Miley Cyrus, Wayne Coyne Cover the Beatles at Billboard Music Awards

Flaming Lips members join singer onstage for "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"

Miley Cyrus
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
May 18, 2014 10:50 PM ET

The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd joined Miley Cyrus onstage from Manchester, England to perform the Beatles' 1967 classic "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" at the Billboard Music Awards. 

Gallery: The Evolution of Miley Cyrus

Coyne, wearing a silver tinsel jacket and skintight body suit with tinsel dangling from his crotch, traded verses with the singer, crashed a nearby cymbal with timpani mallets and dropped to his knees to kiss Cyrus' feet. The pair slowed down the original track, extending and repeating the word "gone" while blasts of confetti festooned the duo.

The collaboration is less incongruous as it may seem. As Rolling Stone reported earlier this month, Cyrus turned to the Flaming Lips' music after she called off her engagement and her dog Floyd was killed by coyotes. "Floyd and I always listened to the Flaming Lips," she said. "So now when I listen to that music, I totally feel the presence of him still being there, you know?"

Coyne and Cyrus' friendship started last year when Cyrus read a Rolling Stone interview with Coyne complimenting her show. In February, Cyrus invited Coyne and Drozd in Los Angeles to perform the band's "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." "Our shows are very childlike, like kids on acid, and hers are too," says Coyne. "We're so much alike in believing art is supposed to be fun. She's just a freak. I love her to death."

Cyrus joined the lips last year in a Tulsa, Oklahoma studio to record what Coyne calls "completely weird" versions of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "A Day in the Life." "They taught me to sing into the sadness, and that's helped me a lot on tour," Cyrus says. "Because I would've felt like I can't keep smiling, and I can't, like, go dance on this gold car, and act like I'm happy when I'm fucking not."

Coyne discussed the Flaming Lips' upcoming Sgt. Pepper's tribute album to Rolling Stone earlier this month, noting that the album "is stunning." A portion of the proceeds from the tribute album will go to Bella Foundation, which helps low-income, elderly or terminally ill pet owners in the Lips' hometown of Oklahoma City pay for veterinary care. The frontman was blunt when asked why he wanted to cover the iconic group. "People are like, 'Why do you do Beatles songs?' and I'm like, 'Because people love them,'" said Coyne.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Long Walk Home”

Bruce Springsteen | 2007

When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

More Song Stories entries »