The Legendary Rock Couples

There are certain iconic couples in rock-n-roll.

They are timeless. They are the original prototypes.  They are postmodern-day Gods and Goddesses, with stories that Shakespeare could not have written any better.

Lindsey Buckingham / Stevie Nicks

It’s not often that an imploding relationship serves as the spark behind a landmark album. But that’s exactly what happened with Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 classic, Rumours. Having revitalized Fleetwood Mac two years earlier, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks put forth their romantic difficulties for all to hear in songs such as “Go Your Own Way.” Speaking recently, Nicks said of Buckingham, “… the love is always there, but we’ll never be together. That’s romantic.”  It’s weird, but she’s right.

Kurt Cobain / Courtney Love

Cobain found the celebrity machine repugnant, and indeed his personal demons were tied in part to that repulsion. Conversely, Love embraced the limelight and seemed to revel in stoking controversy. I guess it’s no wonder one died so young.


Paul McCartney / Linda McCartney

Yes he put her in his band and she really had no right being there. But HE wanted her there.  Not only did they never break up, they spent the night together EVERY SINGLE NIGHT after being married. (except for the days he was in a Tokyo Jail, but she visited…)

She took a lot of criticism for being in the band, but never quit.  It worked for them, and theirs is probably the purest “love story” on this list.

Besides, she inspired “Maybe I’m Amazed”.  That alone….


Sid Vicious / Nancy Spungen

With a love for each other and a bigger love for narcotics, they go down in history as the self destructive duo in rock.

Meeting during the peak of the sex pistols popularity, she became his “manager” when they broke up.

He woke up one morning from a drug induced haze in the famed Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan to find her dead from a single stab wound.  He said he doesn’t remember what happened, and he probably didn’t.

A few months later he overdosed from heroin.

A suicide note was found in his pocket that read:

“We had a death pact and I have to keep my end of the bargain.  Please bury me next to my baby in my leather jacket, jeans, and motorcycle boots.  Goodbye.”


Debbie Harry / Chris Stein (Blondie)

In the early ’70s, Debbie Harry was a member of a girl group trio called The Stilettos. Chris Stein played guitar in their backing band. Together, the two founded Blondie in the mid-’70s, and though they never married, their devotion to one another remained profound for two decades. In the ’80s, Harry put her career aside for several years as Stein recovered from a life-threatening illness.


Ike Turner / Tina Turner

No musical couple ever staged a more potent live act than Ike and Tina Turner. With Ike anchoring the proceedings and leading the band like a well-oiled machine, Tina offered up some of the most raw and suggestive R&B music audiences had ever seen. hits like “Proud Mary,” along with lots of provocative concert film footage, assure their legacy is secure.

The couple’s personal relationship was fraught with turmoil, however.  As we all know now.

“Look what you made me do…”   Yikes.


Johnny Cash/ June Carter Cash

Alright, alright…they’re a country act.  But their relationship was very rock-n-roll, with one big difference – a happy ending.  They lived through being married to the wrong people, drug addiction, and personal hardship to finally  come out the other side (well, mostly) and find redemption, joy, love, and friendship.  June died in May, 2003, and Johnny – never recovering from the grief of his loss – died a mere three months later.

They were married 35 years.


John Lennon / Yoko Ono

I know, I know….  But there’s a reason they will always top this kind of list.  They were both married to other people when they met, but the draw to be together was so strong I don’t think the laws of physics could have kept them apart.  They were, simply, predestined.  And now the stock phrase for rock couples (good and/or bad).

Besides, John Lennon’s solo career (and perhaps a good bit of “new wave” music as well) would have charted a far different course were it not for Yoko Ono’s profound influence.  Like it or not.

And let’s not forget about public bed-ins, acorn plantings, press conferences inside of a bag, etc, etc…

That’s crazy love…

Have any couples to add to the list?


3 responses

  1. Clark Virden

    Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd

    August 8, 2011 at 5:36 pm


    Well, there’s George-Patti-Eric…

    August 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

  3. Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli have to be included.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

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