Rock stars are famous for being a bit… temperamental. Take a huge ego, keep it awake for days out on the road, (maybe) add a few drugs to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for a verbal explosion loud enough to rock a stadium. All it takes is the tiniest of sparks. Living in the spotlight has got to be pretty stressful, and it’s understandable that these folks crack every now and then. But occasionally their eruptions are pure comedic fury, with unhinged tirades that reach new depths of obscenity and profanity. Head down below to listen to 10 (very NSFW) of our very favorite musician rants and meltdowns. Enjoy!
10. Yngwie Malmsteen Releases “The F–king Fury”
Yngwie hit the bottle hard during the long flight to Tokyo back in 1988, and apparently terrorized folks in the First Class cabin with rude antics. That’s when one woman decided to take revenge on the metal god by dumping a jug of ice water over his head while he was sleeping it off. Yngwie predictably didn’t respond very well to the rude awakening, swearing at the woman and even threatening to kill her! Drummer Anders Johansson got the whole thing on tape.
Highlights: “You’ve unleashed the f–king fury” (which later inspired the title of his 2005 album)
“I don’t deserve this s–t, I paid for a First Class ticket!”
F-Bomb Count: 15
9. John Lennon Needs Some Peace
The title track to the 1971 album Imagine has gone on to become one of the greatest peace anthems that the world has ever known, but Lennon wasn’t always blissed out while recording. The former Beatle snapped at engineer Phil McDonald while working on the track “OhYoko!”, and documentary cameras captured the incident for posterity. It’s interesting to note that the man standing (oddly serene) next to him is legendary producer Phil Spector, known for his extremely short temper. According to studio lore, he often packed heat, and occasionally pulled a gun in the studio to “inspire” uncooperative musicians. He’s currently serving a time in prison for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson. So with that in mind, it’s probably for the best that John was the one who lost his cool.
Highlights: “The end of the song is just like the f–king rest of it!”
F-Bomb Count: 3
8. The Troggs Go Wild Recording “Tranquility”
The blokes who brought us the garage classic “Wild Thing” went wild while working on a song called (ironically) “Tranquility” in 1970. Apparently the band were called into the studio without having written a completed song, and the band tried their very best to flesh it out as the tapes rolled. If the infighting, name calling and petty grievances are any indication, it didn’t go well, and we’ve yet to find the finished cut on record. But their drawn-out studio tiff proved to be a huge hit on bootlegs, and allegedly inspired scenes in the classic music mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap
Highlights: “You’ve gotta put a little bit of f–kin’ fairy dust over the bastard.” “Well, we’ll put some fairy dust over it – I’ll piss over the tape.”
“F–kin’ drummer. I s–t ’em.”
F-Bomb Count: 98 (plus 1 C-Bomb)
7. Brian Wilson’s Dad Crashes A Beach Boy Recording Session
American’s Band were very much a family affair, managed in the early days by the tempestuous Murry Wilson, father of members Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson (and uncle to Mike Love). Tales of the physical and emotional abuse he inflicted on his sons are legendary, but the elder Wilson’s overly-aggressive approach was instrumental to the band’s early progress. By the mid sixties brother Brian was hailed as a hit-making musical wunderkind and given free production reign in the studio by the record execs…but his father was much harder to please. Despite their successes (and the fact that they fired him as their manager), he still insisted on attending sessions and forcefully inserting his two cents where it wasn’t wanted. The most famous incident occurred on January 8th 1965, when he drunkenly crashed a date for “Help Me Rhonda,” destined to be the band’s second Number One. You can listen to the full tape here, but the edited version features the immortal line where he slurs to his brilliant son, “Brian, I’m a genius too.”
Highlights: “Whatsa matter? You make too much money, buddy?”
F-Bomb Count: 0
6. Elvis Strung Out On “Music”
The King most certainly DID NOT appreciate the tabloid rumors that claimed that he was “strung out” on all sorts of drugs, and he made his displeasure known during at 1974 performance in (where else?) Las Vegas. Insisting that the movie mags are all “junk,” he went on to make some unique threats towards the gossip hounds who slandered his name all over the place. He died a drug related death three years later.
Highlights: “If I find or hear the individual that said that about me, I’m gonna break your goddamn neck, you son of a bitch!”
“I will pull your goddamn tongue out by the roots! Thank you very much.”
F-Bomb Count: 0
5. Elton John: Tantrums and Tiaras
Captain Fantastic is very aware of his own penchant for diva-esque behavior from time to time, and it was with his blessing that his partner David Furnish filmed this behind-the-scenes documentary Tantrums and Tiaras. Although somewhat light on the tantrums, it does open with this priceless tirade against some hapless PA who accidentally left his clothes at his hotel before a video shoot.
Highlights: “I get up at seven o’clock in the morning and some f–king person leaves my f–king clothes in the car. What the f–k is going on!?”
“I hate f–king videos. They’re f–king loathsome, and I tell you this: I am not doing this video.”
F-Bomb Count: 11
4. Barry White’s Radio Spot Fail
He’s known for seducing our eardrums with his velvety baritone, but we get to see a different side of Barry during these outtakes for a radio ad. Try as he might, he can’t seem to nail the take. It just gets funnier as he gets more and more flustered.
Highlights: “Paul Quinn college cordially — s–tty — cordially invites your ass to come on down.”
“This asshole f–ked these words up, man. I mean he’s got words that he don’t even need.”
“F–K this s–t!”
F-Bomb Count: 6
3. Kanye Pulls A Kanye
There are no shortage of Yeezy freakouts to choose from. From his infamous anti-Bust outburst during the Hurricane Katrina telethon, the Taylor Swift incident, the Matt Lauer faceoff on The Today Show, and let’s not forget mid-concert meltdowns. But our personal favorite is this “secret” tape taken while Kanye was having dinner with his friends immediately following the 2009 VMAs (that’s the T-Swift one).
Highlights: “What the f–ck was Pink performing? Don’t nobody know that song. Pink performed twice! Two songs? How the f–k Pink perform two songs and I didn’t even get asked to perform ’Heartless.'”
2. Paul Anka Hates T-Shirts
Frankly, we didn’t realize that ’50s malt-shoppe crooner and tune-smith Paul Anka had enough clout to go HAM on his band like this. One of the earliest examples of covertly recorded rants, a band member captured this over the top critique of his group’s musical performance and personal appearance. It has been referred to (quite perfectly) as a “Revolution No. 9 of profanity,” and lines were pulled verbatim for Al Pacino’s character in Ocean’s 13. When later asked recently about tapes on NPR’s Fresh Air, Anka said that they were recorded by “a snake we later fired.”
Highlights: “The guys get shirts.”
“Do you want your jobs?”
“Don’t make a f–kin’ maniac out of me!”
“You guys are on thin ice, all right? And when I f–king move, I slice like a f–king hammer.”
“I have a new philosophy. I don’t care if it’s Jesus Christ. I’m the only important one on that stage. If you don’t do it my way, then it’s the highway.”
F-Bomb Count: 25
1. Buddy Rich: The Bus Tapes
These tapes from jazz drumming pioneer Buddy Rich are arguably the gold standard against which all other musician rants are judged. Pianist Lee Musiker secretly recorded his temperamental boss giving his usual obscenity-laced post-show debriefing in the tour bus back in the early 1980s, with Rich laying into the guys for reasons as diverse as facial hair (he threatens to fire trombonist Dave Panichi over his beard), to musicianship. The tapes soon hit the bootleg circuit and spread like wildfire, gaining serious notoriety among comedians. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David were huge fans, incorporating quotes into several episodes of their show, Seinfeld. The Beastie Boys paid their own tribute to Buddy’s legendary temper in their song “Sabotage” with the line “I’m Buddy Rich when I fly off the handle.” Apparently even Rich himself couldn’t resist listening, requesting to hear them mere days prior to his death in 1987.
Highlights: Too many to name.
F Bomb Count: Lost count
[Photo: Getty Images]