Maybe it’s the egos, the drugs, the booze or the yes men surrounding them, but even the most exalted rock n’ roll stars are prone to making some questionable decisions which can often seriously affect their careers, if not just about flushing them down the toilet. Here are a few lessons for budding rock stars on what not to do…
In 1976 David Bowie gave a controversial interview in which he claimed that ‘Hitler was the first rock star.’ The interview had just been published and was being picked up on by the rest of the media when he arrived back in the UK for his Thin White Duke tour. He was photographed giving what was interpreted as a Nazi salute to the crowds who had gathered to meet his tour train at London’s Victoria Station – an incident he has tried to live down ever since.
The cocaine must have been really good in 1976 because Eric Clapton infamously gave an interview in which he voiced his support for fascist leader Enoch Powell, saying 'Throw the wogs out [and] keep Britain white.'
Notorious drug fiends, Happy Mondays’ record company Factory Records sent them to Barbados to record what would be the 1992 release Yes Please! There they discovered the island’s freely available supply of crack cocaine, and the record cost so much to make it ultimately bankrupted their record label.
In his role of Minister For Information in Public Enemy, Professor Griff gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he declared “Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world”. The media firestorm that followed saw Griff sacked from the band and the group suffer from a fall in popularity just as they seemed tipped to be one of the biggest groups in the world.
What do you do when you have one of the best backing bands in the world? Why you sack them of course! In 1989 as he was one of the biggest stars in the US, Springsteen informed his band that their services would no longer be required and he was moving from New Jersey to California. Naturally his career clumped during the 90s, only recovering in the next decade when he re-hired the band.
Sinead O’Connor was about to break big in the States, becoming a huge hit amongst the country’s Irish expats and people of Irish descent. Her breakthrough moment was supposed to be a performance on Saturday Night Live, but she decided to liven it up ripping up a picture of the Pope. This caused outcry amongst the mostly Catholic Irish community and her career never recovered in the US.
Never very modest to start off with, in the 1993 Prince decided to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol. Cue his horrified record company having to explain to the media with a straight face that the new album was coming out under that name. Cue the media having a field day, and the record buying public staying away in droves.
Already fraught with internal conflict, The Clash had come a long way from their humble roots and were about to reach stadium level shows in the US. Joe Strummer convinced his band mates to fire Mick Jones from the band. The next album got the thumbs down from fans and critics and they broke up shortly afterwards.
In 2002 Michael Jackson conducted an interview with a journalist for a documentary in which he admitted that he regularly had local children sleep over in his bed. His career already suffering from allegations of molesting young boys, the interview was a PR disaster and set his career in to free fall.