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Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

  • Keith Richards on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#10) Keith Richards

    Contrary to popular rumor, the unkillable Rolling Stones guitarist never had his entire blood supply swapped out in Switzerland. While he did have a procedure to clean toxins out of his blood in an effort to kick heroin, the blood replacement story was a joke he told because he got sick of talking about his attempts to clean up. There’s no actual way to “change” a person’s blood, anyway.

  • The Beatles on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#13) The Beatles

    • Band/Musician

    Contrary to popular belief, the Beatles did not calm their nerves with a joint before meeting Queen Elizabeth and accepting their Member of the British Empire accolades. The story was a goof from John Lennon, and wasn't corrected until years later by Paul McCartney. Macca admitted that the band did pop out for a smoke before meeting the Queen, but they were regular old cigarettes.

  • Lou Reed on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#12) Lou Reed

    Lou Reed’s album Berlin is widely hailed as one of the bleakest records of all time. Capping off the horrific tale of a marriage gone wrong is the song “The Kids” which actually features album producer Bob Ezrin’s kids crying and wailing. Legend has it Ezrin and Reed got this effect by telling them their mother was dead and recording the horrifying aftermath.

    In reality though, Ezrin got his kids to cry on tape in a more old fashioned way – recording them refusing to go to bed.

  • Harry Nilsson on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#2) Harry Nilsson

    • Band/Musician

    This one is actually true. Mamas and the Papas singer Mama Cass and The Who drummer Keith Moon did actually die in the same London flat, four years apart. The apartment belonged to American singer Harry Nilsson, who was so spooked by the two deaths that he never went back. Instead, the apartment was bought by The Who lead singer Pete Townshend, to keep it from being exploited as a tourist trap.

  • Van Morrison on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#4) Van Morrison

    • Band/Musician

    Why would someone record three dozen intentionally bad gibberish songs? In 1967, Irish troubadour Van Morrison was stuck in a brutally unfair record deal, and tangled in a dispute with his manager’s widow. Finally, he managed to get his contract bought out by Warner Brothers, but was still bound to the terms of his old deal, which required him to write and record 36 more songs.

    But Morrison got the last laugh. Knocking out over 30 songs in one day, Morrison fulfilled his end of the deal, recording short, out-of-tune, nonsensical tracks about ring worms, Danishes, and overdue royalty checks. These so-called “revenge songs” were useless to his old record company, but they did the trick, freeing Morrison up to start a run of albums that are hardly surpassed in rock greatness.  

  • Phil Collins on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#15) Phil Collins

    • Band/Musician

    Maybe the best known of all rock urban legends is a persistent story that has Phil Collins writing his hit song “In the Air Tonight” after he was on a night drive and witnessed a man drowning, while another man stood on the beach watching the victim go under. The story goes even further, with Collins premiering the song live in concert, having sent tickets to the man who witnessed the drowning. He then ordered a spotlight onto the man, telling the audience that this new song was dedicated to him. The witness, publicly shamed by a rock star, goes home and kills himself.

    The problem is that absolutely none of this happened, nor is it even plausible. How would Collins be able to see any of this without being so close that he couldn’t just save the drowning man? How did he know who the witness was? Why would a man be randomly invited to a Phil Collins concert *by Phil Collins* and think that’s normal?

    Furthermore, the legend itself has a number of different versions, with some saying Collins actually witnessed a rape, or tried to prevent the drowning and couldn’t, or couldn’t find the man and sings the song to a spot-lit empty chair. It’s all nonsense, as Collins himself has confirmed many times.

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There are few things more American than rock 'n' roll. When it comes to rock music and the entire history of rock and roll, these outstanding artists or bands represent some of the best rock bands and hard rock bands of all time. Rock and roll music wouldn't be the same without these legendary rock stars. 

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