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Check Out The Cringeworthy TV Debuts Of These Classic Bands

Making a good first impression is important to everyone -- including future rock stars. But some famous bands didn't hit it off with audiences as well as others in their first appearances on television. Here's a look at some of the more cringeworthy TV debuts of future superstars.

Jimmy Page (1958)

When the future Led Zeppelin guitarist stopped by the BBC with his skiffle band in 1958, he had no intentions of pursuing a career in music. 

"I want to do biological research," the 14 year old Page told the show's host. He added that he wanted to find a cure for cancer if it hasn't been found by the time he grew up. Luckily he grew out of that awkward wannabe-scientist phase and grew his hair out to become the rock legend we know and love.

Frank Zappa (1963)

The freaky rocker didn't have his long hair or his signature stache when he made his TV debut on The Steve Allen Show. Zappa was introduced as a 'musical bicyclist.' And he lived up to that billing by giving Allen a demonstration in the various ways you can make music with bikes -- including blowing through the handlebars like a bugle, plucking the spokes like a harp, running a violin bow along the wheels and more.

"Well, Mr. Zappa," Allen said afterward, "I must say that I'm always in favor of enlarging the horizons...of any field of human endeavor or interest. Therefore, I congratulate you on your farsightedness. And as for your music, don't ever do it around here again." 


David Bowie (1964)

In 1964, a 17 year old Bowie - who was still going by his birth name, David Jones - appeared on the British show 'Tonight'. But he wasn't there to sing songs or even play guitar. He was speaking on behalf of an activist group called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long Haired Men. The future Ziggy Stardust founded the group after being insulted in the streets for his exquisite coif.

"For the last two years, we've heard comments like 'Darling' and 'Can I carry your handbag?' thrown at us. And I just think it has to stop now," Bowie said. "We don't see why other people should persecute us because of [our hair]."

Jimi Hendrix (1965)

Before revolutionizing rock and roll with his mesmerizing riffs, Jimi Hendrix was trying to make ends meet as an ensemble guitarist for bigger acts, like The Isley Brothers and Little Richard

And in 1965, the R&B duo Buddy & Stacy brought Hendrix along to play -- and boogie -- along with the rest of their backup band for a gig on the 60s show 'Night Train'.

The Doors (1967)

The Doors wanted to set the night on fire with their first album in 1967, but they didn't strike any sparks in their TV debut on Casey Kasem's LA show 'Shebang!' For some reason, producers decided not to let them perform live, so the band had to mime their way through the gig while Jim Morrison lip-synched with noticeable disinterest.

The Cure (1979)

The goth rockers made their small-screen debut in 1979 on the Dutch show Neon. That's also the best word to describe Robert Smith's green pants. The bright slacks combined with the short, tidy hair made the band's frontman unrecognizable to today's fans.

U2 (1980)

These rockers had their sound down pat when they performed on TV for the first time on Ireland's 'The Late Late Show' in 1980. But their image was still a work in progress. The Edge wore a chef's jacket that made him look like he ran to the studio after punching the clock at the pub. And Bono struggled to keep his shaggy bangs out of his eyes while staring soulfully into the camera. 

Depeche Mode (1982)

Depeche Mode's first appearance on the small-screen featured the synthpop's group's lesser-known member: a small, mechanical rabbit that played drums. Or that's what the French television show's producers must've thought since they kept cutting to the toy banging on its mini drum kit during the song.

Or maybe they were sparing the audience from frontman Dave Gahan's dance moves, which make Rick Astley look like Fred Astaire.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers (1984)

Frontman Anthony Kiedis rocked pink hair while Flea looked like a Raggedy Andy doll on acid during their appearance on Alan Thicke's talkshow 'Thicke of the Night'. But the most awkward part was when they praised the thickness of Thicke's chest hair before performing the funk metal song Get Up and Jump, which kinda sounds like Black Flag meets Kool & the Gang.


No Doubt (1990)

The 90s ska rock band tried to blast themselves to superstardom by appearing on the California cable-access show 'The Gig' in 1990. Sadly, the band was upstaged by lead singer Gwen Stefani's overalls, which were so baggy that they bordered on Hammer pants.


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