There have been urban legends or folklore about artists in the music industry. Some of these legends have stood the test of time and still surface and people really believe them. But I bet you would be surprised at which ones are exactly that, Urban Legends. I will discuss some these legends and explore the real story behind them.
The rumor I remember the most is about Rod Stewart whose music I personally have always adored. In the mid-1970s, Rod Stewart was performing onstage at Madison Square Garden when he suddenly collapsed and had to be rushed to the hospital. Speculation about a possible drug overdose quickly arose, but when doctors pumped the rocker’s stomach, they found not a pint, not a quart, but a gallon of semen! The urban legend quickly took on a life of its own, as the deposit was attributed to everyone from Mick Jagger and David Bowie to an entire soccer team.
The rumor plagues Stewart to this day. “That story spread all around the world!” he told Rolling Stone in 1991. “It was so laughable, it never really hurt me. What could it have been? A fleet of sailors or a football team? Stewart has bed many women and has a baby on the way now and he is 60 yrs old.
Another legend that still has strength today is about Elvis. Fans still report seeing Elvis alive. Fans believe Elvis didn’t die in 1977 but used that as a cover to go into seclusion and get out of the public spotlight. I have to admit I fell for a truly great April Fool’s joke a few years back. It was March 31st I don’t remember the year just it was around 12 years ago. I love to listen to oldies music so my radio was tuned to a oldies station and my husband and I were out riding around. It came on the radio that Elvis was alive and was going to be on the radio to talk to all his fans and explain why he faked his death. The time he was going to be on was at midnight. I didn’t even realize midnight would be April Fools day. This started at around 8pm.
We stopped to visit my husband’s sister and I told them all about Elvis being alive. My husband backed me up that yes the radio said it so it had to be true. We stayed there and turned on the radio waiting for the moment the king would make his radio entrance back into the world. Then at midnight I felt like such a fool when the radio announced it was April Fools Day and April Fools to all Elvis fans. I felt silly and disappointed it wasn’t true but I imagine lots of Elvis fans were totally ticked off at this joke.
This joke was pulled off so easy because in spite of extensive and largely irrefutable evidence to the contrary, there are still those who believe that Elvis is alive and is periodically spotted in convenience stores, restaurants and trailer parks all over the world.
Rolling Stones also has a rumor about Keith Richards. Prior to a European tour in 1973, the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards went to Switzerland to have his blood removed and replaced with a supply that was devoid of drugs and alcohol. The truth is he did undergo a procedure that removes impurities from the blood, but it was a far cry from having his entire blood supply replaced. Richards eventually admitted that he got tired of answering questions about the procedure and made up the story himself.
The Group Kiss’s vocalist gene Simmons is well known for his extremely large tongue. He is famous for wagging his considerable tongue as part of his onstage antics, had a cow’s tongue surgically attached to his own. The fact is that in the ’70s medical technology didn’t know how to successfully attach a animal part to humans, and a cow’s tongue looks nothing like Simmons’ or any other human’s I have seen.
The last rumor on my list today is that of Ozzy Osbourne biting the heads off bats. Since he is well known for his trailblazing efforts in achieving a high shock value with his live concert mischief, this myth isn’t too hard to swallow. The fact is Ozzy did bite a live bat onstage – once, and by accident. A fan threw it on stage and he thought it was made of rubber. The fact that the bat bit back, requiring Osbourne to undergo rabies treatments, kept him from ever attempting it on purpose. Although Ozzy did gross out Epic Records by biting the head off of doves.
As you can see Urban Legends of Rock Music can start and last for many years. Most though have very little truth to them.