10 Music Publicity Stunts Gone Wrong

Madonna's 'Sex'-capade, Garth Brooks' weird alter ego and other artist ploys that didn't go off as planned

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Sex Pistols Crash the Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977)
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Sex Pistols Crash the Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977)

Unlike their impromptu utterance of the f-bomb on the BBC in 1976, the Sex Pistols were very much aware of what they were doing when they sailed up the Thames in the summer of 1976 during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee celebration. Arranged by the band's spitfire Svengali Malcolm McLaren, the stunt – complete with a blaring, blasphemous performance of the group's then-current single, "God Save the Queen" – incited the wrath of London's constabulary, who raided the Pistols' chartered boat and arrested McLaren and numerous others onboard. As music journalist Allan Jones, a guest of the Pistols on that fateful voyage, remembered: "When they played ‘God Save the Queen,' that boat could have imploded." What truly imploded was the Pistols' waning ability to book gigs in England due to a ban on the band that contributed to their onstage meltdown in San Francisco in 1978.

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