06/20/2013 06:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Music Myths: Rock 'N' Roll Folklore That Haunts Artists Like Michael Jackson, Tupac Shakur


The enigma of rock 'n' roll comes with its own brand of myths and legends that permeate through culture and become fixtures in certain artists' lore. From the strange relationship confusion surrounding The White Stripes to Lady Gaga being a rumored hermaphrodite, certain music mythology amplifies the bohemian world of rock. Here's a look at a few of prevalent rock legends.

Gene Simmons' cow tongue
gene simmons tongue
Simmons certainly has an abnormally long tongue, a fact emphasized by his fire-breathing, blood-spitting antics onstage. Fans have long been prompted to question whether it was actually a cow's tongue surgically added to his own, a rumor that's been debunked due to its medical impossibility. A cow's tongue is a typically a foot long, meaning there's no way one to fit even part of one in a human's mouth. Simmons says he simply has a "superlong tongue."

Michael Jackson's surgeries
michael jackson
Michael Jackson famously said he's only had two plastic surgeries -- both nose jobs -- in his lifetime. He told Oprah Winfrey as much in 1992 and Martin Bashir the same thing in 2003. While some diehard fans swear by the King of Pop's claims, most aren't fooled. An associate of Jackson's surgeon told People magazine in 2009 that the singer had "about 10 to 12 surgeries in two years," including cheek implants and an operation on his eyelids. Jackson also famously underwent treatments for vitiligo, a skin condition that lightens brown pigmentation.

Elvis Presley's racism
elvis presley 1972
Some swear Elvis Presley uttered the words "The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes,” despite the fact that no verifiable source can back up the incendiary comment. Furthermore, Presley's influences on black music are widely touted, despite detractors who like to claim he "stole" everything he knew from African-American culture.

Tupac Shakur's pulse
tupac shakur 1994
Seventeen years later, camps are still debating the veracity of Tupac Shakur's death. Just this year, former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight told TMZ during an interview that Shakur is "really not dead." The rapper was famously murdered in a drive-by shooting in 1996, but after his estate released new records, rumors were ignited that Shakur was simply in hiding. Voracious fans were quick to point out conspiracy theories via seemingly anachronistic lyrics, including a shoutout to the movie "Armageddon," which had not yet been released. To this day, fans are still holding on to the notion that Shakur is out there somewhere, although obviously there is no proof to this whatsoever.



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