10 Most Shocking Stage Accidents in Rock History

10 Most Shocking Stage Accidents in Rock History | Society Of Rock Videos

via CrapFromSweden / YouTube

Being a rock star is tough. There are many dangers when performing live, and it’s not just about embarrassing yourself in front of fans. Over the years, many famous musicians have suffered injuries while giving their all on stage. Let’s take a look at some of the worst incidents.

10. James Hetfield (Metallica)

In 1992, James Hetfield experienced a terrifying moment while performing with Metallica on a tour with Guns N’ Roses. During a show in Montreal, a firework malfunctioned, resulting in severe injuries for Hetfield. He described the extent of his injuries, revealing that his arm, hand, and face were burned down to the bone. He lost his hair and even a portion of his back was affected. The situation was incredibly challenging. Hetfield had to be immediately taken to the hospital due to the second- and third-degree burns he sustained. However, the positive news is that he eventually made a full recovery after receiving treatment.

9. Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lou Brutus (@loubrutus)

During a Rolling Stones concert in 1965, Keith Richards had a frightening experience. In an attempt to adjust his microphone using the neck of his guitar, he encountered a technical issue with the wiring. As a result, he received a massive shock that caused him to collapse on the ground. The incident startled everyone in the audience, with some people even thinking there was a shooting or that Richards might be dead. Medics promptly arrived at the scene and rushed him to the hospital, where he was revived and eventually regained full health.

8. Gene Simmons (KISS)

Gene Simmons, the bassist of KISS, had a unique stage routine during their song “Firehouse.” He would spit kerosene onto a lit torch and unleash a fiery spectacle on stage while synchronized red lights and sirens enhanced the atmosphere. However, during a New Year’s Eve concert in 1973, something went awry. As Simmons attempted his fire-breathing stunt, his hair ignited. Fortunately, a quick-thinking band crew member promptly covered him with a wet towel, extinguishing the flames and preventing serious injuries. Simmons has previously admitted to accidentally setting his hair on fire approximately six or seven times throughout his career with KISS.

7. Keith Moon (The Who)

Keith Moon, the drummer for The Who, aimed to create a memorable finale during their performance on ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ in September 1967. While his bandmates were smashing their instruments, Moon desired to elevate the spectacle by having his drums explode. He convinced the individual in charge of special effects to incorporate a cannon inside his drum kit. However, during a rehearsal attempt, the explosion failed to achieve the desired impact. Undeterred, Moon decided to increase the amount of explosives by three times for the actual performance. When the explosion finally occurred, it was so powerful that it caused significant vibrations on the stage. Thankfully, Moon only sustained a few cuts from the flying debris of his drum and cymbal. Pete Townshend, who was standing nearby and had his hair burned, later attributed the incident to his ongoing hearing issues.

6. Pete Townshend (The Who)

Aside from narrowly escaping Keith Moon’s exploding drum kit, Pete Townshend had another harrowing experience on stage. In 1989, during a performance in Tacoma, Washington, with The Who, Townshend accidentally impaled his hand on his guitar’s whammy bar. This happened while he was doing his signature windmill move, swinging his arm in a circle to strum the guitar. Townshend’s hand struck the bar at an awkward angle, resulting in a deep gash.

The incident was alarming, and Townshend was quickly rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. Fortunately, doctors determined that he didn’t suffer any major nerve or tendon damage. After receiving stitches, Townshend was able to continue performing, albeit with some bandaged fingers. It’s a testament to his dedication and resilience as a musician.

5. Frank Zappa

On December 10, 1971, a concert at the Rainbow Theater in London took a dangerous turn when a fan named Trevor Charles Howell jumped on stage and assaulted Frank Zappa. Howell was enraged because his girlfriend had expressed admiration for Zappa. Out of jealousy, he pushed Zappa into the orchestra pit, causing significant injuries.

Zappa suffered injuries to his back, neck, ribs, and leg in the fall. He was left in excruciating pain and had to spend a year in a wheelchair to recover from the incident. Despite his recovery, Zappa experienced chronic back pain for the rest of his life as a result of the injuries sustained during that concert.

4. Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters)

In 2015, during a concert at the Ullevi Stadium in Sweden, Dave Grohl, frontman of the Foo Fighters, experienced a memorable stage dive fail. Grohl attempted to jump onto a ramp but misjudged the distance and ended up falling into the security pit. The fall resulted in a broken leg for Grohl.

Despite the injury, Grohl displayed incredible determination and didn’t let it ruin the show. He promised the crowd that the concert would go on and managed to come back after getting medical attention. Grohl returned to the stage with the rest of the Foo Fighters about an hour later to finish their set. To accommodate his cast, a specially made throne was created for Grohl to sit on while performing. This throne became an iconic symbol of his perseverance and dedication to his fans.

3. Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses)

On April 1, 2016, during a highly anticipated reunion performance of Guns N’ Roses at the Troubadour in Hollywood, Axl Rose suffered an injury on stage. While singing “Mr. Brownstone,” Rose decided to jump off the stage, landing awkwardly and breaking the fifth metatarsal in his foot.

Despite the injury, Rose and Guns N’ Roses continued their set, determined not to disappoint their fans. After the show, X-rays confirmed the extent of Rose’s injury. However, that didn’t stop him from performing at subsequent shows, including the highly acclaimed Coachella festival. To aid in his performances, Rose borrowed a special throne from Dave Grohl, allowing him to sit while singing and keep the momentum of their successful reunion going.

2. Patti Smith (Patti Smith Group)

In 1977, Patti Smith, known for her energetic performances, was touring with Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band. During a show in Tampa, Florida, Smith suffered a harrowing accident while twirling around on stage, a characteristic move of hers. As she was spinning, she ran out of space and fell 15 feet into the unforgiving cement orchestra pit, tripping on a speaker in the process.

The fall resulted in cracked vertebrae in Smith’s neck and a fractured spine. It was a severe and agonizing injury that continues to affect her to this day. Smith experiences chronic pain as a result of the accident, highlighting the enduring consequences that artists may face from on-stage mishaps.

1. Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith, had not one, but two terrifying falls during performances. The first incident occurred in 2009 while Tyler was performing “Love in an Elevator.” He lost his balance and tumbled off the stage, resulting in injuries to his head, neck, and shoulder.

Surprisingly, a similar accident occurred a little over a year later, once again during a performance of “Love in an Elevator.” This time, it was initiated by guitarist Joe Perry, who accidentally launched Tyler toward the edge of the stage during some playful shoving. This sent Tyler crashing off the stage once again, experiencing further injuries.

Don’t Miss Out! Sign up for the Latest Updates

Premium Partners

Society of Rock partner World War Wings
Society of Rock partner Daily Rock Box
Society of Rock partner Country Music Nation
Society of Rock partner Country Rebel
Society of Rock partner I Love Classic Rock
Society of Rock partner Rock Pasta

Interested in becoming a partner?

Contact us for more info.