5. Fear Tears It Up on Saturday Night Live…Literally (1981)
SNL has had more than its fair share of live music mayhem over the years. There was Elvis Costello’s song-switching stunt in 1977, the Replacements ragged and drunken set in ’86, Cyprus Hill lighting up a joint and smashing their gear, Sinead O’Connor tearing up a picture of the Pope, System of a Down dropping an F-bomb…and that’s just off the top of our heads! But nothing can top the destruction and pure rock ‘n’ roll anarchy than the Halloween appearance by hardcore band Fear. Not ordinarily the kind of band SNL usually books, Fear were a favorite of show alum John Belushi, who promised to make a guest appearance if they were asked to play. The audience was stocked with up-and-coming figures from the punk community (Minor Threat‘s Ian Mackaye, Tesco Vee of the Meatmen, and Cro-Mags‘ John Joseph and Harley Flanagan among them) to give the performance a more authentic flavor, but nothing could prepare execs for the serious moshing to come. The crowd tore up the stage, causing an estimated $20,000 damage to the set.
6. Iron Maiden on German Television (1986)
If there’s one lesson that can be taken away from this blog post, it’s that rock stars seem to REALLY hate to mime and lip-sync. We can trace it back to the Stranglers on Top of the Pops in 1977 (worth a watch), and probably even earlier. And who can blame them; we’d be pissed too if we spend years honing our musical skills! So when consummate live band Iron Maiden were forced to pretend to play during an appearance on the German television P.I.T., front-man Bruce Dickinson decided to play it for the laughs, swapping instruments with the bass player, and just generally making a mockery of the proceedings. It’s worth noting that the Berlin Wall fell a mere three years later…Coincidence? Yeah, maybe. Or perhaps it was the awesomeness of this clip!