In what has grown to be a time-honored tradition, musicians and music publications alike have made it a point to mess with the heads of music fans each year on April 1st. In honor of every pranksters favorite holiday, we’ve put together a list of some of the best pranks, hoaxes, and jokes involving musicians, writers, and bands from the past few decades. Some are lighthearted, others are bizarre, but all required a lot of thought and planning. From Trent Reznor going hip-hop to Bieber punking TMZ, here are some of our favorite music pranks and hoaxes.
Coldplay Records in Space
Coldplay has put their fans through more than a few April Fool’s pranks, but our favorite is when they officially announced on their website that they’d be the first band to record in zero gravity. Always a band to push the envelope, some fans believed what they read without even second guessing it. Others were a bit more skeptical. According to Chris Martin, Coldplay would board a Boeing 747 aircraft with Brian Eno, wearing protective gear of course, and would record the session on a 1969 analog cassette player. Just in case a fan or two didn’t believe that story, a year later they announced the release of “Angst”, a custom fragrance, complete with its own ad campaign.
Trent Reznor Goes Hip-Hop
Trent Reznor pioneered the industrial sound, which is why so many were caught by surprise when he announced a collaboration with Timbaland in 2009. What many failed to realize was that the official announcement was made on April 1. On that day he announced he’d be collaborating with Timbaland on a hip-hop album titled Strobelight which was set to be released later that year. At the time, this type of collaboration wasn’t completely out of the ordinary, as just a few months prior Chris Cornell, the singer of Audioslave/Soundgarden, released a hip-hop album of his own, produced by none other than Timbaland.
Bieber Punks TMZ
In 2013, Justin Bieber pulled off one of the best April Fool’s Day hoaxes. The butt of his joke? TMZ. In a rather intelligent move, Bieber wrote the following message on his personal Twitter account which, at the time, had nearly 40 million followers: “As promised taking all fan phone calls TODAY at (888) 847 9869. Talk to u soon!”. And what was the joke, you may ask? The number wasn’t his; it was TMZ’s. On top of that, the number is toll-free. So not only did TMZ have to fend of hundreds of thousands of crazed callers, but they were stuck with a massive bill, too.
Bjork Fronts Led Zeppelin
In 2009, Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant was too busy collaborating with Alison Krauss to pay much attention to what was going on with Led Zeppelin, and Bjork saw this as her opportunity for a great April Fool’s joke. She announced via her website that she was the new frontwoman for the legendary group, and that she joined the group under the condition that only songs from I and IV would be played during the tour. The announcement left Bjork and Led Zeppelin fans scratching their heads, wondering what this new version of Led Zeppelin would even sound like.
Hanson Releasing Slipknot Covers
On April Fool’s Day 2011, Hanson delivered one of the most shocking messages of all: they were focusing on putting out an album of nothing but Slipknot covers. They attempted to make the joke more believable by stating that it was time for the band to reinvent themselves and that, at the end of the day, they really liked Slipknot. On top of that, the group released a video of themselves covering “Wait and Bleed” with acoustic guitars inside of a hotel room. Unfortunately for Hanson/Slipknot fans, and unsurprisingly for the rest of us, the album of Slipknot songs was never released.
Drake & Nicki Minaj Get Married
Last but not least, who could forget when Drake and Nicki Minaj got “married” in 2010? Although the prank didn’t take place on April 1, it still deserves a spot on this list. In August 2010, Drake Tweeted: “Please refer to @nickiminaj as Mrs. Aubrey Drake Graham and don’t stare at her too long. She’s finally mine”, and a day later Minaj admitted the Tweet was a hoax concocted by the two just for fun. Fans of the couple were thrown a bone a few months later when Drake and Minaj shared a kiss in Minaj’s music video for her song “Moment 4 Life.”