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Flaming Lips Get 'N Sync

Justin Timberlake endures blister and dolphin suit on British TV

January 29, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Justin Timberlake took his guest appearance as Flaming Lips bassist seriously enough to develop a blood blister. Despite not being plugged in, Timberlake, dressed in a dolphin suit, dutifully thumped along to "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1" during last Thursday night's taping of British TV show Top of the Pops. Lips frontman Wayne Coyne discovered Timberlake's affliction after the performance when he entered the 'N Sync singer's dressing room to thank him.

"It was just Justin and a friend of his, and they were talking about needles," recounts Coyne. "And I'm like, 'Oh Jesus, maybe they're getting ready to shoot up some cocaine or something.' And then I realize that he's got a blood blister from jamming the bass so hard in the three minutes our song went. Just to prove that he's no sissy, he's popping the blister himself with a needle he got from the wardrobe department."

Although early returns couldn't decide what was more foreign, Timberlake wearing an animal suit or playing a musical instrument, Coyne insists it wasn't a joke. "I didn't want him to think we were all up there making fun of him, because I sincerely asked him to come up. I thought it would be a great moment and I just wanted him to know I'm not out to get him or anything."

The two camps crossed paths at BBC Radio 1 while both were waiting to be interviewed. Coyne propositioned Timberlake and the teen idol readily agreed to play bass, and then, with some coaxing, don the dolphin suit.

"I can see why people like him," says Coyne of Timberlake. "He's energetic, and he's fun. I think these people from these two sort of reverse universes really are just two guys doing the same sort of thing, and it's really the world that perceives them so differently. We're both just in England looking for some ice to go in our Diet Coke, and it really comes down to the same sort of thing."

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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