We all know that many celebrities are incredibly fussy and like to exert their power, and this is most evident through their riders and contract demands. Often these are completely outrageous and give you a clear insight into their quirky personalities and neurosis, but sometimes they are also having a bit of fun with the promoters and do not expect all of their demands to be met. Often the riders will focus around food, drink and clothing as they are constantly on the road, but you will also get some baffling requests which are sure to raise a few eyebrows.
10. Madonna – A Brand New Toilet Seat At Every Venue
The queen of pop, we will always know Madonna as an eccentric and interesting character, and unsurprisingly her rider backs this up. It is clear that hygiene is an issue with Madonna, as she demands that the toilet seat in her dressing room is replaced with a brand new one at every venue whilst on tour. You can certainly understand why you would want a clean toilet seat, but surely it would be much easier and cheaper to have the toilet cleaned before she arrived, or even better, to invest in some toilet seat covers. This is the power that the queen of pop commands, however, but she is not the only one as this is also a request of Mary J. Blige. Madonna has also been known to request white and pink roses cut to 6 inches and she has her own furniture shipped in to venues.
9. Justin Timberlake – Disinfect Doorknobs Every 2 Hours
Pop star and actor Justin Timberlake is one of several celebrities who appears to be very conscious about health and germs, as he requires that somebody goes around and disinfects every single doorknob backstage and at any hotels that he stays in every two hours (at least he doesn’t have them replaced each time). In addition to this, JT is also known to request that he does not have to share the elevator with anyone when on tour or at a party, presumably so he doesn’t have to make any small talk or have an awkward silence (we wouldn’t mind this one). To top it all off, Timberlake also insists that he and his entourage get the entire floor to themselves at hotels whilst on tour so that they can have some wild parties that you and nobody else is invited to.
8. David Hasselhoff – Life-Size Cut-Out of Himself
One request which is sure to raise a few eyebrows is from famous actor turned German pop superstar David Hasselhoff, who used to ask that there be a life-sized cardboard cut-out of himself, which we can only assume he used instead of looking in the mirror before hitting the stage. The Hoff found fame through Knight Rider and Baywatch, but since then he has become more famous for simply being David Hasselhoff and his strange music career which is insanely popular in Germany for some reason. The story of his cardboard cut-out demand will only help his legacy, and although not the most difficult demand to meet at each venue, it is certainly one of the most bizarre ones that has been revealed over the years.
7. Mariah Carey – Dressing Room Filled With Puppies, Kittens and Rabbits
One of the most successful female artists of all time, Mariah Carey is also known to be quite the diva, which is reflected in her rider. She has previously required an attendant whose sole job was to dispose of her gum, and she has also insisted on her dressing room being 75 degrees with a lamp or clip light and two dozen white roses, as well as fully stocked Cristal champagne complete with bendy straws. Her most famous request, however, is one which we can understand, but logistically must be an absolute nightmare for promoters to arrange each night. Before going on stage, Carey wants her dressing room filled with puppies, rabbit, bunnies and any other soft animal which she states helps to calm her nerves. In recent years, though, Carey has reportedly put her diva days behind her and has a much more modest rider.
6. Beyonce – Hand-Carved Ice Balls
Another pop diva with some pretty interesting and outlandish backstage requests, Beyonce is very particular about every aspect of her backstage area, and you certainly wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of perhaps the most powerful woman in the business. A few of her tour demands have included that all of the staff wear 100% cotton clothing, titanium drinking straws (to drink special alkaline water), the water to be served at exactly 21 degrees and for the walls to be freshly painted white. Perhaps the strangest request, however, is for there to be readily available hand-carved ice balls for her to suck on. Clearly this is to aid her throat and vocals, but why they need to be hand-carved by somebody and not frozen in the shape of balls will remain a mystery.
5. Christina Aguilera – Police Escort
Christina Aguilera is a busy woman who doesn’t have time for traffic, and this has been made clear by her contract demands. She has demanded that she get a police escort to each concert venue because she does not want to sit through traffic. Aguilera has also been known to request all kinds of healthy food for her dressing room, as well as a slightly odd request in Flintstones chewable vitamins. These days she appears to have but this diva-esque behavior behind her, however, and has a much more modest rider which is mainly comprised of healthy snacks, and of course her Flintstones chewable vitamins. She has even demonstrated her environmentally friendly side by requesting that disposable cutlery is kept to a minimum.
4. Paul McCartney – 19 Leafy Six-Foot Plants and 4 Leafy Four-Foot Plants
There are not many musicians as widely respected as Sir Paul McCartney, but he is also famous for making a few odd and very strict backstage requests over the years. A famous vegetarian, part of McCartney’s demands are that there are absolutely no animals products (meat or leather) anywhere around the backstage area, and this includes in his limos. Not even animal prints are allowed. Whilst his intentions can be understood here, he also has a few unnecessarily specific aspects such as 19 leafy six-foot plants, 4 leafy four-foot plants, and strictly no trees. These demands may have changed by now, as they date back to 2002 in a time where he was married to Heather Mills, but he still maintains one sensible request: a sweep of the venue by bomb sniffing dogs, which must be carried out before the show.
3. Jennifer Lopez – Diamond Encrusted Headphones
She may insist that she’s “still Jenny from the block,” but her rider demands over the years beg to differ. There are numerous stories of her extreme backstage requests, which have included a trailer that is no less than 40 feet long and is all completely white (white room, flowers, tables, drapes, candles and couches). Another outrageous demand was for the World Music Awards in 2010, where the singer asked for a pair of $4,500 diamond encrusted headphones to block out the sound of the custom fitted speedboat (stocked with champagne) that she was travelling to the show in. Understandable that she would want headphones, but diamond encrusted seems slightly over the top. Another diva demand is that she asks for her coffee to be stirred in a counter-clockwise motion.
2. Iggy & The Stooges – Seven Dwarves
One of the most influential and eccentric characters in the music industry, Iggy Pop was clearly having some fun when he and The Stooges came up with their now-legendary 18 page dossier as a tour rider. There are many great highlights in this enormous document, but the best and most outrageous is without a doubt “seven dwarves, dressed up as those dwarves out of that marvelous Walt Disney film.” Apparently if dwarves were not available, a belly dancer would have sufficed. Clearly this, and most of the other requests, were completely unrealistic and never met (as far as we know), and it is simply a case of a band having fun with the promoter. Other highlights from the document include random thoughts, such as how Iggy once met Ron Howard and thinks he has a face “you’d never get tired of punching.”
1. Van Halen – Bowl of M&Ms With the Brown Ones Picked Out
The most famous rider request of all time, glam metal act Van Halen would request that at each show there was a bowl of M&Ms available with all of the brown ones picked out during their 1982 tour. Now at first this may just seem like arrogant celebrities abusing their power (which in a way it is), but also, as explained by the editor of The Smoking Gun, it was a test to see if the promoters were paying attention to what was listed. If they arrive and find brown M&Ms, then what is to say that they haven’t made mistakes with the lighting, music gear, security etc. Many bands and artists like to have fun with their riders, but there is no doubt that this is also somewhat a power play which is definitely the case for many of the other entries on this list.