The ten most noteworthy music publicity stunts

Categories: Commentary, Lists


4. Super Furry Animals buy (and sell) a tank
Psychedelic Welsh weirdos Super Furry Animals once purchased an army tank, painted it blue, attached speakers and drove it through festivals blaring electronic music. It's unclear what this particular stunt aimed to accomplish, aside from the obvious message: "WE HAVE A TECHNO TANK." At the end of the tour, the band claims to have sold the tank to Don Henley, saying, "He has five or six of them." Didn't we always somehow suspect this? When Don Henley talks about the End of the Innocence, he's not fucking around.


3. Pussy Riot protest the Church
When the Russian feminist punk-rock collective known as Pussy Riot staged a guerrilla protest in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior, their intention was to draw attention to the Church's support for President Vladimir Putin's election campaign. Two of the group's members -- Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina -- ended up being sentenced to two years in prison for "hooliganism" as a result of the performance. Internationally, musicians from all genres spoke out against the sentencing, including two of the three pop stars who sang the Three Musketeers ballad "All for Love" -- Sting and Bryan Adams. Rod Stewart has remained curiously silent.


2. Michael Jackson becomes a god
Sony Music spent $30 million to promote Michael Jackson's HIStory. The campaign included constructing nine 32-foot-tall statues of HIM, one of which subsequently made its way down the Thames River on a barge. This sight -- probably not seen since the days of the Pharaohs -- surely cemented Jackson's identity in many a peasant's mind as some kind of celestial being bent on world domination. As with the reign of certain other gods, Jackson's also unfortunately came with allegations of child sexual abuse.


1. The K Foundation burn a million quid
Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of the hugely successful English pop group the KLF established the K Foundation in part to support struggling artists. However, they soon "realized that struggling artists are meant to struggle; that's the whole point." After devising an art installation that involved nailing one million pound-notes to a wooden frame, they came up with the even more daring and satirical idea of burning the money outright -- which they did on camera. Julian Cope of the Teardrop Explodes was not amused by this artistic statement, claiming that Drummond still owed him money at the time.

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Brett Schreiber
Brett Schreiber

it's sad that these types of articles NEVER mention the best one: the "helter stupid" scam perpetuated by negativland in 1988. from wikipedia: In February 1988, a 16-year-old from Rochester, Minnesota named David Brom murdered his entire immediate family (both parents, a brother, and a sister) with an axe. When Negativland was forced to cancel a planned tour in support of their album Escape from Noise for financial reasons, the band issued a press release claiming that they had been "advised by Federal Official Dick Jordan not to leave town pending an investigation into the Brom murders." The press release implied that Brom had listened to Negativland's song "Christianity Is Stupid" before the fatal quarrel with his religious parents. In reality, there was no official named "Dick Jordan", and Brom did not possess any Negativland music. The murder investigation later discovered that he was on SST's mailing lists, but he only owned "Zen Arcade" by SST band Hüsker Dü. Nevertheless, pundits and journalists took the press release at face value, and the hoax received widespread media coverage. Negativland encouraged the spread of the story by steadfastly refusing further comment, supposedly on the advice of their attorney "Hal Stakke", another fictional person invented by the band. Much of this media coverage was negative, and band member Richard Lyons' home in Oakland, California was pelted with rocks by an unknown vandal. Negativland subsequently used samples from the media frenzy in their 1989 album Helter Stupid.

Shayne Morgan
Shayne Morgan

By pouring a vial of blood into the ink to print their comic books...selling the comic books, thus selling their blood. :-D

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault