The unexpected dangers of live music
Forty years ago today, on 3 May 1972, Leslie Harvey, guitarist with popular Glaswegian band Stone The Crows, died when he touched an unearthed microphone at Swansea's Top Rank. He was just 28.
Harvey was the younger brother of Alex Harvey (of The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) who introduced him to singer Maggie Bell... who is possibly best known for her strident Taggart theme tune.
Stone The Crows were managed by none other than Peter Grant, the legendary Led Zeppelin manager. But not even his considerable talents were enough to prevent disaster. Dangerous mishaps aren't as rare as you'd think. Here are some examples of things going wrong for some of the biggest acts in the world:
James Hetfield of Metallica suffered extensive burns from a pyrotechnic display in 1992 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium. The singer's guitar protected him from the full force of the pyrotechnic, and 17 days afterwards he was back on stage, despite second and third degree burns.
Some injuries are self-inflicted. In their heyday, Nirvana's live shows were all kinds of carnage. Bassist Krist Novoselic was wont to chuck his instrument about and at the 1992 Video Music Awards, playing Lithium, he mistimed his catch. Apparently he still has a dent in his head:
Never shrinking violets, Detroit rockers Kiss have dabbled with all sorts of audacious stage antics over the years. Singer Gene Simmons, while breathing fire, has set his hair on fire many times, apparently. Here's just one of those times:
In 2010, in the German town of Nürnberg, Pink suffered a nasty mishap when a malfunctioning harness failed to raise her up as expected and instead she hurtled into a crowd barrier. She made a full recovery, but she was certainly in pain at the time, as her language showed.
In April 2004, Stereophonics' Kelly Jones and Richard Jones were both electrocuted at the Bataclan in Paris. According to reader Martin Wilding Davies: " There were sparks coming off everything but the band played on." Trooper spirit indeed.
On 23 January 1977 Patti Smith suffered a nasty 15 foot fall into her orchestra pit, breaking several neck vertebrae. She was dancing on a high stage in Tampa, Florida; perhaps a little enthusiastically.
Meanwhile, returning to the world of heavy metal, Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers lost his footing at a gig in Mannheim, Germany in 2000. He careered off the stage, into the photographers' pit and onto the venue's concrete floor. Concussion, bruising and sprained back was - thankfully - the extent of his injuries, and he was able to return within a fortnight.
And lastly, sometimes things go wrong in a far less harmful or painful way. Here's Robbie Williams slipping, gamely carrying on and playing himself up:
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