Backstage Secrets Hidden And Not Meant For The Audience

February 3, 2024

Van Morrison Was on the Run from the Mob

Our favorite musicians give us great performances in the studio and on stage, but backstage glimpses and behind-the-scenes facts tell us even more. They are human beings who sometimes keep it real and other times behave like divas. Some of their behavior is relatable and other things they do will blow your mind. In the end, it's a loop that tells you more about the music you already love -- take a look at these scenes of performers living everyday lives and enjoy these tales of what happened backstage and stories behind the moments that made them pop stars and rock gods.

Van Morrison. Source: Classic Album Sundays

In 1967, Van Morrison was the former lead singer of a successful group (Them) who'd put out a solo album nobody bought on Bang Records. Then on December 30 of that year, Bang's owner Bert Berns died and the New York mob ended up owning Morrison's contract -- it's not clear how they got their hands on it, but they're the mob. You've seen The Godfather. The mob gets stuff they want.

Warner Bros. wanted to sign Morrison, but the label would have to satisfy his new masters and buy him out of his existing contract. Though the music industry can often be a bit seedy, this was exceptional. Warner Bros. executive Joe Smith was instructed to bring $20,000 in cash to an address on Ninth Avenue in Manhattan. He recalled:

I had to walk up three flights of stairs, and there were four guys. Two tall and thin, and two built like buildings. There was no small talk. I got the signed contract and got the hell out of there, because I was afraid somebody would whack me in the head and take back the contract and I’d be out the money.

If You Want to Meet Robert De Niro, Write A Song About Him

Bananarama. Source: Reddit

The girl group Bananarama had a string of hits in the '80s (moreso in their native UK than the States), and one of them was the curiously titled "Robert De Niro's Waiting." They have explained that the song is about fantasizing about an unattainable celebrity as a mechanism to avoid a real-world relationship. There's also a subtext of date rape that the band sometimes touted, but at other times denied.

Keren Woodward, Siobhan Fahey and Sara Dallin really were big De Niro fans, and the song did earn them a meeting with the star himself. "When the song came out, he was in the UK filming Brazil, and he invited us for a drink at Kettners in Soho," they recalled for The Guardian. "We were all sitting there when this guy knocked on the window. It was a freezing winter’s night and he had a bobble hat and glasses on, and we just thought: 'Who is that person trying to catch our attention?' We’d no idea it was him. He had his producer with him, who did most of the talking. I think De Niro was quite shy. But of course the whole place was filled with our friends and boyfriends – all sitting at different tables trying to sneak a look at him."