Secrets Of The Stars Revealed, Part 3

Cover art from Art Fein's fascinating book.

I'm nutty for conspiracy theories as it is, but rock and roll conspiracy

theories, forget about it. That's why I couldn't wait to rip through Art Fein's

The Greatest Rock & Roll Stories (General Publishing Group, $14.95), a

grab-bag book of anecdotes, rumors and (exposed) lies that run the gamut from

fascinating to disgusting, sometimes teaching you more than you needed, or

wanted to know, about your favorite rock stars. While we'll let you discover

the more run-of-the-mill stories for yourself ("Alan Freed Presents World's

First Rock & Roll Show," "Rolling Stones Meet Muddy Waters," "James Brown

Imprisoned After Police Chase"), it's damn near our duty to hip you to some of

what Fein has uncovered. Over the past two days we gave you a taste; he's a

final look at The Greatest Rock & Roll Stories.

"David Lee Roth

quits Van Halen; other groups who got more popular when lead singer left":

Van Halen isn't the only group to go on to greater riches and fame after losing

a lead singer. Blood, Sweat & Tears got huge when David Clayton Thomas replaced

Al Kooper. Genesis really got huge when Phil Collins replaced Peter Gabriel.

Similarly, Jefferson Airplane got big when Grace Slick took over for Signe

Anderson, Pink Floyd reached a world-wide audience when Syd Barrett dropped out

and the Beach Boys scored their first #1 hit in twenty years without founder

Brian Wilson.

"Janis Joplin survives rejection; becomes queen of the

blues": One of the saddest of many sad stories in Fein's book is that of

Janis Joplin, who was reportedly "a loner" who "suffered a tormented

adolescence plagued by acne and weight gains." According to Fein, Joplin, who

had made a small name for herself at the University of Texas at Austin playing

in coffeehouses, left the school abruptly when a school poll voted her "Ugliest

Man on Campus." Joplin, of course, went on to bigger and better things for a

short time, dying on October 3, 1970 after shooting pure heroin into her system

on the eve of her impending marriage. Fein tell us that, as provided in her

will, money was set aside for a big party in her honor, with each table

festooned with a card that read "the drinks are on Pearl," Joplin's


"Road manager steals Gram Parsons body, attempts to burn it in

the desert": Finally, Fein relates the odd story of the former

Byrds/Flying Burrito Brothers and inspirational country rock icon, Gram

Parsons. Parsons, misunderstood in his time, and mourning the hit-and-run death

of his former band mate Clarence White, instructed his manager, Phil Kaufman,

that, upon his death he wished to have his body burned at Cap Rock in Joshua

Tree National Monument. Later that year, Parsons died of a drug overdose and

Kaufman, "honoring his pact with Parsons, stole his body from the airport as it

was to be shipped to New Orleans for burial, and trucked it to Cap Rock." There

he burned the body, until Rangers spotted the blaze and the charred remains

were moved to New Orleans for proper burial.