Scandalous behavior is just the way certain rock stars go. Sometimes it's just about the publicity and image, sometimes it's genuine raw emotion. The definition of a scandal has certainly changed in a way over the years, so some of the early rock scandals these days seem like even an ordinary, you could say mundane stunts. Anyhow, join us as we make a rundown of 13 most scandalous rock and metal musicians ever. Of course, make sure to share your favorites in the comments section.
Jerry Lee Lewis
Although some of the proto rock icons' scandals might seem fairly meek these days, some of the things Jerry Lee Lewis
are still bound to shock the public even today. Most notably, Lewis married his 13-year-old cousin Myra Gale Brown
, causing a public uproar and basically bringing his career to a standstill. Although it was his third marriage, Jerry Lee was only 22 at the time. The 78-year-old Killer tied the knot for the seventh time last year.
Most of Pink Floyd
members were hardly a scandalous bunch, but the band's original singer Syd Barrett
definitely made up for the rest of the guys, mostly through heavy substance abuse. Syd is known for taking drugs in a most peculiar manner that allowed acid to directly enter his brain - he would mix it up with hair gel, put it on and just hit the stage as usual. The sweating from performing and stage light would cause the gel to melt, giving acid a clear way to the inside of Barrett's head.
It's one of those scandals that barely make any sense these days, but back in the '60s, John Lennon
's claim that The Beatles
were "more popular than Jesus
" caused a massive uproar. John's initial comment stated: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink.... I don't know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. We're more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
Interestingly enough, the interview was originally published by London Evening Standard
five months before the scandal broke off. The reason behind latency is the fact that the church caught up with the piece once it was published by a certain US teen magazine.
singer Jim Morrison
scored enough arrests and scandals related to drugs, public nudity and riot inciting to earn him an easy spot on the list. There is also an interesting story from 1967 when Morrison was strongly asked to alter the "Light My Fire
" lyrics during an "Ed Sullivan Show
" performance and sing "Girl, we couldn't get much better
" instead of "Girl, we couldn't get much higher.
" Despite reportedly agreeing to make an adjustment, Jim sang the original line nevertheless, causing Mr. Sullivan to fume with anger and ban the group from the show for good.
Taking matters to a new level, Sex Pistols
shook the music world like no one's done before or since. Stories of singer Johnny Rotten
and bassist Sid Vicious
wrecking havoc are legendary, but it's Vicious' murder case that arguably garnered the most infamy. As you might already know, Vicious was charged for stabbing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen
to death, but never made it through the trial as he died of heroin overdose soon after Nancy's death. Some reports claim that his mother was the one that injected him with the lethal drug dose.
Urinating on the Alamo dressed as a woman, hijacking a cab with Bruce Dickinson
, thrashing a room with a dead shark, urinating himself on numerous occasions, accidentally peeing on his fans from a balcony, biting off the bat's head... Seriously, what more do you need, Ozzy
is the Mr. Scandalous of rock 'n' roll.
Back in the '70s, shock rock father Alice Cooper
elevated the gory aspect of rock to a new level through the use of blood, guillotines and similar props during live performances. It might seem outdated these days, as Alice himself admits, but such efforts helped shape rock today as we know it. In the singer's own words, it was all about the word of mouth in those days.
Back in the '90s, Marilyn Manson
's stage antics and image caused more controversy than you could imagine. Apart from dressing up as pope or being accused for causing Columbine High School massacre and the death of 12 students, Manson is surrounded with rumors galore, some of which are so ridiculous it's hard to believe that anyone thought for a second they were anywhere close to legit.
These include removing the two of his lower ribs in order to orally pleasure himself and even using those ribs as drumsticks during live shows, ripping a fetus out of a pregnant woman onstage, drinking semen of his bandmates from a bucket, having sex with Trent Reznor
, a chicken, his grandfather, a pig and just about anything that walks, killing puppies, chopping off hamster legs and much, much more.
Rage Against the Machine
Back in the day, RATM
did some pretty audacious things to get their message spread. You probably know of the "Sleep Now in the Fire
" video and the fact that the doors of New York Stock Exchange got closed so the band can get arrested, or bassist Tim Commerford
's fake palm tree climb after losing the 2000's MTV Best Rock Video award to Limp Bizkit
, but the band is known for a vast array of other controversial actions, including the burning of the American flag during their live performances.
Known for his disturbing actions, Burzum
's Varg Vikernes
garnered massive infamy after murdering Mayhem
and serving the maximum prison sentence in Norway. Apart from stabbing the guitarist 23 times, Varg is also known for church burning, as well as the recent arrest on terrorism charges in France.
He had his fair share of drug abuse and troublesome behavior in the past, but it would seem that recent online dramas and controversial statements earned Dave Mustaine
the most notoriety. As always, the internet has its way of blowing things out or proportion, but you can't deny that it managed to get Dave an entirely different reputation. However, it's not just the interwebs where Mustaine spreads scandals, as he is known for lashing out at crowd members, especially the hecklers.
The infamous concert tardiness, fighting fans, the Tommy Hilfiger
incident and a vast array of scandals earn Guns N' Roses
singer Axl Rose
an easy spot on the list. But it's not just Axl's behavior that sparked scandalous affairs for the band, sometimes it was the actual lyrics that did the trick.
For example, the song "One in a Million
" earned band massive homophobia accusations for the use of the word "fa--ots
," even leading to the group being excluded from an aids benefit for the Gay Men's Health Crisis. Responding to the accusations, Axl said that he was "pro-heterosexual
" and didn't "understand homosexuals
," stressing that a man once tried to rape him.
We'll end it with the one and only Oderus Urungus
. Perfecting the art of trolling and occasionally spilling words of wisdom through his overblown rants, Oderus still managed to garner a great deal of public attention, good enough for the spot on our list.
Know of any other scandalous rock stars? Share their stories in the comments.