| Lists |

Five infamous monuments named after musicians of questionable moral character

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

How do you honor a musician when awards and certifications aren't enough? By naming something in his honor, of course -- be it a bridge, a street, an asteroid or even a whole day after the guy. But in naming something after a musician, it's easy to forget that while in some cases the music may deserve it, the value and character of the musician may not, at least according to some people.

Just look at the current debate raging about whether or not renaming a bridge after Kurt Cobain in Aberdeen, Washington, his hometown, is deserved or not, considering his history of drug abuse and the way in which he died. This isn't first instance in rock and roll history in which something is named after a musician with questionable moral character. Here are the top five other things named for such musicians.

5. Jerry Lee Lewis Drive in Ferriday, Louisiana

Jerry Lee Lewis had balls -- whether they were great balls of fire is a different story altogether -- and there's no better example of this than when it was revealed that Lewis had married his first cousin, Myra Gale Brown, who was only thirteen at the time. Creepy? Yes. Ballsy? Yes. Deserving of a street named after him? You be the judge.

4. Hank Williams Sr. Memorial Bridge in Spanishburg, West Viriginia

Although Hank Williams Sr. may have been so lonesome he could cry, he is revered, like others on this list, for having a lasting impact on music. It's too bad he had such a tough go at it in later years and up to his death in 1953, getting into bar fights and struggling with alcohol and drug abuse, which, it has been debated, caused his heart problems and eventual death in the first place.

3. James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge in Steamboat Springs, Colorado

James Brown doesn't like electric company repairmen apparently. According to a police report, Brown attacked one with a knife in 2000. He was also accused of abusing Tommi Rae Browne, whom he had been living with in 2004. And in 2005, Jacque Hollander alleged Brown raped her 27 years earlier. It's no wonder the bridge named after James Brown in Steamboat Springs is so controversial.

2. 18132 Spector, an asteroid named for Phil Spector

He may be one of the most widely revered music producers with a signature sound, known as the Wall of Sound, but Phil Spector and his many accomplishments have been overshadowed by his conviction for the murder of Lana Jackson began. When Spector was found guilty in 2009, after two trials for the case, he was sentenced to nineteen years to life, and his legacy was forever tarnished. But hey, at least he has an asteroid named after him.

1. September 2, almost named Ike Turner Day in St. Louis, Missouri

Rock has a lot to thank Ike Turner for -- his song "Rocket 88" is considered by some to be the first rock and roll song ever, and he discovered Anna Mae Bullock, better known as Tina Turner. When Tina divorced Ike because of his alleged domestic abuser ways, her career then took off while his flopped. So when St. Louis had considered dedicating a day to Ike Turner to commemorate his influence on music, it's no wonder Mayor Francis Slay denied the request. Sure, we could understand a bridge or an asteroid -- Ike and Phil Spector were friends, after all -- but a whole day for Ike Turner? Aw, hell no.

Follow Backbeat @westword_music and facebook.com/westwordmusic.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.