The Most Outrageous Demands Musicians Have Ever Made

The stereotype of musicians in particular being massively demanding has been around for decades. Occasionally, spoilt artists take liberties by asking for literally whatever they want on their riders, no matter how ludicrous the request. We’re counting down the most outrageous demands musicians have made while on tour, including a few names you might be familiar with.


Beyonce demands $900 titanium drinking straws and special toilet roll

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Credit: Nat Ch Villa via Flickr

Beyonce is another star who could get away with asking for anything on the planet if she wanted to, but she instead has a reputation for being gracious and undemanding.

However, she is an artist with a relentless touring schedule who takes her stamina and self-care very seriously, so she doesn’t skimp on what she needs.

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Some of her requests make sense, like a diet plan that stipulates down to the weights and portion sizes what kinds of food she can eat pre-show, and exactly how much of it should be prepared at any given time.

It also makes sense that she would request that no Coke products be available in her hotel room, since she has an endorsement deal with Pepsi that would be violated if she was photographed with the competitor.

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Some make far less sense however, such as the fact she allegedly needs $900 titanium drinking straws to be present for her to use at all times.

Not only that, but all the toilet paper in her personal dressing room must be replaced with red rolls, for a reason that she has never explained.

Jennifer Lopez requests her dressing rooms are made entirely white

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It’s okay to have decor preferences in your own home or even on your tour bus, or at a push a dressing room in a theatre where you’re doing a residency.

In a dressing room for a show where you’re playing for just one night however, it’s kind of bad form to critique the furniture, unless you’re as rich as Jennifer Lopez however.

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Lopez requests that every dressing room she stays in is completely refitted to be all white: white carpet, white curtains, white furniture.

She even requests specifically that white candles be burned in the room to relax her, which only works if you’re rich enough to not worry about replacing something if you stain the white fabric.

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Even more extreme than this is the fact that the white candles that must be burned in her room have to be scentless, and the flowers in her room have to be pure white as well.

Her rider is even written in a super stern way, making it clear that alternative arrangements would have to be made for Miss Lopez should her requests not be met.

Cher needs a separate room for her wigs

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Credit: Ralph_PH via Creative Commons

Given how rich and famous Cher is, it’s actually a miracle that her rider isn’t more demanding, but her working-class childhood and upbringing has meant that for a mega-celebrity she’s pretty down to Earth.

With that said, a star that big is allowed their eccentricities, and Cher definitely has that in spades.

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Credit: Ralph_PH via Flickr

For a start, she always requests a separate room for her private physician, so she always has him on hand and can be closely monitored between her dance-heavy and physically demanding shows.

That makes sense, but the fact that she also requests a seperate room for the over 20 wigs she changes in and out of during the show makes a little less sense.

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Her only other demand, aside from a handful of pretty normal snacks and drinks, is that nobody working as part of her team wears a pass.

This is partly a security measure, since people are less likely to remember and recognise faces when they can just glance down and check a pass, but also partly to maintain a friendly atmosphere backstage.

Jay-Z needs ‘high quality’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

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Credit: Joella Marano via Wikipedia Commons

Jay-Z is an odd one when it comes to crazy demands, because he’s certainly rich enough to have become accustomed to a certain kind of lifestyle, and in some ways he’s very eccentric and particular.

In other ways though, he’s completely down to Earth, and his very normal outlook is reflected partially in his rider.

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How? Well, on one of his previous tours he requested seven dressing rooms in the venue he was playing at.

This was presumably so he could swap dressing rooms every day while playing at the same venue, or at least every couple of hours, since he didn’t include information about an extensive entourage in his rider.

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By contrast, his only other significant demand was for a couple of jars of peanut butter and a couple of jars of strawberry jam.

He emphasised that both of these should be good quality, presumably so he could make some very high-quality peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Madonna has every dressing room made into an exact replica of her home lounge

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Madonna is one of several women who aren’t only a contender for the title Queen of Pop, but also that of Ultimate Diva.

She’s long been famous for her wacky antics and uncompromising attitude, which means that it’s no surprise that her touring rider is one of the most demanding on this list.

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Just to give you a taste, the fact that she requests enough room to house her 200 person entourage is one of the lesser demands that she makes.

Even bigger is the fact that she requests her furniture be shipped all around the world from her home.

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Obviously it would be beyond extreme for Madonna to refuse to perform at any venue that cannot afford to ship her entire home furniture to her dressing room, so she has a backup plan.

Unfortunately for the venues, her back-up plan is they must purchase and replicate her living room furniture exactly, right down to the flower-scented fabric of the chairs.

Lady Gaga once asked for a naked mannequin with a pink merkin

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Credit: SMP Entertainment via Wikipedia Commons

Lady Gaga is actually a pretty laidback and grounded person as far as pop stars go, so her regular rider is mostly just different flavours of tea that she drinks to keep her voice healthy.

Not only that, but she also requests a selection of long straws, so that she doesn’t smudge any of her selection of shades of lipstick while drinking her tea.

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Credit: Nicole Alexander via Wikipedia Commons

With that said, a musician with eras as strange as Gaga’s would have some odd requests now and again, such as Gaga’s demand that a naked mannequin with fluffy pink pubic hair be placed in her dressing room.

No explanation was given on what gender the mannequin should be, or why on Earth she wanted it there.

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Since that particular request, Gaga hasn’t made any more comedic or even outlandish demands, which only makes the one she made stand out more.

Especially given how extreme and provocative her onstage personas have been in the past, it seems she likes to stay pretty chilled out behind the scenes, in contrast to a lot of other pop stars on the scene right now.

Mary J. Blige has a whole new bathroom installed wherever she gigs

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A lot of insane musician demands actually make way more sense when you look at them through a germaphobe lense, since getting sick on tour can potentially cost everybody a lot of money.

However, it still feels like R&B star Mary J Blige takes things a little bit too far.

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Her demands are pretty simple: any place she stays in must have a brand new toilet installed, one that nobody else is allowed to use.

Not only that, but the toilet must have a brand new seat put on that no-one else has touched, and the seat must be wrapped in plastic that only she can touch.

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As if that wasn’t demanding enough, she refuses to stay in any dressing room that contains a double bed, a twin bed or smaller, since they are completely unacceptable to her.

In fact, she will only stay in a room with a king size bed, and has said that she considers anything else to be beneath her.

Joe Jonas asks for a dozen puppies in every dressing room

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Credit: Eva Rinaldi via Wikipedia Commons

When musicians make extreme demands in their riders, people often joke that they’re probably doing it just to mess with people, and see if they’ll actually be scared enough to fulfil what they’ve asked for.

Very few musicians actually do that, but Joe Jonas is one that does – even if he does it in the sweetest possible way.

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The Jonas brother always demands that 12 puppies be placed in his dressing room for him to hang out with before his show, but he doesn’t actually expect them to show up.

Usually he’s proven right, as the venue management just assume that he was joking, and no puppies are there waiting for him when he arrives.

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However, he has stated that very occasionally he does get his wish, and a press manager goes above and beyond to make his request happen.

With that said, the puppies are usually just the dogs of people working in or around the venue, resulting in a motley crew of dogs for him to hang out with.

Britney Spears used to ask for a signed picture of Princess Di before every performance

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Britney has been one of the biggest names in pop music for decades, and she’s been working to support her family ever since she was a kid.

That means she could probably get away with demanding whatever she wanted in her touring rider, but her demands aren’t actually that extreme, they’re just super weird.

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For a start, there was a while in Spears’ career when she requested that a signed picture of Princess Diana be placed in her dressing room before every performance.

That’s because she found the monarch to be super inspiring and brave, and thought she could improve her performance by being reminded of her before she stepped out on stage.

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That wasn’t her only bizarre request however, as she also requested a couple of McDonald’s hamburgers to eat before the show.

That doesn’t seem too strange, until you realise that the hamburgers were requested without buns, lettuce, or even the sauce they normally come with.

Kanye West insists that the carpet is ironed and all his staff wear 100% cotton

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Kanye West is no stranger to making the headlines for his eccentric behaviour, but the press are usually picking up on his controversial political comments, not his controversial rider demands.

With that said, the singer definitely has very specific tastes, and the loyal fanbase leverage to demand those tastes are met.

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On the list of things the rapper deems essential are imported Versace towels, which he must have in all of his dressing rooms as well as on hand at all times.

Not only that, but all of his staff must wear clothes made from 100% cotton, probably more for his comfort than theirs.

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Last but not least, he once demanded his assistant iron the carpet in his hotel room, and wouldn’t walk on it until he did.

The explanation for why is just a perfect example of how rich Kanye West is, since he thought it was too bumpy and might be uncomfortable on his bare feet.

Guns N’ Roses ask for adult magazines with their beer

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As far as old school rock and roll behaviour goes, nobody is more infamous than Guns N Roses, to the point where even their fans expect the shows to be ruined by some sort of diva behaviour.

Their vocalist has walked off stage in the middle of performances before, as well as showed up hours late because he was napping (or doing things way less savoury than napping) and that’s only the beginning.

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Back in the day, Guns and Roses were one of the bands who you could expect to have a gang of groupies around them backstage, many of whom would actually end up in the dressing rooms.

That’s apparently less of an occurrence now, and there are also way less destructive all night parties after the show, so they’ve had to find other ways to feel like rock stars.

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The way they came up with is actually pretty sad, since they just demand a whole stack of adult magazines to be delivered to their dressing rooms, along with the alcohol and snacks they’ve requested.

Obviously they could just be reading the articles, but given their history and reputations, it doesn’t seem likely that they’d spend their down time reading.

Prince once demanded a new home be built next door to the venue he was playing at

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You might expect Prince’s demands to include everything in the dressing room being painted bright purple, but the reality is actually way more extreme than that.

For example, a 2004 version of his rider showed that he demanded everything in the dressing room be bought brand new, and wrapped in clear plastic wrap for Prince himself to open.

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Prince asked that no member of staff tore or damaged the plastic wrap in any way, otherwise the item would have to be bought and shrink-wrapped all over again.

In fact, he even asked that workers refrained from touching anything as much as possible, due to him having a fairly intense aversion to germs.

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That demand came out of a fear of germs that only grew as the years went on, since later in 2007 he requested the venue he was playing at build him a home with all new furniture nearby.

Despite the fact that he was only playing a couple of shows in the venue, he insisted that a brand new home with five bedrooms be built, so that he would have somewhere comfortable to stay throughout.

Foo Fighters’ rider is 52 pages long

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Rock bands sometimes get heat for making outrageous and dive-esque demands that seem to completely contrast their rockstar image, but the Foo Fighters in particular love flipping that assumption on its head.

For example, when it came time to create a rider for their 2011 world tour, they made sure everybody got the joke by making it 52 pages long and completely outrageous.

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Credit: Ralph_PH via Wikipedia Commons

First off, it had a list of completely unacceptable menu options, including a starter that consisted of a sandwich with a side of pebbles and rocks.

Not only that, but they also included an illustrated recipie for how to make ice correctly, just so nobody in charge of making food for them got it wrong.

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The eccentric demand handbook was actually written by their tour manager with the band’s approval, but they did help decide on the final flourish that took the list completely over the top.

Instead of just printing out a list like anyone in their right mind would do, they instead printed out the thing like a colouring book, which the venues would have to colour in in order to understand.

Iggy Pop once asked for the seven dwarves in his dressing room

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Iggy Pop is another rockstar with a sense of humour, seen in his willingness to do everything from silly car commercials to outlandish movie cameos in addition to his music career.

This push-the-boundaries hilarious punk attitude also extends to his rider demands, where he seems to have decided to push the envelope as far as it will go.

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For one tour, that meant demanding a crew of seven people to dress up like Disney’s seven dwarves and hang out in his dressing room.

Thankfully, he did specify that the heights of the dwarves didn’t matter to him all that much, and anyone could play the parts so long as they had the right spirit.

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He did also list an important quality as being the ability to pull of a pointy hat, and that wasn’t even the only strange request he made for costumed people to join him on tour.

As well as seven fictional miners, he also requested a professional Bob Hope impersonator to come and hang out with him, presumably just to see if he would!

Paul McCartney imposes a ban on all non-vegan products

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When you’re a member of the Beatles, it’s pretty much an established rule of the music industry that you’re allowed to ask for whatever you want, especially now that Beatles alumni are pretty thin on the ground.

When you look at it that way, Paul McCartney’s requests actually seem pretty reasonable, especially when you consider the added caveat that he’s been knighted.

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However, especially for any meat-eaters reading, the hero of British music might have seemed to push his rider demands too far.

That’s because he demanded everyone working on his tour took part in his vegan lifestyle, and went to great lengths to ensure there was no cheating.

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First off, he insisted all animal materials such as leather and wool were removed from his dressing room, and he also insisted on their being no animal prints either.

As if that wasn’t enough, he then said that no non-vegan food would be served at the buffet backstage, and even banned his bandmates and crew, as well as those on the guest list, from bringing behind their own.

Rihanna’s many demands include a specifically scented candle in every dressing room

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On the completely other side of the spectrum is Rihanna, who adores animal print so much that she requested every dressing room she stayed in had an animal print rug.

She also made the pretty reasonable demand that it be shampooed and cleaned beforehand, since she planned on walking around on it barefoot.

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That all seems pretty standard, but things get a little more into diva territory when it comes to the curtains in her dressing room.

Not only do they all have to be stripped and replaced with brand new ones in either navy blue or black, but those curtains must then be overlayed with something very specific.

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Her rider specifically stipulates that any and all curtains must be overlayed with an icy blue chiffon curtain, and any exposed brick walls or pipes must be covered with white satin drapes.

Once all that has been taken care of, a candle with a very specific scent must be burned, and in a situation where the venue can’t obtain it, they must contact her manager directly to get her undisclosed second choice.

Slayer once asked for 50,000 live bees

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Metal bands have to walk a pretty fine line when it comes to demanding things for their rider, mostly because they’re supposed to appear pretty grounded and down to Earth.

On the other hand, their music is some of the darkest and spookiest out there, so people almost expect them to request macabre or bizarre things.

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Slayer quickly caught on to this expectation, and they’ve made it their mission to request things that fit their so-called image exactly.

With that said, they’re also careful to make the requests so over the top and impractical that no-one could ever accuse them of being serious, since they’re basically impossible to pull off.

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Credit: Adam Kliczek via Wikipedia Commons

First off on their insane list was just the statement “50,000 live bees, for Dave”, with no explanation on why he needed them or even how on Earth to transport them to the venue.

Then, as if that wasn’t enough of a metal-appropriate rider, they also added that they needed a 100 snow white goats, to slaughter on the alter of the devil, of course.

Mariah Carey always asks for three separate 20 amp circuits to power her beauty prep

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Out of all the pop-stars famous for making outrageous demands, Mariah Carey is the one sitting on the solid gold diva throne.

Whether she’s telling her backing singers that they’re going to be fired literally while onstage with them, or refusing to sing half her set while she criticises her sound team, she’s another star unafraid of demanding what she wants.

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Therefore, it will surprise no-one to know that Mariah Carey’s personal rider is fairly extensive, and includes several requests that are pop star standards.

These include the fact that all harsh lighting is to be turned off before she arrives at the venue, and she requires a whole team to hover around her and ensure that everything is just right.

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Most puzzling of all though, is the fact that she requests three separate 20 amp circuits to all be available to her in her room.

That’s a lot of electricity for one person, but she’s adamant about the fact that it is all necessary, since she needs that much electricity (allegedly) to straighten and curl her hair.

Justin Bieber demands a variety of cars

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From the time when he got famous up until now, Justin Bieber has been in the headlines for a lot of reasons, but most often for being a diva.

Whether he’s shown up to Disneyworld demanding free tickets, or been escorted to restaurants by private security only to insist that everyone but him and the chef leave, he’s never been afraid to ask for what he wants.

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However, it would be unfair not to mention that he’s seemed to calm down in recent years, and aside from the occasional bad boy move like run-ins with the law and reckless behaviour, he’s mostly stayed away from grand gestures of public brat behaviour.

In private though, as in his personal tour rider, he’s still completely okay with asking specifically for exactly what he wants.

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So what does he want? Well, an Indian yoga casket for one, so that he can meditate before shows – which actually seems like a pretty good idea.

His other request though, which included ten luxury sedans and two designer Volvo buses to move around his entourage between backstage and various parties, seems less practical.

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor won’t perform without corn starch

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Nine Inch Nails are a band that have been around a long time, and so it’s not that surprising that they’ve been accused of a lot of rockstar behaviour over the years.

From trashing recording studios to the point where they were unusable, to smashing other bands’ gear and throwing their instruments out of hotel windows, there’s no shortage of diva behaviour if you look for it.

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With that said, it’s impossible to deny that the behaviour doesn’t ever actually implicate the whole band, and instead tends to focus on vocalist Trent Reznor.

In a similar way, most of the band’s rider makes complete sense for what you would never to have backstage on tour, expect for Reznor’s personal requests.

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Most of what was asked for between the band members were just various kinds of alcohol, as well as fruits and vegetables that could be blended together to make different kinds of juices and smoothies.

However, Reznor instead requested several boxes of corn starch without an explanation for why he needed it, but he did stipulate that it was hugely important and he couldn’t perform without it.