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  • Guns and Roses and the Drummer's Lady Friend on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#8) Guns and Roses and the Drummer's Lady Friend

    While recording their smash hit Appetite for Destruction, Guns singer Axl Rose brought drummer Steven Adler’s girlfriend, Adriana Smith, to the studio, and the duo engaged in activity that could euphemistically be described as “not drumming.” It was captured on tape during an incredibly awkward recording session and included on the track “Rocket Queen.” Numerous people saw it, and nobody involved with the incident ever did anything but confirm it. Smith later came to regret the incident before coming to grips with her weird claim to fame. 

  • 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.

  • Roy Orbison on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#3) Roy Orbison

    • Band/Musician

    The “Crying” singer's normal attire of black clothes and his stationary concerts gave him the aura of a sad, dark man. And the huge dark glasses he wore both on and off stage led to something else: a persistent rumor that the singer was either born blind or blinded from an accident at some point in his life.

    The truth is that Orbison was never blind, though he did wear thick glasses to correct his vision. As the story goes, he once accidentally left them on a plane, and the only other pair he had were prescription sunglasses, so he wore those on stage. The next day he left for Europe to open for the Beatles, and didn’t have time to find his old glasses or get new ones made, so he just kept the sunglasses on. That tour received massive press coverage, and by the time he returned home, he was “the singer in the dark glasses.” So he made them part of his persona.

  • Aerosmith on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#6) Aerosmith

    • Band/Musician

    Various stories have swirled about Aerosmith almost buying the plane that later crashed and nearly killed everyone in Lynyrd Skynyrd. What actually happened is a lot less mystical, and is based on good observation and strong human resources. Right before the Skynyrd crash, Aerosmith’s assistant chief of flight operations (yes, that’s a job) checked out the Convair CV-300 that Skynyrd later chartered and deemed it unworthy of the Boston band, either because he saw the crew drinking or the engine caught on fire in his presence. Unfortunately, for Skynyrd, they had no such luck, and spent years trying to pick up the pieces from the incident. Note to future rock stars: your assistant chief of flight operations might save your life one day, so check references.

  • Michael Jackson and Prince Duet - Or Do They? on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#14) Michael Jackson and Prince Duet - Or Do They?

    Back in the mid-80s (shortly after Phil Collins didn’t witness someone drowning), Michael Jackson and Prince were at the top of their game and engaged in a fierce but mostly friendly rivalry. And while rumors swirled of the two disliking each other, they were actually friends. In fact, Jackson originally penned the 1987 smash hit “Bad” as a duet to perform with Prince. It never happened, though, and various reasons came out as to why. Some speculate Prince thought the song would be a hit on its own, which it was. Others that Prince had qualms about the lyrics, specifically refusing to have “Your butt is mine” sung at him. Whatever the case, the version on the album is just Jackson singing. However, we can’t entirely rule out that they might have recorded a demo given the vast amounts of unreleased material both artists have in their vaults.

  • The 27 Club - Not Actually a Thing on Random Most Infamous Rock and Roll Urban Legends

    (#9) The 27 Club - Not Actually a Thing

    Rock’s most exclusive club isn’t on the Sunset Strip, it’s made up of musicians who died at age 27. Foremost are Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, who all succumbed to drugs and/or alcohol, around the same time and all at the same age. This coincidence lead to the media dreaming up a mythical “27 Club” where rock stars of that age go when their time is up. Later, Kurt Cobain would take his own life at the same age, and this, combined with his mother's grief at him “joining that stupid club,” revived the mythos of the 27 Club.

    While it’s true that many rock legends, including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain,  Amy Winehouse, and members of the Stooges and Badfinger all died at the same age, it denotes the occupational hazard of being a musician, not a curse. These rockers didn’t die because they were 27, they died because of drugs and alcohol. Some died in car crashes, showing the risk of spending months at a time on the road. A few were murdered. Regardless, their age had nothing to do with their death, other than that’s the age they were at when they died. Moreover, while there is a large number of musicians who died at 27, there’s a much larger number who didn’t.

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About This Tool

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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