The most legendary rock n’ roll couple ever? Sid Vicious was playing his special brand of two string bass for the Sex Pistols and going around whacking journalists with bicycle chains, drinking himself into a stupor and taking enough speed to fuel the Chinese Olympic Team. Nancy was a professional groupie who went to London chasing after The Heartbreakers, only to meet Sid and allegedly introduce him to heroin. After the Sex Pistols broke up they moved to New York City and moved into a room at the Chelsea Hotel where Sid made an abortive attempt at a solo career and they concentrated on their drug taking. Sid allegedly stabbed Nancy to death in a fight in October 1978, saying in his signed confession, “I stabbed her, but I didn’t mean to kill her. I loved her, but she treated me like shit”. Vicious himself died of an overdose while awaiting trial for her murder. Awwww, sweet, sweet love.
Eric Clapton, George Harrison & Pattie Boyd There’s nothing more rock n’ roll than stealing your best mate’s wife is there? Beatle George Harrison met model Pattie Boyd on the set of A Hard Day’s Night, marrying her shortly afterwards and writing the Beatles ballad Something about her. All was fine and dandy until their marriage failed and she started seeing Ronnie Wood of the Faces who was about to join the Rolling Stones. In the meantime Eric Clapton – George’s best mate, had a massive crush on her but was dating her 17 year old sister Paula. Paula dumped Eric after he wrote Layla and she could blatantly see it was about her sister Pattie, while in the meantime Pattie’s other sister Jenny was dating Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. Mick Jagger unsuccessfully tried to get her in the sack before she finally relented and married Eric, putting up with his alcoholism, heroin addiction and affairs until they finally divorced in 1989. Amazingly, he George and Pattie all remained friends.
Fleetwood Mac Oh boy did Fleetwood Mac know how to have a messy love life; and anyone will tell you not to have two couples in a band. No, they didn’t listen, so the classic lineup of the Mac featured two couples in John & Christine McVie; and Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Throw in half the cocaine in Colombia, unlimited booze and being one of the biggest bands in the world and things will get messy. The 20 million selling Rumours was comprised of songs written to each other about each other’s infidelities. Ouch … you can understand why the lineup kept leaving and rejoining – it’s not much fun having your ex sing the band’s biggest hit about you cheating on him on stage every night is it?
Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne We’ve all see the loveable grump Ozzy on the television being ordered around by wife Sharon on The Osbournes, but once upon a time Ozzy tried to kill her. Sharon met Ozzy when she was 18 and her father Don Arden was the much feared and ruthless manager of Black Sabbath. While Sharon managed to get his solo career on track, and they married in 1982, he kept up his proclivity for drugs and booze. In August 1989 Ozzy returned from a ‘peace festival’ in Moscow, only to attempt to murder Sharon in a haze of booze and drugs. After spending a period in rehab Shaz decided not to press charges and vowed to get her revenge by making him appear in The Osbournes.
ABBA Knowing me, knowing you, and you, and you…. Ah, what did we say about couples playing in bands? Thou shalt not do it! However, Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Agnetha Fältskog (Anna) broke the most important rule in rock n’ roll by being two couples playing in the same band. Both later divorced, funnily enough. Still, it gave them plenty of fuel for writing some of the most perfect, if sappy songs ever committed to tape.
Kurt & Courtney Some couples don’t need a surname and this is one of them. Courtney Love was already an experienced groupie, having grown up in New Zealand and then travelled to Liverpool in the 1980s to work her way through members of Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explode by the time she met Kurt Cobain in 1990. Kurt didn’t initially fall for her advances but she eventually got her man – Kurt couldn’t resist using Nirvana’s first UK TV performance in 1991 to profess his desire for her by romantically announcing: ‘I’d like all of you people in this room to know that Courtney Love, the lead singer of the sensational pop group Hole, is the best fuck in the world. They were united in heroin addiction and married in 1992. As we all know it certainly got her career in Hole going, while Nirvana became the biggest band in the world and Kurt the spokesman for a generation. When Kurt decided to resign from the role and blow his brains out in April 1994, an understandably upset Courtney began her descent into madness – she’s barely stayed out of the headlines for more than a few months at a time.
Jon Moss & Boy George This one was kept under wraps at the time because Boy George was supposedly straight and celibate. (How did anyone fall for that???) Moss was the nominally straight drummer for Culture Club whom the flamboyant front man was infatuated with. Their on-off-on-off again relationship was characterised by tempestuous fights amid the usual tour cabin fever. George recalled a typical incident in his autobiography Take It Like A Man: ‘I grabbed a family sized Coca-Cola bottle and threw it as a warning shot, I didn’t mean to hit Jon but it cracked against his head … after a couple of hours in hospital and an x-ray Jon was given the okay. He returned to the hotel in a surprisingly forgiving mood and, we had great sex and the tour went on as planned’. Not so much puppy love as rabid pit bull terrier love.
John & Yoko Another relationship where the surnames are completely superfluous – John Lennon was a Beatle and could have had anyone he wanted. So of course he fell for an older, divorced, avant garde Japanese artist who many – perhaps unfairly – blame for The Beatles’ breakup. Bringing a singing style to Lennon’s next band venture reminiscent of an animal being unspeakably tortured, Ono managed to get under his skin in a way no-one seemed to equal. Despite Lennon having a long affair with his assistant May Pang – and his behaviour through the 70s starting to equal her wacky ways – they were still devoted to each other as she cradled him on the steps of the Dakota Building, as he died from the gunshot wounds inflicted by Mark Chapman in December 1980.
Tim Armstrong, Brody Dalle & Josh Homme Another ‘threesome’! Quelle surprise! Fitzroy’s most famous punkerella, the former Bree Leslie Pucilowski of Sourpuss fame hooked up with Rancid frontman at a Summersault gig in Melbourne in the 1990s when she was underage. Marrying him and joining him in Los Angeles as soon as she turned 18, the marriage lasted until 2003. The former Distillers front woman managed to bag herself Josh Homme of the Eagles of Death Metal and they married in 2007. The happy couple are often in Australia, she fronting an outfit named Spinnerette, while Homme is currently busy fronting Them Crooked Vultures.
Ike & Tina Turner The ultimate rock and soul duo who fronted the explosive Ike & Tina Revue, also had an explosive off stage relationship, to put it mildly. Ike was one of the original rock n’ roll stars who discovered Angela May Bulloch as a teenager in his role as a producer. Renaming her Tina Turner, their onstage and recorded success led to Ike becoming increasingly jealous and physically abusive off stage towards her as he failed to control her as their fame ballooned. His penchant for booze and drugs only added to their problems and she eventually left him in 1976, going on to become a superstar of the 80s and 90s. In the meantime Ike did time in jail on drugs charges for much of the 80s, dying in 2007 from a cocaine overdose aged 76. What’s love got to do with it indeed…
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