The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) was formed in California during 1948, the name inspired by daring bomber pilots of World War II. Bored by post-war, suburban conformity, the Hells Angels hit the road on shiny, impressive, ear-splitting Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
The Hells Angels seemed tailor made for the youth culture of the 1950s and 1960s: longhaired, rebellious, and always ready to party. But those parties invariably turned sour.
One of the biggest parties of all sealed their reputation for murder. At a Rolling Stones concert outside of San Francisco in December 1969, the Hells Angels stabbed a spectator just a few feet from Mick Jagger. A Hells Angel member, Alan Passaro, was later acquitted of murder on grounds of self-defense.
Law enforcement agencies classify the gang as one of the big four outlaw motorcycle gangs, contending members carry out widespread violence, drug dealing, trafficking in stolen goods and extortion.
But Hells Angels advocates assert that bikers as a whole are decent, but that one percent of them are bad apples hiding behind the promise of a free-wheeling lifestyle.