The 10 Most (In)Famous Music Headlines Ever Printed

The 10 Most (in)famous Music Headlines Ever Printed leader
Image: Alex Barth

Musicians thrive off life in the public eye. With no public attention, nobody would by their records (see Amy Winehouse’s ever increasing album sales as living proof). And whether marking a historic performance or reporting on a sordid scandal, the press loves musicians just as much as musicians love the press. The two go hand-in-hand, which is why so many classic newspaper and magazine headlines have come thanks to record breaking, drug abusing musicians. Here are 10 of the best!

10. BLUR vs. OASIS [NME, 1995]

Blur vs Oasis

Headlines often have greater influence than originally intended, and this was definitely the case back in 1995 when music magazine NME splashed ‘Blur v Oasis’ across their front page. What was originally a fabricated feud by the magazine between the two English rock bands soon escalated into genuine dislike between the two bands, mocking each other on stage at award ceremonies and numerous exchanges of colourful language. The bands’ respective frontmen, Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn, still maintain a mutual dislike for one another to this day.

9. BRITNEY LOSES KIDS [The Sun, 2007]

Britney loses kids

During her turbulent time spent exposed in the public eye, Britney Spears has been accused of many things, including, as seen here, being a neglecting parent. That’s until the story below the headline is read however, and readers discovered that Britney had not misplaced her children, but rather lost them in a custody battle with now oversized ex husband, backing dancer and dubious rapper Kevin ‘K-Fed’ Federline.

8. ‘Beatlemania’ SWEEPS U.S. [National Record News, 1964]


Taken from the National Record News in 1964, this headline marks the ‘arrival’ of The Beatles on the American stage. Although not the original source of the word ‘Beatlemania’, this headline is one of the early examples of The Beatles’ ascendancy to world stardom, as they took their success over the Atlantic and captivated the United States with their music.


Ike turner beats tina to death

Remarkably, this 2007 headline was not breaking the news that one of the world’s most celebrated female vocalists had been violently murdered by her equally celebrated rock ‘n’ roll ex-husband. Instead, it was a rather crude way of reporting the death of Ike himself, who, as the headline rightly says, unfortunately died before his former spouse. Via a cocaine overdose.


Die hiltons

Sometimes a headline says one thing when really, it means something quite different. Take the German GQ magazine for example. To the non-German speaking world, their feature on the Hilton sisters seemed like an unprovoked, aggressive hate campaign against the hotel heiresses, when in fact it was just a minor translation hitch. And yes, for those of you fortunate enough not to have heard ‘Stars Are Blind’, Paris Hilton can actually be classed as having some form of career in ‘music’.

5. CLONE ME SO I CAN LIVE FOREVER [The People, 2009]

Clone me so I can live forever

Naturally, following Michael Jackson’s death, any exclusive story was worth its weight in gold for any newspaper or magazines, and ridiculous rumours were no exception. English tabloid newspaper ‘The People’ led with the story that Jackson’s sperm was frozen in a lab somewhere in order that the star may be able to be cloned sometime in the future. The world awaits scientific confirmation.

4. ZIP ME UP BEFORE YOU GO GO [The Sun, 1998]

Zip me up before you go go

One of the many downsides to celebrity stardom is that one mistake leads to endless torture in the headlines, as George Michael discovered to his horror in 1998. After his arrest for ‘engaging in a lewd act’ in a public bathroom in Los Angeles, the former Wham! star knew himself that press coverage of the story would be ‘extensive’ to say the least, but even he couldn’t have foreseen the sheer brilliance of The Sun’s front page.


Elton takes David up the aisle

Particularly amongst the tabloid press, the ‘shock factor’ is seen as a way to sell newspapers, and this has led to an increase in outrageous headlines and stories. When Elton John entered into a civil partnership with long term partner David Furnish in 2005, it was UK paper The Sun yet again who won the battle of the headlines, with this headline infused with innuendo brandished across their front page.

2. KING ELVIS DEAD [The Sun, 1977]

King Elvis dead

Back in 1977, infamous British newspaper The Sun paid tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll after Elvis Presley ‘died alone’ at Graceland. Mourning of Elvis’s death was as regal as his nickname, although The Sun did kindly add that his ‘overeating made him a tragic sight’ before he died.

1. DEAD [New York Post, 2009]


With every newspaper in the world devoting their front page to the death of music icon Michael Jackson, finding a unique headline proved a tough challenge. The New York Post was particularly lambasted for what was deemed by many as an insensitive headline, emblazoning the one simple word across an image of the star, although the end result was undeniably a striking front page.