Going Off Script: The Top 5 Rock N’ Roll TV Mishaps

Andrew Celani -- WZLX.com
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The Who TV

Whenever a rock band is booked to perform on a live television program, producers just have to hold their breath, cross their fingers, and hope all goes to plan. These are the Top 5 TV moments that did NOT go to plan!

#5

Nirvana Pulls a Fast One on Top Of The Pops

Top Of The Pops is a British TV program that countdowns the top singles charts of the week and highlights popular artists as well. For the longest time, TOTP had a miming policy in which the performers had to lip-sync.

For some reason, they decided it was okay to let Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain sing his live vocals over a pre-recorded track. Bad idea! Cobain went off script and played like a lounge singer for the entire song, even changing the song lyrics to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

In the first line of the song , instead of “Load up on guns, bring your friends,” the Seattle grunge rocker sang “Load up on drugs, kill your friends.”


#4

The Vines Scare The Hell Out Of Letterman

This Aussie rock band knocked the socks off the live audience on The Late Show With David Letterman. Then, frontman Craig Nicholls nearly knocked himself out, going absolutely crazy onstage. Letterman tried to play it off all smooth, but the late night funny man was so in shock that he avoided his usual walkover handshakes with the band members.


#3

Nirvana Monkeys Around w/ MTV

What do you know? Nirvana appears again on the list! It was the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards and the big wigs at the station and Nirvana couldn’t agree on what song to play. The establishment wanted the obvious choice in “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the band wanted “Rape Me.”

Instead, they settled on “Lithium.” However, Cobain gave the producers quite the scare when they started playing the first verse of “Rape Me” on live TV. Just as MTV was about to cut to an emergency commercial break, Nirvana switched to “Lithium,” just as the producers breathed a collective sigh of relief.


#2

Johnny Rotten Pouts, Then Brings Audience On Stage

Punk rock’s legendary Johnny Rotten did not want to lip sync on American Bandstand in 1980, so he pouted at first then came up with a brilliant idea! He invited the studio audience on stage with him (while his pre-recorded vocals played throughout the auditorium), danced, and had a good ole time.

 


#1

The Who Blow Themselves Up

This incident would scar Pete Townshend for life by kickstarting his degenerative hearing loss. On The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967, drummer Keith Moon wanted a dramatic ending to the show by placing explosives in his drum kit. After a failed test run during rehearsals, the drummer was left with 3x more than what he bargained for in terms of explosives.

Show host Tom Smothers later said, “I was so busy looking for bleeding bodies; I didn’t know what had happened.”

Andrew Celani — WZLX.com

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