April Fools Day has swung around once more, leaving everybody second-guessing every single thing they read or hear and unsure what to believe. This strange tradition has been going strong since the 16th Century, and in more recent years, bands or artists have used this day as an excuse to have some harmless fun with their fans.
These pranks are all innocent fun, and there’s no malice involved in them, yet despite the pure absurdity of the stories that the band’s share about themselves, there’s a few that we wish were true and would love to see. However, for the most part, it’s a blessing that these were just pranks, and there was no intention to make them come to fruition as they would be career-ending moves.
Historians state that the origins of April Fools Day go back to 1582. They believe it started when France switched to the Gregorian calendar from the Julian calendar. In the Julian Calendar, the new year begins with the spring equinox around April 1st.
At the start of this move to a new calendar, people were slow to adjust to the new method and didn’t realise that the fresh start of the year was now January 1st. These ‘April Fools’ continued to celebrate it during the last week of March until April 1st and received ridicule for this misdemeanour.
A lot has changed since then, but the idea remains the same, and nobody wants to be an April fool. Below are seven examples of when famous musicians caught their fanbases slipping.
The 7 best musical pranks
David Bowie constantly loved to have fun and was the light of any room he stepped foot inside. When he decided to do an April Fool, it wasn’t done in half measures, and he managed to trick the whole of the art world.
Bowie teamed up with writer William Boyd, who wrote a book about an American abstract expressionist painter, Nat Tate, who destroyed his work before committing suicide in 1960.
Tate was an entirely fictional character, but when Bowie hosted a book launch for Boyd, everybody shared their precious memories of his work even though he didn’t exist.
Royal Albert Hall
A venue to successfully dupe the musical world is some achievement, but that’s what London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall managed to do in 2015. They managed to trick everybody into thinking in 1967; they wrote to The Beatles and objected to being mention in ‘A Day In The Life’.
They shared a letter written by their then chief executive, Mr Ernest O’Follipar, who had moved to protect the venue’s image after hearing Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. They even went as far as sharing a letter by John Lennon refusing to change the lyrics to appease the Albert Hall.
Top marks for effort on this one; they tricked everybody.
Hanson and Slipknot are two acts with zero commonalities between them. However, in 2011, the American one-hit wonders revealed they were giving the ‘MmmBop’ treatment to their favourite Slipknot tracks. The plan arose as part of a covers album which, in truth, would have been a strange and nauseating experience. Fortunately for us, however, it was an April Fools.
“We have always cited classic soul and rock and roll as an inspiration, but we have had long-time respect for heavy metal and bands like Slipknot who capture true angst,” drummer Zac Hanson said.
While guitarist Isaac Hanson noted that it’s “been in the works for some time.” Naturally, the announcement was met with some serious anger from the metal band’s fans, but it was all misplaced.
While a lot of us would be pretty happy to see Coldplay blasted off into outer space, for a moment in 2009, it seemed like it was genuinely on the horizon. The band announced details of their new gravity-free recording studio, which almost seemed plausible, but unfortunately, they got everybody hook, line and sinker.
“Coldplay are to boldly go where no musicians have gone before,” they wrote on their website. “Later this year, the band will board a modified Boeing 727 aircraft, which can provide zero gravity for periods of 20-25 seconds at a time. Wearing self-designed outfits based on early Russian cosmonaut suits, they will be joined by producer/collaborator Brian Eno, who will use custom-made ‘heavy’ microphones to record the sessions on a 1969 analogue cassette player.”
Bieber has had a tough time from certain sections of the press since childhood, and he’s had to grow up in the spotlight, openly discussing the challenges that have come from being famous at such a young age. One guilty party is TMZ, who Bieber managed to get a delightful spot of revenge against in 2013.
“As promised taking all fan phone calls TODAY at (888) 847 9869. Talk to u soon!” he tweeted to his millions of followers on Twitter, who didn’t realise that the number was TMZ’s tip line, which was out of action for a considerable chunk of time after Bieber pressed send.
Nine Inch Nails
In March 2009, Timbaland shockingly teamed up with Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell for an album, who was mocked mercilessly for doing so. Not least by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, who posted on social media: “You know that feeling you get when somebody embarrasses themselves so badly YOU feel uncomfortable? Heard Chris Cornell’s record? Jesus.”
Then, on April 1st, he thought he’d get in on the action by announcing his own album with Timbaland.
On the album cover for the fictional Strobe Light, Reznor is wearing Kanye West style slitted sunglasses in a dig at the pop machine. The highlight, however, is the made-up tracklist which includes a song called ‘Everybody’s Doing It’, which featured Chris Martin, Jay-Z and Bono.
In 2009, Björk started the story on this feature that we wish was true when she revealed that she was replacing Robert Plant as the new lead singer in Led Zeppelin.
The Icelandic singer made a statement through her official website, and while it was far fetched, there were murmurs at the time that Plant was the reason why Zeppelin wasn’t hitting the road. Therefore, her news wasn’t entirely implausible.
The statement said that Björk accepted the position out of fear Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant was too involved with his collaborations with Alison Krauss to tour. However, she also stated that the world tour in June 2009 would only see the new look Zeppelin exclusively play songs from I and IV.