Rock and roll is not an arena known for its agreements among fans. Is Elvis really dead? Is Paul really alive? Did Kurt really kill himself? Of course, the answer to all these questions is yes, unless you’re that guy. But rock and roll history is full of more bonafide mysteries and myths – here are a few that still have some people swapping theories.
Led Zeppelin get weird with fish
In ’69, the Zep stayed at the Edgewater Inn while playing the Seattle Pop Festival. The hotel is built on a pier over Elliott Bay, so guests in water-view rooms could fish right out of their windows. Legend has it that Bonzo and friends tied a groupie to the bed and pleasured her two most southern orifices with a mudshark they’d pulled right out the Bay. Road manager Richard Cole remembers it differently. Cole says that the groupie was a redhead that asked to be tied up. Someone had just reeled in a little red snapper, and he couldn’t resist the joke: “let’s see how your red snapper likes this red snapper.” To this day, there are a number of versions of just what kind of fish ended up in which hole. According to Cole, there’s a video out there somewhere, though it’s never turned up.
Aliens take Jim Sullivan…
Jim Sullivan never got the credit he deserved. To make one last kick at the rock-and-roll can, he left his family in L.A. for Nashville in 1975. Passing through Santa Rosa, New Mexico, Sullivan checked into a motel, got some booze in town, and then disappeared completely. His VW bug was found 20 miles down the road packed with all of his belongings, guitar and wallet included. The craziest part is that Jim said this would happen. On his 1969 debut U.F.O., Sullivan sung about long highway trips, leaving his family behind, and finally, being abducted by aliens in the desert. Maybe Sullivan could see the future or maybe those aliens just called his bluff.
…and they left us Sammy Hagar?
Van Halen’s second best frontman Sammy Hagar insists his mind was highjacked by extraterrestrials. One night, before the days of Montrose and Van Halen, Hagar had fallen asleep at his home in Fontana, California, but awoke in a space craft hovering above the Lytle Creek forest, 12 miles away. In the ship, Sammy was experimented on by two “intelligent creatures,” who tapped into his thoughts by some wireless device. Hagar says he would have written more about it in his memoir Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock — in fact, he says he could write a whole book about aliens — but co-writer Joel Selvin reminded him that’s kinda batshit crazy.
The Vanishing of Richey Edwards
Guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards of the Welsh alt-rock group Manic Street Preachers disappeared on February 1, 1995. Over the two weeks prior, Edwards slowly pulled £2,800 from his bank. His car was found abandoned but lived-in at the Severn View service station near the Severn bridge — a renowned suicide spot — but no body was ever recovered. While the Edwards family closed the missing person file in 2008, fans have reported Richey sightings as far as bars in the Canary Islands and a hippie market in Goa, India.
Bobby Fuller…and the law that won
Just months after “I Fought the Law” made its climb into the top 10, Bobby Fuller was found dead in his car outside of his Hollywood Apartment. There was an uncovered gas can in the cabin, his clothes were drenched in gasoline, and the windows were rolled up. The L.A. County Coroner’s Office said he died by asphyxiation, listing “suicide” as the mode of death, but shortly after, it was ruled an accident. Of course, the suspicious death of an incredibly talented and young musician had people talking. Some say that Del-Fi, one of Fuller’s record companies, had bought considerable life insurance against Fuller. There are claims that Fuller died in a fall at an acid party earlier in the evening, and the gasoline was a cover-up by partygoers. Another popular theory is that Fuller’s death was a mob hit over a girl. Charles Manson has even been attached to Bobby’s death.
Brian Jones’ last swim
Within three weeks of leaving the Rolling Stones, the band he helped start, 27-year-old Brian Jones was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool at Cotchford Farm. The coroner called it a “death by misadventure,” though toxicology reports didn’t show much in the way of booze or drugs. A seasoned degenerate like Jones could more than handle a midnight swim on the three-and-a-half pints of beer that the inquest found in his blood. While rock lore tends to paint Jones as a casualty of the excesses of rock and roll — he is, after all, one of the first inductees into the 27 club — there’s something fishy about his demise. There’s a growing case that Jones was murdered by Frank Thorogood, a home builder whom Jones owed money to and the last person to see him alive. On his deathbed, Thorogood supposedly confessed to killing Brian, but he died before an official confession could be recorded. Party fact: Jones was buried 10-feet deep so that grave robbers couldn’t easily exhume a trophy.
Sid Vicious haunts Heathrow
Where is Sid Vicious buried? Great question. Sid wanted to be laid to rest beside his Nancy in Philadelphia, but his ashes didn’t fully make it there. According to Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm McLaren, Sid’s mom dropped her son’s urn in the Heathrow arrivals lounge and a bunch of Sid dust got sucked up into the ventilation system and shot all over the airport — an end that I think Sid himself would have got a kick outta.