Rock 'n' roll has always been rebellious by nature, which is why it’s no surprise that some of the genre's biggest names have spent time behind bars.

In many cases, drugs have played a role. The long list of famous musicians who’ve seen the inside of a jail cell due to drug-related arrests includes Mick Jagger, Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie and Glenn Frey of the Eagles. Likewise, Paul McCartney famously spent days in a Japanese jail after entering the country with a large amount of marijuana.

Violence is another common way for rockers to land behind bars. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols was incarcerated after a bar fight in Ireland, while James Brown’s long rap sheet included an assault conviction.

In some cases, these famous faces were booked long before they reached rock stardom. Axl Rose, Kurt Cobain and Steven Tyler all survived their first night in jail when they were just teenagers.

In hindsight, some rock star convictions seem silly – like Joe Strummer of the Clash getting booked for stealing a pillowcase. Others are no laughing matter, including musicians booked for abuse and even murder. Some of them only spent a night or two behind bars, while others were sentenced to years and even decades of hard time.

Then, there’s the strange case of Frank Zappa, who was caught via a sting operation by an undercover cop, and charged with conspiracy to manufacture pornographic materials.

Find out more as we look back at 40 Rock Stars Who Spent Time in Jail.

Rock Stars Who Spent Time in Jail

It’s no surprise that some of the genre's biggest names have spent time behind bars.

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