Click here if you want to check out part one. The music industry has produced a lot of myths and urban legends so, obviously, we couldn’t just stop at ten.
1. White Stripes Are Brother and Sister
Ok, so we’ve known that this one is not true for a while now, but Jack and Meg White were able to keep up the ruse for years before finally coming clean. For those who don’t know, Jack and Meg were never siblings, they were married. They married in 1996 and divorced before the White Stripes hit it big, but still remained together as a band.
When they got pushed into the spotlight, they decided that it would be better if people thought they were a brother/sister team instead of husband and wife. Jack White believed that this would keep the focus on their music instead of their relationship.
2. 311 Stands for KKK
311 is pronounced three-eleven. Since K is the eleventh letter in the alphabet, people speculated that three elevens could mean three Ks or KKK, therefore the band was actually full of white supremacists.
To be fair, the band used to enjoy sending mixed messages regarding their name. In one interview they claimed they came up with the name using numerology. In another they said that 3:11 is the perfect length for a song. However, once the KKK rumors started spreading, the band came clean with the origins of the name to dispel any notions that they might be affiliated with the white supremacist group. Bassist P-Nut gets the credit for coming up with the name after he saw it on a police ticket for indecent exposure received by the band’s original guitarist.
3. Love Rollercoaster Featured the Scream of a Dying Person
“Love Rollercoaster” is a 1975 funk song by The Ohio Players. It’s a groovy, well-known track, but it has been dogged by an urban legend for 40 years. At one point, you can hear a high-pitched scream on the track and people have speculated that it was the real death wail of somebody being murdered. It wasn’t – it was the voice of singer Billy Beck, but that didn’t prevent countless legends regarding the origin of the scream from popping up.
A lot of versions had a woman dying prior to the recording and, for some reason, her scream was recorded and looped in the track. In one story the woman was murdered and in another she was falling out of an actual rollercoaster. Most bizarre stories involved Ester Cordet, the Playboy Playmate who appeared nude on the band’s album cover, slathered in honey. Her photo shoot was taking place next to the recording studio and the super hot honey caused her to scream in agony. In another version of the story, she threatened to sue and was killed by the band during recording. Of course, the problem with both stories is that Ester Cordet is still alive and not disfigured by boiling honey.
4. Mozart Composed Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” is an incredibly popular tune. The melody was been around for centuries and was widely used in tons of other famous songs including “Baa, baa, black sheep”, “The Alphabet Song”, “What a Wonderful World” and numerous carols. And, according to the myth, all of these came courtesy of a young musical genius named Mozart.
The lyrics came from English poet Jane Taylor. Nobody’s disputing that. However, the melody allegedly comes from a French song called “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman” composed by Mozart. And that’s partially true. Mozart did compose twelve variations on this simple children’s song. He just wasn’t the first to do it. Mozart was one of many composers to create arrangements for this popular song.
5. The Beatles Smoked Weed in Buckingham Palace
The year is 1965 and the Beatles are meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace to receive Member of the British Empire (MBE) awards for their contributions to music. They’re nervous so they decide to relax with a quick joint in one of the many bathrooms of Buckingham Palace. That’s the story – is it true?
It’s unlikely that the story is true, but we can’t rule it out for certain because the Fab Four made different claims. Paul and George said they didn’t. John said they did and Ringo said he couldn’t remember.
6. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” Writer Killed Himself
“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is, without a doubt, one of the happiest, catchiest songs ever recorded. But, in a cruel twist of irony, the man behind the song took his own life due to depression.
There are two kinds of people who believe this myth: the ones who think Bobby McFerrin is dead and the ones who think that someone else wrote the song. They are both wrong. Bobby McFerrin wrote and performed “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and he is very much alive.
7. Charles Manson Auditioned for The Monkees
At first, this urban legend sounds utterly preposterous – what would infamous cult leader Charles Manson be doing auditioning to be in The Monkees? On closer inspection, though, it does make some sense – Manson tried and failed at a career in music before leading his notorious Manson Family.
Despite its plausibility, the story is false for a simple reason – the auditions took place in 1965 and Manson was in jail at the time. Not to mention the fact that he was already 30 while the auditions called for boys aged 17-21. So who started the rumor? Well, there’s a problem here because we have multiple claims. Monkees members Mickey Dolenz and Davy Jones both claimed responsibility. However, the rumor is usually attributed to Los Angeles DJ Rodney Bingenheimer who was present at the auditions.
8. Frank Zappa Wins Gross-Out Contest
Frank Zappa was an odd fellow, to say the least, which is why many people were inclined to believe that he would go to extreme lengths to win an impromptu gross-out contest held while performing on stage.
There are variations on the story – some say the other participant was Alice Cooper while others claim it was just a fan in attendance. In one version, the other participant thought he sealed his victory by defecating on stage but Zappa, fearing a loss more than anything else, upstaged him by grabbing the poop and eating it. In another version, Zappa did both. Regardless of the variation of the story you’ve heard, Zappa has denied all of them on numerous occasions and there is no solid proof or eyewitness testimony that says otherwise.
9. Puff, the Magic Dragon Is about Drugs
It didn’t take long for this rumor to appear after it was released in 1963 by folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. After all, the veiled references seemed to be there: the name of the dragon being Puff; the name of his sidekick being Jackie Paper; it all seemed to add up.
It sounds convincing, but the song writers Leonard Lipton and Peter Yarrow have been vehemently denying these rumors for decades. According to them, there have never been any hidden references in the song to drugs or anything else. “Puff, the Magic Dragon” was, is and always will be about children growing up and losing their innocence.
10. Lauryn Hill Doesn’t Want White People Buying Her Music
Back in 1996, The Fugees were one of the hottest musical acts around. Then, during an MTV interview, Lauryn Hill decided to let us know how she really felt about white people buying her music. The exact quote changes from time to time, but it’s something along the lines of “I would rather have my children starve than have white people buy my albums.”
It definitely never happened. Both Lauryn Hill and MTV rebuffed the rumor and there’s no footage of it ever happening. The story seemed to have been sparked by a caller on the Howard Stern Show. From there, word of mouth spread rapidly and an urban legend was born.