The expression ‘Sex, Drug s n’ Rock n’ Roll’ didn’t come about for no reason. Put someone onstage with an instrument and they become 500% more sexy – it’s a proven fact. Put them doing the same thing in a famous band and they become 1000% more sexy. It’s a scientifically proven theory. However, when you get rock stars eyeing each other off, it becomes a free for all amongst them. Nothing is more salacious than rock stars cheating on their partners with other rock stars! Join us as we count down our favourite rock n’ roll affairs.
A star singer in The Ronnettes, Spector was caught up in abusive marriage with legendary but crazed record producer Phil Spector. In her autobiography, she revealed that John Lennon tried for ages to get her in to bed in the 1960s but she turned him down. However, when David Bowie came looking for her in the 1970s with his legendary fondness for tall black women, she couldn’t turn down his advances. She also admitted a fling with ‘Little’ Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
Warracknabeal’s favourite son knows all about fire and brimstone and ‘defining moral grounds’, and he put this to good use when having some interesting romantic entanglements. While dates are not clear, he managed to have two sons born to different women in 1991 and had a doomed affair with PJ Harvey in the mid 1990s, which inspired his 1997 album The Boatman’s Call.
One of the more complex intra band relationship entanglements, which is probably worthy of a PhD thesis, fuelled the making of the band’s squillion selling Rumours album. In summary it goes like this. Guitarist Lindsay Buckingham was in a long term relationship with singer Stevie Nicks, but she had an affair with drummer Mick Fleetwood, who was breaking up with his wife. Nicks then dumped him to embark upon an affair with The Eagles’ Don Henley, while Fleetwood then shacked up with her best friend Sara Recor, inspiring Nicks’ song ‘Sara’. Meanwhile, bassist John McVie was married to keyboardist Christine McVie, but they broke up after she had an affair with the band’s lighting director in the lead up to the recording of Rumours.
Bob Dylan was in a long term relationship with Suze Rotolo (pictured with him on the cover of 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan) when he embarked upon an affair with folk singer Joan Baez which precipitated the end of the relationship.
Eric Clapton had a problem. He was desperately in love with a woman, so much so that he composed one of his finest songs ever in tribute to her. Layla was released under his nom de recording Derek And The Dominoes, and was the catalyst for the woman in question to succumb to his feelings for her. The only problem was that the woman in question was his best mate, George Harrison of The Beatles’, wife. Rock n’ roll sees many fluid relationships and not only did George take it like a man and grant his wife a divorce, he remained close friends with Clapton.
As Joy Division began to start touring in Europe following the release of their 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures, Curtis was married to his childhood sweetheart Deborah, but embarked on an affair with a Belgian consular official named Annik Honoré, who also dabbled in a bit of music journalism. Despite unsuccessfully trying to break off the affair and then his wife moving out of their marital home, Curtis struggled in vain against his feelings. It is believed that the band’s signature tune Love Will Tear Us Apart chronicled his failed marriage and was released several weeks after his suicide in May 1980.
This is hardly a classic rock star affair as it does involve trailer park trash after all, but it was only last year that country star Billy Ray Cyrus, father of tween star Miley Cyrus, filed for divorce from his wife Leticia ‘Tish’ Cyrus. The papers his lawyers filed in court stipulated an affair with Poison front man and TV reality show star Brett Michaels as the reason for the split.
Who didn’t David Bowie have an affair with? He and his first wife Angie had an open relationship while he played up the fact that he was bi-sexual, suggesting that the two met when they were ‘fucking the same guy’. Bowie’s renowned sexual appetite wasn’t restricted to the hordes of groupies, female musicians and personal assistants he worked his way through; according to urban legend one of his more impressive bedroom conquests was Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger. Perhaps the wildest tale of all concerns he, Jagger and Iggy Pop having a six-some with three black women of Amazonian height, before they kindly thought to get on the phone and call their mate Lou Reed to come over and join them.
Keith Richards and Mick Jagger have always had a fierce rivalry and were they not entirely co-dependent on each other as the songwriters in one of the greatest bands of all time, they may well have never kept in touch after some of their torrid affairs. Richards ‘stole’ bandmate Brian Jones’ girlfriend Anita Pallenberg off him during a holiday in Spain while Jones was laid up in hospital, before setting up house with her in London. Jagger meanwhile, cut his lunch by having an affair with Pallenberg, although Keith exacted his revenge by having an affair with Jagger’s then girlfriend Marianne Faithfull.
Fidelity has never been Mick Jagger’s strong point. Indeed, many pundits are convinced that he’s never had a faithful relationship. He publicly cheated on all his girlfriends and wives, as well as being rumoured to have enjoyed playing a bit of hide the sausage with several male rock stars. Texan model Jerry Hall knew what she was getting herself in for when she married him in 1990, saying “My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom. I said I'd hire the other two and take care of the bedroom bit.” Alas even she lost her patience with his infidelities when he fathered a child with a Brazilian model, divorcing him in 1999.