Ten Musicians Who've Been Busted with Marijuana
World-Telegram staff photographer
If Colorado and Washington are the way of the future, weed will soon be decriminalized everywhere. But until that day comes, rock stars are going to be busted for having it on their person. It's happened since the dawn of rock n' roll. So many of our most famous and beloved musicians have spent a night on lockdown for holding the reefer. Here are ten of the most interesting cases.
1. Louis Armstrong
All the way back in 1931, the famous jazz trumpeter nicknamed Satchmo was the first celebrity arrested for ganja. He was sentenced to nine days in the Los Angeles city jail. In the fifties, Armstrong wrote a letter to President Eisenhower to legalize it. "What A Wonderful World" is Armstrong imagining Eisenhower coming through.
They say weed makes you paranoid, but that doesn't mean they're not after you. In 1966, the folkie troubadour Donovan became the first British rock star busted for marijuana. His explanation, "Why was I busted? Tens of thousands of guys were rolling joints that night. Why me? Because I was an example to youth. The authorities thought they could stop this revolution called the sixties by picking off the main singer-songwriters. The poets were always at the forefront."
The Symphonia of Boca Raton: James Judd, Guest Conductor
TicketsThu., Dec. 8, 8:00pm
Florida Chamber Orchestra Presents Christmas Concert
TicketsFri., Dec. 9, 8:00pm
TicketsFri., Dec. 9, 8:00pm
Ms. Lauryn Hill - The MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling! Concert Series
TicketsFri., Dec. 9, 8:30pm
South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble: Holiday Treasures
TicketsSat., Dec. 10, 7:00pm
3. Willie Nelson
The Red Headed Stranger has been busted four times. Once driving to former Texas Governor Ann Richards' funeral. Most recently, in a 2010 arrest, his sentence was to sing "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" for the court.
4. Snoop Dogg
The least surprising name on the list perhaps is the rapper occasionally known as Snoop Lion. You'd think making your premiere on an album titled The Chronic might heat you up and make you a little more careful about what you're holding. But Snoop Dogg don't care. He's been arrested six times for possession of marijuana.
5. Fiona Apple
That Sierra Blanca checkpoint, man. If you're ever touring through Texas, you might want to think twice about taking I-10. The checkpoint at Sierra Blanca has been responsible for the arrests of not only Fiona Apple, but Nelly, the actor Armie Hammer, and the aforementioned Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg.
6. David Bowie & Iggy Pop
Back in 1976 while touring through Rochester, NY, the cops got a twofer nailing Ziggy and Iggy with half a pound.
7. Whitney Houston
While boarding a plane in Hawaii with her husband Bobby Brown, they were found in possession of half an ounce. That didn't stop Whitney. She got on the plane before officers arrived and let her lawyers deal with it.
8. David Lee Roth
Perhaps the most embarrassing incident involved former Van Halen frontman trying to buy a $5 nickel bag off an undercover cop in New York's Washington Square Park in 1993. Back then, Diamond Dave's musical career was in a rough patch, but he proved the critics wrong who were saying at the time he couldn't even get arrested.
9. Keith Richards
In 1967, the Rolling Stones guitarist was found guilty of allowing cannabis to be smoked on his property and sentenced to a year in prison. A month later British appeals courts overturned the ruling for lack of evidence allowing Keef to dabble in harder drugs.
10. Paul McCartney
Sir Paul's romance with Linda Eastman is one for storybooks. If it wasn't for pot they never would have spent a night apart during their 29 years of marriage. The only exception were the ten nights the Beatle had to spend in a Tokyo jail for possession.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.