These Rock Star Rumors Sound Too Wild To Be True – But They’ve Actually Been Confirmed

These Rock Star Rumors Sound Too Wild To Be True – But They’ve Actually Been Confirmed

The history of rock is packed with bizarre and wild rumors – and Michael Jackson has been at the center of his fair share. But while news coverage continues to debate the star’s outlandish reputation, there’s a certain story about Jackson that has been confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt. And he isn’t the only musical legend with a wacky tale to his name. Yes, rumors have plagued all of these 20 stars – yet those who were there at the time have declared the following gossip as truth.

20. Ozzy Osbourne really did bite the head off a bat

It’s one of the most enduring legends in rock history, but did Ozzy Osbourne really bite the head off a seemingly dead bat while on stage in 1982? Yes, yes he did. But he’s adamant that he didn’t actually mean to. When the bat was thrown on stage by a fan, Ozzy thought it was a rubber toy. He was quickly proved wrong.

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Trip to the ER

Ozzy was taken to the ER and given a shot for rabies – only after the concert had finished, though. These days, he’s made the incident a part of his image. In 2019, for instance, he tweeted a link to his store alongside the words, “Today marks the 37th Anniversary since I bit a head off a f–––ing bat! Celebrate with this commemorative plush with detachable head.” It quickly sold out.

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19. Nikki Sixx really was dead for two minutes

Nikki Sixx was addicted to drugs, especially heroin, and that nearly killed him. In December 1987 he took so much of the stuff that he was allegedly reported as being clinically dead. And in the 2001 book The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band, he remembered, “It felt as if something very gentle was grabbing my head and pulling me upward. Above me, everything was bright white.”

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Sixx undead

When Sixx woke up in the hospital, he was arguably a mess. In 2007’s The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star, he wrote, “I ripped out my tubes and staggered in just my leather pants into the parking lot, where two teenage girls were sitting crying around a candle. They had heard on the radio that I was dead and looked kind of surprised to see me.”

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18. Charles Manson really did write a song for the Beach Boys

The idea of murderer Charles Manson writing lyrics for the Beach Boys seems too mad to be true, but it is. Yes, the 1968 song “Never Learn Not to Love,” originally called “Cease to Exist,” was created by Manson. Before the infamy, you see, he wanted to be a songwriter and musician.

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No credit for Manson

But the Beach Boys altered the song before it was released, and they didn’t give Manson the writing credit. He was apparently livid. The soon-to-be criminal confronted Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson while clutching a bullet and even threatened his children. But Wilson wasn’t having it; he beat Manson to a pulp right there and then.

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17. James Brown really did lead police on a car chase (twice)

James Brown was frequently in trouble with the police, and his drug habit didn’t help matters, either. It was in September 1988, though, when things went absolutely awry. He marched into an insurance office holding a gun, yelling about the staff visiting his restroom. Then the cops turned up, and Brown led them on a six-mile chase. They even shot some of his tires out, too.

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Repeat offender

For that stunt, Brown was sentenced to six years in prison. But that didn’t stop him. He got out of prison in 1991 and, ten years after the initial crime, did almost the exact same thing in 1998. And that time he received a two-year suspended sentence. So when Brown passed away in 2006, he left behind a truly wild legacy.

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16. Freddie Mercury really did have huge, weird parties

In 1978 Mercury and the other members of Queen held a massive fiesta at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans – one that would go down in rock history. Some of the details about it have been disputed, such as the band hiring bald-headed dwarfs to carry cocaine on their heads, but others have been confirmed as true by party-goers.

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Hundreds of thousands

In his 2011 book Is This the Real Life: The Untold Story of Queen, Mark Blake writes, “As Queen arrived, a flock of transvestites, fire-eaters, dancing girls, snake charmers and strippers dressed as nuns, appeared from the wings. The Rolling Stones’ disco hit ‘Miss You’ blared out of the speakers, as various female revelers shed their clothes on the dance floor.” The whole thing reportedly cost at least $200,000, too.

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15. Axl Rose really did have an altercation with David Bowie

Back in 1989, Axl Rose decided that he wanted to make a bondage-themed music video for “It’s So Easy.” He went down to the Cathouse Club in Hollywood, got his girlfriend Erin Everly to wear S&M attire, and started performing sex-charged scenes with her. However, David Bowie was there, and Rose got angry at how much attention he was paying to Everly.

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Truce?

In 2015 Cathouse Club owner Riki Rachtman told the website Yahoo, “Now, when your security guard comes up to you and says, ‘Riki, Axl Rose is chasing David Bowie down the street saying he’s gonna kill him, what should I do?’ Well, how do you answer something like that?” Even so, when Bowie said sorry, the pair started up a friendship.

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14. Jimmy Page really did purchase Aleister Crowley’s former home

Ever since he first achieved fame, rumors spread that guitarist Jimmy Page was a devil worshipper. He never actually denied these rumors, either, perhaps guessing that they added to the public image of Led Zeppelin. And he was obsessed with the occultist Aleister Crowley, even going so far as to purchase his old house.

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Haunted house

In 1975 Page told Rolling Stone magazine, “There were two or three owners before Crowley moved into it. It was also a church that was burned to the ground with the congregation in it. Strange things have happened in that house that had nothing to do with Crowley. The bad vibes were already there. A man was beheaded there, and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down.”

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13. Van Halen really did ask for “no brown M&Ms” in a contract

For years, a peculiar story has circulated about the band Van Halen. They demanded that their concert organizers provide them with a bowl of M&Ms – but that all the brown ones should be taken out. If they then found any that were this color, you see, the concert promoters would have to forfeit the show. It’s a true story, and the band actually had a very good reason for doing this.

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Read the contract

In 2012 David Lee Roth told the magazine Business Insider, “If I came backstage… and I saw brown M&Ms on the catering table, then I guarantee the promoter had not read the contract rider, and we would have to do a serious line check.” So, the M&Ms were in the contract simply to check that the concert staff were doing their jobs properly.

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12. Tony Iommi really did burn Bill Ward (and more)

Tony Iommi had a habit of playing “pranks” on his Black Sabbath bandmate Bill Ward. Some of them were incredibly dangerous, too. Indeed, Iommi confirmed to The Guardian in 2016 that at some point, the other band members had covered Ward in gold paint, which nearly killed him. And the paramedics who handled the case were understandably furious.

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Rolling on fire

What’s more, in a scenario that’s more glaringly dangerous, Iommi once set Ward on fire. He told The Guardian newspaper, “I tipped rubbing alcohol over him. Normally, it just burned off, but this time it soaked into his clothes. So when I lit it, he went up like a bomb. He was rolling on the floor, shouting and screaming.” But he did concede that “[he] felt bloody awful.”

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11. Elvis Presley really took Priscilla to a morgue

Elvis and Priscilla Presley loved each other, but aspects of their relationship were seemingly quite disturbing. You see, in a 1985 piece she penned for People magazine, Priscilla wrote about a time that Elvis took her to a morgue. He promised her the experience would “scare the fire out of [her].” And she said it certainly did just that the first time she went there.

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Life is short

Priscilla wrote that she and Elvis had encountered the body of a baby, and Elvis had told her, “You have to see things like this sometimes. This is the hard, cold fact – reality. When you look at a body, you realize how temporary it all is, how it could end in a matter of minutes.” Elvis himself had a twin who had been stillborn, and he reportedly always felt guilty about it.

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10. Keith Moon was really replaced by an audience member once

During a 1973 gig in Daly City, The Who ran into difficulties. Keith Moon, who had big problems with drug and alcohol abuse, was too intoxicated to play the show. Pete Townshend later claimed he’d taken animal tranquilizers. And when Moon collapsed at the end of the song “Magic Bus,” the band decided to pick a new drummer from the crowd.

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Scot Halpin

A 19-year-old named Scot Halpin was selected, and he did such a good job that he’s still remembered to this day. He even won a “Pick-Up Player of the Year” award from Rolling Stone. Despite his 15 minutes of fame, then, Halpin maintained a private life. But when news of his death hit in 2009, The Who paid tribute to him on their website.

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9. Axl Rose really did throw an almost career-ending tantrum

On March 26, 1986, Guns N’ Roses were supposed to be signing a contract with Geffen Records. But Axl Rose posed a big problem. He’d lost his contact lenses, you see, and believed someone else had stolen them to prevent him from reading the paperwork. Eventually, four hours after the meeting was meant to start, they were found in Rose’s pants.

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Zen lifestyle

After that, Rose was discovered meditating on top of a Whisky a Go Go. It seems he hadn’t completely blown it. In 2015 band manager Vicky Hamilton told U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail, “I think we were about four hours late. Luckily, they had all waited – except David Geffen – but the others had.” And she added, more surprisingly, “Nobody was angry, it was kind of the status quo.”

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8. Steven Tyler really did like to steal things

Steven Tyler was many things in his heyday, but he was also by all accounts a kleptomaniac. According to Joe Perry, writer of the 2014 book Rocks: My Life In And Out Of Aerosmith, Tyler would steal whatever wasn’t bolted down. Once, he even lost the band a concert because he decided to take a slide projector for himself.

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Sneaky thief

In his book, Perry also detailed an incident when Tyler was accused of stealing $2,000 from armed men. He described how things were heating up when “the back door crashed open, and Gary Cabozzi [a friend of the band] came running through the apartment wielding an enormous sword.” The thugs went away, but it later turned out that Tyler really did take the money.

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7. Keith Richards really did ingest his father’s ashes

For years, it was thought that Keith Richards had mixed his dad’s ashes with cocaine and snorted them. He claimed that he had, then he denied it, then his reps denied it and so on. However, in 2015 the aging rock star told the media that he had, in fact, ingested his father’s remains.

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A line of Dad

You see, that year Richards informed GQ magazine that he had intended to spread the ashes around a tree – but things didn’t quite go to plan. He said, “When I pulled the top off of the box, wafts of Dad landed on the table. And my dad knows I’d always liked my cocaine, a snort here and there. So I just… had a line of Dad.” And that, it would seem, is that.

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6. Billy Idol really was removed from a hotel by the Thai military

In 1989 Billy Idol decided to take a break in Thailand. But this was no ordinary holiday. Over a period of three weeks, he and his entourage raced from hotel to hotel, having wild parties and destroying things. Eventually, the rocker reached the Mandarin Oriental and decided to rent the penthouse suite there.

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Tranquilized

Unperturbed by the bill he was racking up, Idol proceeded to destroy those rented rooms as well. As you would imagine, the hotel told him to leave – not least because they needed the suite for a visiting dignitary. And when he wouldn’t, the staff called in the army. They then shot Idol with a tranquilizer and carried him out on a stretcher.

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5. Jimi Hendrix really did set his guitar and hands on fire

Guitarists need their hands, but Jimi Hendrix perhaps didn’t consider this when he planned out a new stunt on stage. At the end of the song “Fire,” you see, he and the band decided that Hendrix would set his guitar alight. So, while touring in Britain, Hendrix covered his instrument in lighter fluid and lit a match. It didn’t go well to say the least.

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Fire spread

The flames reached a height of four feet and got out of control. Hendrix and a man who’d rushed to his aid were both burned, although they were lucky in that they suffered no major injuries. The burned guitar surprisingly survived, too, and in 2008 it was auctioned off, selling for a whopping $450,000 in the end.

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4. KISS really did use their blood as comic book ink

It sounds like an urban legend that would be passed around playgrounds, but yes, there actually are comics out there made with the blood KISS’ band members. Back in 1977 the band and Marvel teamed up to create a KISS comic series, with the gimmick being that actual blood would be mixed into the ink of the first one.

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Unconventional blood donation

The original contract regarding the matter states, “This is to certify that KISS members, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss, have each donated blood which is being collectively mixed with the red ink to be used for the first issue of the Marvel/KISS comics.” The comic sells for hundreds of dollars nowadays.

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3. Ozzy Osbourne really did destroy a room with a shark

It seems it might be a good idea for Ozzy Osbourne to stay away from animals. There’s the infamous bat story, of course. There’s also the time that he might have snorted a line of ants up like cocaine. But they’re topped by an even stranger story about a shark that came to light when Tony Iommi went on a promotional tour for his new memoir in 2011.

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Tony’s confession

To promote the book, Iommi did an interview with the New York Post, and he said, “With drugs always you get bored, so you must do something to one another. Like Ozzy hauling a shark through a window, dismembering it and soaking our room in blood.” But, of course, that story raises so many questions.

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2. Michael Jackson really did have a pet chimp

The story of Michael Jackson’s chimp has passed into legend, but you may be stunned to know that it was actually true. And it was even more bizarre than you might think. The King of Pop bought the monkey known as Bubbles from a research facility and kept him around as a pet. He went on tour with him, too, and at one point they both had a meeting with the mayor of Osaka.

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Bubbles the monkey

For a while, Bubbles lived at the Neverland Ranch, where he apparently slept in the same bedroom as Jackson. But as the years went on, he got bigger and more aggressive, as chimps do, and could no longer live with humans. He ended up at the Florida Center for Great Apes, and he’s still there to this day. Yes, Jackson’s estate even pays for his keep.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

1. David Bowie and Mick Jagger really did sleep together

It’s been long believed that David Bowie, who was a bisexual icon, had at least one night with the Rolling Stones musician Mick Jagger. And according to Bowie’s one-time wife Angie Bowie, that’s true. She revealed all when interviewed by Christopher P. Andersen for his 2012 book Mick: The Wild Life and Mad Genius of Jagger.

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Caught in bed

According to Angie, then, she returned home one day and was told somebody was in her bed. When she went up there, Bowie and Jagger were lying naked together. Angie said she “felt absolutely dead certain that they’d been screwing. It was so obvious, in fact, that [she’d] never even considered the possibility that they hadn’t been.” Neither man ever confirmed it, but perhaps they preferred to keep it private.

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