Going for Guinness: Five Artists Into Breaking World Records

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If there was a chart depicting competitiveness in the world of music, there would be three levels on it. Stage 1: The Pearl Jam -- for artists who neither want nor need your stinking awards, and will merely shrug at the world when they accidentally win one. Stage 2: The Taylor Swift -- for artists who love the award-receiving moment to a degree that borders on hysteria. And then there's Stage 3: The Crazy Pants -- reserved for musicians who need recognition so badly, so desperately and so competitively, they actively try and get into the Guinness Book of World Records. Here are some notable examples of the latter kind.

The White Stripes

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In 2007, Jack and Meg White did a show during which they played only a single solitary note. As proof of their own self-indulgence, they then requested an award from the Guinness Book of World Records for playing the Shortest Concert of All Time. They made it into the 2009 book, but were later removed because, according to Guinness, "the nature of competing to make something the 'shortest' by its very nature trivializes the activity being carried out." White got all pissy about it while speaking to Interview earlier this year, calling Guinness "a very elitist organization." Sorry Jack, but we're with Guinness on this one -- giving you a record for inflicting an annoying pile of pretension onto a group of people who undoubtedly expected to hear more from you would be a totally bad example to the world. Now sod off.

The Melvins

This attempt hasn't commenced yet, but it will imminently, when The Melvins hit the road on July 1 and attempt to achieve the world record for Fastest Tour of the U.S. by a Band. They're doing 51 shows in 50 states, in 51 days. We sincerely hope they all get a thorough check up from their doctors before this is attempted.

Napalm Death


The British grindcore lovers put out a one-second song in 1987, titled "You Suffer." It came from an album called Scum. Guitarist Justin Broadrick said of the record-breaker: ""You Suffer" was largely a comedy thing... one-second song. Utterly retarded. It's ridiculous." You said it chief, not us.

Jay-Z and Kanye West

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We have to assume it was Kanye that came up with this idea, because it's one of the most arrogant forms of record-breaking we've ever heard of: the Most Consecutive Performances of a Song in a Concert. "Oh hey, what's up stadium full of French people? Guess what? We're going to play our song, "Niggas in Paris," twelve times in a row for you! Because this is Paris! Get it? And this song is soooo good, of course you'll want to listen to that and only that for an hour. Hurray for us!" Y'all know you just made Jack White look like a really humble person, right? Nice one, fellas.

The Flaming Lips

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Hands up who's surprised to see Wayne Coyne in here? None of you? Yeah. Didn't think so. Well, Coyne and his merry band of art ponces are about to attempt to break the record for Most Live Concerts in Multiple Cities During a 24-hour Period. The record is currently held by -- seriously? -- Jay-Z again! (So maybe we shouldn't have blamed Kanye for the Paris thing, after all.) The Flaming Lips will attempt to beat the record between June 27 and 28, with eight shows, starting in Memphis. Show up if you like that sort of thing.

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