They’re Bad They’re Nationwide: Big headlines that nearly ruined rock stars careers

  1. The Beatles Have a God Complex

For John Lennon, he would always be the most outspoken of the fab four. Creating controversy and sharing his political views with the press whenever he felt it was necessary to do so. One such famous incident involved him telling the press that he felt the Beatles popularity made them “more popular than Jesus.’ Talk about having a God Complex.

As a result of this claim, the Christian community went into a meltdown. Radio stations in the Bible Belt section of the United States stopped playing their music. Christians bought their records in droves, only to burn them and even the Ku Klux Klan protested one of their shows. John Lennon sure did love to be the one to push the buttons with his press conferences.


  1. Pam and Tommy get Intimate

You have all seen the show, some of you may have lived through the events as they happened in real time. For Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson, their lives were turned upside down when their private lives were made public for the whole world to see.

Part home video, part intimate look into the raunchy lives of celebrities, Pam and Tommy’s tape spread like wildfire in 1998 after a disgruntled employee of Tommy Lee’s leaked it onto the internet. The media accused them of leaking it for publicity, a claim both Lee and Anderson denied. They would wind up suing the company that put the tape on the internet. As a result of it leaking, Pam and Tommy’s marriage could not sustain the pressure and stress brought on by the tape and ultimately divorce nearly three years later.




  1. Milli Vanilli Fake it Until They Make It

Long before Ashlee Simpson made headlines for her performance on SNL, there was Milli Vanilli. The duo was comprised of Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan. Their debut album heralded at least five top hits on the top ten charts. However, Rob and fab weren’t the ones who performed on those tracks.

As a result of the revelation, the duo’s Grammy award was taken back, and several lawsuits were filed. The group tried to reunite and record music properly with the original duo on vocals, however, Rob Pilatus died in April of 1998 and the album never saw the light of day.



  1. Marvin Gaye’s Father Brought Him Into The World….

In one of the most shocking moments in Rock and Roll History, Marvin Gaye was killed by his own father in Las Angeles in 1984. Gaye was involved in a physical altercation between him and his father one day before Gaye’s 45th birthday. The result was that his father shot in Marvin Gaye a fit of rage.

The music world reacted to Marvin Gayes death with a variety of tribute albums. Duran Duran, Public Enemy, Diana Ross, and the Temptations all released a cover song in Marvin Gaye’s honor. In 2018, the United States Postal service released a stamp featuring Marvin Gaye on it.





  1. Michael Jackson Wants To Be Starting Something

Long before the allegations came out against Michael Jackson, there was Jackson’s weird form of corporal punishment. This consisted of dangling his youngest son Prince out of a fifth story hotel balcony in Berlin. Jackson claimed that he was trying to connect with his fans who were waiting outside the hotel. He wrapped only one arm around the baby while he greeted the crowd.

While the scandal was relatively minimal in the media, it managed to drive away some of his loyal fans. This was only the start of Michaels headlines when it came to dealing with children over the next few years.






  1. Madonna’s Like a Prayer Does Not Go Over Like One

Much like with the Beatles and John Lennon’s claims about the group, Madonna had also managed to anger the Christian community. Madonna’s song is about a woman having an affair with God, which obviously didn’t sit well with much of America. The music video was even more controversial as it features an unlawful arrest of a black man who was framed for a crime committed by a white mob.

The song and music were loved by critics but hated by conservatives across the United States. The Vatican told fans to boycott Pepsi after they used the song in one of their commercials. However, despite some backlash, the song became a number one hit and only further cemented Madonna’s status on the pop charts.


  1. Meanwhile Rick James…

For Rick James, the success of his career gave way into a decline and a pair of shocking choices. The first choice involved Rick James and his very committed girlfriend kidnapping and tortured a 24-year-old hostage over the course of six days. Though for James, he attempted to kidnap again, almost as soon as he was released from jail for the first attempt. This time he held a music executive hostage for 20 hours. These kidnappings were fueled by James’s usage of cocaine.Rick James is more widely known now for these kidnappings than the string of hits he released in the 80’





  1. George Michael’s Freedom!

For George Michael, he was known predominantly as a ladies’ man. For Having been a big star in the 1980’s with Wham! He a large following of eager female fans who wanted to be with the singer. However, an undercover cop caught him with another man in the 90s. The music and entertainment world at the time were shocked by this revelation.

As a result of the discovery, George Michael went public about his sexuality. The magazines and news shows were obsessed with the revelation.









  1. Phil Spector, Lady Killer

One of the most prominent producers of the 1960s, known for his “Wall of Sound” producing style was found guilty of killing actress Lana Clarkson. She was found in his home in 2003 and Spector was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009.

Phil Spector had a dark side to him in his personal life. He was known for being angry, volatile and at times violent. The media acted with surprise, though those that knew Phil Spector thought that Lana’s death could have been avoided.



  1. Ashlee Simpson Brings Lip Syncing to the Mainstream

For Ashlee Simpson, she always grew up in the shadow of her younger sister Jessica. The youngest Simpsons sister finally got her break when she would perform on Saturday Night Live. “Perform” is a term used loosely here as what she did was anything but put on a live show. During her concert she played through the first track without a problem. The second song began, however, a vocal recording of the first track began to play over the band. She apologized to the audience during the closing segment.


The moment was damaging in the media and featured on late night talk shows at the time. It was however, a was a defining moment in her otherwise nonexistent career as a performer.


How Can You Afford Your Rock and Roll Lifestyle?

When we think of musicians, we think of them as gods who can get away with anything because they play the songs that we love night after night.

Clip from Motley Crues’ The Dirt:

However, there is one side to the music business that is often overlooked: the cost of living the Rockstar lifestyle.

As Ringo Starr famously sung, “it don’t come easy” and when being a musician in a rock band, the cost of keeping a band on tour never is. Rock stars make a lot of money, and they can only do that by going out on tour night after night. From when the day they started touring in the 1980’s to today, tours were always a high end and costly productions. This blog compares what it was like to tour as Motley Crue in the 80’s to what it would cost to produce a Crue Tour today.




The path of destruction left behind by Motley Crue.

For a band like Motley Crue going on the Theater of Pain Tour in 1985, the cost of hotel stays for the entire band and, managers and stage crew would be $755,375. When compared to Motley Crue going on tour in 2022, adjusting $755,375 for inflation, hotel stays on a modern-day tour would cost at least $2,000,000 for everyone in their touring party. That is, if they don’t burn the hotel room down by morning, which would add additional costs to their already pricey stay.




On top of touring, when traveling in a rock band you have to have great insurance. This covers damages to property and to members of the band. An example of what touring insurance would cover would be for if a band member were to pull a Keith Moon and drive his.her car into a pool. In 1985, that stunt would require a hefty insurance package for touring artists. An insurance package to cover an amphibious vehicle test or other related incidents in 1985 would cover up to $2,643,812 in damages. For Motley Crue to pull off stunts like that, today’s insurance packages would cover up to $7,000,000. Hopefully as older men in their fifties, they have learned to slow things down a bit.


Tommy Lee’s rotating drum kit.

On top of managers having to watch out for Motley Crue, there is another crew that needs to be constantly taken care of. The stage crew are the ones responsible for setting up and take down massive stages and make it possible for bands like motley Crue to go on and perform every night. In 1985, paying a complete stage crew to set up, take down and transport everything including Tommy Lees rotating drum riser would cost $5,854,115. Paying a stage crew to help a major rock band like Motley Crue today would cost $15,500,000 to have on hand for an entire tour.

With all of these expenses, you are better off not being in a rock band. The cost of touring to hotel stays to damages are astronomical. Alongside the headache of dealing with managers who are annoyed with a band like Motley Crue’s antics, as a fan you are better off paying for a ticket to see them live.

The total cost of living as a touring artist in 1985 would be $9,253,302. In 2022 combining the high-end prices, the total cost to be able to tour is $24,500,000. The message, just pay to see Motley Crue unless you can afford to live as Motley Crue.



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