The street cred of hip-hop artists like Jay Z, Dr. Dre, and and 50 Cent relies heavily on their thug history, with the intimation that the pimpin’, dealin’, and shootin’ they rap about has some actual basis in reality. However, it seems like rappers are outed as middle-class frauds so often (P Diddy played football at Saint Michael Academy then attended Howard University, Rick Ross worked as a prison guard), that we’ve begun to believe it’s all a load of baloney, that even the most hard-core musicians probably watch Mad Men and surf Pinterest between recording sessions. But as our list this week will show, there are plenty of musicians of all genres who are indeed violent, vicious, and downright nuts enough to kill somebody.
5 Musicians Who Actually Killed People:
1. Vince Neil
For those who claim celebrities can get away with murder, Vince Neil provides a handy case study. On December 8th, 1984, the Motley Crue lead singer loaded his blood-stream with more than twice the legal limit of alcohol and crashed into an oncoming car. His passenger, Finnish drummer Nicholas Dingley, was killed, and the occupants of the other car were sent to intensive care. Though convicted of vehicular manslaughter, Neil served only 15 days in jail. His real punishment was a hefty $2.6 million settlement to the surviving victims.
2. Phil Spector
Spector’s legal case might be most famous for the Pluto-sized afro he sported throughout his courtroom appearances, but no amount of hirsute obfuscation could distract the jury from the facts. On February 2nd, 2003, Spector met 40 year-old actress Lana Clarkson at the House of Blues in Hollywood. Originally a comedienne and model, Clarkson found comic-con fame in the 80s in a series of B-level sci-fi and fantasy films. Spector took Clarkson back to Alhambra mansion, leaving his limo driver outside. An hour later, the driver heard a gunshot and watched Spector walk outside with a gun. He testified that Spector said, “I think I just shot her.” Spector was arrested. His lawyers claimed that Clarkson committed suicide, but testimony from several former disgruntled dates who had been threatened with guns helped seal Spector’s fate. He received 19 years to life.
3. Big Lurch
Big Lurch was hardly world-famous for his music, but he deserves a spot on this list for committing the most straight-up serial killer murder of the bunch. Lurch was a rising star in the Bay Area when his PCP addiction spurred him to commit one of the most vicious and bizarre murders in music history. On April 9th, 2002, without provocation Lurch attacked his female roommate Tynisha Ysais, ripping her body apart like a wild animal. Police didn’t have to launch much of a manhunt – Lurch was apprehended naked in the middle of the street, covered in blood and screaming like a maniac. Medical examiners found chunks of Ysais’ flesh in his stomach. Lurch pleaded insanity, claiming no recollection of the crime, but he was pronounced guilty and sentenced to life without parole.
4. Keith Moon
Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, accidentally ran over his bodyguard on January 4th, 1970. Unlike most of the psychopaths on this list, Moon actually had pretty good reason: he was being chased out of a pub by a group of skinheads. In desperation, he hopped in his Bentley to escape. Unfortunately, his intoxication caused him to slam into his friend, driver, and bodyguard Neil Boland. Though Moon was penalized for driving drunk, he was not charged with Boland’s death.
You may remember Brandy Norwood as Moesha or as the singer of the 1994 hit “Baby”, but an LA family considers her the killer of 38 year-old Awatef Aboudihaj. On December 30th, 2006, Brandy struck Aboudihaj’s Toyota with her Range Rover. The Toyota struck another vehicle, then ran into the center divider of the Sandiego 405 Freeway before hitting yet another car. Initially Brandy was suspected of negligent driving as she rear-ended Aboudihaj at full speed, failing to notice that the cars ahead had slowed nearly to a stop. However, a witness subsequently claimed that Aboudihaj had struck the car in front of her first, slamming on her breaks and causing Brandy to run into the back of her car. Because Aboudihaj had slight traces of marijuana in her system, Brandy was cleared of all charges. That didn’t stop Aboudihaj’s parents from suing Brandy for $50 million and Aboudihaj’s husband for $1.4 million. Brandy paid out an undisclosed amount to all parties, as well as $300,000 to each of Aboudihaj’s children, and a mystery sum to the two other drivers involved in the accident. I don’t know if we can fault Brandy for the accident, but after reading this list, you might want to sign a petition that celebrities be banned from driving anything other than Google’s automatic car.