Behind every artist, there is a little darkness. A little shadow that lurks in the background. Sometimes, that shadow leads to a life of crime. And in the music industry, there are tons of tall tales to tell.
How many rock n roll true crime stories do you know? You could learn a lot from the book Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly, by Jake Brennan. Released in 2019, the book is based on Brennan’s true-crime podcast, and features chapters dedicated to icons including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Sam Cooke, Axl Rose, and more.
Even if you think you’ve heard all the stories, you’ll probably still discover a thing or two when you visit Disgraceland. Here are 4 facts buried deep in the pages…
Someone Special Helped Bail Sid Vicious Out of Riker’s Island
You probably know that Sid Vicious, that punk from The Sex Pistols, was arrested in 1978 for allegedly stabbing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. But did you know that when Sid was sent to Riker’s Island prison, that the lead singer of the biggest band in the world came to his rescue? In the book, Brennan notes that ‘Mick Jagger had been secretly and generously paying for’ the aid of famous lawyer F. Lee Bailey, on Sid’s behalf. But wait, there’s more…
Jerry Lee Lewis’ 4th Wife Died Under Very Suspicious Circumstances
Did The Killer kill his fourth wife, Shawn Michelle Stevens? Back in 1983, Jerry Lee Lewis had a lot of pull where he lived in DeSoto County, Mississippi. So much so that the local cops may have helped him get away with murder, too. In Disgraceland, Brennan states that ‘When the EMTs showed up at Jerry Lee’s house in response to his 911 call, they found Shawn’s body with blood under her fingernails and bruises on her body, and perhaps most suspicious, scrapes on Jerry Lee’s hands’. You’ll have to get the book to read the rest!!
The Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes / David Bowie Connection
After the wild success of the hit song ‘Waterfalls’ in 1994, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes was ready to leave her TLC trio and go solo. According to Brennan, ‘Lisa went on to sign with Suge Knight’s Death Row Records and began talks with David Bowie – of all people – about a collaboration’. But we’ll never know what that could have sounded like, because Lopes was tragically killed in a car accident in Honduras soon after. This may not technically be a ‘true crime fact’, but there are plenty more crazy, sexy, cool stories about Lopes in this book, too.
Gram Parsons’ Friend Stole His Dead Body from LAX
Back in 1973, Phil Kaufman and Gram Parsons made a pact – whoever outlived the other was to make sure there wasn’t a boring, traditional, ‘straight-laced funeral’ to follow. And Phil Kaufman was a good friend. Such a good friend that when Gram overdosed on morphine later that year, Phil and a group of bikers straight up stole Parsons’ remains from a plane hangar at LAX. Against the wishes of Gram’s actual family, Kaufman and his crew drove a hearse out to the desert at Joshua Tree and set Gram’s coffin on fire. Nothing boring or traditional about that!
For even more salacious stories and fun facts, pick up Disgraceland: Musicians Getting Away with Murder and Behaving Very Badly wherever books are sold!
Photo Credit: Loren Cutler
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