NIRVANA: “Rape Me” and “Lithium” on MTV Music Video Awards
The bass player from the biggest band in the world (at the time) goes for cool points and gets a mild concussion with a stunt gone wrong. The charismatic lead singer figures the bed has already been shat in, so he decides to go on a romp himself. They would later shut up their detractors with their Unplugged performance the following year.
TYLER THE CREATOR AND HODGY BEATS OF ODD FUTURE: “Sandwitches” on The Late Show With Jimmy Fallon
Tyler, The Creator & Hodgy Beats - Sandwitches live @ Jimmy Fallon from MR Popo on Vimeo.
How many hip-hop performances feature members of the Roots, a relative of the Travelocity elf, both actress Felicia Day and rap mainstay Mos Def keeping their poise when their space gets invaded and the performing artist riding piggyback on top of the show’s host? Just one.
M.I.A.: “Born Free” on The Late Show With David Letterman
Clone one attitudinal rapper several times, add one punk/industrial/noise avatar on synthesizer (Suicide’s Martin Rev) and get to work. This was broadcasted July 2010, which makes David Letterman’s final quip even funnier.
MIDNIGHT OIL: “Read About It” on Thicke Of The Night
There’s more than one way to have a fiery performance, but only one will get you pixilated on national television (at 2:34). You do get to see a roadie scramble to contain the, um, “event.”
ELVIS COSTELLO: “Radio Radio” on Saturday Night Live
Despite playing “Less Than Zero” at rehearsal where all the camera angles and timings were planned in advance, Costello (who was actually subbed in after the Sex Pistols’ visas never came through) changed his mind. It threatened to deep-six his career: The stunt got him banned from the show for 10 years until 1998, when…