33 wince-inducing pop star injuries


Katy Perry proved she was tougher than she looks when she performed through 17 stitches in 2010. The star fell before giving a live performance, but covered up the cuts with a flesh-coloured bandage and sung anyway.


Pink learnt the hard way that humans aren’t meant to fly, when she bit the dust on tour in Germany in 2010. The singer’s harness malfunctioned, smashing her into the barricade at the front of stage. No lasting damage was done- save a lot of bruises.


Poor old Sean Kingston had an awful fright in 2011, when his jet ski crashed in Miami- leaving the ‘Beautiful Girls’ singer in critical condition in hospital for a month. He’s since recovered, and sadly, has returned to music.



Jessie J took a tumble preparing for her tour in 2011, and subsequently spent a while in a cast, before having a bone transplant. The time gave her a chance to reflect, as she noted “”It’s put everything into perspective. I have a different respect now for people who don’t have legs.”


Johnny Cash is the only country music star ever to wind up in hospital after picking a fight with an ostrich. In 1983, the Man In Black was kicked in the stomach by the belligerent creature, one of many animals he kept on his private farm. It wasn’t funny: Cash developed a severe abdominal injury. This in turn led to a dependence on painkillers, and a disastrous descent into addiction following several years relatively clean. Pic: PA Photos

Neil Young Concert

You thought Mama Cass was the only musician to have a ‘ham sandwich’ anecdote attached to them. Wrong. In 1997 Neil Young was forced to cancel a European tour when he sliced the tip of his left index finger while preparing a ham sandwich. “I’d have eaten the thing in one piece if I’d known that cutting it in half would jeopardize the tour,” Young said. “It’s macaroni and cheese from now on.” Pic: PA Photos

Muse in concert at Wembley Stadium – London

Muse fans in Atlanta were treated to a gruesome scene when frontman Matt Bellamy smashed his face into his guitar, causing a startling cascade of blood. An onlooker said, “It looked like someone was pouring water down his face constantly, but it was blood.” Bellamy then ran offstage yelping, “I can’t sing, I’ve fucked my face up!”


Music – Velvet Underground

It’s often said that a lacklustre live performance will come back and bite you on the arse, but in Lou Reed’s case this was literally true. In 1973, during a show in Buffalo, New York, a disgruntled fan jumped on stage and sank his teeth into the former Velvet Underground man’s buttocks. Pic: PA Photos

Ryan Adams live on the BBC – London

Doctors told Ryan Adams he might never play guitar again after the alt.country
star fell offstage during a gig in Liverpool in 2004. He later looked back on
the grisly fallout. “The sound of my wrist breaking off my arm was loud. It popped. [Surgeons] cut through my tattoo and blood seeped through the pores. Some people couldn’t look.” Pic: PA Photos


Pete Townshend is famous for his ‘windmill’ guitar technique, but it was this very manouevre which caused him excruciating pain during a gig in 1990 when he impaled his hand on his guitar’s whammy bar. It pierced his hand between the fourth and fifth fingers. The guitarist recalls the moment of awful realisation: “I looked down and thought, ‘Shit!'” Pic: PA Photos


Playing live in Oslo in 2004, David Bowie was struck by the unlikeliest of flying objects – a lollipop. The gig was already chaotic on account of atrocious weather (Bowie was forced to take to the stage in a cagoule) when a crowd member hurled a the offending missile, striking Bowie square in the eye. According to onlookers, Bowie “winced in agony” and the gig was halted while a roadie scurried on to remove the lollipop.



Rolling Stones guitarist Keith ‘Nine Lives’ Richards suffered mild concussion when he fell out of a coconut tree while on holiday in Fiji in 2006. He was taken to hospital in New Zealand as a precautionary measure, sparking endless unfunny “out of his tree” gags in the tabloids. Pic: Andy Willsher

Soccer Six Tournament

Former Libertines bandmates Pete Doherty and Johnny Borrell were at loggerheads at Leeds Festival 2005. It was reported Pete stormed into Johnny’s dressing room to greet him with a Glasgow kiss. Doherty later described the scene: “Johnny’s going, ‘You cunt, I’ve been boxing on the Holloway Road.’ I just went, ‘Have some of this…’ and put one on him.” Pic: Retna UK


The Cribs’ Ryan Jarman launched himself onto the Kaiser Chiefs’ wine bottle-covered table at the 2006 Shockwaves NME Awards – and pierced his kidney in the process. After a brief hospital trip he returned to the party, only to be forced back to hospital when the bleeding wouldn’t stop. Jarman later confessed: “It was a messy kind of night. I nearly died twice.” Pic: Andy WIllsher


Jason Stollsteimer was left with a bloody nose and a black eye when Jack White lamped him at the album launch party for alt.country rockers Blanche in Detroit, 2003. The feud was still rumbling on three years later, when Stollsteimer accused White of sticking a knife in his front door – a claim White dismissed as “laughable”.


Crystal Castles’ Alice Glass broke her ribs in a car accident in March 2008, forcing the band to postpone some dates. She was told to lay low for six weeks but was back at work way before that. This picture, taken from an NME cover shoot, reveals the bruising on her legs caused by excessive stage-diving.

Music – Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert – Wembley Stadium

Metallica’s James Hetfield got a face full of fire during a gig in Montreal in 1992. He misinterpreted a stage cue and wound up standing in the middle of
a pyrotechnic explosion. The frontman suffered agonising second-degree burns to his
arms and legs, but still soldiered on with the tour (with his roadie filling in on guitar). Now that’s metal. Pic: PA Photos

Kaxons broken

Klaxons frontman Jamie Reynolds broke his leg after stage-diving during their Garden Nef Festival set in Angouleme, France in July 2007 and spent several weeks in plaster. NME visited him in hospital to deliver some cards sent in by fans. Reynolds recalls: “I had to have a three-inch titanium plate and four metal screws put in. A big deal.”


Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters has a chipped tooth that dates back to the mid-1960s, when he was struck by a pre-decimal coin thrown from the audience. Should you ever wish to make a pilgrimage, the pub where this took place is The Town House in Ealing Broadway. Pic: PA Photos

Music – The Seahorses

Pulp’s big break into the mainstream was the result of a mountain bike injury sustained by John Squire. How? The Stone Roses were scheduled to headline Glastonbury in 1995, but had to pull out when guitarist Squire fell off his bike and broke his collar-bone. Pulp were bumped up the bill, enabling Jarvis Cocker to show off in front of a gigantic TV audience. ‘Common People’ had come out just weeks earlier: perfect timing. Pic: PA Photos

The New York Premiere of I AM LEGEND

Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz broke the bone connecting his foot and shin while excitedly jumping around onstage at the Voodoo Music Experience Festival in 2007. Manfully, he told fans via his blog that he wouldn’t cancel any dates, despite his foot having swollen up to the size of a “small car”. Pic: Retna UK

Amy Winehouse sighting – London

Amy Winehouse shocked fans when she was snapped with a large leg burn on holiday in St Lucia. She insisted she scarred himself when cooking pasta, although it looks suspiciously like a cigarette burn. Pic: PA Photos


Carl Barat broke his collarbone after falling off the back of a motorcycle in Taiwan. He hopped on the back of the bike after leaving a karaoke bar drunk on Sake. The Paddingtons’ Josh Hubbard was drafted in on guitar for Dirty Pretty Things’ US dates. Pic: Andrew Kendal


Nick O’Malley broke his hand following some drunken antics with his former Dodgems bandmates – just days after agreeing to fill in Andy Nicholson’s shoes as Arctic Monkeys’ bassist. Embarrassingly, this meant he had to pose for his first photo shoots with a hand in plaster – although he was still able to hold a plectrum. Pic: Andy Willsher

T in the Park Festival – Radiohead – Strathclyde Park

Suffering from RSI due to his aggressive playing style and unorthodox technique, Johnny Greenwood has been sporting a wrist splint for several years now to resolve the condition. He likens it to taping up your fingers before a boxing match. Pic: PA Photos

V2001 Sparklehorse

Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse was left wheelchair-bound for six months in 1995 after passing out in a hotel bathroom in London with his legs pinned under him for fourteen hours after mixing Valium and anti-depressants. The resulting potassium buildup caused his heart to stop for
several minutes after his body was lifted up. Doctors told Linkous he was lucky not to lose both legs. Pic: PA Photos

Kaiser Chiefs

Ricky Wilson was lucky to escape with his life when he was struck down in a hit-and-run incident in Leeds city centre in 2006. The Kaiser Chiefs frontman sustained nothing worse than a broken toe and bruising – and later said the fact he didn’t die meant he was “the luckiest man alive”. Pic: Retna