Throughout the history of rock and roll one thing has become clear: when you take an unknown musician, turn him into a musical god, and then give him a virtual blank check to engage in debauchery, things can get bizarre. Really bizarre.
So, for your entertainment we’ve gathered five of the most bizarre incidents in rock and roll.
Ozzy Bites the Head Off a Dove
In a 1981 meeting with record executives, Ozzy signed a deal as a solo artist. He intended to release some doves as a gesture of good will. Instead, being severely intoxicated and apparently insane, he grabbed one and bit its head off. As he is wont to do. How's that for good will?
John Lennon Sees a UFO
If you look at the liner notes of John Lennon’s 1974 album Walls and Bridges, you’ll find the phrase “On 23 August 1974 I saw a UFO J. L.” While unwinding on his balcony after a day in the studio, John Lennon claimed to have seen a UFO hovering near his building: “I realized this thing was real and so close that I could almost touch it!” (Cue the music to the Twilight Zone.)
Phil Spector Might Have Killed Someone
In addition to being a brilliant producer and innovator of the “Wall of Sound," Phil Spector is also a crazy person. Seriously, at one point or another he has pulled a gun on The Ramones, John Lennon, Debbie Harry, and Leonard Cohen. Most people greet you with a handshake; Spector prefers a loaded gun.
But in 2003 his antics went from wacky to horrifying when actress Lana Clarkson was found shot to death in Spector's home. Spector reportedly told his driver, “I think I’ve killed someone” and in 2009 was sentenced to nineteen years to life in a California prison.
Keith Richards Snorts His Dad’s Ashes
Keith Richards has since denied this little anecdote (much like Ted Nugent denies how he dodged the draft by going on a multi-day meth and junk food bender to fail the physical). But in a 2007 interview, Keith Richards claimed that after his father’s passing he did a line of his dad’s ashes. He also said, “It went down pretty well." But come on, this is Keith Richards, it would have been more bizarre if he hadn’t snorted his father's ashes. Right?
The Gram Parsons Incident
Gram Parsons told Kaufman in a passing conversation that upon his death he wished to be cremated and have his ashes spread over Cap Rock in Joshua Tree, California. So when Parsons died of an overdose in September 1973, Kaufman did what any good friend would do. He stole Parsons’ corpse from the Los Angeles International Airport, loaded it up in a hearse, and drove it out to Joshua Tree. There, he poured five gallons of gasoline on the casket and set it on fire. Gram got his wish, and Phil only got a $750 fine for stealing a coffin.
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(Elford Alley has had plays produced and read across the United States and his sketch comedy featured in several shows in Chicago. His articles have appeared in cracked.com. He currently resides in Dallas with his wife and daughter.)