Madonna kisses Britney. What better way to flog your badly-selling folk-tronica album (‘American Life’) than open the VMA’s with a mash up of your biggest hit (‘Like A Virgin’) and a couple of lady kisses with Britney and X-Tina?
The Beatles play their last gig on a roof. The Fab Four’s final live performance took place on top of Apple Records’ office in London in January 1969, before getting closed down by the police.
Super Furry Animals buy a blue tank. Whilst others have spent their £10K marketing budgets on launch parties involving dwarves, goats and stacks of Bolivian marching powder, Welsh surrealists SFA bought an ex-army tank, painted it blue, added a soundsystem and took it around festivals.
Lady Gaga steps out in a meatdress. Oh wasn’t it offal? Ahem. Perhaps the peak of Gaga’s performance art outfits was her dress made entirely from meat which she wore to 2010’s VMAs.
KLF’s say farewell with a dead sheep. After opening the ’92 Brit awards with grindcore band Extreme Noise Terror, they left the building pausing only to leave a dead sheep on the steps of the venue with a note saying ‘I DIED FOR YOU’ attached to its coat. Then they quit music and deleted their back catalogue.
Rage Against The Machine protest naked. Tired of getting slammed by the Parents Music Resource Center, Rage protested during 1993’s Lollapalooza. Instead of performing they took they stage naked; covering their mouths with duct tape and painted their bodies with the organization’s acronym ‘PMRC’.
50 Cent and Kanye West face off. These two titans of rap had albums out in the same week. They made the cover of Rolling Stone with the headline ‘Showdown’ and Fiddy threatened to quit if Kanye sold more than he did. When Kanye did outsell him, Fiddy kept quiet and carried on.
Eminem gets Bruno’d. Sascha Baron Cohen’s camper than camp Bruno landed ass-on-Eminem’s-face at the MTV Movie Awards. Em stormed out and it all looked very real until an MTV head writer confessed that the whole thing was staged.
U2 take over a liquor store. For the video for the band’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’, U2 performed the track on the roof of an LA liquor store. Police were called and told the band to shut up shop, which they did.
Madonna releases her Sex book. Celebrating the launch of her Maverick Record label and release of her ‘Erotica’ album, Madonna released the coffee table tome Sex. The book was explicit but perhaps most shockingly thing was that it featured Vanilla Ice.
Badly Drawn Boy goes busking. The singer/songwriter was secretly filmed busking for a music video. He made a paltry £4.90 by the end of the day. And no, he didn’t play ‘The Boxer’.
The Sex Pistols play The Thames. The Pistols took to the river Thames to mark the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, timing it perfectly with the release of their monarchy-bashing single ‘God Save The Queen’.
Jarvis takes on MJ. Objecting to his messianic performance of ‘Earth Song’, Jarvis Cocker invaded Michael Jackson’s stage during The Brits in 1996 and gave the audience a fully clothed moon to vent his frustration.
Red Hot Chili Peppers put socks on their cocks. Red Hot Chili Peppers unveiled their famous dress sense at Woodstock in 1999, while bassist Flea took it one step further and performed starkers.
Snoop Dogg goes Star Wars crazy. Snoop marched through New York’s Time Square accompanied by good friends Darth Vader plus some Stormstroopers. Funtimes with a bag of chronic? No, sadly it was just to promote a clothing line…
Erkyah Badu protests naked. For her ‘Window Seat’ video, Badu treated onlookers to a purpose-built striptease near where JFK was assassinated. Apparently the nakedness was “about liberating yourself”.
Elvis Costello’s causes a stir in the capital. Elvis Costello & The Attraction’s live London debut took place outside the Hilton hotel where CBS records were holding a convention. Members of his label Stiff marched up and down with placards suggesting he should get a contract with the major. Police turned up, thinking they were dealing with an actual protest.
U2 play on the BBC rooftop. To promote their album ‘No Line On The Horizon’, U2 took to the roof of BBC’s Portland place building, attracting around 5,000 fans.
Goldie Lookin Chain hit up the Houses Of Parliament. Comedy Welsh rappers GLC signed their record contract with EastWest/Must Destroy outside the Houses of Parliament with placards stating ‘Free Terry Waite’, ‘Golf Sale’. Frankly, ‘ROTFL’.
Chumbawamba pour water on John Prescott. Angered by Labour’s refusal to get behind the Liverpool Dockworkers Strike, the political rockers poured a jug of water over the head of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott’s head at the Brits.
Ke$ha trashes the Hollywood sign. The grungey pop star apparently spray painted over the Hollywood sign, changing it from ‘Hollywood’ to ‘Ke$hawood’. It turned out to be a big ruse, thanks to some careful editing on Youtube.
Tom Jones gets slagged off. These days nothing is really ‘leaked’. In the case of an email from vice president of Island records David Sharpe slagging off Tom Jones’ ‘Hymns, Praise & Blame’ just before its release, it couldn’t have been truer.
Michael Jackson sails down the Thames. Sony spent 30 million dollars to promote MJ’s ‘HIStory’ album by floating a huge Michael Jackson statue down the Thames. There were a total of nine statues throughout Europe.
Gang Of Four get bloody. The post-punk band sold a box-set of their work which included vials of their own blood, in order to fund the recording of their album ‘Content’. They reached their goal and as of January this year the album was available for download.
Imperial Stars shut down an LA freeway. The band played on top of a bus near Sunset Boulvard, smack in the middle of the freeway and called their set ‘Traffic Jam 101’. Did it work? Well have you heard of them again?