phillips), and actress Bijou Phillips.

In 2009, his eldest daughter, Mackenzie, confirmed the rumors that she and her father engaged in a decade-long affair. She also confessed that her now-late father had been the first person to introduce her to drugs, which she struggled with for a large part of her life.

The Wedge Between The Phillips Family

The rumors confirmed by Mackenzie obviously made waves within the Phillips family and beyond. Sadly, John passed away in 2001 so he could not confirm or deny the allegations. Still, the events drove a wedge between Mackenzie and the rest of her family. Mackenzie’s sister Chynna has publicly supported her and said her sister had already notified her of what had happened long before she came forward. However, her other sister, Bijou, does not believe her sister, nor does Bijou’s mother.

John’s bandmate, Denny Doherty, on the other hand, knew the “truth” about the incestual affair. This was publicly acknowledged by Doherty’s daughter after his death, who said her father knew “the awful truth” and was “horrified at what John had done.”

Iggy Pop Really Did Give His Girlfriend’s Dogs Drugs

This rumor should be hard to believe but when you consider how outlandish rockstar Iggy Pop is it almost seems mild. The music legend dated model Bebe Buell throughout the ‘70s. While he was generally a good boyfriend to Buell, he was still a drug addict who was known to be impulsive.

One day Buell came home to find Iggy Pop passed out on the floor next to her two dogs, who were also passed out cold. When he finally woke up he explained to his girlfriend he had popped a few Valium and decided to share with the pups. He said he loves animals and didn’t think it would hurt them.

Bon Jovi Really Was Sued For $400 Million

In 2008, rumors circulated that Jon Bon Jovi was being sued by an angry small-time songwriter for an absolutely assinine amount of money. This turned out to be true with Samuel Bartley Steele claiming that Bon Jovi stole the lyrics and chorus to Steele’s song “(Man I Really) Love This Team” and used them for his own hit “I Love This Town.”

Steele sued Bon Jovi for a whopping $400 billion (more than the music industry is worth, by the way), even though Bon Jovi had more than likely never heard of Steele or the song he wrote. Steele thinks that Bon Jovi somehow received a copy of his song or heard them playing sometime in Boston. Bon Jovi and his management called his bluff.

Sum 41 Was Sued Over Throwing A Hot Dog

Back in 2002, during a local minor league baseball game, audience member Michael Sudore was hit by a thrown hot dog by the band members of Sum 41. The act was secretly taped and they included without permission in the DVD that followed their 2002 album, Does This Look Infected?

Sudore went on to file a suit, seeking damages up to $6 million plus attorneys fees from the band, as well as many of the band’s associates. According to Sudore’s lawyer, his client experienced psychological trauma and adverse effects on his business for his inadvertent association with the punk band.

Nikki Sixx Was Declared Dead At One Point

It has been rumored that at one point during his career, bassist and co-founder of the band Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx, had been pronounced dead. As it turns out, this was a true story and the result of a drug-fueled night in 1987 in which Sixx overdosed on heroin and passed out cold.

Although he was no stranger to heroin overdoses, this was was unlike the others and caused him to turn blue and was eventually declared dead inside of an ambulance. By some miracle, he woke up in the hospital where he promptly escaped and hitched a ride home to do more heroin. Rock and roll.

Iggy Pop Vomited & Put His Member On An Amplifier

Iggy Pop’s antics have landed him on our list multiple times. In August 1970, the Stooges performed at Ungano’s in New York City. At one point, Iggy Pop was about to sing when he just started puking all over the place. Later on in the set, he took out his rather large, naked member and placed it on top of one of the amplifiers. He also got one of Andy Warhol’s companions, Geri Miller, involved in the performance by grabbing her face and dragging her across the floor in her chair. The following year, Miller saw him again at an Electric Circus show and reportedly commented on his vomiting skills. When she asked him to do it again, he puked on her.

Elvis Received An Anti-Drug Badge From Nixon

Photo Credits: Smithsonian Magazine
Photo Credits: Smithsonian Magazine

During an unexpected meeting with former president Richard Nixon, Elvis proclaimed that “I’m on your side” in regards to drug culture and how he “wanted to restore some respect to the flag.” However, this was all an act, and Elvis was definitely not anti-drugs.

He was at the White House attempting to obtain a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge, which he succeeded in doing. His facade had helped to convince Nixon that he was truly worried about drug culture and Nixon ended up getting him a badge for it. Elvis believed that by carrying the federal narcotic badge, he would be able to legally enter any country while wearing guns and carrying any drug he wished.

The Reason Why David Bowie Had Heterochromia

Photo Credits: Getty Images
Photo Credits: Getty Images

David Bowie’s eyes certainly were intriguing to look at. If you’ve never noticed before, it looked almost as if his eyes were two different colors. People believed that this was due to heterochromia, a condition in which a person has two different iris colors. It’s hereditary, harmless, and is more common in cats and dogs than humans.

However, the late music legend did not have heterochromia, rather, his pupils were two different sizes. In 1962, Bowie got into a fight with later lifetime artistic partner George Underwood over a girl and ended up getting punched in the left eye. The brawl scratched Bowie’s eye, paralyzing the muscles that contract the iris.

The Origin Of Marilyn Manson’s Name

Photo Credits: Getty Images
Photo Credits: Getty Images

Marilyn Manson is not, in fact, the heavy metal singer and performer’s given name. He was originally born as Brian Hugh Warner on January 5, 1969, in Canton Ohio. How he came to decide on calling himself and the rest of his band Marilyn Manson was to juxtapose the names of Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson.

He did this because he wanted to emphasize that much like movie stars, serial killers are also given notoriety, put on the front cover of magazines, and glorified by the media, elevating them to the level of American folk heroes.

There Was Blood In The Ink Of The First KISS Comic

In order to get as close to touching the blood of the band as you’re going to get these days, all you have to do is get your hands on the first Super Special KISS comic book published by Marvel in 1977. The rumor that the red ink used in the original comic books are infused with the blood of the band is in fact true.

In 1977, the band flew to Marvel’s printing press in upstate New York and added vials of their own blood in a vat of red ink that was used for the comic. The entire process which included a nurse to draw the blood was witnessed by a fair amount of people and wasn’t a surprising stunt on KISS’ part.

Willie Nelson Ran Into A Fire To Get His Weed

Willie Nelson’s relationship with the devil’s lettuce is no secret, so it’s also not surprising the lengths he is willing to go to keep it safe. In 1969, a few years before Willie Nelson reached stardom, his house caught on fire and a friend called to let him know. Nelson rushed home and ran into the fire in order to save not his belongings, but a pound of weed that he had before the firefighters could find it.

He notes on his actions that “I wasn’t being brave running in the to get my dope…I was trying to keep the firemen from finding it and turning me over to the police.” He managed to save the marijuana and his guitar but hundred of his demo tapes were lost.