We’ve all heard stories, rumours and urban myths about outrageous rock star rider demands, whether it be hookers, cocaine or dwarves. A lesser known fact is that although most of these demands were because the rock stars in question had overblown egos and were off their faces on a variety of party powders, sometimes they are put in there by the artists to ensure that the promoter is paying attention to the rest of the rider.
10. Morrissey – The Smiths As The Smiths began what would be their final ever tour around the UK to an increasingly rabid following, Morrissey took to demanding that a ‘young sapling no less than four feet but no higher than six feet’ be placed in his dressing room at each show.
9. Madonna Amongst Madge’s many outrageous requests over the years, one of our faves is her insistence that all the seats on her toilets must not just be hygienically clean, but they must also be brand new so her arse is the first to sit on them.
8. David Hasselhoff Okay we’re clutching at straws to even consider his warbling efforts .music’ but we couldn’t resist this rider request. The Hoff demands a life sized cut out in his dressing room of ... himself.
7. Motley Crüe It’s probably no real surprise that the band’s rider demands have included items as diverse as a schedule for local Alcoholics’ Anonymous meetings, a sub-machine gun and a 12-foot-long boa constrictor.
6. Led Zeppelin We’re still scratching our heads over this one, because it’s the last thing you’d expect of a hell raising, groupie shagging band like Led Zeppelin. They requested an iron and an ironing board.
5. Prince His purpleness doesn’t like people getting their paws on his backstage food it would appear. On his 2004 Musicology tour, his rider dictated “All items in dressing room must be covered by clear plastic wrap until uncovered by main artist. This is absolutely necessary.”
4. Pharrell Williams – N*E*R*D Notorious for the demands he makes of his promoters, on an Australian tour he demanded in his dressing room that his entourage of 26 people were to be entertained by belly dancers while they drank themselves through 20 crates of Grey Goose vodka, 15 magnums of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque champagne and to top it off, 20 crates of Bacardi rum.
3. James Brown Never far from our thoughts when we cast our minds to outrageous rock n’ roll behaviour, The Godfather of Soul once requested "two girls under the age of 21 and a ladies' hair dryer".
2. Paul McCartney Let’s hope promoters paid careful attention to his requested plant heights, with the ridder stipulating ‘nineteen leafy 6ft plants. Four leafy 4ft plants. Vegetarian catering (including no meat by-products).’
1. Van Halen The original and the best, Van Halen legendarily requested a bowl of M&Ms with ‘all the brown ones taken out’. Although this has come to epitomise outrageous rider demands, it was placed there by the band for good reason - they had a complex technical stage set up and they wanted to check the promoter was paying close attention to the stage specifications. Well, that’s their side of the story anyway...
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