4 Controversial Moments in Music History That Happened in July

July may be known as the most patriotic month of the year for Americans, but it’s also known as a pretty dramatic month when it comes to music-related controversies through the years. Let’s look at a few examples of controversial moments in music that happened in July. Though, there are actually quite a few more incidents than these four examples.

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1. Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy Beats up a Fan in 2008

On July 1, 2008, alternative hip-hop outfit Gym Class Heroes’ Travie McCoy landed in hot water after assaulting a fan at the beginning of the group’s set at Warped Tour in St. Louis. He was arrested later that night and charged with third-degree assault. 

The band had just finished performing “Peace Sign” when an audience member hurled a racial slur at the singer, who responded by hitting the audience member in the head with his microphone. McCoy later apologized but stood by his actions, saying that “when someone calls you something that ignorant and that offensive, you have to bash their head in with a microphone.”

2. The Chicks Perform Despite Threats in 2003

On July 6, 2003, The Chicks (at the time known as The Dixie Chicks) performed a concert at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. This event wouldn’t have been controversial if the band had not been pummeled with death threats after voicing their distaste for former President George W. Bush not long before the performance. 

The Chicks member Natalie Maines received a particularly terrifying threat that she would be shot if she performed. However, the group refused to back down and performed their set with police escorts to and from the stage.

3. David Bowie Ruffles Feathers After Performing “Starman” in 1972

David Bowie famously performed “Starman” on the famed British music television program Top Of The Pops in July of 1972. It was one of his most iconic performances of his career… and it also made quite a few conservative British viewers angry. The uproar came about when Bowie simply rested his arm over the shoulder of guitarist Mick Ronson as he performed the song.

4. Roger Waters Assaults a Fan Over Fireworks in 1977… and Inspires ‘The Wall’

This is one of the most controversial moments in music history to happen in July. It also inspired one of Pink Floyd’s greatest albums. On July 6, 1977, Pink Floyd performed at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Canada. No stranger to controversy, band member Roger Waters became angry with a particularly unruly audience member who was climbing over a fence that separated the band from the crowd, which prompted him to spit on the individual. Waters also hurled insults at the audience for their use of fireworks. 

Years later, Waters would say that the experience made him realize that the band’s newfound fame had built a “wall” of sorts between them and their fans. Thus, The Wall was born.

Photo via Wide Open Spaces / Album Cover Art

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