And one I’ve seen again today: “the wife of $male rock star is a controlling harpy bitch and is wrecking his music. She just doesn’t understand him like I do! *sniff*”
Yoko Ono is obviously the most prominent example of this, but it happens *all the time*. Just off the top of my head:
Brian Wilson’s wife Melinda gets attacked on a regular basis by people saying she controls him and is using him — this despite the fact that Wilson has been obviously happier, more content, more mentally well, and more productive in the last twenty years than at any time in the thirty before that. Most of the attackers don’t seem to know anything about her other than that she may have had plastic surgery, she has a lot of pet dogs, and all the Wilsons’ adopted children have names starting with D. This seems to be enough to make her history’s greatest monster.
Rumours went round in the Monkees fandom before Davy Jones died that his wife was evil and controlling. In particular, she was called an egomaniac for “insisting” on touring with the band and dancing with them. She was definitely going to spoil the show.
In fact she was a professional dancer before she met Davy, and a good one. She appeared on stage for two songs — Can You Dig It, and Daddy’s Song — and in both of them replicated dances that were performed to those songs in the film in which they appeared. She added a lot to the show, which was the most critically acclaimed tour the band had ever done to that point.
Frank Zappa’s widow, Gail, gets this treatment a lot both from his fans and his ex-bandmates. The Zappa tribute band The Muffin Men released their first original track a couple of years ago — it was called Cold Winter Gale. Ho ho ho.
And today, Mike Love has just announced that his bass player Randell Kirsch will be replaced by Brian Eichenberger, who’s played with Brian Wilson and the Four Freshment. Immediately all over Beach Boys fandom come posts saying that the line-up change in Mike’s band is some sinister move on the part of Jacqueline Love, who apparently has some sort of evil control over the touring band and toys with them at her whim, hiring and firing with no regard for anything other than her evil evilness.
If so, given that every single line-up change in the band up to this point since Mike & Bruce first started touring as The Beach Boys in 1998 has been a positive one that’s made the band sound better, I can only say hooray for Jacqueline Love’s caprice. Over the last eighteen years the touring band have gone from being a sloppy, out-of-tune, corner-cutting mess to being a fantastic live act with the best drummer and the best vocal harmonies that you could imagine.
[EDIT — just to clarify, I think Randell’s a great singer, a very good bass player, and in the brief interactions I’ve had with him a very nice person. I don’t think him leaving Mike’s band would be a good thing for the band, and I hope it was his decision rather than him being fired. I’m talking here about a pattern, not that individual instance.]
I’m sure you can all think of your own examples — Courtney Love, both Paul McCartney’s first two wives, and on and on. This is the absolute normal, standard story told about any woman who dares to want to be involved, however peripherally, with her husband’s actual life if he’s a musician. It’s vile and it needs to stop.