Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What pop music tells us about JG Ballard

Joy Division
Joy Division: Ian Curtis (second left) was a Ballard fan

By Stephen Dowling
BBC News Magazine

Author JG Ballard, who has died aged 78, cast a huge influence over the literary world. But for those who have never picked up one of his novels there's another forum for learning about his work - pop music.

Through his books and essays JG Ballard was said to have predicted the melting of the polar icecaps, terrorism against tourists and Ronald Reagan's ascent to the White House.

His science fiction of the almost-normal - based around suburbia and urban hinterlands, fixations on celebrity and car crashes - became best known through the film Crash, and the surreal semi-autobiography Empire of the Sun.

But his feverish imagination, stoked by pre-lunch whisky and sodas in his study, found an unlikely appeal among pop musicians - many of whom liked to invoke a bit of Ballard in their work.


The 1980 album Closer - the band's last record before the death of singer Ian Curtis - included the track Atrocity Exhibition, a chilling glimpse into psychosis. The track is based on Ballard's 1970 short-story collection The Atrocity Exhibition, in which a psychotic mental hospital doctor tries to make sense of world events surrounding him. Curtis had written most of the song before reading Ballard's book, but the song - anchored round the oppressive chorus "this is the way, step inside" - is still heavily informed by Ballard's tale of a man restaging world events in his mind.

Empire of the Sun album cover
Not the film, but the group...

Two bands who took their names from Ballard's work. Sheffield post-punkers the Comsat Angels, who enjoyed a brief flourish of cult success in the 1980s and have recently reformed, named themselves after a late-1960s short story. Sleepy Jackson frontman Luke Steele named his new band, Empire of the Sun, after Ballard's best-known novel, which was based on his own experiences as a child in war-torn China.


Mercury Prize winners The Klaxons named their debut album Myths of the Near Future after Ballard's short story collection published in 1982. One of its tracks, Golden Skans - "Light touch my hands, in a dream of Golden Skans, from now on, you can forget all future plans" - marries the psychedelic lights of a concert to the planet scouring rays which transform the Earth in the short story Myths of the Near Future. Ballard alluded to environmental devastation often in his work, exploring how man-made landscapes and the retreat from the natural world might affect humanity.

JG Ballard
JG Ballard: Lyrics influenced by his violent surrealism

Producer Trevor Horn's 1979 single Video Killed the Radio Star ushered in the MTV age - it was the first song played on MTV when it launched in 1981. Horn admits the song - about a radio star whose career is cut short by TV - is based on a Ballard short story The Sound Sweep, in which a mute boy obsessed with collecting music discovers an opera singer hiding in a sewer. It taps into Ballard's interest in the hold of mass media on people's lives, especially the influence of television, beamed into the same suburban homes that used to listen in their millions to radio.


Not a band to simply knock out two-minute pop songs on unrequited love, Radiohead condensed Ballard's preoccupation with the spectacle of tragedy - most famously explored in the story Crash - into some of their most celebrated work. OK Computer, their 1997 album, includes two songs influenced by Ballard's worldview. Opener Airbag describes a car crash almost in slow motion - "In a fast German car/ I'm amazed that I survived/An airbag saved my life" - while the haunting Lucky relates a near-death experience in a crashing airliner. Singer Thom Yorke, never one to wear his esoteric pursuits lightly, blogged excerpts of Ballard's anti-consumerist novel Kingdom Come in the run up to the release of the band's 2007 album In Rainbows.


Space-rock pioneers Hawkwind released a song called High Rise on their 1978 album PXR5, which they said was inspired by the author. Ballard's 1975 novel High Rise is set in a futuristic high-rise building that offers its pampered inhabitants everything they need - closing them off from the wider world. After intermittent power failures within the sealed-off building, the closed society begins to fragment, leading to a brutal, violent tribalism. Ballard believed an urban life aided by technology might warp the human psyche in unexpected ways.

James Dean Bradfield of the Manic Street Preachers
Manic Street Preachers have also relied on Ballard's words

The Welsh band's lyricists Nicky Wire and Richey Edwards were both fans of Ballard's work. Their bleak, unsettling 1994 album The Holy Bible included the song Mausoleum, a dystopian nightmare which included a sample of Ballard talking about his book Crash: "I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, I wanted to force it to look in the mirror..." Elsewhere, the capital punishment treatise Archives of Pain and the Intense Humming of Evil - which describes the horrors of the Holocaust through the emptiness of modern day Auschwitz - connect with Ballard's dystopian themes.


New wave synth-pop man Gary Numan's Tubeway Army song Down In the Park is a Ballard-influenced dystopian nightmare. The lyric relates a story of humans raped and killed by androids for entertainment, viewed by a crowd in a nearby club - a fear and fetishism of technology that was a Ballard staple. Asked about his inspiration, Numan cited Philip K Dick and, of course, Ballard. The concrete futurama of other Numan songs contains much Ballardian imagery, with the twin themes of technological improvement and alienation explored succinctly in the 1979 hit Cars "Here in my car/Where the image breaks down/Will you visit me please?/If I open my door/In cars".


You don't need to cite Ballard to have worn his influence. Suede, who always had a dash more pretension than most of their Brit Pop peers, paid homage to Ballard - knowingly or otherwise - with the cover image of their 1997 B-sides compilation, Sci-Fi Lullabies. Its picture of a scrapped RAF English Electric Lightning jet fighter lying on desolate moorland is the perfect Ballardian image; the writer repeatedly used downed or crashed aircraft in his work. Suede's lyrics often touched on a Ballardian conceit of urban life, rich with allusions to concrete, traffic and ennui.

Below are some of your comments.

Strangely 'Warm Leatherette' was also covered by Grace Jones. Also not mentioned was that High Rise was set in a tower block built where The Canary Wharf Tower now stands. He obviously foresaw that that run-down area would become prime real-estate.
Robin, Medway, UK

Bowie's "Always Crashing in the Same Car" from "Low" is also supposedly influenced by "Crash". A lot of Throbbing Gristle's stuff also evokes a Ballardian landscape, although they were more influenced by William Burroughs - but hey, Burroughs provided the introduction to a reprint of "Atrocity Exhibition" and Ballard did the same for "Naked Lunch", so perhaps the cross-fertilisation of influences is no surprise.
Mark Edwards, Taunton, Somerset

I totally concur with the previous comments about John Foxx and The Normal - how could they have been ignored? As a musician myself, i think Ballard's influence lies in the types of extremes he explored - they are immediately identifiable to anyone who has ever been in a band! Being on a motorway or in a concrete car park at 5am, or dealing with macho bouncers in clubs playing 'alpha male' mind games is pure Ballard! Rest in peace Jim. Your legacy is to have refined and updated that 'Orwellian' dystopian future into a 'Ballardian' present. You might not like it, but you were right.
Martin Swan, London

See also Burial's albums and Kode9's 'Memories of the Near Future' for the sonic equivalent of the underwater London Ballard imagines in The Drowned World.
P, London

There are many, many lesser known artists that have used Ballardian imagry or inspiration in their work. Two that come to mind are the UK band The Greywolves- they did a tape called "The Atrocity Exhibition" in the late '80s. Each piece is titled after a chapter in the collection. Another is the Japanese guitarist, Kazayuki K. Null (also part of ANP, under the name 'Null', in this case) who did a CD titled "The Terminal Beach". This is pretty obscure stuff, hard to find, and not likely to appeal to many. But for diehard Ballard fans, it's worth a hunt. Ballard always said he didn't much care for music. I've always wondered what he would've thought of this stuff - Radiohead, it isn't. Check the blogs- or be prepared to spend quite a bit on eBay.
Krw, Denver, Colorado

I know it was partly based on an abandoned adaptation of Orwell's 1984, but when I first heard David Bowie's Diamond Dogs I thought it was the most Ballardian rock music I'd ever heard. I still think it's probably the most Ballardian I ever will hear.
Guy Lawley, London, England (a minor city nestling on the outskirts of Shepperton)

Always Crashing in the Same Car by David Bowie, in fact all of Bowie's Low lp, is suffused with Ballard. The instrumention throughout co-ops human warmth with synthesised machinery, and despite never explicitly referencing Ballard, it moves in his world.
Stephen, Sheffield, UK

I'm more than a little suprised you haven't mentioned what to my mind is the number 1 Ballardian track, 'Warm Leatherette' by The Normal from 1978 - 'see the breaking glass, in the underpass'...what a great piece of dystopian post-punk electronica directly inspired by JG Ballard. Ah, you don't hear toe-tappers like that these days!
Nigel Jackson, Manchester

The English Motorway System by Black Box Recorder is definitely Ballard-influenced.
Alex, London

That's strange I was listening to Comsat Angels this morning looking forward to their reunion gig, thinking of Ballard's influence in their songs from the My Minds Eye album like They come from the sun and Red Planet, the songs are full of a tense atmosphere.
Karim, London

The Human League (and fellow Sheffield electronic musicians Cabaret Voltaire) were also heavily influenced by Ballard, especially in their Ware/Marsh period (though Phil Oakey was an enormous fan of Ballard, and fellow dystopian stalwart Philip K. Dick). But one could go on for hours talking about all the musicians he's influenced, few other authors have left such an indelible mark on music, especially on 'darker' music, than he.
Mark Allen, Dublin, Ireland

I loved Ballard's books so much I named my solo recording project 'Ballard'. Sadly, it nowhere near evokes his startling imagery and genius, but it is pretty disposable and I guess disposable culture was a running theme throughout his work.
Darren Riley, Bolton, UK

He Thought of Cars - Blur. Very chilly and spooky little number from when dystopian was Damon Albarn's word du jour
Janine, St Albans - UK

Ballard's influence on musicians was by no means limited to brits. American band jawbox made numerous ballard references over the course of years, the lyrics to their song "motorist" and the title of their album "my scrapbook of fatal accidents" being the most obvious examples.
Ian, USA

And then there is Warm Leatherette by The Normal, virtually a musical adaptation of "Crash". The repetitive music and the vocalist's deadpan delivery excellently evoke a world of Ballardian alienation.
Ian Moore, Dublin, Ireland

The most Ballard album of all - John Foxx Metamatic is missing.
Mark Jacobs, London

Freaky! I had just started playing Joy Division's Atrocity Exhibition as a minor personal tribute to Ballard when this article dropped in my RSS reader.
Ian, Glasgow

Original here

LA Weekly Coachella Awards 2009: The Best and Worst of the Festival

By Randall Roberts in coachella

Timothy Norris
Coachella 2009, at the awards ceremony

Weirdest Between-song Banter: Paul McCartney, bless his heart, played an epic set, staked a claim on a body of work that only fools would ignore. But between his songs, when he was trying to communicate with us, he talked like we were little children, uttered the word "Coachella" a few too many times, then said, "Woo!"

Best Brush-With-Fame Moment: Chris Holmes used to play in a Chicago band called Yum Yum. Then he started DJing and producing. Paul McCartney heard him DJ in South America, called him up, asked Holmes to do something prior to his Friday set, and suggested the Stax Does Beatles collection of Memphs r&b artists covering Macca's former band. Holmes dropped a nice mix of old Beatles' covers, mixed in a little bit of Macca's "Temporary Secretary," and basically made the preamble party-ready. If you're wondering why there was an "Ashtar Command" logo on either side of the stage prior to his Friday warm up for McCartney, it's because Holmes' long-incubating Ashtar Command project is apparently coming to fruition.

Best, but Most Torturous, Cameo: Johnny Marr showed up to perform with the former singer of a popular British post punk outfit. Unfortunately, it wasn't who we'd hoped it would be -- Morrissey. Instead, Marr got up onstage with Paul Weller.

Timothy Norris
Ida No of Glass Candy, leaving just enough to the imagination -- barely.

Best Use of Unitard: Ida No of Glass Candy, whose form-fitting pink/yellow/orange/red outfit was a big hit.

Timothy Norris
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Best Outfit

Best Outfit: Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' mirror suit with wings.

Worst Outfit:
Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' mirror suit with wings.

Timothy Norris
Does Morrissey smell burning flesh? It better be human flesh.

Best Between Song Banter: Morrissey, a strict vegetarian, on sniffing the BBQ wafting across the polo field, spat at the crowd, "I smell burning flesh. It better be human flesh."

Timothy Norris
Pink Eye of Fucked Up gets fucked up.

Taking a Bullet for the Team Award: Fucked Up Singer Pink Eyes cracked his head during the band's incendiary set. Blood started dripping down his face. It got ugly. He reassured the house that he'd been tested, and was HIV negative. Then the blood started flying. Eight hours later, side stage at Throbbing Gristle, the wound had healed, but there was a nasty bump.

Coachella fan of the year:
The dude in the totally furious pit at Mastodon's Saturday night guitarfest. The pit in the middle of the crowd at the Gobi tent was about the size of a boxing ring, and raging men were marching in circles and beating the crap out of each other within. During Mastodon's set, they moved around the pit like stock cars at the Taledega 500.

In the middle: A shirtless fella, husky, is losing his mind. Eyes wild, he stands there and bellows. Wait. He doesn't have any pants on. Just bikini briefs, this bear of a man, a little flabby but who the fuck cares when Mastodon's doing what they're doing. So the guy's in the pit banging into other men -- and he's in his undies. They're dark blue. His belly hangs over them just a little bit. His butt crack is smiling from above his stretchy-band. He's moshing. He's pummeling other shirtless dudes. He doesn't have a boner as far as I can tell ... Hold on a sec. Half boner. Not bad. It'll happen to anyone banging into sweaty bare skin, regardless of gender.

Worst fan of the Year: M.I.A. invited half the crowd up onto the stage during one of her songs (forgot which). There were probably 100 people up there. The big screen showed the blissful group dancing along with Maya, overjoyed and experiencing a moment they will always remember. Then, up on the big screen, a quick shot of a guy standing there with a drink in his hand talking to a friend, like he happened upon a cocktail mixer at the country club. YOU ARE ON THE MAIN STAGE AT COACHELLA WITH M.I.A.! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING STANDING THERE? Dance, motherfucker. (Side thought: he had to scale a barrier, move past the hulking security guards, climb onto the stage; he did this with a drink in his hand. He may suck at being a fan, but give him a silver medal in the Cocktail Olympics.)

Timothy Norris
Parents: You will hurt your childrens' ears at My Bloody Valentine.

Worst Parenting Award: The parents who brought their children to My Bloody Valentine show, and listened to it with them without ear plugs. We saw parents of two children exposing the toddlers to the extreme volume, and contemplated calling family services.

Best Editorial from VIP dude:
"Thank GOD that's over!" He said it after My Bloody Valentine's set. He continued: "That was the worst thing I ever heard."

Timothy Norris
Robert Smith: a stylist can help you with that lipstick problem of yours. And that hair? Honey, call her!

Worst Lipstick Application: Robert Smith of the Cure.

Timothy Norris
Genesis P Orridge has some awesome gold grillz.

Best Grillz: Genesis P-Orridge, of Throbbing Gristle

Timothy Norris
Amanda Palmer crowd surfed her way off stage.

Best Orchestrated Crowd Surf:
Amanda Palmer, for an encore, crowd surfed from the stage to the back of the Gobi tent, where a ukulele was waiting for her. She then covered Radiohead's "Creep," with the crowd singing the chorus.

Best Performance of Song About Los Angeles: X did a screaming, scowling version of their classic "Los Angeles." The crowd, many Angelenos, of course, screamed along.

Timothy Norris

Best Set of the Festival:
Tinariwen, whose Saturday sunset show at the Gobi stage was transformative.

Best use of the F-word:
Warrior Queen, whose Friday set with the Bug was nasty, raw, funky and bass heavy. At one point the Queen, a Jamaican rapper, was humping the monitor whispering into the microphone, "fuck ... fuuuuuck ... fuuuuck." It was very hot. Ten minutes later she was screaming, "I'm going crazy" and writhing on the ground.

Best Sing-Along:
The Ting Tings' doing "That's Not My Name" in the Gobi Tent.

Best Use of Isley Brothers:

Girl Talk, who ended his way-packed and drenched with sweat set with a sampled version of the Isley Bros. "Shout," bridging generations and musics. Sounds cheesy, but it totally worked, and the crowd even got low during the quiet parts, ultimately bringing it way up during the "little bit louder" part. Now if Girl Talk would stop ending his sets with Journey's "Faithfully."

Timothy Norris

Best Organ Solo: Who else: Booker T. Jones, who somehow figured out new ways to perform the melody to "Green Onions."

Best Scott Joplin Shout-Out:
M. Ward did a cover -- on guitar, with band -- of the ragtime genius's "The Entertainer." It was a strange choice, and it totally worked.

Timothy Norris
Antony: struggled with sound problems, bailed early. He was gracious through the whole thing.

Most Disappointing Set:
Antony and the Johnsons with Matthew Herbert. Not because of anything they did. It was disappointing because sound problems marred the show -- like, screaming, unhealthy broken feedback. It was painful for everyone, and incredibly disappointing. Antony ended up stopping 15 minutes before his scheduled end time. And though Herbert arranged the music, he didn't actually perform with Antony. Bummer.

Timothy Norris

Best Use of the Sunset:
Tie between Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" moment, and Tinariwen's light to dusk Saharan epiphany.

Original here

19 Most Embarrassing Crossover Hip Hop Attempts

It’s no secret that hip hop has gone mainstream, become popular and for many, it can be very profitable. As a result, for musicians, performers and athletes, this genre of music offers an additional opportunity to prove one’s talent and subsequently to make some cold, hard cash. And while very few have been successful in crossing over to hip-hop, the track record for most has been failure. The following is a list of some of the worst failed attempts at crossing over to hip hop, by people that should have never tried in the first place.

Macho Man



Before, Be A Man, was released, there hasn’t been a more unnecessary hip-hop album released since Tom Hanks and Dan Akroyd rapped in order to promote their movie Dragnet in the 1980’s. The reported inspiration for this commercial flop was Macho Man’s disdain for former friend and WWE superstar Hulk Hogan. Hmmm, lets see the inspiration for your WWE character, you promote beef sticks, and you wear outfits more flamboyant than a gay pride parade. Admit it Macho Man, you don’t hate Hogan, you downright love his greased up 24 inch python.

Shaquille O’Neil



Despite the fact that Shaquille O’Neil boasted about selling millions records as a hip-hop artist, I have yet to meet one person who has actually purchased his music. It wouldn’t surprise me to find out he has been purchasing his own records to boost his own sales; Lord knows he has enough money to make himself the best selling hip-hop artist of all time.




In 2005, Moments before the idea came for K-Fed to begin his rap career, his baby is heard screaming in the background. K-Fed then began to shout in his BBQ stained wife beater, “hey, sugar tits!…How’s about I release a hip-hop record, and then wrestle in the WWE to promote it?” He paused for a second to stare deeply into his own reflection (on a rhinestone-encrusted mirror) and then continued, “Oh, and can I barrow a couple million to produce it baby?” Britney Spears then looked up from the couch downstairs, took a swig of her Miller High Life, rubbed her pregnant belly, and responded, “That’s a great Idea…now can you rub my swollen ass feet as I finish my beer!”

Deion Sanders



Not only was Deion Sanders a decent professional baseball player, he was one of the best cornerbacks in the history of the NFL. Athleticism aside, Sanders ventured into the music business with his debut, Prime Time, with high hopes of extravagant record release parties and platinum records. He got the extravagant record release parties right, but the platinum records never followed. His record proved to be more piss poor than prime time, and it ended up becoming a critical and commercial failure.

Ron Jeremy



Ron Jeremy has not only stared in nearly 2000 porno flicks, directed over 300 porn movies, written a bestselling autobiography, and lectured on college campuses all over the United States, he has also released the most god awful rap song to ever reach the Billboard charts. In the early 2000’s, Jeremy partnered up with the classy hip-hop producer DJ Polo to produce the steaming pile of poop called, “Freak of The Week.” Thankfully his interest in hip-hop stardom was short lived, and he soon returned to play his usual lovable role as an ugly pig-man that has sexual intercourse with hundreds of seemingly attractive women.

Tila Tequila



Tila Tequila is not real. She is a digital concoction dreamed up by the perverted old men who run MTV. The one executive who has a thing for underage Southeast Asian children introduced the idea for Tila Tequila when he started a MySpace page for her in 2003. Apparently, Americans are more gullible than ever, because she continues to have a presence in pop culture. She released her record in 2007 to limited fanfare, which boasted hip-hop rhymes that sounded like a childish version of Fred Durst (oh, rearry?). MTV should apologize for inventing her, and hold a one-hour reality show that literally roasts Tila Tequila over an open flame.

Kobe Bryant



Kobe is the kind of guy who believes he is the greatest at everything he does. He might be, with two exceptions: white girls from Colorado; and rap music. Kobe released a record entitled K.O.B.E. in the year 2000, although he believed it was the greatest record of all time, it proved to be a dismal failure. Maybe if Shaq makes a cameo on his record he might be able to go platinum, lord knows he can’t win a title without him. (”Yo Kobe - Tell me how my ass tastes!”)

Mr. T



At the height of Mr. T’s fame, he and his agent decided it would be a great idea to produce two urban-inspired public service announcement Rap Albums. What followed were the cheesiest, most campy rhymes ever committed to tape. For all of Mr. T’s endeavors over the years, this was by far his worst, and thankfully he decided to leave hip-hop to the youngsters from New York. This was the right move, because if he and his agent continued their onslaught on hip hop, the genre may have never been able to advance from its infant stages.

John Cena



Notably, John Cena is a bad ass. But why the hell did he feel the need to follow in the footsteps of Macho Man Randy Savage into the abyss of post-Wrestlemania hip-hop (anti-) stardom? Not only does Cena spend money uselessly on producing wrestling-inspired rhymes, he also spends his time free-styling and battling with fans. I guess John Cena doesn’t understand that steroids can’t help with everything.

Gary Payton



When Gary Payton retired from basketball in 2007, everyone remembered the greatness he brought to the game. When Gary Payton released a single in 1994 entitled “Livin’ Legal And Large”, everyone couldn’t wait to forget this. In 1994 some idiot thought it would be cool to have popular basketball players record a bunch of rap songs for a compilation. The result of these efforts yielded the worst rap album in history

Joaquin Phoenix



Supposedly, Joaquin Pheonix has retired from acting to pursue a career in hip-hop. From his terrible debut performance in Vegas, to his horrendous interview on the Late Show with David Letterman, one can only hope this awkward white guy gets run down by some gangstas and taught a lesson about the consequences for disrespecting hip hop.




When I was a kid I could remember having funny feelings when Elvira was on television. Regrettably those funny feeling went away when Elvira decided to expand her resume in 1988 by writing and performing, “The Elvira Rap” and “The Monster Rap.” Thankfully, her effort to expand her entertainment resume failed to communicate a point, and the horror world was gifted with the death of Elvira’s hip hop career soon after it launched. (Note: the picture displayed is not the cover of either of her rap singles)

Andre Rison



Given, Andre Rison never released a hip-hop record himself; he did date the crazy bitch from TLC. So of course, at the peak of their relationship, Left Eye released a single featuring Andre Rison spiting the most cliché rhymes ever. After all was said and done, the only thing Andre had to show for his performance was the ashes of his multi-million dollar mansion. Bummer, man .

Brian Austin Green



Brian Austin Green’s 90’s heartthrob status was off the charts when he played Donna’s Boyfriend on Beverly Hills 90210. In the midst of his popularity, he decided to follow his first passion, Rap music. In 1996, Green released is debut record, “One Stop Carnival”, which coincided with his character beginning to rap on 90210. Thankfully his rap career was short lived, and the public was sparred anymore hyped releases of his records. Rumor has it, Megan Fox found out about this album and called off their engagement later that same day.

Roy Jones Jr.



At the age of 32, while on top of the boxing world, Roy Jones Jr. released his first hip-hop record called Round One: The Album. Jones Jr. cited the inspiration for the title of his record came from his amazing ability to, “…knock foos out in the first round.” Regrettably his album failed to knock out his most earnest of fans. Thankfully he had an amazing boxing career to fall back on, until he lost to Tarver three times in a row. Ouch…

Omar Epps



With his staring roles in critically acclaimed films and television series’, Omar Epps has become one of the most talented actors of his generation. Unfortunately, in 2004 he decided his fans needed more of Omar and he released a hip-hop record called, The Get Back. Critics lampooned his effort and told fans they would never be able to GET BACK the time wasted listening to his record.

Dee Dee King (Ramone)



In the late 1980’s, Punk Rock Godfather Dee Dee Ramone decided to follow his dream of becoming a rap star. Shortly after, critic Matt Carlson wrote that the album, “…will go down in the annals of pop culture as one of the worst recordings of all time. This of course, makes it one hell of a great punk rock collector’s item.” Collectors item or not, it is at this point looked at as an embarrassment by all parties involved, as well as the entire Ramones’ fan base.

Tony Parker



Yes, Tony Parker is from France. Yes, Tony Parker hits it with Eva Langoria. And, yes his music is absolutely terrible. Parker is known for being an avid fan and connoisseur of hip-hop, but this in no way qualifies him for putting out a rap record. To make matters worse, the album was recorded entirely in French, therefore it would have been more appropriate for him to have put out a dance record.

Paris Hilton


Though Paris Hilton, to my knowledge, has never aspired to be a hip-hop star, she was caught on some television show trying to rap with Snoop Dogg. As you will see, Snoop Dogg encourages this disrespectful behavior and therefore has sold out whatever cred he had left. Snoop we know you want to hit that but did you really have to sell out the genre like that. And Paris, go back to making homemade pornos…that’s all you were ever almost decent at.

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Movie Stars Who Die the Most

By: Eric Alt

Mostly Unscathed

Will Smith (2 Deaths)

Death Toll: Seven Pounds, I Am Legend
Close, But No Flatline: Smith “died” temporarily in Hancock, but was revived – therefore, it doesn’t count.

Harrison Ford (2 Deaths)

Death Toll: The Mosquito Coast, What Lies Beneath
Cheater: Ford was made immortal (albeit briefly) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Mel Gibson (3 Deaths)

Death Toll: Mrs. Soffel, Hamlet, Braveheart
Glutton for Punishment: Although he only notched three deaths, Mel’s torture numbers are bigger: Lethal Weapon, Conspiracy Theory,Braveheart, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Payback.

Tom Cruise (4 Deaths)

Death Toll: Taps, Vanilla Sky, Collateral, Valkyrie
Death Before Dishonor: Cruise’s most violent offing was definitely Taps. At the end of the movie where he played the military academy hothead, he lost his shit, opened fire with an M-60, and got thoroughly perforated by National Guard artillery. (“It’s beautiful, man!”)

Check the Pulse

Robert Downey Jr. (5 Deaths)

Death Toll: Less Than Zero, Natural Born Killers, Richard III, The Gingerbread Man, U.S. Marshalls
Doppelkiller: Downey was killed – by himself – in The Singing Detective, but it’s a hallucination sequence.

George Clooney (5 Deaths)

Death Toll: Return to Horror High, Red Surf, The Perfect Storm, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Syriana
In the Can: Although Clooney notched a couple of early B-movie deaths, his character actually survived in Return of the Killer Tomatoes.

Denzel Washington (7 Deaths)

Death Toll: Cry Freedom, Glory, Heart Condition, Malcolm X, Fallen, The Preacher's Wife, Training Day, Man on Fire
Count It: We gave Denzel half an entry for both Heart Condition (he played a ghost) and The Preacher’s Wife (he played an Angel).

Dead and Loving It

Christian Bale (8 Deaths)

Death Toll: Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna, Henry V, The Secret Agent, Mary Mother of Jesus, Shaft, Harsh Times, The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma
Dual: Bale got to have it both ways in The Prestige. Those who saw it know what we're talking about.

Dustin Hoffman (9 Deaths)

Death Toll: Midnight Cowboy, Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, Lenny, Death of a Salesman, Billy Bathgate, Hook, Wag the Dog, Perfume, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Most Creative Death: In Hook, Hoffman was eaten to death by a reanimated crocodile.

Jack Nicholson (9 Deaths)

Death Toll: Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Passenger, The Shining, Batman, Hoffa, Mars Attacks!, The Departed, The Bucket List
R.I.P.: Nicholson’s deaths all tend to be horribly violent – shot to death, dropped from high places, beaten to death – with the exception of The Bucket List, where his character was beaten to death with a bucket. Or so we heard.

Al Pacino (9 Deaths)

Death Toll: Scarface, Dick Tracy, The Godfather: Part III, Carlito’s Way, Donnie Brasco, Insomnia, People I Know, The Recruit, Righteous Kill
Funny How? Al has twice been killed by comedians (John Leguizamo in Carlito’s Way and Robin Williams in Insomnia).

Brad Pitt (9 Deaths)

Death Toll: A River Runs Through It, Kalifornia, Legends of the Fall, The Devil’s Own, Meet Joe Black, Troy, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Burn After Reading, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Nice Try: Brad “died” in two additional movies: Cool World and Fight Club. But in one he’s instantly revived as a cartoon and in the other he never actually existed.

Johnny Depp (9 1/2 Deaths)

Death Toll: A Nightmare on Elm Street, Platoon, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Ed Wood, Dead Man, The Astronaut’s Wife, From Hell, The Libertine, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (This one gets a half because he comes back to life in the third movie.)
Red Sea: Johnny holds the honor of bloodiest death on this list – in his debut movie, he played an Elm Street teen who was sucked into his bed by Freddy Krueger and turned into a giant plasma fountain.

Bruce Willis (11 Deaths)

Death Toll: Billy Bathgate, Mortal Thoughts, Death Becomes Her, Twelve Monkeys, The Jackal, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense, Hart’s War, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Sin City, Grindhouse: Planet Terror
Till Death…: Bruce was killed twice by his ex-wife, Demi Moore (Mortal Thoughts and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle).

Robert DeNiro (14 Deaths)

Death Toll: Bloody Mama, Bang the Drum Slowly, Mean Streets, Brazil, The Mission, Cape Fear, This Boy’s Life, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Heat, The Fan, Jackie Brown, Great Expectations, 15 Minutes, Hide and Seek
You, You’re Good: DeNiro was killed by Pacino in Heat, and Pacino was killed by DeNiro in Righteous Kill.

Original here