Life in the spotlight is not what it is always cracked up to be. With fame and success, comes the drawback of being targeted with numerous rumors scandals, and humiliations in order to ridicule or outrage the musicians who have dedicated their lives to the world of rock and roll. However, rumors are exactly what they are: rumors. Yet some of them amazingly live up to the hype of being regarded as having the possibility of being actually true and convincing. From faking deaths to biting alive bats on stage, the following are the weirdest music myths you won’t even imagine:
15. Robert Johnson Sold His Soul to the Devil
Starting as a street performer and playing in juke joints, Robert Johnson achieved a very minimum amount of success in his lifetime. After the release of his recordings on the LP King of Delta Blues Singers in 1961, the legacy of the late musician cemented him as one of the most incredible blues singers of all time.
His uncanny diversity with his skills in playing guitar, songwriting, and singing made him a victim of the belief that he sold his very soul to the Devil at the crossroads in exchange for his sheer talent. The lyrics of his song “Me and the Devil” and his short life further solidified the myth. Contrary to the belief, Johnson worked for his success and the fast improvement of his skills as there is no alternative to hard work.
14. Marvel’s KISS Comic Used the Band Member’s Blood for Red Ink
The hard rock band KISS is one of the most recognizable acts in the history of music. Their larger-than-life personas further added the boldness to their charisma and their fan base – known as the KISS Army – has continuously expanded over the years. The army has always been startled over the idea that the band donated an amount of their blood to be utilized as red ink for their very own comic books published by Marvel Comics.
The myth not only suits their image but is true to the core. In 1977, Marvel Comics attempted to raise their sales by publishing comic books which featured the band members as superheroes. Not only that, a grand group of public and media witnessed the incident of KISS donating their blood and adding it in red ink.
13. The White Stripes Are Siblings
Ever since the formation of the garage rock band The White Stripes, rumors became consistent that the relationship between the band members Jack and Meg White was not limited to a professional level but exceeded to the point of real-life brother and sister. During several points of their career, the punk rock duo apparently confirmed the rumor occasionally during their interviews.
As soon as the band became mainstream, it became public knowledge that the band members were, in fact, a couple who married in 1996 and divorced in 2000. Jack – born Jack Gillis – took Meg’s last name after their marriage and kept it ever since. Despite the divorce, the duo continued their professional relationship as a music act for more than a decade after their split before the band’s demise in 2011.
Jack explained in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that the idea of being recognized as siblings were executed so the fans could focus on their music instead of their personal relationship.
12. Marilyn Manson Was in The Wonder Years
There is no denying that the resemblance between Josh Saviano – Paul Pfeiffer from The Wonder Years – and Brian Hugh Warner – the anti-christ rockstar also known as Marilyn Manson – is remarkably strong. Ever since the rumor of Saviano growing up to be a controversial stage performer became popular on the internet, both of them assured that they were indeed entirely different people and put the myth to rest.
Graduate from Yale University with a major in Political Sciences, Saviano addressed the popular myth and thought it was cool that people thought of him as a member of a ‘goth band’. As far as Marilyn Manson is concerned, he addressed the rumor in the TRL show Mothers Against Manson and stated that among all the stories revolving around his life, The Wonder Years myth rages him the most.
11. Lady Gaga is a Hermaphrodite
Born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, the young girl from Manhattan catapulted herself from the state of just another musician with the hope of becoming a sensation to superstardom from her 2008 debut album, The Fame. Known for her flamboyant and fashion innovations, Lady Gaga is one of the most successful and best-selling musicians of all time.
As her career elevated to much greater heights, Lady Gaga became a victim of conspiracy theorists who claimed that the musician was actually a hermaphrodite. The rumors spread through the internet to the point of photographs of Lady Gaga being posted which highlighted particular bulges on her crotch area; further implying that the myth might be true.
Over the course of her career, the electro-pop musician has occasionally denied the rumors and sometimes sarcastically remarked that she has both male and female reproductive organs.
10. John Lennon Was Killed by U.S. Government
John Lennon was one of the most successful, talented, compelling, and above all, influential musicians of all time. When the English musician moved to Manhattan, controversy ensued due to his involvement in political activities, peace activism, criticism of the Vietnam War, etc.
In 1980, the life of the great musician came to a halt outside his apartment in New York as he was shot four times in his back by a gunman named Mark David Chapman. Sentenced to 20 years in prison, Chapman has been denied parole on eight different occasions.
Due to Lennon’s influence and his difference of opinions with the American government, conspiracy theories began erupting with the idea that Lennon was in fact killed by the government. His son Sean – a strong believer of the theory – stated in an interview with The New Yorker that his father:
“was dangerous to the government. If he had said, ‘Bomb the White House tomorrow,’ there would have been 10,000 people who would have done it. These pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government. Anybody who thinks that Mark was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his personal interests, is insane. Or very naïve. Or hasn’t thought about it clearly. It was in the best interests of the United States to have my dad killed. Definitely.”
9. Adult Recording in Guns N’ Roses Rocket Queen Was Real
During the peak of their success, American hard rock band Guns N’ Roses was known as the world’s most dangerous band, and that too for a reason. Alcohol consumption, ensuing riots, dominating the charts, drug abuse, and doing anything unpredictable were a part of the band’s notorious image.
One popular myth that revolves around the band is that the prominent adult voices heard in Rocket Queen, the closing song of their debut album Appetite for Destruction, were not artificial but real.
Not only has the myth been confirmed as a fact but there is much more behind it. Band’s frontman Axl Rose brought drummer Steven Adler’s then-girlfriend Adriana Smith to the studio and recorded 30 minutes of her voice during their sexual intercourse.
The audio was then used as background vocals during Slash’s guitar solo. The relationship did not last long after the recording session and Smith once revealed in an interview that Adler “freaked out” after finding her and Axl’s involvement in the song.
8. Hulk Hogan Almost Joined Metallica
Hulk Hogan is considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He is a household name and the most recognizable face of his sport. Due to his expanding charisma, he single-handedly put professional wrestling on the map and has contributed almost all of his life to sports entertainment.
Character aside, it is a known fact that Hogan has a reputation for frequently fabricating, lying, and exaggerating stories about his life. In 2012, rumors began circulating around the legendary rock band Metallica about the chances of Hulk Hogan joining the group as their bass guitarist as the retired wrestler stated in an interview with The Sun,
“I used to be a session musician before I was a wrestler. I played bass guitar. I was big pals with Lars Ulrich and he asked me if I wanted to play bass with Metallica in their early days but it didn’t work out.”
However, drummer Ulrich addressed the rumor on The Howard Stern Show and not only dismissed it as false but also revealed that he has never met nor known Hogan on a personal level. Soon afterward, the wrestling icon explained in an interview with Kerrang! magazine that he actually:
“got a couple of tapes together that Simon Cowell produced”
with him covering his recordings as an audition and sent them to Metallica when they were searching for a bass guitarist but never got any response from them.
7. Keith Richards Snorted his Father’s Ashes
In 2007, Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards became a big subject of limelight and rumors when he revealed in an interview that he mixed some of his father Bert’s ashes with cocaine and snorted him up after his death and cremation. Normally, that would seem highly unlikely for anyone or any musician for that matter to do so but due to the unpredictable and drug abusive life that Richards lives, it was believed by fans and critics alike.
The English rock star would soon explain to 60 Minutes in an interview the actual story as he intended to spread his father’s ashes under an oak tree but as soon as he opened the urn, some of the ashes coasted on a nearby table. Richards said:
“I wouldn’t eat him, but I snorted him. He’s on the table. What was I gonna do? Brush him off?”
6. Gene Simmons has Tongue Transplant from a Cow
It has been 40 years of rock and roll all night and partying every day. When the American hard rock band KISS was formed, each member had to come up with their own persona consisting of face paint and costumes. Bassist Gene Simmons chose the character of the Demon and got a tongue transplant from a cow to get along one in order to suit his overall eccentric look. At least that is what the legend states.
Simmons had no type of surgery for his tongue whatsoever.
As a matter of fact, his real tongue as he states in his autobiography,
“I was oblivious, for the first thirteen years of my life, that I was endowed with a large oral appendage, my super long tongue,”
Simmons wrote in his autobiography.
“It really was longer than everyone else’s, and I was soon to find out that having a long tongue came in handy with the girls.”
5. Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven has Satanic Messages
Established as one of the greatest rock songs of all time, Stairway to Heaven is truly an incredible masterpiece by the English Rock band, Led Zeppelin. Unfortunately, over the years, much of the genius composition of the song has been overshadowed by the claims of backward masking thanks to Paul Crouch Jr., a religious broadcaster. If played reversed, the song symbolizes demonic messages referring to Satan such as “Here’s to my sweet Satan”, “He will give those with him 666,” and “I sing because I live with Satan” To name a few.
Due to the existence of several versions of the alleged messages, the band finally acknowledged the issue of being labeled as a satanic band as lead vocalist Robert Plant addressed the accusations in his interview with Musician magazine in 1983,
“To me it’s very sad, because Stairway to Heaven was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that’s not my idea of making music.”
Furthermore, their label Swan Song Records issued the statement:
“Our turntables only play in one direction—forwards.”
4. Courtney Love Killed Kurt Cobain
The death of the Seattle-based grunge rock band Nirvana’s frontman Kurt Cobain has been a subject of great debate since 1994. Though the death was ruled out as a suicide by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, conspiracy theorists have come up with several other logical and odd alternatives to perceive the entire scenario as murder.
One of the most popular yet outrageous explanations is the idea of Cobain being murdered by his very own wife, fellow musician, and drug abuser Courtney Love.
The couple bonded by their mutual lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and grunge. Despite being wedded and having a daughter, the couple had its difficulties as a functional marriage; leading a large number of fans to believe that Love indeed murdered her husband. Speculations aside, Cobain was a drug addict, heavy smoker, alcoholic, bipolar disorder sufferer, hard to work with, and stated several times about how he was fed up with the world. Cobain shot himself and even left a suicide note. As far as the involvement of Love is concerned in a possible murder, there is simply no evidence.
3. Keith Richards’s Blood Transfusion of Drugs and Alcohol
The lead guitarist of the English rock band Rolling Stones, Keith Richard is the embodiment of not only one of the greatest rock musicians alive today but also one of the most eccentric party animals in the music industry. Notorious for his bad-boy antics, and abundant usage of alcohol, heroin, and other drug substances, it is amazing that he has lived up to 70 years.
Regarding his longevity and activeness, Richards revealed that during his band’s 1973 Pacific Tour in Switzerland, he underwent a blood transfusion containing alcohol and drugs as the vital components of the surgical operation. The story spread like a fire in a forest and people believed it. However, Keith assured everyone that he made up the tale since he was tired of answering questions about it.
2. The Real Paul McCartney Has Been Dead Since 1966
The story about the founder of the Beatles – perhaps the greatest classical pop band of all time – Paul McCartney dying in a car accident in 1966 and being replaced by a lookalike is one rumor that seems to resurface among the fans time and time again. McCartney being barefoot on the cover of the Abbey Road and slight hints in some of his band’s songs have always been considered as clues to support the myth as a reality.
In 1969, McCartney assured the fans that he was, in fact, alive during an interview with Life magazine as he paraphrased Mark Twain by stating, “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated. However, if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.” Unfortunately, not all the fans bought it and the myth is still brought up even today.
1. Ozzy Osbourne Bites a Bat on Stage
The Godfather of heavy metal is no stranger to raising controversies and doing the unthinkable. In 1982, Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne shocked the entire audience by biting an alive bat on stage during his concert at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa.
The bat was thrown at Osbourne by a 17-year-old fan who thought that the animal was dead. Assuming that the bat was a mere plastic toy, the rock and roll veteran confidently picked it up and proceeded to bite it. Just when things could not go any more bizarre, the bat regained conscience and bit him back. Fortunately, Osbourne was treated for rabies soon afterward.
Bonus: Tupac Shakur is Alive
Some fans have a hard time letting go. While the same myth has been attributed to King of Rock and Roll Elvis Presley and Doors frontman Jim Morrison, it is the rapper Tupac Shakur who has been strongly accused of faking his death. Arguably the greatest and the most gifted rapper of all time, Tupac was shot multiple times in a drive-by shooting in 1996 and died six days later at the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada.
What makes the myth of the rapper faking the entire scenario so persistent even more than 15 years after his death is the numerous celebrities such as Suge Knight claiming that he is alive and well, and nearly a thousand people from Haiti calling the police to inform them that they saw Tupac and several convincing theories from die-hard fans.
Feel free to share any music myth that you know with other readers in the comments section below!