Whether lashing out at the world, their family, their record labels, or one another, singers have gone to extremes over the years to give the big middle finger out in public. Who’s to stop them? Artists will be artists.
In complete and utter “Screw You”s to the world, artists have gone from re-recorded 25-year-old tracks (Def Leppard ring a bell?) to recording ramblings of absolute nonsense, creating products like Van Morrison’s “Want a Danish.” Some artists take (not so) discrete measures of saying “eff you” to former bandmates by using symbolic art on album covers. Others go as low as firing their own parents from being involved in their business. Ouch. Take a look at the most epic and public “F–k You”s that are still ridiculously cringeworthy.
Van Morrison’s “Revenge” Album (1968)
When Van attempted to leave Bang Records for Warner Brothers, the label urged the singer to give them just one more record before his departure. And as any other artist, he aimed to please. Sort of. He went to an NYC recording studio and rambled off 31, we repeat, 31 tracks of complete nonsense. The “album” included tracks like “Ringworm,” “The Big Royalty Check” and our personal favorite “Want a Danish,” which you can hear above.
Jarvis Cocker Ambushes Michael Jackson’s BRIT Awards Performance (1996)
In defense of acting against Jackson’s “Jesus acts,” the Pulp frontman invaded Michael’s performance by mocking the singer, pointing his butt towards the crowd, waving his hands around and running in circles once being chased by security. Aside from being “off his cocker,” the singer said, “There were probably a lot of other people who found it distasteful as well… and I thought ’You could actually do something about it.'” He sure did just that.
The Back of Paul McCartney’s Ram Album (1971)Paul released Ram following the nasty breakup of The Beatles in 1970. In the most discrete of ways, he showed his anger and frustration by featuring two beetles “screwing” each other on the back of the album. This was clearly meant to be taken very literally. Later that year, John Lennon released the iconic “Imagine” and the album originally featured a postcard with a picture of John holding the ears of a pig, supposedly poking fun at the cover of Ram, which shows Paul holding a ram’s horns.
Firing Their Own Parents As ManagersBeyonce parted ways from her father Mathew Knowles in 2011, claiming it was just at “a business level.” In a public statement about the fallout, she said: “He is my father for life and I love my dad dearly.” From day one, her dad was the main driving force behind Bey turning from teenager to global superstar, which is why we can’t help but think this was sort of a bitch slap. Yonce wasn’t the only pop diva to cut family out of her professional life. Earlier this year, Selena Gomez not only fired her stepdad, but also fired her mom from being her managers, even though they managed her since her Disney days. She claimed to have “outgrown” her parents as managers and yes, we know business should be kept strictly business, but that seems a little harsh. Family first, right?
Marvin Gaye Dedicates Here, My Dear To His Broken Marriage (1978)
Marvin Gaye’s dysfunctional relationship with his first wife Anna Gordy Gaye became very public when Anna filed for divorce and sued Gaye in 1975. In 1976, a warrant was issued for the star’s arrest after failing to pay child support for their son, Marvin Gaye III, amongst other unfortunate spending habits. After touring and continuous delays, the divorce was finalized in 1977 after Gaye was convinced to split any royalties earned from his next album with his ex-wife. He recorded Here, My Dear what he originally believed to be a “quickie album,” that eventually became one of his most acclaimed.
Def Leppard Re-Records Old Songs (2012)