When is the #MeToo Tsunami Going to Hit the Music Industry?

Imagine, for a moment, that awareness of sexual misdeeds and harassment had hit the music industry in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Who would have been swept away? Consider:

1. Jimmy Page’s Thing for Underage Girls

The Zep guitarist openly dated Lori Maddox, a 14-year-old who later said she was “kidnapped” by a member of the Led Zeppelin staff so Page could be with her.

2. But David Bowie Got There First

According to Maddox, she lost her virginity to Bowie when she was 14 in a hotel room bathroom.

3. And Then It Was on to Mick Jagger

Maddox says it was all consensual, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that she was still underage (17) by the time she got to Jagger. And it doesn’t excuse Jagger, of course.

4. Don Henley and the Underage Hooker

From the Daily Beast:

For instance, did you know that in 1980, the rocker Don Henley was convicted of “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor,” given a $2,500 fine and put on probation? And that the police officer who handled the arrest was disgraced years later? How did the media handle this? One need only look at GQ’s 1991 interview that falls head over heels complimenting Henley on his noble handling of the situation:

“Around 9 a.m., on November 21, 1980, Henley called the L.A. Fire Department, seeking medical aid for someone at his home who appeared to be having a seizure. That someone was a prostitute, who turned out to be suffering from after-effects of Quaaludes and cocaine and who also turned out to be 16 years old. Hours later that day, police came to Henley’s home and arrested him, after reportedly finding quantities of cocaine and mari­juana in the house. This is Henley’s least favorite topic, but when asked about it, he is admirably straightforward… ‘I took complete blame for everything. I was stupid; I could have flushed ev­erything down the toilet. I didn’t want this girl dying in my house; I wanted to get her medical at­tention. I did what I thought was best, and I paid the price.’”

Yes, so admirably straightforward, indeed.

In interviews since, Henley refuses to discuss the topic at all.

5. Ted Nugent’s “Jailbait”

Check out these lyrics: 

Well, I don’t care if you’re just 13

You look too good to be true 

I just know that you’re probably clean.” 

“It’s quite all right, I asked your mama

Wait a minute, officer

Don’t put those handcuffs on me

Put them on her, and I’ll share her with you.

Misogynist yes, but they’re just words, right? Not really. In 1978, Nugent, who was 20 at the time, wanted to marry 17-year-old Pele Massa. That was legally impossible, so he arranged with her parents to become her legal guardian so he…well, you know. They stayed together for nine years.

6. Bill Wyman’s 13-Year-Old Girlfriend

When Wyman was in his 30s, the Rolling Stone bass player met Mandy Smith, a precocious 13-year-old who entered into a sexual relationship with a year. They got married in 1989 when she was 18 and stayed together for two years.

If you really want to make your head explode, try to sort out all the familial relationships with this twist: After Wyman married Mandy, Wyman’s son ended up marrying Mandy’s mother. That made Wyman the stepson of his own son and Mandy the step-daughter of Wyman’s son. Mandy was not only her mother’s daughter but her in-law. And…oh, forget it.

Who else? Steven Tyler. Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis. R Kelly. The list goes on.

It’s interesting to note that when Duran Duran was at their peak, each day on tour would begin with a note distributed to bandmembers detailing the city they were in, the name of the venue and the legal age of consent in that territory to “avoid any misunderstandings.”

One more groupie story: When Def Leppard toured in the 80s, roadies were assigned to give out special backstage passes to willing groupies. Those passes had three symbols on it. A human eye (I), a bird (a swallow) and a sailer (a seaman). Give it a moment.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “When is the #MeToo Tsunami Going to Hit the Music Industry?

  • December 5, 2017 at 10:57 am

    God fucking damn it Depeche Mode (Little 15)


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