Top 5 Urban Music Legends

For generations the music industry has been chalk full of some pretty crazy urban legends. Stories have been passed around about music's most popular artists that sound preposterous or insanely far-fetched, yet are still believed and spread around as the truth. Some of them even are.  Here is our latest installment of Urban Legends Debunked. 

1. James Brown’s wife Adrienne once tried to beat traffic charges by claiming she was entitled to diplomatic immunity for being married to the "Ambassador of Soul."


Throughout his career, James Brown acquired numerous nicknames during his more than fifty years in the music business:  the Godfather of Soul, the Ambassador of Soul and the Hardest Working Man in Show Business. In 1987, It was his wife, however, who made the most creative use of one of these sobriquets, when it was offered in her defense in an attempt to beat misdemeanor traffic charges.  James Brown’s wife, Adrienne, was pulled over by police and charged with speeding, driving under the influence, and criminal trespass.  Her lawyer cited a U.S. congressman who’d described Brown as “our number one ambassador” at a town celebration. Mrs. Brown’s lawyer claimed that this gave the “Ambassador of Soul” diplomatic immunity and that this immunity extended to his wife; but later withdrew his motion and lost the case.


2.  lynyrd skynyrd and the crossroads curse


"Crossroads", written by Robert Johnson is one of the best-known examples of the Delta Blues.  But in a strange twist of fate, some would say that the song is cursed.  Often referred to as the Crossroads Curse, popular musicians who have performed Johnson’s song have been the target of intense professional and personal misfortunes.  Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers Band have all released their own versions of Crossroads and all have experienced tragedy.  In late 1976, Lynard Skynyrd had decided to record a series of concerts at the Fox Theater in Atlanta and one of the songs featured in the set list was Skynyrd's rendition of Crossroads.  But on October 20th, 1977, as the band traveled from Greenville, SC to their next show on the campus of L.S.U. on what would be their last flight on their aging Convair 240 plane.  They were planning to purchase a Lear Jet for themselves and a new bus for their roadies. Regrettably though, this decision came too late.  The plane crashed down in a swamp near Gillsburg, MS. 


3.  The line "Tin roof rusted" in the B-52’s song Love Shack is a Southern slang term for pregnancy.


According to the online source, “In the last quarter of the song, the music stops as band member Fred Schneider appears to be shouting, "You're what?," (he is actually saying "Your what?," which would lead to a question about something owned instead of something wrong), whereupon band member Cindy Wilson replies with "tin roof . . . rusted!" The song then starts up again.  What was amusing, or rather frustrating, for many listeners at the time, was the fact that they were unable to figure out what Wilson had said.  However, the urban legend arose mainly due to this, because once people did figure out the line, they felt it had to mean something important in the song. Certainly, it had to mean something for the song to break down and for Schneider to say, "You're what?" with such urgency.”

4.  Berry Oakley's Pact with God


On October 29, 1970 Duane Allman was rushed to a Nashville hospital suffering from a drug overdose.  Allman’s vital signs were not promising and Emergency Room Doctors did not give much hope for Duane’s recovery.  According to an interview with band member Butch Trucks, "it was then that Berry Oakley entered into a personal bargain with God.  Oakley pleaded with God to give Duane just one more year of life, one more year to play his music and live his dream."  Amazingly, and seemingly against all medical odds, Allman survived his OD that night in that Nashville hospital.  But there is an old fable that states “Be careful what you wish for.  You may just get what you asked for.”  Tragically, and exactly one year to the exact date of Allman’s overdose and Oakley’s pact with God, Duane Allman was killed on October 29, 1971 in a motorcycle accident at the intersection of Bartlett Avenue and Hillcrest Avenue in Macon.

5.  Otis Redding Dies Before He Can Finish "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay"


For a musician who was celebrated for his soulful verve on songs like "Respect" and "Satisfaction," Otis Redding's biggest claim to fame is "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," a gentle song about contemplation and reflection.  Redding wrote the first verse of the song, under the abbreviated title "Dock of the Bay," on a houseboat at Waldo Point in Sausalito, California a short time after his appearance at The Monterey pop festival.  When Otis recorded "Dock of the Bay", he and Cropper didn't have a last verse written, so he whistled it. Redding intended on returning to the Memphis studio to fill in the verse after performing in Madison, Wisconsin, but he died in a plane crash before he had the chance. When Cropper produced the song, he left the whistling in, and it posthumously became a hit.


check out our previous installments of gateway macon's greatest urban myths, legends, and curses