25 jaw-dropping rock facts


Paul Weller is something of a digital Luddite. He doesn’t have internet access in his house (“I think it’s the Devil’s window”), and is equally disparaging about the iPod. “It’s like a mini fridge,” he sniffs. “With no fucking beers in it.”

Music – Status Quo – Wembley Arena

Status Quo used to happily masturbate over porn in each others’ company while on tour. “Everyone would be on the bed, having a polish,” reminisces Francis Rossi. “You did everything together, so having a polish was nothing to worry about.” Pic: PA Photos

radioheads thom york shot for the nme 22 11 07

Radiohead’s debut gig (at least under that name) took place at a venue in Trowbridge called the Psychic Pig in 1991. Says co-manager Mark Johnston: “I was offered this band called On A Friday for £50. When they turned up they insisted that we billed them as Radiohead.” Pic: Dean Chalkley



Marilyn Manson has a sweet tooth. His backstage rider always stipulates “two bags of Haribo Gummi Bears”. Meanwhile, Celine Dion always requests a children’s choir to be on call, should she wish to use one onstage. Pic: Danny North


Bob Dylan slightly missed the point of Live Aid. During his performance at the 1985 charity concert, he told the audience, “I hope that some of the money… goes to pay the mortgages on some of the farms that the farmers [in the US] owe to the banks.” Pic: PA Photos


Kurt Cobain proposed to Courtney Love in the not-very-romantic location of Newport TJ’s, afer a Hole gig on December 10, 1991. Source: ‘Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll’, by John Harris. Pic: PA Photos

Winehouse on road to recovery

Those in search of a macabre pop pilgrimage should book a room at The Sanderson hotel, central London. It was there, on August 23, 2007, that Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil embarked on a drug spree so vigorous it left blood all over the walls. “We had to get an outside firm to clean it off,” said one hotel employee. Pic: PA Photos


Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin were banned from Seattle’s Edgewater Hotel in 1973 – but not for the infamous ‘red snapper incident’ (which supposedly took place there). Hotel managers were more bothered by the 30 dead mudsharks they’d left lying around the hotel – and all the mattresses and lamps they’d chucked into the sea. Pic: PA Photos

Glastonbury Festival 2005 – Worthy Farm

Howling errors in lyrics? Try this: in their 1997 track ‘Star’ Primal Scream paid tribute to civil rights icons such as ‘Sister’ Rosa Parks. “Their bodies may be gone, but their spirit lives on,” sang Bobby Gillespie. One snag: at the time the song was released, Parks was still alive. Pic: PA Photos


Everyone remembers Manic Street Preachers’ performance of ‘Faster’ on Top Of The Pops in 1994 (singer James Dean Bradfield wore a balaclava, prompting 25,000 complaints). What’s less well known is that the band were introduced by comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer. Pic: PA Photos

Latitude Festival – Southwold

Study Thom Yorke’s lyrics and you’ll notice a pattern emerging: he’s obsessed with transport. Radiohead/Yorke’s back catalogue contains 17 references to cars/driving, five to ships/boats, three to motorways, three to trains, three to planes and two to tanks. Pic: PA Photos



Elvis Presley’s suits got bigger and more gaudy towards the end of his life. Thankfully audiences were spared the ‘Laser Suit’, a prototype design that was to bounce back beams shone in its direction. It was being tested by an electrician the day of Elvis’ death. Pic: PA Photos

Liam Gallagher

In 1997 Liam Gallagher had the name of his wife Patsy Kensit tattooed on his arm. Predictably, they divorced in 2000, and in 2001 Liam had the ‘Patsy’ tattoo covered up with a big, Elvis Presley-inspired design (‘Taking Care Of Business’). Pic: Dean Chalkley


Ringo Starr is an anti-monarchist and was none too impressed by Paul McCartney’s knighthood. “I can’t call him Sir,” he said. “He wants it, he’s got it. Let’s hope he’s happy.” Source: ‘Hail! Hail! Rock’n’Roll’, by John Harris. Pic: PA Photos


Here’s an unexpected collaboration: in 1982, Lou Reed teamed up with glam-rockers Kiss, penning three songs for their rock opera ‘(Music From) The Elder’. It peaked at No 75 on the US charts. Pic: PA Photos

The CRibs

That weird guitar sound in the intro to The Smiths’ ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’? It was created by Johnny Marr dropping a knife onto random strings on a Fender Telecaster, tuned to an open chord. He did the same thing on ‘This Charming Man’, although it’s hard to make out. Pic: Tom Oxley

Mono Print

Keith Moon’s grave in north London attracts some odd behaviour. Says Eric Willis, the Head Of Maintenance at Golders Green Crematorium: “Some do the windmill guitar thing; other people stand there, then do a silly jump. We politely ask them to leave.” Pic: PA Photos


Many vinyl releases used to contain cheeky messages etched into the run-out groove by ‘cutters’ at mastering plants. One of the most prolific was George Peckham, who inscribed Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ with the cryptic legend, “I’ve got only record shops left”. Pic: PA Photos

Music – The Stone Roses

Sessions for The Stone Roses’ second album sound like a laugh. “It was an egg frenzy,” bassist Mani later recalled. “We’d wait for [producer] John Leckie to walk across this courtyard, then we’d egg him to fuck.” Pic: PA Photos

Music – Kiss ‘Alive/Worldwide Tour’ – L7

The story about L7 guitarist Donita Sparks hurling her used tampon at the Reading Festival crowd in 1992 (“Eat my tampon, fuckers!”) is well known. What’s less well known is that the band raffled an ‘intimate meeting’ with their drummer, Dee Plakas, after a London gig in 2000. Pic: PA Photos

darby t terence

Albums that should never have been made? Try Terence Trent D’Arby’s vainglorious 1989 effort ‘Neither Fish Nor Flesh’, which featured TTD on kazoo, Irish “boggle stick” and “manifestations”. In 2001 he changed his name to Sananda Maitreya after “a series of dreams”. Pic: PA Photos


The Police’s trademark peroxide blond haircuts have an embarrassing providence. In 1978, Sting and the other two members of The Police starred in an advert for Wrigley’s Spearmint chewing gum. The director wanted them all to look the same, so convinced them to dye their hair a matching shade: a look they maintained throughout their career.
Pic: PA Photos