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Happy April Fools’ Day! Music’s Top Stunts and Gags

The-Beatles-Rooftop1969: It was the Fab Four’s final show, so why not pull a little stunt and go out in style? The Beatles play a show on the roof of Apple Records in London, but get chased off by police.

1977: The Sex Pistols take a little boat ride on the Thames during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The band took the opportunity to play their new anti-monarchical single, “God Save the Queen.”

1982: Ozzy Osbourne takes a bite out of a live bat. Known for his on-stage antics, many of which included throwing animal parts into the audience, Osbourne is taken by surprise at his concert in Des Moines. A fan throws an unconscious bat on stage, and Osbourne grabs it and bites its head off, thinking it’s rubber. The Black Sabbath frontman is rushed to the hospital to receive rabies shots.

1987: Following the Beatles’ example, U2 takes over the roof of a liquor store in L.A. for the filming of their video, “Where the Streets Have No Name.” The band attracts over 1,000 people and eventually gets chased off by police.

1987: In response to the October stock market crash, U2 gives a free, irony-laden “Save the prince-symbol-guitarYuppies” benefit concert in San Francisco’s Justin Herman Plaza.

1993: Prince puzzles everyone by changing his name to a symbol.

1993: Rage Against the Machine is a band that wants to be heard—whether it comes to their music or their causes. Sick of the attempts at censorship by the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), the band protests naked during Lollapalooza. Each of the band members cover his mouth with duct tape and paint their chests with the letters “PMRC.” That’s certainly one way to get people to pay attention.

1995: Michael Jackson takes a trip down the Thames. When Jackson is asked how he would like to promote his HIStory album, the star tells Sony execs: “Build a statue of me.” The company acquiesces and floats a 30-feet high glass fibre statue of the already-larger than life star down the Thames.

1996: Jarvis Cocker, the frontman of Pulp, has a problem with Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” performance during The Brits and he feels it necessary to express his disapproval…by jumping on stage and fully mooning audience.

1999: At a performance in Woodstock, the Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage with only socks covering their…um…business.

2002: Michael Jackson causes (yet another) stir when he dangles his infant child out of a third-floor window in a hotel in Berlin. Over 200 worried onlookers gathered outside the hotel, but fortunately, arcadefireunionsquareno babies were harmed in this incident.

2005: Arcade Fire plays an impromptu acoustic set in New York’s Union Square…at two in the morning.

2009: U2 really loves rooftop gigs. The band hit the roof of the BBC Broadcasting House in central London to promote their album, No Line on the Horizon. The show attracted 5,000 fans.

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