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bands/musicians The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever  

Adam Tyler
3.9k votes 510 voters 42.8k views 64 items Embed

List Rules Openings bands that are completely different than headliners. Could be in different genres or opposite images.

Some of the strangest opening act bookings no doubt leave music fans scratching their collective heads. Most of the time, an opening act 'gels' well with the headliner. Rock bands, for instance, tend to open for other, more well-known rock bands. Occasionally, though, for some reason, very, very unlikely pairings happen. Who on Earth thought of having Jimi Hendrix open for The Monkees? What crazy, deranged concert promoter decided that having The Afghan Whigs open for Aerosmith was a super good idea? This list includes some of the most bizarre concert billings ever. Be sure to vote for those artists that you think are the most peculiar opening acts of all time, and, if you know of one not listed, by all means, add them! Everyone, it seems, has seen an oddly mismatched concert billing at one time or another.

It's hard to imagine who thought having the Beastie Boys open for Madonna on her 1985 Virgin Tour was an awesome idea. Audiences generally hated it, and critics did too. And while the Beasties went on to great fame and fortune, that tour is probably not one of the highlights of their career. Flash forward to 2012, now, and behold, one of the strangest, most unusual opening act bookings to date: Kool & the Gang will open shows for...Van Halen?! Yep. Apparently, this was David Lee Roth's bright idea. Celebrate good times, come on!

An opening act is supposed to be less popular than the headliner. That's just how it works, right? Wrong. Sometimes, the opening act winds up stealing the show. In 1983, Stevie Ray Vaughan opened for The Moody Blues. And he was, as always, amazing. Headliners want opening acts to warm up the crowd, but not take away from their big show.

The worst, oddest opening act billings resulted in disaster for some. Prince, of all people, was booed continually when he opened for The Rolling Stones in October of 1981. And Terence Trent D'Arby had the unfortunate status of opening act for Bruce Springsteen at New York's Madison Square Garden in June of 1993. Audiences did NOT like the choice: They booed throughout D'Arby's performance, and they also really pissed off The Boss - he cursed at them and then rushed through the show. And poor "Weird Al" Yankovic: He had the misfortune of opening for the new wave band Missing Persons in 1982. He's still somewhat traumatized by the experience, which he says included getting "pelted for 45 minutes" by "anything that wasn't nailed down."

Behold, the list of the most bizarre, strangest opening act bookings in music history. Don't boo, don't throw things -- just vote for your favorites!

list ordered by

1
135 39
The Who is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
The Who Popular music, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for Herman's Hermits on July 14, 1967

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2
161 63
Ranker Video
Jimi Hendrix Blues-rock, Rock music, Experimental rock - Opened for The Monkees in 1967

3
119 73
The Doors is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
The Doors Blues-rock, Rock music, Protopunk - Opened for Simon and Garfunkel in 1967 (Forest Hills, Queens)

4
110 88
Ranker Video
Beastie Boys Hip hop music, Pop punk, Alternative hip hop - Opened for Madonna in 1985

5
83 67
Alice Cooper is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Alice Cooper Glam metal, Experimental rock, Shock rock - Opened for Chad & Jeremy in 1970

6
83 70
Kool & the Gang is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Kool & the Gang Disco, Dance-pop, Contemporary R&B - Opening for Van Halen in 2012

7
99 91
Ranker Video
Justin Timberlake Hip hop music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop music - Opened for AC/DC and the Rolling Stones in 2003 (Toronto)

8
31 23
Ramones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
malachi4.4ministries added Ramones Punk Rock - Opening act for Toto in Montreal, Canada once upon a time in the mid '70's.

9
82 77
Bruce Springsteen is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Bruce Springsteen Americana, Blues-rock, Heartland rock - Opened for Anne Murray on August 3, 1974 at New York's Schaefer Music Festival in Central Park

10
42 36
Rage Against the Machine is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Rage Against the Machine Crossover thrash, Nu metal, Political hip hop - opened up for U2 in 1997

11
14 7
Queen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
PattiRuane added Queen opened for Mott the Hoople 1974 Pop music, Rock music, Heavy metal

12
52 49
The B-52's is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
The B-52's New Wave, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for The Who in 1982

13
15 9
Grandmaster Flash is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Grandmaster Flash Hip hop music, Old-school hip hop, Electro - Opened for The Clash in 1981

14
14 8
Devo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Idiom added Devo Synthpunk, New Wave, Synthpop - Opened for Sun Ra in 1975, opened for Arcade Fire in 2014

15
36 33
Stevie Ray Vaughan is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Stevie Ray Vaughan Blues-rock, Rock music, Instrumental rock - Opened for the Moody Blues in 1983

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16
75 78
Prince is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Prince Hip hop music, Synthpop, New Wave - Opened for The Rolling Stones on October 11, 1981

17
20 16
Violent Femmes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Violent Femmes Alternative rock, Punk rock, Folk punk - opened up for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. No, you're not hallucinating.

18
58 59
Ranker Video
Glen Campbell Pop music, Rock music, Folk music - Opened for the Doors in the mid-1960s (Portland and Seattle)

19
18 14
Bachman–Turner Overdrive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Bachman–Turner Overdrive Boogie rock, Rock music, Hard rock - opened for Van Halen ( the 5150 tour, the first "Van Hagar" tour ) in 1986.

20
32 30
Albert Brooks is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
alexgor23 added Albert Brooks Opened for Sly and the Family Stone in 1973 in Tacoma, Washington. He tells a great story about the experience...http://anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=4203

21
59 61
Rush is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Rush Progressive metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Kiss in 1975

22
43 43
"Weird Al" Yankovic Hip hop music, Pop music, Rock music - Opened for Missing Persons in 1982

23
24 22
Radiohead is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
sangredeargento added Radiohead Rock music, Electronic music, New Prog - opened for Alanis Morrrisette  

24
27 27
Kiss is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Kiss Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - Opened for Blue Oyster Cult, 1973

25
15 13
Bad Religion is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Mindweaversd added Bad Religion Pop punk, Crossover thrash, Melodic hardcore - Opened for Blink 182

26
15 13
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Ma... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers opened for the B-52s in 1990.

27
13 11
Paul Rodríguez is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Paul Rodríguez opened for Smoky Robinson in 1987

28
6 3
Sex Pistols is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
mark-makely added Sex Pistols Rock music, Anarcho-punk, Punk rock

29
36 39
The Clash is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
The Clash Hip hop music, Pop punk, New Wave - Opened for The Who in 1982

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30
5 3
U2 Opened for the J. Geils Ban... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
MichelleCastro added U2 Opened for the J. Geils Band 1982

31
14 14
Mr. Big is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Mr. Big Glam metal, Rock music, Heavy metal - opened up for Rush in 1990, believe it or not!

32
12 12
Blues Traveler is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Blues Traveler Adult album alternative, Blues-rock, Rock music - opened up for the Rolling Stones. Good playing, John Popper is a mean harmonica player but a soundboard glitch distorted  that instrument's sound to an extreme headache-inducing level. Fortunately, that problem was ...

33
12 12
Texas is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Texas Disco, Pop music, Rhythm and blues - opened up for John Mellencamp. He mentions "seeing Paris, Texas" on his 1985 Scarecrow album. There is a movie titled "Paris, Texas" and the Scottish band Texas supposedly got their name from this. Texas' ...

34
34 39
Bon Jovi is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Bon Jovi Glam metal, Blues-rock, Rock music - Opened for Kiss, the Scorpions and ZZ Top in 1984

35
25 28
Porter Wagoner is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Porter Wagoner Gospel music, Country - Opened for The White Stripes in 2007

36
11 11
Special Beat / English Beat is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Special Beat / English Beat opened up for Sting in 1991

37
24 27
The J. Geils Band is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
The J. Geils Band Blues-rock, New Wave, Rock music - Opened for Jethro Tull in 1975

38
10 10
Don McLean is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
BarbaraEwart added Don McLean Folk music, Folk rock -  - folk artist: opened for The James Gang, at Massey Hall, Toronto Ontario, October 31, 1971

39
25 30
The Black Eyed Peas is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
PeteBoyle added The Black Eyed Peas Hip hop music, Alternative hip hop, Synthpop - Opened for U2 in 2009

40
7 8
Hatsune Miku is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
TaylorRandallGlover added Hatsune Miku Opened for Lady Gaga in 2014.

41
32 40
Creed is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Creed Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Metallica in 1998

42
13 16
Grateful Dead is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
AlanPetsche added Grateful Dead Blues-rock, Rock music, Folk rock - Opened for The Who in Oakland, 9/10/75

43
20 25
The Outlaws is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Dismalhead added The Outlaws Rock music, Country rock, Country - "Opened for Black Sabbath in 1981"

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44
2 3
Chick Corea is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Irene Snyder added Chick Corea opened for the Steve Miller Band in 1973 in Columbus, Ohio Kozmigroov, Fusion, Avant-garde jazz

45
2 3
Miles Davis is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Irene Snyder added Miles Davis opened for The Grateful Dead in 1970 at the Fillmore West Jazz rap, Avant-garde jazz, Jazz-funk

46
11 15
Public Enemy is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Public Enemy Hip hop music, Political hip hop, Hardcore hip hop

47
9 13
Gene Loves Jezebel is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
StarpunkRoQr added Gene Loves Jezebel Glam metal, New Wave, Gothic rock - opened up for Billy Idol in 1990

48
23 32
Jane's Addiction is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
Jane's Addiction Rock music, Grunge, Heavy metal - Opened for Love and Rockets in December, 1987

49
13 19
Death Grips is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
kuzronk added Death Grips Alternative hip hop, Experimental hip hop, Industrial hip hop - Opened for Björk in 2013

50
3 6
U2 is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Strangest Opening Act Bookings Ever
MichelleCastro added U2 Rock music, Alternative rock, Punk rock