Top 5 Most Influential Couples in Rock

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Cody Wagner, Entertainment Writer

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Love is in the air, Feb. 14th is a day that correlates with this perception. A day that acknowledges and commends the act of love as it brings about human connection and happiness. The idea of being in love and forming a relationship with another individual brings both satisfaction and complexity. You devote your entire existence to this person and allow them into your life. The connection of individuals based on hobbies, appearance, skills, or even personality are the elements that everyone looks for in that special someone. Love can be seen everywhere no matter where you look.

It’s created an even bigger impact in music, Songs, lyrics, duets, and even certain artists bring elements of love. 

5.) Nancy Spungen and Sid Vicious

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen’s relationship was chaos, destruction, drugs, sex, and the essence of the Punk movement of the 1970s. They met in London in 1977. Nancy had been traveling as a groupie with the band Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers at the time. She made the first move on Sid, and they became inseparable. Nancy toured with Sid’s band The Sex Pistols for years. They partied hard and loved even harder.

Multiple stories tell of Nancy cutting her wrists and faking suicides just so Sid could stay with her for a few hours or even minutes. Their bond was unbreakable, but their minds and well-being were not. Both became heavily involved with heroin. Despite their strong and devoted love, their relationship was toxic, and both individuals struggled deeply with addiction and mental health issues as well. Other members of the Sex Pistols tried to remove Nancy from the band because they believed she was a bad influence on Sid. Combining the extravagant amount of heroin usage, two mentally ill people, and the aggressive, violent, angry, self-expressed style and sound of punk, it could only end in disaster. That is what came of it.

The fact that they were both strung out junkies all the time resulted in a large percentage of issues but the lovers bond and willingness to stay together only made their love for each other stronger. The story of Sid and Nancy’s relationship was heartbreaking and terrifying to say the least, but through all the roughness and turmoil, the two never left each other’s side and determined to be together till death did them part. Only death would come sooner than they knew. 

During the 1978 tour in the U.S., the band was able to get Nancy banned from the country. Once Sid discovered this information he smashed his bass over an audience member. The drug use, destructive behavior, and negative influence created an ultimatum for Sid determining what factor was most important in his life: his band or Nancy.

In the end, he chose Nancy and split from the Pistols. On the morning of Oct. 12, 1978 tragedy struck at the Chelsea Hotel in New York. Nancy’s body was found on the bathroom floor bloodied from a knife. Sid had no recollection of what happened the night before but was soon arrested and suspected to have a part in the death of his girlfriend. After the incident guilt and sadness overwhelmed Sid to the point of multiple suicide attempts. Four months after Spungen’s tragedy, Vicious died from a heroin overdose.

 

4.) Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain

If Sid and Nancy were the couples of punk, then Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were the couples of Grunge. They met on Jan. 12, 1990, at a nightclub in Portland. Both shared a love for music. Kurt’s band, Nirvana, was beginning to rise in the music industry while Love’s band, Hole, was also looking for startup success. His startup success came in the form of Courtney as she was on the verge of musical success as well.

Both wanted to be successful and impact the world of music as it was on the verge of something unique, heavy, and angry. This quality was known as Grunge. A slimy, muddy, disoriented sound that wasn’t too heavy for metal but provided an aggressive and dirty sound that signified the grunge era sparking a revolution in music since the days of the 80s with hair metal bands such as Motley Crue, Poison, Whitesnake, etc. Kurt and Country were on the verge of reinventing grunge that would forever popularize the genre making it to be one of the biggest and most admired eras in music. It all started with one album “Nevermind.”

Besides their attraction to music, their personalities were similar. Both suffered from mental health issues, addiction and depression. To combat the internal struggles that brought them together and broke them apart, they looked to both music and heroin. This was one of the biggest factors that ultimately played a part in the couple’s downfall. Amongst the success of “Nevermind” and the overarching fame the band was acquiring, Kurt felt lonely. He hated being famous and seeing the people he once hated at his shows in the audience. He never expected to get this big and didn’t know what to do next.

With all the money, success, and fame Kurt earned in being a rock star, he never felt more alone, confused, and scared. The fame overwhelmed Kurt and this feeling of overwhelming tension can be interpreted and understood if you put yourself in his shoes. He has a lot of responsibility and is one of the biggest acts of the 90s, expectations and demands were high. I think this contributed to much of Kurt’s diverse and complex feelings regarding the whole situation. His degrading mental status and the excessive usage of heroin sent the artist into a whirlwind of addiction and self-abuse that would eventually cause him to make a choice that would forever affect himself, Courtney, and his soon-to-be baby girl. 

Kurt and Courtney were married in February of 1992 and raised a little girl named Frances Bean. During her pregnancy, Courtney was often harassed and accused of abusing heroin. She would come to admit these allegations were true but at the time felt overwhelmed and saddened by the situation. This created great turmoil for the couple and even sent Kurt into a daze of depression and self-loathing. This depression, along with the constant abuse of heroin, would play a part in the young artist’s demise.

If you were alive on April 5, 1994, you know what was on the news the morning you woke up. The sad story broke that Kurt Cobain injected himself with a massive amount of heroin then proceeded to kill himself by firing a shotgun to his head. This tragic event marked the end of Kurt and Courtney’s two-year marriage and would be one of rock’s most devastating moments of loss and pain. Despite Kurt’s death, Courtney remains and continues to make music.

 

3.)         Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks

Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks found themselves through the love and appreciation of music. Not only were they both leading members in Fleetwood Mac, but they were also considered to be a couple at one point before the band’s formation and during its rise to fame.

Buckingham and Nicks met at Menlo- Atherton High School in 1973. The story of how they met only contradicts their love for music while also foreshadowing the element that would bring two individuals together. The story is that one day Buckingham was sitting by himself singing and playing the hit 70s Mama’s and Papas ballad, “California Dreamin” on his guitar.

Nicks joined in and the two harmonized together and shared this wonderful, musical experience. After that moment Nicks hadn’t seen Buckingham for two years until finally rejoining with him in the formation of what would be known as “Fleetwood Mac” During their time in Mac they worked relentlessly together, sharing ideas, thoughts, beliefs, and creating musical composition as a form of expression. As the band’s popularity and success grew so did the tensions between the two lovers.

There would be moments where both artists wouldn’t even dare be in the same room with one another. They were constantly fighting and grudging against one another, their once envisioned relationship of romantic alliance and musical creativity soon faded away and in 1968, the romantic relationship that lasted just six years between singer Stevie Nicks and guitarist Lindsay Buckingham had finally ended due to incessant fighting, creative differences, and differentiated feelings that once remained but were gone too soon. This impacted the band as both of their most notable members hated each other and would refuse to interact with one another.

The story of rock and roll fame and excess is anything but false. It’s a story that is told too often sadly and that spark once shared by two people who find meaning and value in one another, just sometimes goes away and you wish for things to be different but in reality, the need to stay the same for the sake of both parties involved. Lindsey’s and Nick’s relationship demonstrates this example of the downfall of an artist. Despite the relationship over with, the two musicians wanted to tell their side of things and express their pain of leaving one another. This expression of pain and love came with one album… “Rumours.”

The 12th studio album was an honest reflection of Nick’s and Buckingham’s relationship. It signaled the end of what was thought to be a transcending romantic relationship all based on music. Both band members were able to formulate and project themselves, their concerns, and feelings of sorrow and remorse towards one another proving that music from the heart can create the biggest impact.  The album represents pain and honesty from both members of the band.

The song “Landslide” references Nick’s passion for music relating to the idea of integrity and willingness to pursue one’s passion in life further guiding the young singer allowing for a moment of realization and understanding of the most important factor in a band… the music. The song became not only one of Fleetwood Mac’s most popular tracks but one of Nick’s creative treasures, that will hold meaning and value to the female singer for the rest of her life.

After many years of lineup changes and different circumstances within Fleetwood Mac, Lindsay and Nicks were able to reconnect with one another and in 1996 they played together once again, reviving a friendship and bond that was the result leading to the creation of one of rock’s greatest and influential bands of all time.

 

2) June Carter and Johnny Cash

This couple had interactions through touring together on multiple occasions but first officially met backstage during 1956 at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.  Their meeting represents an example of foreshadowing as both songwriters would make impressive and historical contributions to not only country but the world of music overall. They met at one of country music’s most renowned and dignified venues signaling the birth of a relationship based around passion and willingness to create music.

Johnny’s interaction and intimate feelings of June only called for disaster as the young artist was married at the time to Vivian Liberto. But that didn’t stop Johnny and for years he tried everything he could to make a move in June. She knew of Johnny’s frequent attempts at flattery but every time she denied him of his love only because she knew about this relationship with his wife. Both musicians grew in popularity as they sang, traveled, ate, and spent an enormous amount of time with one another all based around the creation of music. The 1967 album Carryin’ On with Johnny Cash and June Carter marked the couple’s musical relationship bringing the two even closer than they were before.

The album expressed their commitment to music and the joy both shared while working with one another. With the touring, recording, success, and fame it all became a little too much for the artists, especially for Johnny. He had broken up with his previous wife revealing his true feelings for June and on March 1, 1968, Johnny Cash had officially married June Carter. Johnny had finally found the love of his life he had been wanting years prior, little did he know that certain barriers would soon emerge changing both his and June’s life forever. 

As Cash’s popularity skyrocketed so did his appetites for excess. Sex, booze, drugs, it was all there for Johnny whenever he wanted a taste. These factors would eventually play a part in forming terrible addictions as well as being one of the darkest and lowest moments of Cash’s life. Seeing Johnny destroy himself only weakened June’s heart. At one show he performed on stage drunk in front of a live audience, throwing a tantrum acting in an aggressive nature.

After that moment June had finally had enough and left Johnny for him to find himself as well as God. But it was June that saved the infamous music star, in the end, coming to his aid and healing his pain through religion and emotional sacrifice. Cash cleaned up his act and quit drugs for good in 1970. The two had raised multiple children from previously engaged relationships but lived four decades worth of happily married life together until June’s death in May of 2003 due to heart surgery complications as well as Johnny’s just months later in September due to respiratory failure as a result of long-lasting diabetes.

The two went to hell and back together and I’m sure both would do it all over again if they had a second chance.

 

 1) Yoko Ono and John Lennon

Topping off the list is, of course, a Beatles member whose relationship was one of the most controversial in all of music. There’s a saying that’s been used by Beatles and music fans alike that goes “Don’t let your wife/girlfriend become a Yoko signifying the theories that Yoko Ono contributed to the dissipation of The Beatles.

This is only speculation and opinion, but it’s one that many believe is the truth not only due to the impact the Beatles and their members instilled within society but also the newfound love interest that caused John to change his personality as well as the influence she had on Lennon and his personality.

The two met at an art gallery in London during the year 1966 while Ono was preparing to reveal a piece of art she had been working on. Both her and Lennon instantly connected through their love of all things creative such as art, books, philosophy, etc. Both became invested and connected impacting each other’s lives on personal and artistic levels. The two decided to get married in March of 1969 and after the dissertation of The Beatles in 1970 the couple decided to venture into the creation of their works of creative expression and art.

The two separated briefly during the years of 1973-75 eventually getting back together and raising their first son, Sean. In 1980 just after Lennon’s death the couple’s album “Double Fantasy” was released signaling the ending of rock’s most notorious and recognized couples as well as ending a musically driven romantic relationship that lasted 11 years in the making. The album was a symbol of the lovers’ connection as well as the fulfillment and joy they felt being part of each other’s lives.