I love this tale: In 1991, American soul singer Wilson Pickett was arrested after running into an 86-year-old man in Englewood, New Jersey. He then yelled death threats at the victim, whilst driving his car over what turned out to be the local mayor's front lawn. Pickett was later charged with driving with open bottles of alcohol in his car.
We’ve had plenty of great songs about car crashes: “Airbag” (Radiohead), “Crawling From The Wreckage” (Graham Parker), “A Day In The Life” (he blew his mind out in a car - The Beatles), “Dean Man’s Curve” (Jan and Dean), and David Bowie gave us “Always Crashing In The Same Car.”
The list of driving offences amongst rock stars is endless. In 1967, Doors singer Jim Morrison was arrested for drunk driving and driving with no license in Los Angeles, California. Jerry Lee Lewis was arrested for drunk driving after driving his Rolls Royce into a ditch. Joe Strummer of The Clash was banned from driving after being convicted of drunk driving. U2 bassist Adam Clayton was convicted of a drunk driving offence by a Dublin court after being found driving twice over the legal limit.
And it's not just the guys. In 2003 former Motown singer Diana Ross appeared in a US court charged with driving while twice over the drunk driving limit. Police in Tucson reported that Miss Ross could not walk in a straight line, touch her nose or count to 30 after she had been stopped for swerving across the road. And former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell was banned from driving for six weeks and fined £400 ($680) for speeding in her Aston Martin DB7. Geri had been snapped on a speed camera doing 60mph in a 30mph zone.
Slipknot bassist Paul Gray was arrested in 2003 on drugs and drunk driving charges after he collided with a car after going through a red light in his hometown of Des Moines, Iowa. Gray (who wears a pig mask on stage) then tried to write a cheque for $1,000 (£600) to the other driver, who then called the police. Gray failed two alcohol tests at the scene and was arrested for possession of marijuana, cocaine, and drug paraphernalia, as well drunk driving.
And then we have car fanatic Jay Kay, singer with Jamiroquai, who was banned for six months and fined £750 after being clocked driving at more than 100mph. His lawyers had argued at Perth Sheriff Court that he needed his licence so he could have "respite" from his busy professional life. But Sheriff Robert McCreadie said his conduct was "entirely unacceptable."
Maybe all the above need to take the following advice. Recent research by a car insurance company showed that listening to the wrong sort of music when driving can lead to aggression and distraction. Dr Nicola Dibben, a music psychologist said, “Singing while driving stimulates the mind.” Songs recommended included Pulp’s “Disco 2000’” and “Hey Ya” by Outcast, but the doctor said songs like The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” should be avoided.
And make sure to get insurance coverage from Iggy.
This Day in Classic Rock
The Rolling Stones