Besides the music that made them famous, the singers and musicians of the 60s were often known for their lawbreaking activities. Countless 60s classic rockers were hauled into jail on one charge or another. Some of the charges were for things that were later found to be false. Some of them were for things that would not be considered a dire offense, or even illegal, today. But, some of them were for serious offenses that harmed their reputations and took attention away from the music.
John Lennon was arrested in 1968, charges with drug possession. According to Lennon, he had been tipped off about a raid on his home and had several hours to clean the carpets in case any residue from past occupants could be found. When a quantity of marijuana was found, Lennon claimed that he had never seen it before. He was charged and convicted of possession, years before the officer in charge was found guilty of planting drugs in the homes of many of the people he had investigated.
Chuck Berry was jailed for about three years, 1962-64, for a violation of the Mann Act. After allowing a 14-year-old girl on his tour, he discovered that she had been engaging in prostitution, making him liable. He was found guilty of transporting the girl across state lines for immoral purposes, which was the letter of the Mann Act.
Donovan was arrested in 1966 and charged with marijuana possession. Because he was then barred from entering the U.S., the arrest kept him from playing the Monterey Pop Festival.
Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were arrested for drug possession in 1967. Both were sentenced, but both sentences were thrown out after appeals.
Janis Joplin was arrested for using indecent language in 1969. The charges stemmed from vulgarities she used on stage during a concert in Tampa, Fla.
Brain Jones was arrested in 1967 on a familiar charge for many 60s musicians- marijuana possession. He spent little time in jail and was eventually given probation and mandatory counseling.
George Harrison was another classic rocker who was busted for marijuana. His 1969 arrest resulted in a fine. In a strange turn of events, the arrest was made the same day that Paul McCartney married Linda.
The 60s were a tumultuous time, and the occassional arrest was probably to be expected. As cultural norms were rapidly shifting, the clashes between the rockers on the forefront of youth culture and the more established rules of society became more frequent. They added to the infamy and danger associated with many rockers, and turned off many a parent to the music of the day. Of course, that made the music all the more desirable, leaving us the legacy of music we enjoy today.
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