In the great 80s comedy Night Shift, there is a scene where Michael Keaton is driving down what appears to be the West Side Highway in New York in a brand new Cadillac with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" blaring from the speakers. In a bid to impress a mildly terrified Henry Winkler, Keaton attempts to demonstrate just how dark the window tinting is by driving next to a police car and, among other things, flipping them off and pretending to smoke a joint. As he does this he says, "We got teenage girls, the place is full of broads in here."
Point is, Keaton's character wanted to be a rock star and the closest he could get was pimp (or Love Broker if you prefer). He wanted to be a rock star because it is commonly known that they get the girls and many of those girls are teenagers.
We've all become accustomed to bad behavior by musicians -- it isn't called "sex, drugs and rock and roll" for nothing -- and it often involves young women, some innocent and impressionable, some not so much. Hell, Pamela Des Barres made a living off of the groupie lifestyle. She even refers to herself now as a "groupie guru." Shudder.
Regardless of how it is occasionally praised in songs ("Teen Angel" or "Young Girl" much?) or shrugged off as boys being boys, it's creepy and illegal and we're not talking about Garry Glitter-style pedophilia, just your garden variety fucking of teenagers that happens too often in music and goes almost entirely un-punished. Here are 10 of the more infamous cases... or maybe just the ones who got "caught."
10. Don Johnson
He's only about one-tenth musician at best, but if you were around in the 80s, we bet you danced with some chick to "Heartbeat" at least once. With his celebrity, he managed to land the uber-hot Melanie Griffith. Only problem is that she was 14 at the time. Johnson claimed Griffith was the aggressor in the relationship, something that wouldn't shock us having read The Devil's Candy and watched Something Wild, but still. She was 14, Don!
9. Sonny Bono
The former singer, politician and son of Chaz/Chastidy may be most well known for his relationship -- musically and otherwise -- with Cher. The two were married for 11 years, a time that included a couple of hits and a popular television show. Now, no one thinks there is a man on this earth that tells Cher what to do, but she was 16 when them met (he was 27) and it's still creepy.
8. Ted Nugent
Whatever you may think about the right-wing version of the Motor City Madman, Nuge is pure rock and roll. Unfortunately, that also means a predilection for underage girls, something he has written about in songs and admitted to in interviews. Courtney Love even claims she performed oral sex on him at the age of 12. Yikes. But, no one disputes the fact that he became the guardian of a 17-year-old girl in the 80s to avoid statutory rape charges. He was 30 at the time.
7. Jimmy Page 6. David Bowie
We put these two together for one very disturbingly icky reason: They both nailed Lori Maddox. Maddox (or Lori Lightning as she was known) was a notorious groupie in the early 70s. She reportedly lost her virginity to Bowie at the ripe age of 13 and began a relationship with Page at 14 while he was still involved with Des Barres. Page went so far as to have his manager snatch her up and bring her to his room the first time they hooked up. They carried on a secret affair for a couple years.
5. Chuck Berry
Berry is a cantankerous old sot. Watch Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll if you don't believe us. But Berry is one of the founding fathers of rock music and a living legend, so we let him slide when it comes to attitude. What we don't cotton to is his reported exploits with younger ladies. In 1961, he was arrested for transporting a minor across state lines, in this case a 14-year-old girl. He also allegedly video taped women in the bathroom of a restaurant he bought in 1989. Freaky.
4. Don Henley
Back in 1980, Eagles drummer/singer Don Henley was arrested when police found a drugged, naked 16-year-old girl at his house in Hollywood. Henley got a $2,000 fine and two years probation (seriously?) for the offense. We'd like to have heard what his Texan mama had to say about this at the time. Our guess is it wasn't pleasant.
3. Bill Wyman
The Rolling Stones' sexual appetites are the stuff of legend and Wyman might have led that pack. It has been documented that he slept with more than 1,000 women throughout his life, a number that would make Wilt Chamberlin proud. But, his most controversial affair with with Mandy Smith, an 18-year-old he had been seeing since she was 13 when he was in his 60s. Gross!
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
2. Jerry Lee Lewis
No list of this kind would be complete without Lewis, who famously married his 13-year-old cousin. The scandal essentially ruined his career. Surprisingly, his first cousin (once removed -- that's key) was not his first wife. He said in an interview he was first married at the age of 14 to a 17-year-old.
1. R. Kelly
If there truly were a weird shit-o-meter Will Smith talked about in Men in Black, Kelly's bizarre underage sex romps would push the needle way into the red. In 2002, a video leaked online reportedly showing Kelly engaging in sex with and urinating on an underage girl. Though she later admitted it was consensual, Kelly was arrested on a variety of charges stemming from the incident. It took six years for the case to go to trial and he was acquitted on all counts. In 2003, police found a stash of child porn and a video of Kelly having sex with yet another minor in his home. Charges were thrown out due to procedural issues relating to probable cause.