The Ten Wildest Moments In Rock

From the moment Elvis Presley started to gyrate his hips on national television back in the ever conservative 1950s rock and roll has oozed with a sense of reckless abandon and middle finger outrageousness.

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From the moment Elvis Presley started to gyrate his hips on national television back in the ever conservative 1950s - and even earlier still with the many sexual overtones that were pervading much of jazz music - rock and roll has oozed with a sense of reckless abandon and middle finger outrageousness. Bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones would go on to push the boundaries of what was considered taboo and wild in society to new heights of fancy. But it would be Motley Crue who would forever be crowned the kings of depravity. Yet in their aftermath, rock's wild spirit sort of took a backseat, that is, until bands like Marilyn Manson and Slipknot started voyaging back into that same dangerous territory of their fore fathers again. And from the look of things, it seems that this adventurous spirit in rock and roll is very much back at the fore and in vogue. Joe Matera takes a retrospective look at the top ten wildest moments in rock and roll (and metal) history.

Motley Crue's Nikki Sixx' hard core heroin addiction cost him his life, well almost, when he died from an overdose only to miraculously be brought back to life. After his heart had stopped beating for two minutes, paramedics administered two shots of adrenaline to bring him back from the brink. Sixx - the epitome of rock and roll dangerousness personified - then on the same day, checked himself out of the hospital, and left a message on his answering machine saying; "I can't come to the phone right now 'cause I'm dead," then went and shot up a nice healthy dose of heroin. Years later, looking back on his near death experience, Sixx told me in an interview, conducted in 2007 that, I remember sort of seeing the event even though I was actually lying on the ground with a sheet over my head. He then added, I think the secret to my success is simply that I just won't die!

Legend has it that back in the 1930s, classic Delta bluesman Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at the Crossroads in exchange for guitar virtuosity, which turned him into one of the most electrifying musicians of his time. Simultaneously the legend would forever marry rock and roll to Satan. Johnson later repaid the devil his due when he was poisoned by a (reportedly) jealous girlfriend. Later on down the years, the outrageous debauchery of Led Zeppelin along with Jimmy Page's heavily dabbling in the occult and his fascination with the wickedest man in the world Aleister Crowley, and the further exploitation of the myth for mass consumption via the 1986 film Crossroads - would only serve to steep the legend further into fact.

When the Rolling Stones played the Altamont Speedway outside San Francisco in 1969, Meredith Hunter, a young black teenager in the crowd, was set upon by the Hells Angels who attacked him with a knife, and when he drew a gun, was hacked and stomped to death to the background strains of Sympathy for the Devil (in ensuing years it was noted that it was not while the band were performing Sympathy For The Devil but in fact, performing Under My Thumb). With that slip of the knife, all the claims of rock's dangerous qualities were confirmed once and for all.

The psychopath known to every one as Charles Manson wanted to start a global race war between blacks and whites. This philosophy of his was fuelled by mad hidden meanings he found in The Beatles' White Album and in particularly "Helter Skelter" that Manson claimed spoke to him directly. Eventually these so called messages instructed him to brutally and savagely murder actress Sharon Tate and four others at their Hollywood home. But ironically, the Manson clan wrote the words in blood on the walls but spelled it wrong: - Healter Skelter.

On the eve of a Stooges gig at the Michigan Palace in 1974, (later captured in all its resplendent glory on the Metallic K.O album) Iggy Pop went on a Detroit radio baiting a local motorbike gang, the Scorpions, by calling them a bunch of pussies. The gang later turned up at the show and all hell broke loose. As soon as the band walked onstage, the band was immediately bombarded with broken glass, beer jugs, bottles of piss and shovels. Amidst the madness, Iggy brazenly taunted: 'You pricks can throw every goddamn thing in the world ... and your girlfriend will still love me'.

During an Ozzy Osbourne concert in Des Moines, Iowa (home to that other dangerous band Slipknot) in the early '80s, a bat was thrown on stage. Stunned by the light, the bat lay motionless until Osbourne thinking it was plastic, picked it up and bit the head off of it. Immediately the bat started flapping its wings upon which Osbourne realized it wasn't a fake after all! After the show, Osbourne was rushed to hospital for rabies shots. Osbourne later described the event as "one of the most horrible, painful experiences of my life."

The logo for Death Row Records is a blindfolded black man strapped into an electric chair at the moment of execution, apt for a label with a violent history, and one that includes alleged beatings and public humiliations which culminated in the violent murder of rapper Tupac Shakur. Shakur would be shot multiple times while sitting in the front passenger seats of a car in the midst of a crowed Las Vegas street. And at the time, it was reported that Shakur was taking steps to sever his relationship with Death Row.

It seems that where ever Courtney Love goes or has gone, only bad (and hate) is sure to follow. And the statistics are frightening: Her famous late husband committed suicide (though conspiracy theorists argue Love knocked him off), she has constantly battled with debilitating drug addictions, has been embroiled in a messy legal fight with her former record label, has had violent outbursts including one where she allegedly struck an audience member with her microphone stand, was arrested for prescription drugs and for causing a disturbance on an airplane. And that's only for starters!

Michael Jackson's - who has earned the title of Wacko Jacko - tribulations with child sex allegations may now be a thing of the past, but they were just another in a long line of accusations and disastrous events that seemed to have plagued his entire long standing career. After all, he did name one of his albums Dangerous and he came precariously close to snuffing it back in 1984 too, when his hair turned a slightly brighter shade of red after catching fire during the sixth take of a Pepsi commercial. Ouch!

And finally to end this special feature, Syd Barrett was the original guitarist, vocalist and songwriter with Pink Floyd, responsible for many of the band's early psychedelic gems as See Emily Play that reflected Barrett's fragile, frazzled mental state, due largely to his copious intake of hallucinogenic drugs. All of which would eventually lead to his complete mental breakdown. It's after effects would see Barrett retire to a hermit like, recluse existence that would end in his untimely death in 2006. A death that would rob the rock world and guitar playing fraternity, of one of its most gifted visionary musical ingenuities.

By Joe Matera

264 comments sorted by best / new / date

    true_bacon22
    Whats Tupac and MJ got to do with rock? And mentioning that Nikki died twice afterwards would have been cooler, because he is no where near the first rockstar to OD and come back to life.
    guitarfreak222
    GS LEAD 5 wrote: Silas S Thompso : What about when Dave Mustaine dying from an overdose of random pills during a show. umm...mustaine's still alive...
    He said DYING not dead.. But he did actually die and he came back because the doctors used those electric thingies...
    Breebree2314
    DamageMachine wrote: dagget wrote: someone needed to mention the whole mayhem murder. intense shizzle. And the suicide of the singer and then the guitar player rearanging his body for an album cover thats just F***ed up +1
    Yeah and the note that said "Sorry for all the blood". Christ.....
    Thumper97
    Les Paul Ell wrote: I don't think any rock and roll death is "wild" as the title of this article suggests. If they were then Randy Rhoads, Cliff Burton, SRV or Dimebag Darrell would be winning!
    Yeah, Cliff Burton had a bus dropped on him AFTER the crash. THAT'S wild.
    trendkill-
    thfc wrote: Syd Barret passed away at the age of 60 from cancer. No disrespect intended but how is that untimely? I mean there are many better examples of premature deaths that could have been used (Hendrix, Morrison, Moon, Lennon, Joplin, Bonham etc.)
    dime bag
    Ndelle94
    ShreddyKickflip wrote: if your gonna write about syd barrett's death, why wouldn't you write about Bon Scott's epicly tragic death?
    But i mean in all honesty theres nothing to wild about drinking yourself to death... It happens...
    Nicky Tuna
    Dude, you forgot Varg Vikernes? With the murders and the ashes thats left of the churches he visited? That's pretty wild.
    klansenpot
    What's with Hendrix' Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock? What's with Cobain? Morrison?
    JamieSalisbury
    nikkisixx666 wrote: uhhh, qotsa1998, ozzy pisssed on the side of the road and licked it up like a dog and challenged nikki sixx to do the same, and nikki did and then ozzy went down and drank nikki's piss, not tommy lee's then he asked nikki for a bump, and he never so then he snorted the ants, same day and in front of a dennys or sumthin and if theyre goin ta include nikki's od, ya it was crazy, but they coulda included slash's death by heroin as well and ya there are thousands of rock crazy moments, some we know, and some we're better of not knowing
    Lol, slash is still alive!
    zink10192
    i think one of those should be the infamous event of when axl caused a riot during that show with metallica when james got lit up from the pyro and axl had to save the day but decided to have a hissy fit instead
    JamieSalisbury
    Ndelle94 Wrote: [quote]ShreddyKickflip wrote: if your gonna write about syd barrett's death, why wouldn't you write about Bon Scott's epicly tragic death?
    But i mean in all honesty theres nothing to wild about drinking yourself to death... It happens...[/quote] It ws pretty tragic tho.
    Craigadams93
    I agree on putting Syd Barett on the list, but not his death. Maybe when he walked onstage with tons of hair product that fell on his face and hardened.
    lolaustinlol
    'a7xrocz' wrote: Nikki Sixx coming back to life, big deal hes not the first wat about slash
    lol Nikki Sixx's "death" was before Slash's. Get your facts straight before you complain about something that you know nothing about. Also, Slipknot is far from the heaviest band out there.
    lolaustinlol
    JamieSalisbury wrote: nikkisixx666 wrote: uhhh, qotsa1998, ozzy pisssed on the side of the road and licked it up like a dog and challenged nikki sixx to do the same, and nikki did and then ozzy went down and drank nikki's piss, not tommy lee's then he asked nikki for a bump, and he never so then he snorted the ants, same day and in front of a dennys or sumthin and if theyre goin ta include nikki's od, ya it was crazy, but they coulda included slash's death by heroin as well and ya there are thousands of rock crazy moments, some we know, and some we're better of not knowing Lol, slash is still alive!
    Actually, he died for only a few minutes. He was "brought back" by the doctors, and since then, he's had to have a special piece of machinery to keep his heart beating.
    Footallica?
    metalmagic! wrote: rockers and metalheads threw a party the day tupac died!!
    How could you be that much of an *****? I despise all rap and everything/everyone to do with it, but I would never wish death or celebrate the death of someone just because they view something differently than I do.
    KeepOnRotting
    metalmagic! wrote: rockers and metalheads threw a party the day tupac died!!
    You're an idiot, how old are you, 13?
    Metallica Meat
    quazitron wrote: Kapalen wrote: James Hetfield getting fried by pyro and a fan playing the rest of the tour? I thought that was James' guitar tech? Yes, a fan, for shizzle. But still, it was his guitar tech / understudy, not just a random fan from the audience.
    Hey, whattaya you know James STILL has the scars, it was HIM who got burnt! >_< garshnesss...
    dom101
    mike patton did some crazy stuff in mr bungle i reakon he deserves a mention
    loftus96
    hi im joe a guitarist aged 12 but my dad went to see AC DC with bon scott the lead singer before brian johnson and after the gig my dad was talking to bon scott but bon had a bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey with him and half way through the conversation a man comes running out of nowhere and robs this bottle of whiskey so what does bon do chases after him beats him up an takes back his bottle of Jack Daniels an then starts talkin to my dad again as if nothing has happend
    loftus96
    hey metalmagic truth is tupac was watching mike tyson (champion boxer) in a fight and after the fight tyson asked tupac if he wanted to stay for a party but tupac turned him down. On his way home he got shot thats how it happend.
    XxPreisserxX
    kyl3666 wrote: jacobbirdy128 wrote: they forgot when Led Zepplin pleasured a groupie with a fish... ok a didn't know that stoy xD but i think I preffer that stay in that way O.o lol
    Teeugh
    Wait wait wait, what about Ozzy taking a piss on the alamo while wereing one of his wife's dress? In all respest Nikki Sixx, your crazy. DON'T EVER CHANGE!!! what about James Hetfield getting his arm burned from fire stage stuff? POINT IS, ROCK IS JUST CRAZY!!!! that is what makes it fun, and of couse the look, the sound, the feel, everything.
    savory_softy
    Ummm I think the author should do his research, rename the topic or re-learn the meaning of 'wild'. Most of it is just sad, aside from the Ozzy bat incident. And metalmagic!... flaming is what you get for trying to be cool.
    dinley
    -Stain- wrote: Goddamn I hate it when people get facts about Charlie Manson wrong. He never killed anyone (thats been proven) and Helter Skelter wasn't written at the Tate house, it was written at the LaBianca house.
    why does it matter to you so much?
    The_lizard_king
    They should have mentioned Jim Morrison's indecent exposure incident in Miami, and if they wanted to mention a pink floyd incident it should have been when Roger Waters spit on one of the audience member's face, which led to the creation of the wall album
    zvxqykhg
    What about the Judas Priest incident, when those teenagers reportedly listened to their music and commited suicide becaude of it? And Dimebag darrell? Murdered on stage? How is that not on the list?
    DANZIG767
    ShreddyKickflip wrote: if your gonna write about syd barrett's death, why wouldn't you write about Bon Scott's epicly tragic death?
    or Jimmy Hendrix, or Kurt Cobain, or John Bonham, that list can go on and on
    trax343
    What about the columbine killings where the dudes like worshiped marilyn manson and killed for him or whatever their excuse was, I'd call that pretty wild slash plain insane
    rocker20
    mesopatamius wrote: metalmagic! : rockers and metalheads threw a party the day tupac died!! what an ignorant, hateful thing to say.
    um i got drunk and celibrated lol
    nbritt
    what about Rick Allen coming back to play drums with one arm, that was pretty wild. But I guess they were looking for bad things.
    -Stain-
    Goddamn I hate it when people get facts about Charlie Manson wrong. He never killed anyone (thats been proven) and Helter Skelter wasn't written at the Tate house, it was written at the LaBianca house.
    classrock77
    homer00799 wrote: syd barrett doesnt beat out dimebag darrell wtf
    well considerig syd barrett actually played rock, im thing yes?
    lmp9002002
    classrock77 wrote: homer00799 wrote: syd barrett doesnt beat out dimebag darrell wtf well considerig syd barrett actually played rock, im thing yes?
    Was that a stab at dimebag???
    neversleeps84
    I think this article should be re-named "Rock's Wildest Obituaries", right? I expected to read about Ozzy snorting ants off of a popsicle stick or Keith Moon crashing a car in his underwear (at least I think it was Moon), not about people dying or being killed. How is that "Wild"? This article should be called "The Saddest Moments in Rock", or something else that isn't so misleading.
    Kikuta
    Nothing about black metal vocalists burning down churses and murdering each other? What the hell is this?
    TWISTEDFender
    classrock77 wrote: ServantofBurzum wrote: How can you not mention first wave black metal? They were killing each other and burning down churches. All praise to the wolf. I'm talking about Varg. Death metal isn't rock, you cant put Swedish screamo bands in the same category as Elvis.
    albeit you're right about the bands not rightly being associated with rock 'n roll, your ignorance is astounding. First of all, there is a vast difference between death metal and black metal, and an even more massive gap between them and screamo. And aside from that, the bands he was referring to were Norwegian.