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10 Wild Rock ‘n’ Roll Urban Legends People Believe

by R. Kurosawa
fact checked by Jamie Frater

It seems like rock ‘n’ roll fans have always wanted to believe the unbelievable, since rock’s lifestyle appears to be wild, cool and out of control, or even out of this world in many cases.

This is perhaps the main reason why rock ‘n’ roll has always been a minefield of myths and urban legends. In this list we will discover the real stories behind some of rock’s craziest rumors, how they became cult and why many of them have persisted to this day.

10White Stripes a big happy family?


Myth: Jack White and Meg White are brother and sister.

Fact: This one was actually started by Jack White, who originally claimed that he and Meg White were siblings during the early days of The White Stripes. The reality is that Jack White and Meg White are not related at all.

They were married for a while, but divorced many years and albums ago. Jack, born Jack Gillis, took Meg’s last name during the marriage and decided to keep it following their split. So next time you hear Meg telling an interviewer, “I love Jack White like a little brother,” don’t fall for it. At this point they just love playing with the media and fans.

9Music group 311 and their “racist” passwords


Myth: 311’s name stands for the KKK because “K” is the eleventh letter of the alphabet.

Fact: This rumor has followed the band since the ’90s. It’s not completely out of the ordinary for hate groups to use numerology or initials as code — 88 is a popular number in the Neo-Nazi community, standing for HH, or “Heil Hitler.” But that’s not the case for 311. The band is not related to hate or racism at all and 311 is generally known as an alternative rock band.

The band’s name originates from the police code for indecent exposure in Omaha, Nebraska, after the original guitarist for the band was arrested for streaking. The vocalist and guitarist of the group, Nick Hexum, has of course denied any connection with this rumor of hidden racism, which he finds ridiculous and unworthy of discussion.

8Is Gene Simmons part animal


Myth: KISS vocalist and bassist Gene Simmons, famous for wagging his tongue as part of his onstage antics, had a cow’s tongue surgically attached to his own.

Fact: Rumors said that Simmons had a cow’s tongue surgically attached onto his own tongue to help him create the character of the “Demon” that he portrayed onstage. Teenagers from the 1970’s were convinced that no human could have a tongue that long without surgical enhancement and, while Simmons does have indeed an abnormally long tongue, there is no truth at all to this myth.

The fact is that ’70s medical technology didn’t extend to successfully attaching animal parts to humans, and a cow’s tongue looks nothing like Simmons’ or any other human’s. This is just another rock ‘n’ roll myth birthed from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

7Lady Gaga: Male or Female?


Myth: Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite.

Fact: Every famous person has, at some point, been the subject of rumors and outright hoaxes. The more mysterious their personal life is to the public, the wilder the rumors. When Lady Gaga burst onto the music scene with “Just Dance” in 2008, her unique style and fascinating persona made her the source of a number of urban legends. One of them suggested that Lady Gaga was born a hermaphrodite or even worse a man.

This rumor is actually an adaptation of a much older tale. The young Jamie Lee Curtis was the subject of widespread speculation that she had been born intersex. It was suggested that her androgynous name was to allow her to choose a gender herself. After a photograph of Lady Gaga seemed to reveal a possible bulge, the rumor switched to the pop sensation.

Her love of gay culture and outrageous public persona add more fuel to the fire. Despite false reports of her issuing a statement confirming she was intersex, the truth emerged. Lady Gaga demonstrated definitively to the press that she was born female. However, the rumor persists to this day.

6Michael Jackson didn’t have many plastic surgeries


Myth: Michael Jackson had only two plastic surgeries during his lifetime.

Fact: The funniest (or saddest) part of this myth is that the dedicated fans of Jackson believe this. Actually they believed anything their idol said. Michael Jackson told Oprah in 1992, and Martin Bashir in 2003, that he only had two plastic surgeries on his nose and a constructive plastic surgery on his scalp after he got burned. Michael may have told a few fibs in his day, but it feels like he underestimated our intelligence a little too much with this one.

If you pay attention to Michael’s nose during his debut album Off the Wall and then check on it again in the Thriller album and so on until his 2001 studio album, Invincible, you will notice that he had a different nose for every single album, which means that he probably kept having surgeries. Also add in the mix his obviously different cheekbones, chin, eyebrows, lips and eye shape and you easily find out that Michael probably forgot to add a zero after the “two” he claimed to have had.

5Marilyn Manson likes “extreme” sports


Myth: Marilyn Manson removed a pair of ribs to be able to perform self-fellatio.

Fact: It might be true that when you mention Marilyn Manson, most people think of the disgusting (yet so legendary!) fictional surgery Manson supposedly underwent to have the lower half of his ribs removed so he can give himself auto-fellatio.

Of course all this is nothing more than a dirty rumor, a myth that some filthy haters of the rocker started. In Marilyn’s defense, the man had a really sexy wife during the time these rumors arose and he didn’t really need to practice such nasty and abnormal habits. And according to most plastic surgeons, removing your lower ribs does not allow you to do that type of act: it only helps you to make your waist appear thinner. Manson vs Myth = 1-0.

4The real Paul McCartney has been dead for years

Sir Paul Mccartney

Myth: McCartney died in an auto accident in 1966 and was replaced by an impersonator.

Fact: The McCartney myth started with (apparently) legitimate wire service reports being fed to radio stations. It all began on October 12, 1969, when Russ Gibb, a DJ for Detroit’s underground station WKNR-FM, received a phone call by a man named “Tom,” who claimed that some Beatles records contained hidden clues suggesting that Paul McCartney had actually died. The fact that it took McCartney a while to deny the rumor added even more fuel to it.

The rumors became so noisy that Paul McCartney himself had to reassure his fans that he was still alive. In an exclusive 1969 interview with Life magazine he stated, paraphrasing Mark Twain, “Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. However, if I was dead, I’m sure I’d be the last to know.” He also offered a number of explanations for the mysterious clues. Thank God, Paul never left us.

3Elvis Presley was a racist


Myth: Elvis stated that “The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes.”

Fact: According to some people, this one sentence that was never verified or witnessed by any credible or existing person, confirms the belief that Elvis was a cynical racist who “stole” everything he knew from the black man. There’s no doubt (and Elvis never denied) that he was heavily influenced by black music and black musicians, but was he a racist? There’s no evidence proving such a thing. If anything, all the evidence points to Elvis’ love for black music.

Of course this ridiculous urban legend should be nothing but comedy material nowadays: If Elvis was racist for being influenced by other artists, then every artist is a thieving racist. Elvis was envied by some for good reason: He did what he did really well and he had the looks and charisma to go with it, something that most other musicians of that era lacked. Elvis was the one who influenced almost every artist of his generation and black (and white) artists copied his style and attitude.

And, as the great Little Richard said, “Elvis was an integrator. Elvis was a blessing. They wouldn’t let black music through. Elvis didn’t steal but he opened the door for black music.”

2Jim Morrison is still alive


Myth: Jim Morrison is alive and someone else’s body is in his grave.

Fact: In spite of extensive and largely irrefutable evidence to the contrary, there are still those who believe that Jim Morrison is alive and is periodically spotted in convenience stores, restaurants and trailer parks all over the world.

Some won’t even believe that Morrison’s body is the one buried in his grave in a Paris cemetery. The official cause of Morrison’s death was listed as a heart attack — believed by many to have been drug related — in 1971.

One conspiracy theorist has even produced a video and he claims that Morrison lives the life of a cowboy in the Pacific Northwest. People who have seen the video say the man in it, bears no resemblance to Morrison and, other than the fact that many of his song lyrics had mystical themes, there is no evidence to suggest that his death was faked. Truth is, there are a few unanswered questions and many coincidences regarding his sudden death, that don’t make much sense. However, the legend that is Jim Morrison will live on forever. Some things are just too good to be forgotten.

1Courtney Love is behind Kurt’s death


Myth: Courtney Love murdered Kurt Cobain.

Fact: No matter how the strongly the hardcore fans disagree, the sad reality is that Kurt probably killed himself. He struggled his entire life with bipolar disorder and drug addiction and he tried to kill himself several times before.

There are many unanswered questions regarding his death, however, that feed the minds of the people who invent such theories and conspiracies. California private investigator Tom Grant maintains that Kurt’s body tested for three times a lethal amount of heroin, suggesting a self-inflected gunshot wound would be impossible. Grant also believes Courtney Love was involved in the murder of Kurt Cobain, yet there is no evidence to support his claim.

Also recent accusations of Courtney’s and Kurt’s daughter that her mother is an unstable mother figure who killed her pets, constantly pops pills and starts fires by smoking in bed, only served to rekindle all the rumors about Courtney murdering Kurt.

fact checked by Jamie Frater