Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Justin Bieber's not the only one: 3 big pop stars and their crazy monkeys

What was it that Chuck Berry sang? Too much monkey business for me to be involved in? Sadly, there are those who persist in monkeying around, including Justin Bieber, the latest in a line of disorientated superstars whose megalomania is fed by the acquiring of wild animals, often chimps or other simians. In fact three of pop-music’s most successful (and socially isolated) acts have something in common: They’ve all jumped the weirdness shark when they adopted their hairy little jungle friends.

1 of 3

Elvis Presley: Oh, no, he wasn’t full of himself – he just went by the nickname “The King.” He sang about teddy bears and hound dogs, but Elvis’s most famous pet was a rascally chimpanzee called Scatter, perhaps so named because the naughty little thing caused everyone (especially ladies) to scatter when he came around. Apparently this imp of a chimp liked to wear clothes, guzzle booze, tear apart rooms, and pull up women's dresses. In that respect, he was very much like Jerry Lee Lewis. The demise of Scatter is in dispute: Some say a Graceland maid poisoned him after she was bitten, while others believe an alcohol-related liver situation did him in. Either way, his death undoubtedly left his master all shook up.

George Kalinsky/AP

2 of 3

Michael Jackson: His name was Bubbles, and he may have been the most famous chimp since Cheetah (Tarzan’s capable sidekick). Bubbles was a member of Jackson’s peculiar household, and perhaps better adjusted to societal norms than was his moon-walking master. Much like Presley, Jackson was afforded a royal sort of status, his title being the King of Pop and his behaviour nuttier than that of King George III. In the late 1980s, Bubbles was more than a companion to the Billie Jean hitmaker. A former housekeeper once told a newspaper that the furry friend helped Jackson decide who could be trusted. “Bubbles often would be a gauge for Michael to decide who should stay and go,” she said. Sadly, the chirpy chimp himself got the heave-ho once he grew to to be an animal of unmanageable size and strength. Today he lives in a sanctuary in Florida, just one more banana-eating retiree with unruly ear hair.


3 of 3

Justin Bieber: If Jacko was wacko, what is the Biebs? Not a day goes by without a new item on the bizarro blotter featuring the Canadian teen idol. Spitting at people and walking through airport security without a shirt, who does that? Well, uncontrollable pop stars do, and so do monkeys. Actually, not so fast with that. As it turns out, baby Mally, the Biebs’ capuchin cohort, is being held at in Munich because German customs officials were not provided with the proper documentation. Karl-Heinz Joachim, from Munich's main animal sanctuary, told European press that Mally is “cheerful and is eating well” but was "clearly traumatized” because he was much too young when he was originally taken away from its monkey mother. Taking someone away from his mom at too early an age? It never ends well, Beliebe you me.


Report an error