People have almost managed to get themselves used to reading about political scandals in the news: It’s news every time some high-ranking politician punches a baby or happens to take someone to an exclusive hotel room in the middle of the night for something that definitely doesn’t look like a business-related meeting. You almost expect the next headline to be about some sort of new political scandal, which is really just an old news story but a new politician doing it. That gets old fast, even for the tabloids. But the music industry has seen its share of scandals, too: Here are some of the worst and what happened.
Wardrobe Malfunctions on Stage
Wardrobe malfunctions on stage have caused plenty of scandal in the world of Hollywood – and when this kind of thing happens, you can bet a million bucks that it’ll be headlines of at least one tabloid the very next day. Anybody in show business will be able to tell you that you can rehearse as much as you want and check everything a hundred times, mistakes will still happen – and sometimes they expose the people on stage and there’s nothing you can do about it. Sometimes it’s just down to picking the wrong dress without realizing that everything will be see-through under stage lights. By far, the most famous wardrobe malfunction in the music world took place at the Super Bowl and involved another of the Jackson family: Janet!
Paul McCartney versus Michael Jackson
There are fans of artist Paul McCartney, and there are fans of artist Michael Jackson; there are many people who would consider themselves die-hard fans of both artists and see absolutely no need to sit on the fence over which of the two artists are better. They’re both great musical artists, why bother to pick a favorite? Just listen to both. But this wasn’t always easy for Paul and Michael, who have a long history of disputes – not about the content of the music, but about who owns the music. Michael Jackson famously bought over a massive package of Beatles songs for more than $47 million – something which managed to ruffle the feathers of McCartney, who had written many of the songs that form part of the official catalog. They later managed to even this out, though its occurrence put the focus right on the music industry and made many realize just how much money there is to be made in music rights.
Michael Jackson versus the world
Michael Jackson had seen more than enough controversy himself during his lifetime, and at some point even his fans seemed like they were divided about what the truth was. Michael’s trouble started when he was accused of just about one of the most serious things you can be accused of – the sexual abuse of a minor – back in the nineties. The complaint had been submitted by Evan Chandler, who alleged that Michael had sexually assaulted his thirteen-year-old son. This took several years to conclude, and several other reported cases came forward to allege that Jackson had acted inappropriately towards children. (The original Chandler case itself was concluded in 1994 when the family settled with Jackson out of court.) Today, many people dismiss the claims against Jackson – and no evidence of abuse by Jackson was ever officially found, leaving many people to believe that it had been an attempt to tarnish his reputation for a quick buck.
The 27 Club
Any fan of music has heard of the supposed 27 Club among music performers, and it’s become somewhat of a legend amongst fans and performers. There are many famous musicians and even actors who died at the age of 27, and this has led conspiracy theorists to speculate on all sorts of possibilities, including the idea that some of the musicians might not be dead but instead just in hiding, preferring a life away from the busy stage. Musicians who died at the age of 27 – part of the supposed 27 Club – includes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and frontman of the Doors, Jim Morrison. There are even some theories that they were assassinated at the age of 27 in elaborate plots – but by whom? Some say the government, and others just claim that the artists’ deaths would have caused a boom in albums.
The Music Did It
There have been thousands upon thousands of claims that music has inspired people to commit all sorts of horrifying acts, from suicides to mass shootings. The problem with this is that all forms have media have been blamed before: It doesn’t just apply to music. Over the decades, people have tried to pin violent behavior on everything from music to video games to board games – but the truth is that the entertainment media had absolutely nothing to do with it and that an already-disturbed individual would remain so even without listening to rock music. Famously, Ozzy Osbourne’s Suicide Solution was blamed for the suicide of a teenager (mainly by his parents) – even though Osbourne would go on to state in court that the song was against self-destructive behavior and not for it.
The Music Did it Again
Yes, there have been more claims by parents and groups that music is responsible for corrupting their children – this one is called backmasking, and has been a popular option for the argument against music for years. The idea behind backmasking is that messages are somehow hidden in music and can only be heard when listening to the album backward – but that the subconscious mind somehow hears the message and impulsively act on it. The only problem is that this is not how music works, and this is not how human psychology really works either. Backmasking isn’t real, and the examples that exist today were inserted deliberately by bands – why? Because they knew people would eventually start looking for it… No, music can’t give you messages from the beyond; no, music can’t turn you into a serial killer.
Miley Cyrus sheds her image
Miley Cyrus became a household name and a favorite for thousands of kids across the world when she was still the star of Hannah Montana: Remember the absolutely insane craze that took off with the show, movie and millions of merchandise afterward? It cemented her career. But it also built Cyrus’ image as a typical Disney kid and meant that she had to stick to the clean-cut image – that is, until she got completely tired of it. You might remember when Miley Cyrus went naked on stage and, well, we can just let you Google the headlines for that one. Make sure that you’re not and work and your safe search is set to On, just in case. Well, we suppose that the star had to do something to get rid of her clear-cut image once she turned legal – and that was the quickest way to it.
Lip syncing scandals
As far as scandals go, lip syncing is just about as bad as you can get – at least in the music industry, where it really matters to fans whether or not a singer is using their voice. Remember that fans paid thousands to be able to attend the performance, and catching a performer lip syncing makes fans feel like they’ve been cheated out of both their experience and their money – they might also suddenly find themselves wondering if the singer can actually sing without having their voice manipulated. There have been many reports of lip-syncing and some have been outright caught doing it. Some performers have even been caught out when they make a mistake and don’t go with their track as well as rehearsed. Whoops! Hollywood has taken a new approach to this and started a game show called Lip Sync Battle, where people can test their Lip Syncing skills against each other for prizes.
Animal scandals of the music industry
Okay, so scandals don’t just involve the celebrities in the music industry – but sometimes they also happen to involve their pets. How on earth might that happen, you ask? Well, one of the most notorious cases is the one of Justin Bieber and his pet capuchin monkey, who was later seized by German authorities. The zoo has claimed in the meantime that the monkey still has issues which arise from its life with Bieber, though Justin himself has denied any wrongdoing or mistreatment of the monkey on his part. Famously, he was reunited with his pet monkey for his Comedy Central roast, and there appeared to be no hard feelings between the star and his pet. Star and guitarist Johnny Depp also landed in hot water when he snuck his pet dogs into Australia – and was heavily criticized for it in the media.
Also published on Medium.