Top 5 Hells Angels Facts

VOICE OVER: Chris Masson
Script written by William Regot

A member of the “Big Four” outlaw motorcycle gangs, Hells Angels is the one of the most notorious biker groups in the world.  Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts.  In today's installment, we're counting down the five most interesting facts you may not know about the Hells Angels.

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Script written by William Regot

Top 5 Hells Angels Facts

A member of the “Big Four” outlaw motorcycle gangs, Hells Angels is the one of the most notorious biker groups in the world.  Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts.  In today’s installment, we’re counting down the five most interesting facts you may not know about the Hells Angels.

#5: Hells Angels See Themselves More as a Club than a Gang

That’s because the term gang implies they’re a criminal organization.  They like to think of themselves as a brotherhood who enjoys freedom and the open road.  However, law enforcement would disagree with that assessment.  The ATF, FBI, and the U. S. Justice Department, as well as numerous international law enforcement agencies view Hells Angels and motorcycle clubs like them as a threat comparable to the mafia.  The Feds have accused Hells Angels of engaging in illegal activities such as dealing drugs, gun running, and prostitution, and their clubhouses have been raided on several occasions.  They have also been known to engage in turf wars with rivals.  One notable example is the war fought against the Rock Machine in Quebec from 1994 to 2002, which resulted in the deaths of more than 150 people, including several innocent bystanders.

#4: They Were Security Detail for an Infamous Rolling Stones Concert

To handle a crowd of 300,000 fans, Hells Angels from the San Francisco area were hired for the now infamous Altamont Speedway concert in December 1969.  In exchange for their services, they were paid 500 dollars worth of free beer.  The concert was a disorganized disaster where one of the members of Jefferson Airplane, who was there as a lineup act, was knocked out by a Hells Angels security guard, and 18-year-old concertgoer Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by Alan Passaro, another member of the Hells Angels.  Passaro was put on trial for murder but was acquitted on self-defense.  In the aftermath of the tragic concert, which many cite as the end of the hippie era, Mick Jagger made disparaging remarks publicly about the Hells Angels.  The club did not take kindly to these remarks, and in 2008, it was revealed a couple of Hells Angels allegedly plotted to have Jagger killed.  

#3: Hells Angels Does Charity Work

Hells Angels has held events for various causes including the Red Cross, Toys for Tots, and Wounded Warrior, from poker runs to toy drives.  In December 2014, a chapter from Fresno, California bought all the bikes from a local Walmart and donated them to children living in a homeless shelter.  A saying commonly attributed to them is, “When we do right, nobody remembers.  When we do wrong, nobody forgets.”  But their good deeds don’t go completely unnoticed.  Some charity events have been kept under surveillance by SWAT teams in case they need to jump in, and in May 2016, more than 70 law enforcement officers showed up to fundraiser for a special needs school in Valpraiso, Indiana, even though the Hells Angels had done nothing wrong in particular.

#2: Their Patches Have Secret Meanings

Outside of the Boy and Girl, there’s probably no other organization that places as much importance on badges. Some seem obvious, but others are more abstruse. For example, the number 81.  8 stands for H, the eighth letter in the alphabet, and 1 stands for A.  And HA, of course, are the initials for Hells Angels.  Another example is 1er%– which doesn’t refer to the rich elite– but rather any outlaw biker group.  This goes back to the 1960’s when the American Motorcycle Association reportedly claimed that 99 percent of people who ride a motorcycle are upright citizens, and one percent of them are beer swilling, hellraising troublemakers.  If you see someone who has a “Death Head” logo on the back of their jacket, that means they’re a full member, also known as “Full Patch.”  Unless they’re faking, in which case, God help them if they ever come across real Hells Angels.

#1: Hells Angels Sued Disney

You would think a group that flouts the rules like the Hells Angels wouldn’t rely on the courts for justice, but hey, business is business.  Incorporated in the U.S and in Canada, Hells Angels are very protective of their trademarked name and logos, and they don’t appreciate anyone infringing on their intellectual property.  In 2007, they filed a lawsuit against Disney, claiming the movie “Wild Hogs” featured the Hells Angels name and logo without their permission.  However, they later dropped the suit after Disney assured them that their name and logo would be taken out of the movie. The Hells Angels have also sued fashion designer Alexander McQueen, Toys “R” Us, and Marvel Comics, among others in an attempt to protect their trademarked name and logo.

So, what do you think?  Would you hire the Hells Angels to work security?  For more Harley riding top 10s and Wild Hog top 5s published every day, be sure to subscribe to