The life of a rock star is ... interesting. We suppose the life of any uber-famous musician or actor is interesting. But there's something about the rocker lifestyle that exudes debauchery. Outrageousness. Pushing limits and boundaries in the name of rock-n-roll (and let's face it, having a damn good time). The rock stars of today are definitely more toned down, and we have social media to thank for that, no doubt. But back in the heyday of rock and roll and hair bands and over-the-top living, rock stars were a breed unto themselves. And their antics inspired many, MANY insane rock star rumors. As it turns out, some of those crazy rumors actually turned out to be true.
You know when you hear a rumor and think, "That can't possibly be true!" Rock star rumors are a lot like that. Except that in a lot of cases, those rumors were pretty factual. It's hard to wrap our brains around some of these outrageous stories. And even harder to read them and not think differently of the people involved. Different time and way of life, maybe. But it's wild to revisit some of these insane rock star rumors and learn that they did, in fact, happen!
The Beach Boys are definitely one of the most iconic all-American bands in history. But there was more to them than their fun-loving, beach-bumming image. Charles Manson (yes, THAT Charles Manson!) has an, uh, interesting connection to the wholesome band. In 1967, after he released from his second prison stint, Manson wanted to try his hand at music. He wrote a song that caught the ear of Dennis Wilson, one of the founding members of the Beach Boys. The song, "Never Learn Not to Love", was recorded by Wilson, who changed hardly any of Manson's original lyrics and music. Manson and Wilson actually became friends, and the cult leader live in Wilson's home for some time!
This is one of those rock star rumors that you wish were false. But unfortunately, this really did happen. Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler once convinced the parents of a 14-year-old girl to since custody of the teen over to him. Why, you might ask? Well, so he could date her! Shockingly, they agreed, and Tyler and Julia Holcomb (again, who was 14 at the time) went on to date for four years. Their relationship ended after Holcomb got pregnant and terminated the pregnancy. The 70's were ... wild.
When you lose a friend or loved one, there are lots of ways to honor their memory and pay your respects. You could dedicate a park bench or plant a tree in their honor. You could get a tattoo to memorialize them forever! Or, you could ... smoke their cremated ashes in a blunt. According to members of Tupac's rap posse The Outlawz, that's exactly how they paid their respects to the fallen rapper. They were inspired by Tupac's own lyrcis in "Black Jesus", which say, "Last wishes [expletive], smoke my ashes".
We've all heard the story, right? Of Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bat during a concert? Well, as unbelievable as it sounds, this one is 100% true. During a show, a fan threw an unconscious bat on stage. Ozzy, thinking it was some kind of prop or part of the show, picked up the bat and chomped right down on the poor thing's head! We suppose we could see how the mistake was made - in all the drug-fueled madness of the show, he probably didn't think to check if he was eating A REAL BAT. Ozzy ended up going to get a rabies shot after the show was over.
Regardless of how you feel about Michael Jackson, it's nearly impossible to not recognize his music. Or rather, his style of music. It's pretty distinctive! So in 1993, when the third installment of the Sonic the Hedgehog video game came out, people heard the music and had some ... questions. One young man took it upon himself to do some investigative work and he studied Jackon's music and the music from Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and found some pretty incredible similarities. It remained a rumor for years, until the composers for the soundtrack confirmed that Jackson wrote the music for the game in 2016.
There are quite a few rock star rumors floating around about The Rolling Stones. After all, they were one of the biggest, most popular bands in the world for a very long time! And they definitely lived hard and fast as rock stars. Unfortunately, that means lines were crossed ... a lot. But this true rumor isn't about Mick Jagger or Ronny Wood or Keith Richards. This one is about lesser-known Bill Wyman. Wyman, who played with the band until 1993, married 18-year-old Mandy Smith in 1989, when he was 52. Weird, but not creepy, right? Well, it's get creepier when you learn that Wyman and Smith had been dating for FIVE YEARS by the time they got married, making Smith ... 13.
Now, you didn't think we could have an entire list of rock star rumors without an entry for the immortal rocker himself Keith Richards, did you?! We imagine there are plenty of rumors floating around about Richards. But this one is verified by the man himself. After his father's death in 2002, Richards mixed some of his cremated remains with cocaine and ... snorted. His dad. Well, his dad's ashes, anyway. Sounds like Richards would get along swimmingly with Tupac's posse.
Drugs and rock and roll seem to go hand in hand. At least they did back in the era of hair bands and rock and roll debauchery. One of the craziest rock star rumors we've ever heard is about Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx. Sixx overdosed on heroin, and was technically dead for two whole minutes before doctors were able to revive him. After he was brought back to life, Sixx ripped the wires and tubes from his body and left the hospital to do more heroin. Crazy as it sounds, this rumor is true, and his experience was the inspiration for the MC song "Kickstart My Heart".
Back in the 50's, Jerry Lew Lewis was on his way to being one of the greatest rock and roll stars in the country. Elvis had just been drafted into the military, so the title was Jerry's for the taking! But he went and shot himself in the foot with a little underage incest. Before embarking on a European tour, Lewis married his 13-year-old first cousin, Myra Gale Brown. Sure, it was a different time back then, but even THAT was frowned upon. His fans deserted him in droves, and it took years for Lewis to shake the stigma of having an underage cousin wife.
Excess was the name of the game back in rock and roll's heyday. Women, drugs, booze - everything was over-the-top. But few rockers came close to John Bonham in terms of taking it too hard and too far. And it cost him his life. On the day he died in 1980, the drummer for Led Zeppelin had the equivalent of 40 shots of vodka in his stomach. 40 shots! Amazingly, he was doing quadruple shots earlier in the day during a rehearsal. How he managed to play the drums at the level he was known for after drinking that much is a mystery. But this rumor? True.
What do you get you take a bat-chomping Ozzy Osbourne with a doctor-defying Nikki Sixx? Well, you get one of the weirdest true rock star rumors we've ever heard. While on tour with Motley Crue, Osbourne apparently got a hankering for a little nose candy. So he found a line of ants and proceeded to snort them with a straw. No word on why he did this, but is there any reason that would make it remotely understandable? We have to say, it's a medical marvel that Ozzy Osbourne is actually even alive today.
So far this list of rock star rumors has true rumors that deal with sex, crime, drugs, and some incredibly questionable decisions. So what, pray tell, could the "Hot for Teacher" boys have gotten up to in order to end up on this list?! Brace yourselves - Van Halen had the nerve to request the removal of the brown M&M's! That's right, when the band performed, they asked venues to make sure their dressing room had M&M's. But not all M&M's - the brown ones had to be removed. They did this for a very specific reason, and it wasn't because they hated the color brown. In their eyes, if they included this admittedly silly request on their rider and it was completed, it meant all their only requests (namely the ones regarding their safety) were also handled.
Gram Parsons wasn't a big name in rock and roll - he was part of The Byrds, and had two critically acclaimed solo albums. His life ended tragically at the age of 26, when he overdosed on heroin on a trip to Joshua Tree. Interestingly, this rumor about what happened to him after he died is more scandalous than anything you'll hear about his life. Apparently, he had a pact with a friend for his ashes to be spread in Joshua Tree. So that friend stole his corpse after he died, coffin and all, and tried to set it on fire. He ditched his plan and fled after being chased by authorities, and Parsons' body was returned to family.
OK, so maybe he had a great work ethic and also was very, very clever about working around a bad music contract! Van Morrison has always been one of the greatest songwriters and musicians of our time. But he really outdid himself in 1967. Stuck in a bad contract with a record company, Van Morrison cemented himself as a songwriting legend when he wrote and recorded 30 songs in the span of a single day. They weren't exactly masterpieces, but the recordings satisfied his contractual obligations, and he was able to get out of the contract and go on to make better music on his terms.
Prince led an interesting life, but his religion was no secret. The devout Jehovah's Witness was always very open about his faith and dedication to his church. But even though he was Prince and was arguably one of the most famous and recognizable musicians in the whole world, that didn't mean he shirked his duties as a Jehovah's Witness. He continued to go door-to-door, trying to spread the word of his savior. He told The New Yorker in 2018, "Sometimes people act surprised, but mostly they're really cool about it."
The Guns N Roses front man has always had a bit of a reputation as a bad boy. Which was sort of par for the course when it came to bands of the 80's! But Axl set himself a part from the crowd when it came time to record "Rocket Queen" on Appetite for Destruction. Axl decided the track needed some pornographic sounds for the break, so naturally he made some. In the studio. With drummer Steve Adler's 19-year-old girlfriend Adriana Smith. Those sex sounds you hear on the song? Those are real, and yes, that is Axl.
In 1974, Iggy Pop admitted himself to the UCLA neuropsychiatric facility to get help with his mental health and addiction. He was in a really dark place, which understandably worried his longtime friend David Bowie. So Bowie did what any friend would do - he tried to smuggle large amounts of drugs into the facility to give to Iggy. Bowie said, "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!" The staff stopped the drug cavalcade, and Bowie eventually helped his friend get his life back on track.
David Bowie's different eyes have long been attributed to a condition called heterochromia, where a person has two different colored irises. But the real story is far more interesting! In 1962, Bowie got into a fight with artistic partner George Underwood (over a girl, of course). He took a punch to the left eye, which damaged the eye and paralyzed the muscles that cause the iris to contract. So his eyes were the same color, but his irises were two different sizes. Explains why you don't notice it in photographs from his childhood and early life.