Johnny Cash may have based an entire career on his outlaw image, but his police record suggests he never a serious threat to public safety.
Arrested four times for crimes as various as picking the wrong flowers and accidentally starting a forest fire, Cash never spent more than a single night in jail, but it didn’t matter. Getting arrested was good for business, and that outlaw image was reinforced. His iconic San Quentin and Folsom Prison albums — both recorded before boisterous audiences at two of America’s toughest prisons — strengthened the bond further: Being on the fringes of crime paid.
- When Motorhead Got Arrested in Finland
- The night Axl had to be ‘arrested’ to get him to the gig on time
- Sabbath's Butler arrested after bar brawl
- Wes Scantlin arrested for trashing house
It doesn’t always work like that. For every boozy misdemeanour there’s a serious felony, but for many musicians being arrested hasn’t hurt their careers in the slightest, and those unflattering mugshots that continually whizz around the web prove it.
Our gallery features highlights from 50 years of bad behaviour, and features serial offenders like Vince Neil and Jim Morrison alongside one-time arrestees like Prince, whose only crime was to accompany a band member to jail after he stole an emergency in-flight megaphone.