Even if hard partying and pharmaceuticals aren’t your cup of tea, it’s impossible to deny how intriguing rock n’ roll couples are. Ever since the inception of “sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll,” these couple have captivated audiences with their stories. From one of the world’s greatest love triangles to the two lovers who allegedly broke up The Beatles, here are some of my favorite couples that rocked………
“You’re just a memory of a love that used to be”
Rolling with The Stones for all of the late 60′s, Italian actress and model Anita Pallenberg seemed to the apple of each of the band member’s eye. She began dating guitarist Brian Jones in 1965 after they met while see was on a modeling gig. A tumultuous relationship from the very start, by 1967 she had her sights set for another Stones guitarist, Keith Richards. On holiday in Morocco the two got together and Pallenberg was with Richards from then on. The couple would go on to have three children, the first being their son Marlon in 1969. Together till 1980, Pallenberg and Richards spent many pinnacle years together, particularly at the Villa Nellcôte, in the South of France in the Spring and Summer of 1971 where the Stones wrote and recorded the majority of “Exile on Mainstreet”.
Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
Because your mine, I walk the line
These two country crooners shared a romance that has already gone down in history, despite prior marriages on both ends. Amidst the beginning of their musically-infused romance in 1967, Johnny and June won a Grammy award together Best Country & Western Performance, Duet, Trio Or Group (vocal or instrumental) category for the song “Jackson”. A year later in 1968, Johnny Cash proposed to Carter during a live performance at London Arena in London, Ontario and they married on March 1, 1968. In years to come they would continue to make award-winning country music but perhaps their greatest composition of all was their son John Carter Cash. The offspring of Johnny and June Carter Cash, not so surprisingly ended up with a successful career as a songwriter and producer. After 35 beautiful years of marriage to Johnny, June experienced complications during a heart surgery and passed away in Nashville, Tennessee on May 15, 2003. At Carter’s funeral, her stepdaughter, Rosanne Cash stated that “if being a wife were a corporation, June would have been a CEO. It was her most treasured role.” Johnny passed away less than four months later on September 12, 2003, perhaps, to finally reunite with his beloved songstress in heaven!
Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed
Satellite of love
Although it wasn’t until 2008 that they finally got hitched, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson shared decades of love for music and performance, as well as each other. Laurie, an experimental performance rock artist, was a prominent figure on the New York City music scene in the 70′s, as was Lou who had just quit The Velvet Underground and embarked on a solo career. While both experienced similar musical successes, it wasn’t until the late 90′s that the two artists got together. Laurie contributed to “Call on Me” from Lou’s collaborative project The Raven, on the tracks “Rouge” and “Rock Minuet” from Ecstasy, and “Hang on to Your Emotions” from Rthe Twilight Reeling; Lou Reed contributes to the tracks “In Our Sleep” from Laurie’s Bright Red and “One Beautiful Evening” from Life on a String. Eventually, they decided to marry and had a private ceremony in Boulder, Colorado.
Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger
Please, Sister Morphine, turn my nightmares into dreams
In the late 60′s, when The Rolling Stones broke onto the Swinging London scene with their blues covers and rebellious attitude, Frontman Mick Jagger and young folk musician Marianne Faithfull crossed paths. The beginning of what would become a very tumultuous relationship. While most remember their relationship as being full of wild and reckless times, Faithfull served as inspiration for a lot of Jagger’s finest work. After Faithfull introduced Jagger to “The Master and Margarita” By Mikhail Bulgakov, the book served as the inspiration behind one of The Stone’s most acclaimed hit, “Sympathy For the Devil” of Beggar’s Banquet. It’s also rumored that the songs “Wild Horses” and ” You Can’t Always Get What You Want” off of Sticky Fingers were about Faithfull. She and Jagger split up in May of 1970.
George Harrison & Pattie Boyd
“Something in the way she moves, attracts me like no other lover”
Having read Pattie Boy’s autobiography many times over, I am completely intrigued by the rock n’ roll love triangle for which she was the object of desire. It all began with The Beatle’s George Harrison who fell for 20-year old Boyd on the set of the film ” A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964. Upon their first meeting Harrison said ” Will you marry me? Boyd laughed, so Harrison said ” Well, if you won’t marry me, will you have dinner with me tonight?” Boyd eventually obliged and the two fell madly in love. They married in 1966 and had a tumultuous relationship which ended in 1974. Boyd inspired The Beatles classic ” Something” and eventually Eric Claptions hit “Layla”. Despite being close friends with Harrison, Clapton was head over heels for Boyd and pursued her for years prior to the end of her marriage. (read more below)
Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind
In the late 60′s, Eric Clapton and George Harrison began writing and recording music together and became close friends. However, that couldn’t help Clapton from falling in love with Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd. After Boyd dismissed his affections, Clapton pursued her younger sister Paula. However, Paula left him as soon as she heard the lyrics to “Layla” in which Clapton professed the state of his love for Boyd. After years of love letters back and fourth, and the demise of Boyd and Harrison’s marriage, the two lovers finally got together. They married in 1979, and Boyd experienced similar pains to her previous marriage with Harrison. However, on the good days, Boyd inspired Clapton to write the classic love ballad “Wonderful Tonight.”
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Love is living, living love, Love is needing to be loved
Whether or not you believe that Yoko Ono broke up The Beatles, if you’re a romantic you simply cannot die the beautiful love that she and John Lennon shared (despite the puzzling “Lost Weekend”?). It all began in 1966, when John saw one of Yoko’s works at the Indica Gallery called “Ceiling Painting,” as follows: “The viewer is invited to climb a white ladder, where at the top a magnifying glass, attached by a chain, hangs from a frame on the ceiling. The viewer uses the reading glass to discover a block letter “instruction” beneath the framed sheet of glass – it says “Y E S.” It was through this work that Ono met her third husband and longtime collaborator, John Lennon.” Lennon, when relating this story to Dick Cavett on his talk show in 1971, explained that if the word had been “no,” he would have left the gallery and not come back, but was so moved by its positivity that he had to get to know Yoko.” From there, despite a period of separation from 73′ – 75′, the couple were together up until Lennon’s tragic death on December 8th 1980. Yoko has dedicated a large part of her life to commemorating John’s life.
Paul and Linda McCartney
I know my heart can stay with my love. It’s understood, it’s in the hands of my love
Paul first met rock n’ roll photographer Linda in 1967 at a Georgie Fame concert at the Bag O’Nails club in London when she was on an assignment to take photographs of “Swinging Sixties” musicians. Later that night the two went to the Speakeasy Club on to see Procol Harum and again four days later at the launch party for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. When her assignment was completed she flew back to New York City. In May 1968, they met again in New York, as John Lennon and Paul were there to announce the formation of Apple Corps. In September of the same year, he phoned her and asked her to fly over to London. They were married six months later in a small ceremony. The couple had four children together (one of whom was fashion designer Stella McCartney) and even were both in Paul’s group, the Wings. Linda also introduced Paul to her Vegetarian lifestyle which eventually led to The McCartneys became outspoken animal-rights activists. Sadly in 1995, after a touch battle with breast cancer, Linda died. Paul’s last word to her were ”You’re up on your beautiful Appaloosa stallion. It’s a fine spring day. We’re riding through the woods. The bluebells are all out, and the sky is clear-blue”.
Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Once I had a love and it was a gas, soon turned out had a heart of glass
Debbie first met Chris after moving to New York City and joining his band, The Stilettos, in 1974. After feeling both musical and personal chemistry the two eventually left the band and went on to form Blondie, which was named after the popular nickname men would bestow her. After becoming regulars at clubs like the legendary CBGB’s, Blondie found mass popularity and success. Through the 80’s Debbie and Chris’ relationship would stay strong, even when Debbie had to take a few years off and nurse Chris when he was in bad health. Despite breaking up romantically in the 90s, the two have continued to work together and make the same extraordinary music that brought them together.
Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham
You, you make loving fun, and I don’t have to tell you but you’re the only one
Ever since the Stevie and Lindsey met, they were both lovers and musical collaborators. In the beginning of their relationship, the coupled recorded seven demos in 1972 on an analog 4-track machine, and drove to Los Angeles to pursue a record deal. Their album, Buckingham Nicks, was released in September of 1973, and although it had very poor sales then, it is now very highly regarded by rock critics. Mick Fleetwood had heard the song ”Frozen Love” from the album and courted Lindsey as a guitarist for his band. Lindsey insisted that he and Stevie were a package deal and the couple was asked to join Fleetwood Mac on New Year’s Eve, 1974. After a great amount of commercial success, the fame and fortune started to take it’s toll on Stevie and Lindsey’s relationship. In November 1977, after a New Zealand concert for the Rumours tour, Nicks and Fleetwood, who was married, secretly began an affair.The pain the couple endured both before and after their breakup is best illustrated on the 1977 Fleetwood Mac album, Rumours. It was during the album’s tour that Stevie became involved in a short lived-romance with singer/songwriter of The Eagles, Don Henley. While Stevie and Lindsey are no longer romantically involved, they continue to work together on musical projects.