The 10 Biggest Music Industry Scandals Of All Time Source:

While musicians and performers are extremely popular and loved by many, they often aren’t the best role models. The crazy combinations of fame and money can really change a person and cause them to do things they may not have done otherwise. And when these acts come to the public eye, they can cause huge scandals that garner worldwide attention. From murder to naked teenagers and more, here are the most shocking music industry scandals of all time.

10. Ashlee Simpson Lip Sync on Saturday Night Live

This incident makes us cringe like no other. At the time of her performance on Saturday Night Live in 2004, Ashlee Simpson was a budding star with her own MTV show and hit album. During her appearance on the show she performed a song, but the vocal track and music for another song began to play over the speakers, and she was caught red-handed. In an instant, she went from being known as the next star in the Simpson family, to being that lip sync girl on Saturday Night Live. After this scandal, she was never really able to achieve much more success in the industry and soon faded away into obscurity. Source:

9. GG Allin

Where to begin with this guy. The entire career and existence of GG Allin was basically a scandal. Allin was a punk rocker from the 1970s to the 1990s and was remembered for his extreme and disgusting live performances and terribly offensive music. When asked about his music and performances, he said that he wanted to make rock “dangerous” again. He achieved a cult-like following due to his repulsive live shows that often included various transgressive acts such as attacking audience members, coprophagia, and many more. Allin also had promised to commit suicide on stage, but was not able to do so as he passed away due to a heroin overdose when he was 36. Source: YouTube

8. Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” Music Video

While a music video like this likely wouldn’t be seen as a mega scandal in 2015, people were outraged at the video back in 1989 when it was released. Christian groups were especially upset as they thought the video contained blasphemous use of Christian imagery such as crosses. Even her sponsorship with Pepsi came in question due to the video. Things got so out of hand that the leader of the Catholic faith at the time, Pope John Paul II, involved himself in the matter and encouraged fans to boycott her and her performances.

7. Sinead O’Connor on Saturday Night Live

This scandal and controversy essentially ended the career of Sinead O’Connor in one swift motion. On October 3rd, 1992, O’Connor appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Her first performance of the evening went off without a hitch, but it was during her second performance that she made worldwide headlines. She covered Bob Marley’s classic song “War” in protest over the sexual abuse in the Catholic church, while showing a picture of the Pope to the camera, singing the word “evil” and proceeding to tear the picture to shreds. Saturday Night Live had no knowledge of her plans for the performance and received thousands of calls from people upset with this. Source:

6. Milli Vanilli Caught Lying

This group’s debut album Girl You Know It’s True achieved a ton of popularity and helped this group become one of the most popular acts in the 1980s and 1990s. They even won a Grammy Award for their talents. However, this worldwide fame quickly turned to worldwide infamy after the group had their Grammy taken back. The reason for this was because the two individuals who were in the group didn’t actually sing the vocals on the record at all, which is obviously a big no-no in the industry. Source:

5. Gary Glitter Gets Caught With Child Porn

Gary Glitter was a Glam Rocker in the 1970s and 1980s who was known for his energetic performances and crazy glitter-filled costumes. However, he became more infamous in the 1990s and 2000s for something else, being a child predator. In 1997, Gary Glitter was arrested for the presence of thousands of pornographic images of children and teens found on his computer that he had downloaded. Within the next decade or so, Glitter was accused of many more heinous acts on children and teens from all over the world. He currently is serving a 16-year sentence for attempted rape and indecent assault. Source:

4. Phil Spector Murders Lana Clarkson

Phil Spector himself is not a famous musician, but his spot in the industry is unquestioned. Spector had his hand in more than 25 different Top 40 singles throughout his career. But nowadays, Spector is much better known for his murder conviction. In 2003, actress Lana Clarkson was found dead in Spector’s mansion. He claimed it was suicide, but all of the evidence pointed to him killing her after she had spurned him romantically. At his trial, four other women testified that he had pulled a gun on them after they turned him down. He is currently serving 19-years-to-life and will be eligible for parole when he is 88 years old, in 13 years. Source:

3. Chris Brown Assaults Rihanna

This is probably one of the most infamous scandals of the last decade, as it involved two people near the top of their craft at the time the incident happened. In 2009, Brown and his then-girlfriend Rihanna got into an altercation that turned physical and left Rihanna with numerous and visible marks on her face. Brown quickly turned himself in and faced six months of probation. After the scandal, Brown pulled himself out from every scheduled appearance and stayed out of the public eye, but that didn’t help his reputation much. He will never be able to shake this scandal, and he shouldn’t be. Meanwhile, Rihanna has gone on to become an absolute mega star. Source:

2. R. Kelly and His Lewd Tape

R. Kelly was one of the best R&B artists of the late ’90s and early 2000s, but his reputation took a major hit in 2002. During that year, a terrible video surfaced that allegedly showed Kelly engaging in sex with an underaged girl. Originally, Kelly claimed it was not him in the video, but that didn’t matter to prosecutors and he still got indicted on 21 counts of child pornography. However, he was found not-guilty five years later as there were disputes as to when the film was actually made. Even though the charges may not appear on his official record, in the public eye this scandal has continued to follow him around throughout his career. Source:

1. Michael Jackson Scandal

And without a doubt the biggest scandal in music industry history is the various child sexual abuse claims against Michal Jackson. The first accusation came in 1993 when Evan Chandler claimed that his son, 13-year-old Jordan, was sexually abused by Jackson. This accusation, and many others like it in the following years, damaged his reputation beyond repair in the eyes of most people. These scandals and accusations followed him for the remainder of his career and his life, as he was seen by many as a freak show, a pervert and a pedophile. Source:


Kale Havervold

Kale Havervold has been writing about video games, movies, tv and more for Goliath since 2015.