As if collaborating with Bruno Mars wasn’t inviting enough of a backlash, Red Hot Chili Peppers performed without their instruments plugged in during their cameo in Sunday’s Superbowl half-time spectacle, fuelling angry accusations on social media that the band were – shock horror – miming. Yes, children are being tortured by Assad forces in Syria, Putin’s reign of oppression continues unopposed in Russia and the NSA are snooping on our every Snapchat, but this is the global event Twitter users see fit to start furiously foaming at the mouth over.
Bassist Flea took to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ website in an attempt to calm the furore, insisting that the band were offered no other option by Super Bowl organisers NFL, and following careful consideration decided to go ahead and appear at the event in spite of having to mime. “We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig,” he wrote. “Could we have plugged in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre-recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance.”
And anyways, as Flea reminds us, the Chilis were once thrown off of Top Of the Pops during rehearsals “because we refused to mime properly – I played bass with my shoe, John played guitar atop Anthony’s shoulders, and we basically had a wrestling match onstage.” Fair enough, we say. It got us thinking – which other artists have made a mockery of having to mime?
Passing instruments around like a wailing amplified version of Pass the Parcel, no amount of cheap overlay effects were able to cover up Iron Maiden’s antics taking the piss out of German TV producers who tried to make them mime to their hit ‘Wasted Years’ in 1986.
As makers of ultra serious proggy opera rock, Muse aren’t exactly renowned for their sense of humour. Which is what made their appearance on an Italian chat show playing ‘Uprising’ a brilliant surprise. Just look at Matt Bellamy’s gurning drum face. Excellent.
When Nirvana weren’t allowed to play their instruments live on Top Of The Pops, Kurt Cobain responded by singing the song in a deep Jim Morrison baritone, not even pretending to play. Special shout out to Dave Grohl for his cheerleader dance moves behind the drum kit.
All About Eve
All About Eve’s ‘Martha’s Harbour’ has an eerie stillness to it. Which is probably why Julianne Regan spent the first half of their Top of the Pop stiller than a corpse. Seriously, she looks like she’s waiting on a connecting train from Paddington, not ‘performing’ to millions on prime time TV.
Can you believe Fran Healy had the nerve to plead with listeners to ‘feed the world’ on that Live Aid single a few years ago after all the food wasted in this Top Of The Pops skit? What a total bastard (just kidding, Fran).
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Another Top of the Pops classic, this. Liam really doesn’t fancy that guitar solo, does he?