May 2021 Recap: David Ellefson Scandal, Rock Hall Inductees
May 2021 offered plenty of ups and downs in what was already a rollercoaster year.
Highlights included a return to touring for many, as optimism regarding the COVID pandemic prevailed in the early summer months. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame also announced its class of 2021, giving fans a new group of worthy artists to celebrate, while once again spurring arguments over those acts who have not yet been enshrined.
On the negative end of the spectrum, Megadeth bassist David Ellefson found himself embroiled in a scandal after sexually charged images were made public. The world also lost one of its most iconic music video stars when Tawny Kitaen died at the age of 59.
Those stories, plus the song Elton John can’t wait to stop playing, can be found in our May 2021 recap below.
David Ellefson Fired From Megadeth After Sexting Scandal
Megadeth bassist and co-founder David Ellefson became part of a sexting scandal in May when graphic images and video footage exchanged between him and a fan were circulated online. Initially, the internet was flooded with rumors that the woman involved was actually an underage girl. Ellefson sought to stop the spread of misinformation by posting a lengthy explanation on social media. "As you may or not know, some private and personal conversations and interactions have surfaced online, released with ill intention by a third party who was not authorized to have them or share them," Ellefson said. "While certainly embarrassing, I want to address it as openly and honestly as possible. As much as it's not something I'm proud of, these were private, adult interactions that were taken out of context and manipulated to inflict maximum damage to my reputation, my career and family." Megadeth initially took a wait-and-see approach to the scandal but by the end of the month, Ellefson had been dismissed from the band.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Announces the Class of 2021
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2021 was announced on May 12. Foo Fighters, the Go-Go’s, Tina Tuner, Todd Rundgren, Carole King and Jay-Z made up the list of artists who earned induction as performers. Kraftwerk, Charley Patton and Gil Scott-Heron received the Early Influence Award, while Randy Rhoads, LL Cool J and Billy Preston entered the Hall via the Musical Excellence Award. As has become customary with any Hall of Fame announcement, the induction list was met with outrage from certain sectors of music lovers. Metal fans continued to demand the genre’s giants – includingIron Maiden, Judas Priest and Motorhead – receive their due.
Tawny Kitaen Dies
Tawny Kitaen, one of the most iconic video vixens of the ‘80s, died in early May at the age of 59. The actress and model appeared on the cover of Ratt’s 1983 self-titled EP and their 1984 debut studio album, Out of the Cellar. She later turned heads in several Whitesnake music videos, most notably for “Here I Go Again.” Kitaen married Whitesnake frontman David Coverdale in 1989, though they divorced just two years later. Roles in the films Bachelor Party, Witchboard and the TV show The New WKRP in Cincinnati were also among her credits.
Elton John's Croc Shock
Elton John put his highly anticipated Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour on pause, but he didn’t refrain from looking back on an illustrious career. He even revealed the surprising song he’s most looking forward to retiring. “The last time I have to sing ‘Crocodile Rock,’ I will probably throw a party," John said during an appearance on the Deeny Talks podcast. "But people love to hear it. It was written as a kind of joke, as a pastiche, and it became a big hit and people love to sing along with it.” Thankfully, for fans who enjoy the tune, John promised to keep “Crocodile Rock” in set lists through the end of his farewell tour. “Who am I to say, ‘I am not going to play it’?” he argued. “I play to amuse people and to entertain people. But I have to say, when the last show is done at the end of the tour, I will never ever sing that song again.”
Bands Return to Touring
After a year almost entirely without concerts, May brought the triumphant return of summer tours. Many acts headed back on the road around this time, including Sammy Hagar and Foreigner. Others, such as Dead & Company, the Black Crowes and Green Day announced their rescheduled dates this month, but didn’t actually return to the stage until later in the summer. With concert calendars quickly filling up and hot weather accommodating outdoors events, May was a turning point for the return of live music. There would be many bumps in the road along the way, including several high profile acts dealing with COVID outbreaks within their respective camps, but there’s no denying that at this time of the year, it really felt like we’d turned a corner on the pandemic.