Backstage Secrets Hidden And Not Meant For The Audience
By | November 10, 2022
Our favorite musicians give us great performances in the studio and on stage, but backstage glimpses and behind-the-scenes facts tell us even more. They are human beings who sometimes keep it real and other times behave like divas. Some of their behavior is relatable and other things they do will blow your mind. In the end, it's a loop that tells you more about the music you already love -- take a look at these scenes of performers living everyday lives, and enjoy these tales of what happened backstage and stories behind the moments that made them pop stars and rock gods.
Which Two Spice Girls Had A Fling?
Part of the formula of the Spice Girls' success was doing things differently than girl groups that had preceded them. Rather than wear matching outfits, they decided to express their individuality, and the different, often conflicting fashion choices helped cultivate their five separate identities. Geri Halliwell tells a story that in the early days of the group, they all wore matching Adidas t-shirts for a performance and it just wasn't working.
Though they were known for being somewhat outrageous and free-spirited in their personal behavior, but Mel B.'s 2019 revelation was a bombshell: that she and Geri Halliwell had a one-off sexual encounter. Mel B. (that's Scary Spice) spilled the beans to Piers Morgan on his Life Stories show as the group members were all gearing up for their reunion tour:
It’s a fact. It just happened and we just giggled at it and that was it.
Halliwell (Ginger Spice, whose last name is Horner), said the story was untrue, and tension ensued, with some back-and-forth sniping in interviews. The Girls seemed to put it behind them once the tour got underway.
Linda Ronstadt Was 'Tricked' Into This Back Shot By Annie Leibovitz
In the 1970s, Linda Ronstadt became the so-called Queen of Rock -- not necessarily because she rocked hard (she wasn't exactly a female Bon Scott) but because of her massive success and image. She was playing stadiums and was a major sex symbol, and media loved her. When Annie Leibovitz came calling to shoot Ronstadt for a 1975 issue of Rolling Stone, the results were a wake-up call for Ronstadt.
Leibovitz dressed Ronstadt in red lingerie and set about getting some playful shots of the star -- including one taken while Ronstadt's back was turned. It had been agreed that Leibovitz would show Ronstadt and her manager Peter Asher the photos before publication. Leibovitz "brought the projector over and very politely showed us the pictures," Ronstadt told Goldmine. "We said, 'Oh, we can't use those,' and she said, 'I didn't say that you could choose them. I just said I could let you see them.' At which point Peter unceremoniously threw her out of the house."
And here's the tricky part about stardom -- the bed photo was indeed printed in the magazine over Linda's objection and, along with the sexy come-hither cover portrait, no doubt helped sell even more Linda Ronstadt records and concert tickets.
Britney Spears Went Full Sinead O'Connor
We're used to seeing rock stars going for shock value on stage -- and because it happens on stage as part of a performance, it's much less shocking. Pop star Britney Spears raised the bar for outrageous behavior when, in February 2007, she impulsively shaved her hair off in a salon as paparazzi outside snapped photos and video. The public-yet-private nature of the moment made it confusing; were we supposed to witness this, or not?
In truth, Spears was in a downward spiral, and the deranged behavior wasn't a celebrity performing for the tabloids. It was actually just deranged behavior. Spears was, at this point in her career, constantly hounded by a press posse happy to write story after story about a teen star who'd run off the rails. She had recently lost her aunt to ovarian cancer, and the day before the head-shaving incident she had checked into and out of a rehab center in Antigua. It was a dark time for the singer, and though the episode was theatrical, it was not an act.
Phil Spector Pulled A Gun On The Ramones
During the recording sessions for the End Of The Century album, producer Phil Spector pulled out a pistol and the band didn't like it -- that much is clear. Did he point it at them? Did he simply lay it on the mixing board to intimidate them? Did Phil Spector actually kidnap the Ramones at gunpoint? All of these accounts have been put forth and we may never know just how crazy it got.
The late bassist Dee Dee Ramone's account is pretty scary. He wrote in is autobiography that Spector
leveled his gun at my heart and then motioned for me and the rest of the band to get back in the piano room…. He only holstered his pistol when he felt secure that his bodyguards could take over. Then he sat down at his black concert piano and made us listen to him play and sing “Baby, I Love You” until well after 4:30 in the morning.
Jessica Simpson's Curves Torpedoed Her Christian Music Career
Jessica Simpson's career as a secular pop star might never have happened if she were flat-chested. She developed at age 13, and though she was attempting to sing Christian music for the spiritual benefit of churchgoing audiences, she made pastors nervous. She told The Mirror in 2004:
I had very big boobs at a young age and it kept me from a lot of things in the church. I couldn't sing solos because supposedly the men lusted when I would get up there. I was a teenager in overalls, and I didn't even really know what sexy was. But they were telling me I was too sexy to sing.
Simpson recorded an album of Christian music at age 14 but couldn't get gigs because church elders wouldn't put her in front of their congregations -- even though she attempted to conceal her double-D breasts by wearing two sports bras. She went into pop music and became a favorite of middle America because she continued to tout Christian values and wore less revealing outfits than Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It's all relative -- a girl who's too sexy to sing in church might still be the most wholesone thing on the pop chart.
Ozzy Osbourne Has Absolutely Bitten The Head Off Of Small Creatures, Part I
Here's another one of those rock 'n roll stories that has been embellished and misunderstood over the years -- did Ozzy Osbourne bite the head off a live ___? Yes he did, and it happened more than once. In March 1981, Ozzy was attending a meeting with his new label, and he was not exactly the most desirable artist. He'd been kicked out of Black Sabbath, and CBS had signed him for cheap, and his manager (later wife) Sharon thought that some sort of gesture of goodwill might endear him to the label.
The strange idea was that Ozzy would attend this sales meeting, and at some point he wouold stand up and say some nice words to the suits -- Let's have a great relationship, we're all one big team, that sort of thing -- and then he'd pull a dove out of each pocket and release them. Unfortunately, as was his style back then, Ozzy was completely drunk by the time he arrived at this 10 AM meeting, and the vibe was bad from the start. Here's how Ozzy described the climactic moment to Black Sabbath biographer Mick Wall:
I just remember this PR woman going on and on at me. In the end, I said, ‘Do you like animals?’ Then I pulled out one of these doves and bit its f---ing head off. Just to shut her up. Then I did it again with the next dove, spitting the head out on the table, and [the woman] fell on the floor screaming. That’s when they threw me out. They said I’d never work for CBS again.
Dancing In Beyonce's Crew Is Like Joining The Marines
Dancing for Beyonce is no easy job. Her dance captain Ashley McEverett, who's been with Bey for over a decade, told Metro UK that rehearsals can go on for three months -- and that they never nail the routine the first time. Not to Beyonce's satisfaction, at least. "People have breakdowns and exhaustion and get mentally and physically drained because it’s a lot putting on a huge production like this," McEverett said.
Beyonce is intense, but she's not heartless -- in fact, she once allowed a performance of "Single Ladies" to be completely disrupted mid-song for McEverett's personal reasons. McEverett's boyfriend came up on stage and, as the lyrics suggest, he "put a ring on it." After the touching moment, it was time to get back to work; McEverett danced the rest of the song as planned, only now she was wearing her new diamond ring.
Debbie Harry Of Blondie Was Inspired By The Ultimate Blonde
Debbie Harry is not Blondie -- she's the singer in a band called Blondie. But the band did get its name from Harry's experiences as an attractive blonde performer in grimy New York clubs. Men in the audience would try to get her attention with cat-calls, whistles, and, inevitably, "Hey, blondie..."
Harry told Elle UK that she dyed her hair platinum when she was 15. "'I felt drawn to Marilyn Monroe," she said. "She had a big effect on women and was such a magnetic character. Having come up through the era of misogyny, I felt she had been misunderstood and undervalued."
Jewel's Biggest Hit Was Written On A Drug Bust
Jewel's music career had an unconventional start -- after leaving Alaska for San Diego, she lived out of her van and played five-hour shows in coffee shops that were standing-room-only. Jewel was clearly about to be a big star, and was accumulating original songs for what would become her debut album Pieces Of You. As people in San Diego often do, she and her boyfriend Steve Poltz took a trip down to Mexico. "Jewel said she wanted to go out on a boat and go whale-watching, but we didn't have a boat," Poltz recalled for Entertainment Weekly. "We met these cops, and as if on cue, they asked if we wanted to go whale-watching."
"We were way out on the water," Poltz continued, "and [the Mexican cops] got a call and said, 'We don't have time to drop you off. We're trying to catch these drug smugglers, and there might be a shoot-out.' They asked us if we wanted AK-47s, so we had guns, and they caught the guys. We helped them load the pot back onto the boat and they took us back to shore."
"We got this picture of Steve holding a kilo of marijuana and me holding an AR-15 with the federales," Jewel added. At some point, during the course of this surreal getaway, Jewel wrote "You Were Meant For Me," the platinum-selling #2 single off her debut album.
The Beastie Boys And Madonna Played Good Cop-Bad Cop On The 'Virgin' Tour
Madonna may have been a massive pop star in 1986, but she wasn't about playing it safe. She wanted to bring some New York edge on the road with her, so she called Russell Simmons of Def Jam to try to book the Fat Boys as her opening act. Simmons regretted to inform her that the Fat Boys were not a Def Jam act, but offered his new trio the Beastie Boys, who were not only available but would work cheap.
And so the Virgin tour got underway, and audiences absolutely hated the Beasties, booing through their entire six-song set (they didn't have much material). In Beastie Boy fashion, the trio egged on the crowds, behaving like heels at a pro-wrestling event. Tour organizers wanted to drop them from the bill, but Madonna liked the energy, and insisted they stay on.
"The audience always booed them and they always told everyone to f*** off," Madonna later recalled. "I just loved them for that. I couldn’t understand why everyone hated them."
As an added bonus, the Beastie Boys proved to be a brilliant way of warming up the crowd for the headliner. When they left the stage, audiences were ecstatic to see them go, and seemed all the more excited that Madonna was coming out to rescue them.
Jennifer Lopez: Every Little Thing's Gotta Be All White
As a triple-threat singer/dancer/actress, Jennifer Lopez might be entitled to some diva behavior. Fans love a diva when her behavior is over-the-top and part of the act. That wasn't exactly the case when J.Lo's rider (essentially the list of requests/requirements an artist makes of a venue prior to showing up) surfaced circa 2001.
The Smoking Gun obtained the document, and it just seemed a bit excessive (especially considering the event in question was a charity thing). It stated that Lopez required a "45-foot trailer with triple side outs and two entry doors," and then there were the requirements for the dressing room:
- White room
- White flowers
- White tables/ and or tablecloths
- White drapes
- White candles
- White couches
Additionally she specified seven kinds of fruit, a musical selection of over 40 hip-hop/R&B artists, and "NO TOMATO, APPLE OR GRAPE JUICES."
Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes Of TLC Burned Her Boyfriend's House Down
As a member of the girl group TLC, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes rose to fame on the strength of chart-topping hits like "Waterfalls," "No Scrubs," and "Unpretty." Though Lopes was the creative force in the group, her personal life had its share of "unpretty" moments, including a troubled, allegedly abusive relationship with NFL player Andre Rison.
Rison and Lopes' relationship was known to be tempestuous. One night in 1994, when Rison opted to go out with his friends and leave her at home by herself, she dumped several pairs of his new shoes in a bathtub, doused them with lighter fluid, and tossed in a match. The fiberglass tub melted, and her plan to destroy his shoes ended up burning down his entire house. Lopes was convicted of first-degree arson. Strangely enough, she and Rison reconciled and stayed together (more or less) for another seven years. Lopes died in 2002 in a car crash in Honduras.
Sheila E. And Prince Were Secretly Engaged
For years, fans speculated on the nature of the relationship between Prince and his sexy drummer Sheila E. (who was also a solo artist in her own right). They were involved, but not exclusive -- Prince cultivated a bit of a harem scene. It disappointed Sheila Escovedo (that's what the E. stands for) that she had to share Prince with others.
Then, as she revealed in her autobiography, something strange happened in 1987 in "the middle of Europe." During a show, halfway through "Purple Rain," Prince turned to his drummer and mouthed "Marry me?" She said yes, then "[h]e blew me a kiss, turned to the audience, and took the most amazing guitar solo ever," she wrote. They kept their engagement secret, and though they were happy and (she believes) monogamous for a time, the relationship seemed to fall apart. They never got married, and Escovedo kept their ill-fated engagement a secret for over 25 years.
Shakira Did A Zaghroota At The Super Bowl. A What?
Shakira was born in Colombia, and she's been called the "Queen of Latin Music." But she comes by her hip-shaking ways through a different genetic path. She learned belly dancing from her paternal grandmother, who, like her paternal grandfather, was born in Lebanon and moved to New York City. "Shakira" is the feminine form of the Arabic word for "grateful."
During Shakira's performance at the 2020 Super Bowl, she looked into the camera, opened her mouth, and let out a ululation with very noticeable tongue action. Many viewers were puzzled, but those of Arabic heritage recognized that Shakira was attempting a zaghroota. The vocal sound, which is a little like a howl with a trilling element to it, is commonly made at Middle Eastern weddings as a sign of honor.
Pat Benatar Got Her Early Look From A Trashy 1953 Sci-Fi
When Pat Benatar began attracting notice in the late '70s, she was rocking a look that was heavy on Spandex and eye-liner, resulting in a kind of feline appeal. She'd stolen the idea from the campy 1953 science-fiction movie Cat-Women Of The Moon. Turns out she was way ahead of the trend, as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats musical would come along a few years later and make everyone want to be a spandex kitty.
It turns out Benatar is a fan of science-fiction, and not just the bad stuff. "[Cat-Women Of The Moon] this absolute cult, crazy, horrible movie," she told Reuters. "It’s the most awful thing. but I love sci-fi, and I love really junky sci-fi. I have to tell you, I saw Avatar seven times. I really love it."
Ozzy Osbourne Has Absolutely Bitten The Head Off Of Small Creatures, The Sequel
At a gig in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 20, 1982, Ozzy Osbourne committed the most legendary on-stage atrocity of all time. It was arguably an accident, although when you're living life the way Ozzy did back in the day, your accidents are well beyond the pale. Osbourne had a reputation for gross-out stuff, such as biting into raw liver on stage, and he liked to release seven doves into the audience for theatrical effect.
Osbourne had been warned by the venue not to pull any funny stuff with animals, and it seems he had no plans of doing so. Then someone in the audience threw an immobilized bat onto the stage. Was the bat alive but stunned, or was it already dead? We may never know the answer, but after Ozzy raised it to his mouth and chomped off its head, it was most definitely no longer alive. Osbourne said he believed it was a rubber bat, and only after he'd been into it did he realize it was not rubber. After the show, he went to a local hospital, where he received shots for tetanus and rabies.
Nirvana Were Asked To Leave Their Own Record Release Party
Nirvana's Nevermind was the band's major-label debut, and it's come to be considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Back in 1991, the band was thought to be the next big thing, but they were still young punks unaccustomed to fancy industry events. When they showed up to their own record release party at Re-bar in Seattle, it was hardly the low-key affair they'd requested. Surveying the abundance of industry suits (who were actually wearing suits), the band and their friends from the grunge scene felt like fish out of water.
They settled in, made nice with the guests, and partied anyway. There was beer at the event, and the band soon moved on to the "half gallon" of bourbon they had allegedly smuggled in. After two spins of Nevermind, they said they wanted to hear something else, and attempted to take over DJ duties. They ripped the Nirvana posters off the wall, then Krist Novoselic tossed a tamale at Kurt Cobain. Like the first shot fired at Fort Sumter, this small faux pas soon erupted into something larger, and the food fight was most definitely not how planners wanted the party to end. Re-bar owner Steve Wells was very nervous about losing his liquor license, and hustled the band and some others out the door.
This 1969 Film Kept Cher Out Of The Movie Business For Over A Decade
Cher today is known as not only a singer but a successful actress as well, with a string of triumphs in the '80s that included Silkwood, Mask, and Moonstruck (for which she won a Best Actress Oscar). But the acting career we all know, which began in 1982, might never have happened. In 1969, a desperate Sonny and Cher made a movie called Chastity -- written and produced by Sonny, starring Cher -- that was spectacularly terrible.
Sonny and Cher rose to fame with the chart-topping single "I Got You Babe" in 1965, but had seen their relevance evaporate by the late '60s. They went from hip to square in a hurry, and Sonny's taste in music was nothing like the heavy rock the kids wanted to hear. Cher was a beautiful 22-year old celebrity, and the couple got the not-unreasonable idea that the movies might want her if the pop charts didn't. They scraped together $500,000 of their own money to make Chastity, a road movie about a young woman on a journey of self-discovery, or something. Easy Rider it was not. The movie was a critical and commercial failure, and Cher didn't appear on the big screen for another 13 years.
Katy Perry Was Too Hot For 'Sesame Street'
Katie Perry has worn some pretty hot outfits, but was this princess getup one of them? In 2010, she filmed a music video, based on her single "Hot 'n Cold," with Elmo of Sesame Street. The video was intended to air as part of the show, but it was first posted to YouTube, and then all hell broke loose. Commenters found the video too risque.
Sesame Workshop decided not to air the video as part of the show -- because Perry had too much cleavage. The company put out a statement that began
Sesame Street has a long history of working with celebrities across all genres, including athletes, actors, musicians and artists. Sesame Street has always been written on two levels...
And didn't really say why the video was being pulled from the show. Perry was disappointed by the move, but got the last word. Soon after, she wore a low-cut Elmo t-shirt in a sketch on Saturday Night Live about acceptance of the female body.
Nicki Minaj Was Literally Holding Her Outfit Together At The VMAs In 2014
Cast your mind back to 2014 -- the single "Bang Bang" by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj was the jam of the year. If you saw the three of them singing it as the opening number of that year's Video Music Awards show, you might have noticed that Nicki Minaj seemed focused on her Yves Saint-Laurent dress -- she couldn't take her hands off it. In fact, it was falling apart and she was trying to prevent a Janet Jackson-style live-TV debacle.
Immediately after getting off stage, she was up-front with the gathered press. "You all know I had a wardrobe malfunction," she yelled. "We ran out of time getting the dress zipped up." She later explained her viewpoint to fans on Instagram -- unsurprisingly, she wasn't terribly fazed: "God is good. As long as a nipple didn't come out to play, I'm fine. Love my team."
Vince Neil And Ozzy Osbourne Allegedly Stole A Car
After being kicked off their tour with Kiss, Motley Crüe found a soulmate in Ozzy Osbourne. The singer took a liking to the group and brought them out as openers for his Bark at the Moon tour, which was essentially an excuse for everyone to lose their minds. This was the tour where the band really leveled up their bad behavior, and they went from sleeping with every woman they met to committing felonies.
Supposedly at a tour stop in Memphis, Tennessee Vince Neil and Ozzy went out for a night of partying and stumbled upon a car with its keys still in the ignition. Not wanting to let this opportunity go to waste, the guys stole the car and took it for a ride before cutting up the interior and smashing all the windows.
Joe Strummer Disappeared And Ran The Paris Marathon In 1983
The recording of Combat Rock had been rough on The Clash; the band was actually slowly breaking up and everyone needed a break leading up to the album's release date. Joe Strummer was set to go to Texas to hang out with his friend (and Clash opening act) Joe Ely. It may even have been a publicity stunt -- a few days of "Where's Joe?" to get the band into the music press. But Strummer did not go to Texas. He really did just disappear.
Strummer actually hid out in Paris, shacking up in a girlfriend's apartment, going to museums, growing a beard, and drinking his fill at the local brasseries. Oh, and he also ran the Paris marathon -- as you do. This wasn't Strummer's first marathon; he'd run the London marathon, and in both cases he followed a strict training regimen that he later shared with an interviewer:
Drink 10 pints of beer the night before the race. Ya got that? And don’t run a single step at least four weeks before the race… None at all. And don’t forget the 10 pints of beer the night before. But make sure you put a warning in this article, ‘Do not try this at home.’ I mean, it works for me and Hunter Thompson but it might not work for others. I can only tell you what I do.
ABBA's Agnetha Faltskog Has A Stalker Who's Become Famous -- For Stalking Her
ABBAmania ran wild all over the world -- the one place it didn't really catch on was the U.S. -- with the Swedish quartet mobbed by fans in country after country. Some artists can deal with the rabid adulation, but Agnetha Faltskog isn't one of them. In fact, her dislike of the spotlight made ABBA's eventual breakup a relief, and for 30 years afterward she lived a lifestyle generally described as "reclusive," tending to her dogs on her farm.
Faltskog's fear of persistent fans predated ABBA -- she had been a solo artist before the group formed, releasing four albums and notching a (Swedish) chart-topping single. Young, attractive and blonde, Faltskog was more or less the ideal Swedish babe, and the press tended to objectify her as such. Many years later, she attracked a stalker named Gert van der Graaf, a forklift operator who was 17 years younger than her, whom she actually dated for a couple of years. After their breakup, he became a superstalker. For his refusal to leave her alone, he has been deported and was subsequently barred from entering Sweden. To Faltskog's dismay, he keeps coming back. Van der Graaf is known in Sweden as the "Agnetha-man."
Christina Aguilera's Signature Tune Caused A Feud With Pink
Christina Aguilera had a lot of hits in her heyday, including "Genie In A Bottle," "What A Girl Wants," and "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)." Those were all chart-toppers, but it's a tune that stalled at #2 that became her anthem: "Beautiful." It's the sort of musical moment that seems fated -- a song that Christina Aguilera was born to sing. The song was written by Linda Perry (formerly of 4 Non Blondes) who reluctantly gave it to Aguilera.
Aguilera had sought Perry's help a year after Perry collaborated with Pink on Pink's album Missundaztood. The two singers had already rubbed each other the wrong way during sessions for "Lady Marmalade." Pink now felt like she was being copied by a rival, saying:
I took it really personally when [Perry] started working with other artists, particularly artists I didn't like. I don't think imitation is the highest form of flattery, I think it's annoying.
Lee Hazlewood Wanted Nancy Sinatra To Sing 'Boots' In A Super Creepy Style
Though her dad was Frank Sinatra, the man who really shaped Nancy Sinatra into the iconic sex kitten of the '60s was collaborator Lee Hazlewood. (In fact, it would have been pretty weird if Ol' Blue Eyes had been behind some of his daughter's risque persona.) When it came time to record the song that would define her career, Hazlewood wasn't satisfied with her vocal. In her autobiography, Nancy recalled that Hazlewood instructed her to sing like "a 14-year-old girl in love with a 40-year-old man."
They tried the song again, and the freshly-divorced Sinatra still wasn't giving it the vibe Hazlewood wanted. "I was still singing like Nancy NiceLady," she recalled. "Lee hit the talk-back switch in the booth and his deep voice blew my ears off.
For chrissake, you were a married woman, Nasty, you’re not a virgin anymore. Let’s do one for the truck drivers. Say something tough at the end of this one… Bite the words.
"Let's do one for the truck drivers" may be a sanitized quote -- witnesses who were in the studio say Hazlewood's directive was that she sing like "a sixteen-year-old girl who [copulates with] truck drivers." Yeah, you couldn't say that today.
Van Morrison Was On The Run From The Mob
In 1967, Van Morrison was the former lead singer of a successful group (Them) who'd put out a solo album nobody bought on Bang Records. Then on December 30 of that year, Bang's owner Bert Berns died and the New York mob ended up owning Morrison's contract -- it's not clear how they got their hands on it, but they're the mob. You've seen The Godfather. The mob gets stuff they want.
Warner Bros. wanted to sign Morrison, but the label would have to satisfy his new masters and buy him out of his existing contract. Though the music industry can often be a bit seedy, this was exceptional. Warner Bros. executive Joe Smith was instructed to bring $20,000 in cash to an address on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. He recalled:
I had to walk up three flights of stairs, and there were four guys. Two tall and thin, and two built like buildings. There was no small talk. I got the signed contract and got the hell out of there, because I was afraid somebody would whack me in the head and take back the contract and I’d be out the money.
The Go-Go's Lost The Beat
The happy pop tunes of The Go-Go's -- "We Got The Beat," "Vacation," "Our Lips Are Sealed" -- obscure the band's origins as well as its customary state of mind. The Go-Go's started out as a punk band on the L.A. scene, and though they cleaned up pretty nice for MTV, they were on a serious bender for most of their run from 1978 until their first breakup in '85.
The Go-Go's liked to party, as revealed in the 2020 documentary The Go-Go's. They may have shed their punk hairdos and outfits, but they lived that rock-star life as if there were, as Johnny Rotten would say, no future. For their first Saturday Night Live appearance, they spent the day drinking and then hit the booger sugar to pep up before the 11:30 curtain call. "We were like cross-eyed drunk,” said drummer Gina Schock. Over time, though, a little booze and a little blow just doesn't do it anymore, and guitarist Charlotte Caffey ended up with a serious heroin habit by 1984. “Charlotte was so out of control that Ozzy Osbourne threw her out of his dressing room,” Schock recalled. “That’s pretty f***in’ bad.”
Dolly Parton's Biggest Hits
Young Dolly Parton, as small as she was, always did everything in a big way. She had a big voice, big hair, big songs -- and, of course, a big bust line. Over the years, there has been much speculation as to exactly how big they are. The size most commonly given is 40DD, although photographic evidence suggests her cup size might be quite a bit larger. Whatever the exact measurement, Dolly has always been proud of her "girls" and fully admits she's used them to her advantage in her career. She has also had them insured -- for a reported $600,000.
"I don't know if I'm supporting them, or they're supporting me," she has said.
Even if you weren’t a fan of country music, chances are pretty darn good that you knew who Dolly Parton was, men and women alike. Dolly has always been comfortable with her attention-getting figure, even dubbing herself a "backwoods Barbie."
Warren Beatty Thought The Song Was About Him (And It Was, Partly)
For years, "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon provided one of the great mysteries in pop music -- just who was being addressed? It was a mystery for years. Everyone speculated, and the list of suspects included Warren Beatty, Michael Crichton, David Geffen, Kris Kristofferson, Terrence Malick, Jack Nicholson, Cat Stevens, John Travolta, and even Mick Jagger (who sang backup vocals on the song), but that’s all it was… speculation.
Over 40 years after the song was released, Simon opened up about the famous mystery. She reportedly had three different men in mind while composing the song. She revealed that Warren Beatty was the lover she'd written about regarding that famous second verse. For his part, Beatty still believes the entire song is about him -- continuing to prove her initial point.
The Who Blew Up On 'Smothers Brothers'
When The Who showed up to play "My Generation" on The Smothers Brothers Show in 1967, the hosts were prepared for a loud performance and the smashing of instruments -- that was The Who's shtick. Drummer Keith Moon planned to add some bang to the finale with a quantity of explosives in his drum kit. During the run-through, Moon was reportedly underwhelmed by the dull thud. Details are faint, but Moon either decided to pack his kick drum with extra flash powder himself or a stage hand took care of it because of his complaints.
Whatever the case, the televised performance ended with a much bigger bang. According to stage manager Bob LeHendro, the explosives that went off were about three times the planned amount. Pete Townshend has blamed his hearing loss on this incident, although that may just be his way of sweetening the story. Townshend has been known for cranking it up to 11 throughout his career, so his eardrums have been taking a beating for decades.
Duran Duran Didn't Want To Be Princess Diana's Favorite Group
Many British people are obsessed with the Royal Family, and devour news about them in the tabloid press -- but to another large portion of the citizenry, it's a silly if not disgusting cult. As Duran Duran was reaching the top echelon of musical fame, Princess Diana said they were her favorite group, which was not necessarily the endorsement they wanted. An American equivalent might be something like: You're an edgy, stylish band and then Oprah starts telling her book club to buy your album. Sure, a lot of people hold Oprah's opinion in high esteem -- a lot of moms and grandmothers.
"The Di thing was a bit naff (tacky, unfashionable)," Simon Le Bon recalled for The Guardian in 2003. "It was something your mum and dad liked, so there was a part of me that bristled at it."
Still, all these years later, Le Bon was able to crack a joke about their royal admirer: "Every time we opened the dressing-room door, there she bloody was - under the table trying to get an autograph. It was like, 'Can't your husband keep you under control?'"
Madonna's Sex Life Was An Open Book In 1992
Madonna was a whirlwind of creative energy during the first decade of her career, and the results were often controversial. After four albums and numerous risque music videos, she stopped beating around the bush and went all-in on sex. Not flirtation, or tease, or pulchritude -- sex. Her 1992 album Erotica was all about it, and the coffee table book that came out the following day, Sex, delivered.
Though somewhat forgotten today, Sex was the scandal of 1992, involving not only Madonna but a cast of celebrities she drafted to appear in the book with her. Vanilla Ice, Big Daddy Kane, Isabella Rossellini, Naomi Campbell and others posed with the Material Girl in various states of undress, although nobody was as frequently naked as the author herself. Like all good smut, the book was generally condemned but sold like hotcakes, moving 150,000 copies on its first day. Though many American localities banned it, and a number of countries tried to stop its import, Sex went on to sell 1.5 million copies worldwide.
Post Malone Has Portraits Of (At Least) Ten Musicians Tattooed On His Body
Post Malone has upwards of 80 tattoos on his body -- including over a dozen on his face, which is a bold choice. Some of his tattoos have personal meaning to him, while others are of the "just looks cool" variety. "Stay Away," over his right eyebrow, is just something he got to irritate his mother.
But a certain category of his ink is clearly meaningful -- the portraits of musicians who've influenced him. Across his knuckles he's got seven deceased heroes: Elvis Presley, Kurt Cobain, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lennon, George Harrison, Dimebag Darrell, and Bankroll Fresh. Malone also has a larger portrait of Cobain on his left arm, and he has the words "whatever" and "nevermind" (lyrics from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit") on his palms. He's got three other musicians on his left arm: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the rapper Lil' Peep, a close friend of Malone's who died in 2017. Two other music-related tattoos he has are the Motorhead mascot Snaggletooth and the words "So Far, So Good... So What," which is the title of an album by Megadeth. Add to all these the portrait of himself (dressed as a knight). That's a lot of musical ink, and there surely will be more.
Courtney Love Threatened To Beat A Journalist With An Oscar Statuette
In 1992, journalist Lynn Hirschberg wrote an article for Vanity Fair about Courtney Love, and in it she quoted Love as saying she "did heroin for a couple of months" after Nirvana performed on Saturday Night Live. This would have overlapped with her pregnancy with daughter Frances Bean Cobain -- taken at her word, Love appeared to have admitted that she did heroin while pregnant. After the child was born, child protective services removed her from her parents for a time and launched an investigation.
Love claimed the story was totally false, and seethed over the whole episode, at one point writing a song called "Bring Me The Head Of Lynn Hirschberg." For three years, the two never crossed paths, until they finally came face-to-face at an Oscars after party in 1995. In a fit of rage, Love grabbed the nearest heavy blunt object -- which happened to be the Oscar statuette Quentin Tarantino had won for his Pulp Fiction screenplay -- and threatened to smack Hirschberg with it.
Janis Joplin Performed At Woodstock, But Wasn't In 'Woodstock'
Janis Joplin was known for her partying ways throughout her career, having been a hard drinker since high school. Her favorite libation was the whiskey liqueur Southern Comfort, and she was so often photographed holding a bottle that the company bought her a fur coat to thank her for the publicity. The lady liked to have a drink or two.
Joplin played Woodstock in August 1959, but her performances were not used in the famous film, nor were they included on either of the original albums Woodstock and Woodstock 2. Scheduling was an issue throughout the festival, and Joplin and her crew, the Kozmic Blues Band, were kept waiting for 10 hours before they could finally take the stage. Janis being Janis, she indulged -- it's rumored that she took heroin, and famous photographs show her drinking Champagne while waiting. Whatever she had in her system, it affected her performance, and she refused to let the documentarians include her footage in the movie.
James Brown Needed His Cape Man
James Brown was one of the most electrifying showmen in music, but a James Brown show was not complete without Danny Ray. During the emotional song "Please, Please, Please," Brown would crumple on stage, dropping to his knees as if too drained to go on. A man would emerge from the wings with a cape. That was Danny Ray, whose job for 45 years was "cape man" for James Brown.
Ray wasn't actually there to take Brown off the stage -- it was part of the act. Ray would throw the cape over Brown's shoulders and begin to shuffle the star away -- only to have Brown throw off the cape, seize the mic, and continue with the song. He'd get through another verse, then go down again. Ray would again put the cape on him and Brown would again throw it off and return to the mic, pantomiming physical and emotional pain, perhaps even physically steadied by his backup singers. Watching James Brown get through "Please, Please, Please" was like watching the last 10 minutes of Rocky. Only better, because James Brown had his very own cape man, Danny Ray.
Ray was a close friend of Brown's whom Brown called the "second hardest working man in show business." When Ray died in 2021, James Brown's daughter laid a cape over his coffin.
Tupac Shakur Stopped Flavor Flav From Committing A 'Murk'
Tupac Shakur was a New York rapper before he headed west, and if you were coming up in the New York scene in the '80s, Public Enemy was the rap royalty deserving of respect. This photo, taken backstage at the 1989 American Music Awards, shows a teenaged 'Pac hanging out with Flavor Flav, Public Enemy's resident wild man. At this stage, Shakur had just begun to write rhymes and perform. He got his big break the next year when he was invited to join Digital Underground.
Many years later, Flav shared a story from the same time period, about how Shakur prevented him from committing murder (or "murk" in Flav slang). "Tupac was 17 or 18 years old when he stopped me from hitting this guy over the head with a fire extinguisher," Flav said. "If I had hit this guy over the head, the whole tour would have had to go home, I would have gone to jail, I might not be sitting here talking to you today. So I really got to thank God for Tupac stopping me from committing a murk."
Tom Jones Was A Panty (And Room Key) Magnet
Tom Jones, he of the big voice behind "It's Not Unusual" and "What's New Pussycat?," has seen a lot of ladies' underwear in his day -- often hurtling right at him. The phenomenon first occurred when Jones was singing at the Copacabana in New York in 1968. Because the venue was a supper club, the band was on stage but the singer was on the same level as the audience, who sat at tables within arm's reach.
"I was perspiring a lot," he explained to NPR's Terry Gross, "so these ladies were handing me table napkins. And then this one woman stood up and took her underwear off and, you know, handed them to me. And it was written up in the newspaper the following day." Throwing panties on stage soon became the customary way of showing appreciation at a Tom Jones concert. When he took his act to Vegas later that year, it wasn't just lingerie landing on the stage -- many smitten fans also tossed their hotel room keys at the singer.
Now, why he has chosen to wear a pair of ladies' underwear during this boxing workout, that's a mystery...
David Lee Roth Had A Color-Coded System For Delivering Backstage Passes To Female Fans
If you're trying to put on a good rock show you really can only devote so much time to scoping girls in the audience. If you're going to multitask like this, you need to have a system. David Lee Roth of Van Halen was known to be one of the biggest post-show partiers of all time, and after the concert was over he wanted a backstage area packed with young ladies. Here's how he worked it.
MTV VJ Mark Goodman explained that Roth "had the barriers in front of the stage painted different colors on the side that faced him: red, blue, and green, to denote the different areas of the audience. He’d look for hot girls in the crowd, and between songs, go to his assistant Eddie on the side of the stage, and say, 'Green, right, fourteen rows back, three seats in.'" The assistant would deliver backstage passes as instructed, and after the show "there’d be twenty-five girls in the dressing room who all thought they’d been singled out to be with Dave that night."
David Bowie Didn't Remember Recording 'Station To Station'
David Bowie survived the mid-'70s, but barely. He had developed a massive cocaine habit while simultaneously reducing his diet to peppers and milk. He was living in Los Angeles at the time, where he made the film The Man Who Fell To Earth in 1975. The character he played in that movie, Thomas Jerome Newton, was the precursor to the character of the Thin White Duke, introduced in the opening track of Bowie's album Station To Station, recorded in late 1975 and released in 1976. The Thin White Duke also became Bowie's stage persona during this period.
This is all lovely Bowie history, but it has the unusual twist of being history that was a mystery to Bowie. Biographer Nicholas Pegg wrote that "Bowie himself remembers almost nothing of the album's production, not even the studio, later admitting 'I know it was in L.A. because I've read it was.'"
Thanks to his drug habit and odd diet, Bowie was simply not in his right mind in '75-'76, a condition that another biographer described as "a state of psychic terror."
Mariah Carey Can't Dance
Among your glamorous female pop performers, you have your dancers -- actually, it's most of them. From Beyonce to Britney, J-Lo to Shakira, they all seem to shake a tailfeather pretty well. But not Mariah Carey. Her thing is the voice. If you see her on stage, you will see a lot of movement around her, but you won't see her dancing.
"We create the dances to structure everything around her, all the moving, all the staging to make her feel involved and like we’re encompassing her," her former creative director Anthony Burrell told Metro. "It was really effective because she’s not a mover at all." While she doesn't dance, it should be noted that in the physical sense, she does technically move -- as in change location and altitude -- in true diva style. "She did have this one saying, 'Pick me up, put me down,'" Burrell explained. "So whenever she said 'pick me up,' you pick her up. That’s why I had to hire guys that were aware… Guys that were big enough to pick her up and put her down."
Gram Parsons' Body Was Stolen And Driven Across Country
When country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons died of an overdose in Joshua Tree, California, there was a typical disagreement over what the deceased would have wanted. Phil Kaufman, Parsons' road manager, who had accompanied the musician on numerous trips to Joshua Tree National Park, knew that Parsons wished to be cremated and have his ashes scattered there.
Parsons' stepfather wanted him buried in Louisiana, and the body was shipped there. But Kaufman was intent on honoring his late friend's wishes. To this end, he and an accomplice managed to steal Parsons' body and drive it back to California from New Orleans in a hearse. At Joshua Tree Park, them men attempted to burn Parsons' body in the coffin, but only partially succeeded. They were arrested by police, and the remains of Parsons' remains were shipped back to New Orleans and buried there.
There is no law against stealing a dead body, so Kaufman and is friend were only fined $750 for stealing Parsons' coffin.
Stevie Nicks Brought Her Own Coven Of Witches On The Road
In 1975, Stevie Nicks (with her then-boyfriend Lindsey Buckingham) joined Fleetwood Mac, and immediately made significant contributions to the group's successful self-titled 1975 album. "Rhiannon" and "Landslide" are not only great Fleetwood Mac songs, they are among the greatest songs of the '70s. When the band went out on tour in support of the album, Stevie Nicks ended up miserable.
Nicks developed a close friendship with bandmate Christine McVie, which helped her overcome the loneliness she was feeling. She also attracted a mysterious group of attractive blondes who dressed in flowy black garments -- in other words, the Stevie Nicks look. "My first impression of touring with Fleetwood Mac was seeing Stevie and her acolytes," Kenny Loggins recalled. "She seemed to collect talented, young, beautiful girls who would then dress like her and follow her around all the time.”
The Outlawz Smoked Tupac Shakur's Ashes
Tupac Shakur often dropped hints about death in his lyrics -- which gave fans plenty to obsess about after the rapper was murdered in 1996 at the age of 25. In one tune, "Black Jesuz," recorded with his group The Outlawz, he issued some odd instructions:
We die clutchin' glasses, filled with liquor bomblastic
Cremated, last wish is n****s smoke my ashes
The group did indeed smoke their former leader's ashes. Speaking to Vlad TV, they described a wake-like event at the beach that included things Shakur's favorite things, like chicken wings and orange soda. At one point, they rolled some marijuana cigarettes, with a dash of Tupac ash added, and smoked them. "That was a request that he had," one member of The Outlawz said. "Now, how serious he was about it? We took it serious."
Neil Young And Rick James Were In The Mynah Birds And Signed To Motown
It's a fact that Neil Young and Rick James were in a band called The Mynah Birds, and it's also a fact that they were signed to Motown Records. The question is -- how did this happen? Rick James was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, and joined the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted into the Army. This plan ran aground when James missed his reserve sessions aboard the USS Enterprise, and was ordered to go to Vietnam. James fled for Toronto.
James befriended local Toronto musicians, including Levon Helm (of The Hawks) and Neil Young. James formed The Mynah Birds, who played a mixture of soul, rock and folk music, and they even released a single on Columbia records. They headed to Detroit to record for Motown, and Young joined the group there. When Motown found out that James was a fugitive, they put the kibosh on working with him. While James was away doing five months hard labor to atone for his draft-dodging, Neil Young bought a hearse and drove west, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with four others. After his release, James formed a new Mynah Birds in Toronto and again took them to Motown to record, but very little of the music they made has ever seen the light of day.
Nico May Have Invented Goth
Lou Reed and John Cale resisted the idea of former model Nico joining the Velvet Underground, but their mentor Andy Warhol overruled them. As a visual artist, Warhol saw a powerful stage presence in the statuesque blonde chanteuse. Not everyone felt "statuesque" was a virtue. Guitarist Sterling Morrison bluntly said, “We’ve got a statue in the band.”
The truth is, Nico helped the Velvets get a contract with MGM, who, like Warhol, saw her as a star. She soon moved on, releasing her solo debut Chelsea Girls, and her second album, a total downer called The Marble Index. The latter was a flop -- producer John Cale remarked that "You can’t sell suicide." Maybe not, but bands that pioneered got rock, including Bauhaus and The Cult, would later cite The Marble Index as an inspiration.
How To Get Kicked Out Of A Band When You're Playing In Germany, By Grace Slick
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane (later Jefferson Starship and then just Starship) was always the living incarnation of psychedelic San Francisco weirdness. She cared very little for societal norms, she did tons of drugs, she slept with whomever she wanted and didn't mind telling stories afterward. And she loved to shock people, particularly audiences.
Sometimes, though, a wicked sense of humor and an abundance of alcohol is a recipe for disaster. In 1978, Jefferson Starship was in Hamburg, Germany, to play a concert and Slick got incredibly loaded. And the things that struck her as funny in this state were not funny at all. She took to the stage taunting the audience, repeatedly asking the question "Who won the war?" She called them Nazis and gave the heil-Hitler salute. The audience rioted and set the band's instruments on fire, then tossed them in the river.
Slick was asked by Paul Kantner to resign from the group, and she did.
If You Want To Meet Robert De Niro, Write A Song About Him
The girl group Bananarama had a string of hits in the '80s (moreso in their native UK than the States), and one of them was the curiously titled "Robert De Niro's Waiting." They have explained that the song is about fantasizing about an unattainable celebrity as a mechanism to avoid a real-world relationship. There's also a subtext of date rape that the band sometimes touted, but at other times denied.
Keren Woodward, Siobhan Fahey and Sara Dallin really were big De Niro fans, and the song did earn them a meeting with the star himself. "When the song came out, he was in the UK filming Brazil, and he invited us for a drink at Kettners in Soho," they recalled for The Guardian. "We were all sitting there when this guy knocked on the window. It was a freezing winter’s night and he had a bobble hat and glasses on, and we just thought: 'Who is that person trying to catch our attention?' We’d no idea it was him. He had his producer with him, who did most of the talking. I think De Niro was quite shy. But of course the whole place was filled with our friends and boyfriends – all sitting at different tables trying to sneak a look at him."
Taylor Swift Was Shocked When Two Swifties Got Engaged Backstage
Taylor Swift is famous for making her private life public -- notably writing love songs and breakup songs that are clearly about her many real-life celebrity boyfriends. Her most shocking backstage moment barely involved her at all. In 2018, an excited fan was meeting her when he got down on one knee, produced a ring, and proposed -- to his girlfriend, who was also there.
The couple had met at a Taylor Swift concert five years earlier and were self-described "Swifties" who'd forged their romantic relationship to the soundtrack of Taylor's albums. The proposal caught Swift off guard; in tweets that went viral, the groom wrote that "[Taylor] called me a baller and said that she is never surprised. She also said we were incredible and to go get married!!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE?!?!"
Though it happened right in front of her and had a lot to do with her music, Swift was not in on it -- she was really just the backdrop. She acknowledged this with the hashtag "#thirdwheel" in an Instagram post that earned 2.3 million likes.
Led Zeppelin's John Bonham Served Groupies A Jimmy Page Sundae
Because of their massive fame, Zeppelin had to lock themselves in their hotel rooms every night after concerts to avoid being swarmed by a mob of fans. The bandmates had to find creative ways to entertain themselves, and most of their ideas involved hardcore partying and sex with groupies. One night during their American tour, drummer John Bonham, aka “Bonzo,” and guitarist Jimmy Page became very inventive in how to escape their boredom.
Bonzo dressed as a waiter and rolled Jimmy Page, fully naked and covered in whipped cream, on a service cart into a room full of groupies. Needless to say, the girls dove into their human sundae. The story has been neither confirmed nor denied by the bandmates.
The Runaways Modeled Themselves On Specific Musical Heroes
The Runaways were the first truly successful all-female rock band. They weren't the first such band to have a top-40 single -- that would be Fanny, whose "Charity Ball" made it to #40 in 1971. Though The Runaways never cracked the top 40 in the States, their signature tune "Cherry Bomb" went to #1 in Japan, and when they visited that country to tour in 1977 they were mobbed by fans in scenes recalling Beatlemania. The Runaways managed to exist for four years (1975-79), and released four studio albums.
Due to departures and replacements, there were nine members of The Runaways, with the classic five-piece lineup staying together from late 1975 through mid-'77. Many years after their breakup, in the 2004 documentary Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways, it was revealed that these members had each modeled their rock personas on their favorite established musicians. Keyboardist Cherie Currie took after David Bowie; guitarist Joan Jett emulated Suzi Quatro; guitarist Lita Ford claimed Ritchie Blackmore (of Deep Purple) and Jeff Beck; drummer Sandy West took after Roger Taylor (of Queen); and bassist Jackie Fox emulated Gene Simmons.
Def Jam Dropped The Beastie Boys Because They Started A Riot In Liverpool
As a young act supporting their debut album Licensed To Ill, the Beastie Boys gained a reputation that had parents everywhere fearing for their children's well-being when the Beasties rolled into town. Their show (like their lyrics at the time) was full of frat-boy humor and included a giant inflatable phallus, and they were known to trash a hotel room -- but they weren't really dangerous by rock 'n roll standards.
That is, until the final date of the tour, which was a show in Liverpool, England. The dynamic between the crowd and the rappers was confrontational from the start. The Beasties performed for just 12 minutes. Things turned ugly, and Ad Rock started lobbing cans of beer into the audience. As a riot broke out, the crowd was dispersed with tear gas. Unfortunately, one of the beer cans that was either thrown or deflected (using a baseball bat) by Ad Rock hit a female audience member in the face. The rapper was arrested and hauled into court, and the whole ugly incident led to the Beasties' being dropped by their label, Def Jam.
The Bee Gees' Fall Was Predicted By A T-shirt
Sometimes the tiniest things prove to be grave omens. In June 1979, the Bee Gees were the biggest group in the world, riding high on a disco sound that had launched with their several contributions to Saturday Night Fever, the disco blockbuster with one of the most successful movie soundtracks ever. The three brothers seemed bulletproof as they donned their white getups and prepared to wow the appreciative crowds.
Maurice Gibb had an odd artifact he pulled out backstage for a laugh -- it was a t-shirt he'd found that said "Shoot the Bee Gees." His brothers did indeed laugh -- shoot the Bee Gees? It was inconceivable that anyone would bear ill will toward a group of such unbridled success. But in the streets, a vicious backlash against disco had been percolating, and when it struck, the Bee Gees were indeed the primary target. In the space of six months, the group went from being a Beatlesesque phenomenon, dominating the airwaves, to pariahs who were effectively banned from radio. It may be the most precipitous fall from grace in music history. They hadn't been literally shot, but careerwise, the Bee Gees were dead.
'No Brown M&Ms' For Van Halen -- For Good Reason
When Van Halen rolled into town, the band had a rider like any other band does -- but Van Halen's contained a very specific provision that has become the most famous demand in rock-rider history. In the "Munchies" section, there existed the line-item "M&Ms (ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES)." While this has often been mentioned as an example of a band being whimsical jerks, making some poor third-string caterer sort through the M&Ms for no reason, it was actually an important check on the venue. If there were brown M&Ms in the bowl, the band went nuts, and here's why.
David Lee Roth explained it in his autobiography:
We’d pull up with nine eighteen-wheeler trucks, full of gear, where the standard was three trucks, max. And there were many, many technical errors — whether it was the girders couldn’t support the weight, or the flooring would sink in, or the doors weren’t big enough to move the gear through. The contract rider read like a version of the Chinese Yellow Pages. ... So just as a little test, in the technical aspect of the rider, it would say “Article 148: There will be fifteen amperage voltage sockets at twenty-foot spaces, evenly, providing nineteen amperes …” This kind of thing. And article number 126, in the middle of nowhere, was: “There will be no brown M&M’s in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.”
It was Van Halen's way of testing the venue staff. The presence of brown M&Ms indicated to the band that those responsible hadn't read the contract, and who knows what other -- actually serious -- problems might arise.
KISS Wore Their Iconic Makeup Because They Were Too Physically Large For Glam
In the 1970s, KISS's full-costume, full-makeup look was eye-catching but not as outrageous as you might think. That's because they came up as the glam-rock or glitter-rock scene was thriving. KISS's look was sort of the logical progression from David Bowie's various personae, as well as stylish costumed artists like Parliament-Funkadelic and Gary Glitter. There was a lot of costumery going on. "Boys were basically acting like girls and putting on makeup," Gene Simmons recalled for a fanzine in the '90s. "Y'know, all the skinny little guys, hairless boys."
KISS's problem was that they were neither skinny nor hairless, according to Simmons:
Well, we were more like football players; all of us were over 6 feet tall, and it just wasn't convincing! The very first pictures we took when the band first got together, we looked like drag queens. But we knew we wanted to get outlandish. We weren't a Grateful Dead kind of band that would get onstage and look worse than the roadie delivering our stuff. Which doesn't negate what the Dead and other bands were doing; it just wasn't us. ... That's where the makeup and dressing up came in.
Elton John And Rod Stewart, Soccer Stars
Music and sports have often been linked -- many rock stars and rappers are sports fans like anyone else. But few in the world of pop music have taken it as far as Elton John, a lifelong fan of the British soccer club Watford FC. By the mid-'70s, Sir Elton was one of the biggest rock stars on the planet, and in 1976, he realized his boyhood dream of becoming Club Chairman of Watford. The Elton John era was a prosperous one for the club, which became one of the best teams in the UK within seven years.
Another rock star of Elton John's vintage is often associated with British soccer -- Rod Stewart. Though Elton John was never going to be a professional player, the naturally athletic Rod Stewart was very good at the sport, and captained his school team. As Stewart became a famous musician, the story of his soccer chops was considerably upgraded, to the point where it was taken as a fact that he "could have gone pro." Stewart told the underwhelming truth in his 2012 autobiography: in 1960, he tried out for Brentford FC, but didn't get called back, and that was it. He had no regrets with his career path: "Well, a musician's life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music, and I can't do that and play football."
Glenn Frey Of The Eagles Was A Fighter
The late Glenn Frey was one of the founding members of The Eagles, and though their music was often about peaceful easy feelings, Frey himself tended to get into altercations. This had something to do with the general interpersonal dynamics of the band, where almost everyone was at war with everyone else at one time or another. One night, the band was backstage after its second encore and Randy Meisner said he didn't want to sing "Take It To The Limit" in a third encore. The song features extremely high notes, and Meisner was the only one who could sing it properly.
Frey wasn't having that, and got into a physical altercation with Meisner. By the end of the year, Meisner had been pushed out of The Eagles. But that's not the most famous battle Frey was involved in. In 1980, a simmering feud between Frey and guitarist Don Felder erupted on stage, during a concert. As the band progressed through its set, Felder and Frey traded jabs over the hot mic, each promising to kick the other's ass after the show. An actual fight was narrowly avoided, but that was it for the band -- The Eagles were done.
The Cause Given For Bon Scott's Death Was 'Misadventure'
As AC/DC's frontman, Bon Scott was one of the legendary voices in hard rock, singing on the classics "Highway To Hell," "TNT," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" and "It's A Long Way To The Top." Though AC/DC became a long-running rock institution, Scott died just five years into the group's existence. After a night of drinking with some acquaintances in London, Scott passed out in the passenger seat of the Renault they were driving. The others left Scott there in the car, parked in front of 67 Overhill Road in the East Dulwich neighborhood, to sleep it off.
The next morning, when his friends returned to check on the rocker, they found Scott slumped over in the vehicle, covered in vomit. The 33-year-old singer was dead. Conspiracy theorists speculated that Scott was murdered, but in all likelihood, his death was far less glamorous. He most likely choked to death on his own vomit, just as Jimi Hendrix had before him and as John Bonham of Led Zeppelin would do a few months later. The official cause of death was listed as “acute alcohol poisoning” causing “death by misadventure.”
Ariana Grande's Signature Ponytail Serves A Purpose
Former Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande has become one of the queens of the pop chart, and throughout her successful music career she's sported a high ponytail. While it's a styling choice that has become her signature look, it's about more than aesthetics. Well, it's an aesthetic choice that hides an aesthetic flaw dating to her days playing Cat Valentine on the Nick shows Victorious and Sam And Cat.
The role took a toll on Grande's natural hair. "I had to bleach my hair and dye it red every other week for the first 4 years of playing Cat… as one would assume, that completely destroyed my hair," she explained in a Facebook post in 2014. "I wear it in a pony tail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down."
Travis Barker And Shanna Moakler Feuded On MySpace
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker married Playboy Playmate and former Miss USA Shanna Moakler in 2004. Two years later, Barker filed for divorce, and soon afterward the couple carried on a public spat that should be included in any How Not To Use Social Media textbook. The social media medium of choice back in those days was MySpace.
Moakler posted a fairly harmless statement to fans of their reality show, Meet The Barkers: "I am very devestated [sic] and very much heartbroken over the demise of my marriage and for the upset of my family....I wanted nothing more to overcome the challenges we faced but failed."
Barker struck back with his own MySpace post in all-caps that gave a vicious account of life with Shanna, painting a portrait of a spoiled woman who slept most of the day, didn't take a role in parenting their children, disappeared to get her nails done, didn't come home for dinner and instead stayed out drinking with her friends. Barker also speculated that she was having an affair.