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These 12 Famous Performers Have Had Some Pretty Wild Food Requests

Before J. Lo asked for an all-white dressing room and Beyonce requested heavily seasoned baked chicken thighs, these performers were demanding specific backstage foods from egg salad sandwiches to unshucked oysters.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Universal History Archive/Shutterstock (3874732a) Frank Sinatra (b1915) American film star and singer VARIOUSUniversal History Archive/Shutterstock

Frank Sinatra

Before crooning “Moon River,” Frank Sinatra required an extensive spread of food and drink, from bottles of Absolut Vodka and Chivas Regal to three dozen rolls of Lifesavers and cough drops to his favorite egg salad sandwiches (channel Ol’ Blue Eyes with this classic recipe.)

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett/Shutterstock (10294149a) ARETHA FRANKLIN, 1964, Columbia Records publicity portrait. Historical CollectionEverett/Shutterstock

Aretha Franklin

The Queen of Soul often kept it simple backstage with canapes and ginger ale, but sometimes she had a craving we can relate to: chili cheese dogs. With the $25,000 in cash she demanded from the promoter, we imagine she could get as many as she liked!

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Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo by Snap/Shutterstock (390860fk) FILM STILLS OF 'JAILHOUSE ROCK' WITH 1957, ELVIS PRESLEY, RICHARD THORPE, HEAD SHOT, STUDIO, PORTRAIT IN 1957 VARIOUSSnap/Shutterstock


The King loved his food, including the indulgent Elvis Party Meatballs, or meatballs wrapped in bacon. In other aspects, however, he was easy to please: To quench his thirst, he asked only for an assortment of soft drinks and water.

Check out Elvis’ other favorite foods.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andre Csillag/Shutterstock (507570gx) Van Halen - Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony in London, Britain - Oct 1978 VARIOUSAndre Csillag/Shutterstock

Van Halen

A bowl of M&M’s might sound like a simple request compared to some other backstage demands—except that Van Halen’s 53-page document stipulated that all of the brown candies be removed. The reason isn’t why you might think: The band was checking to see if the promoter was paying attention. If brown M&M’s appeared in the bowl, the concert would be canceled, as the band thought the safety instructions might not have been read diligently, either.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alan Messer/Shutterstock (371750o) Elton John VariousAlan Messer/Shutterstock

Elton John

To stay hydrated before hitting the stage, Elton John requested a variety of sodas, fresh-squeezed juices and English Breakfast tea accompanied by lemons. However, Rocketman might have been more concerned with the ambiance as he was with the food: In his dressing room, he would request sofas and love seats, standing lamps and banquet tables covered with white linen tablecloths.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by David Dagley/Shutterstock (44607m) PAUL MCCARTNEY PAUL MCCARTNEY, WINGS - 1973David Dagley/Shutterstock

Paul McCartney

After the Beatles, Paul McCartney’s backstage requests became a little more specific—everything from the food to the furniture—had to be animal-free, and everyone else was required to eat vegan as well. Like Elton John, McCartney also wanted to create the right backstage aesthetic: He would ask for leafy floor plants, along with arrangements of Casablanca lilies and roses.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Globe Photos/Shutterstock (115372a) Prince PRINCE IN CONCERT AT NASSAU COLISEUM, NEW YORK, AMERICA - 1985Globe Photos/Shutterstock


In his purple-painted dressing room, Prince ranged from specifics like black M&M’s to standards like pita bread, veggie chips and hummus, along with a supply of tea, honey, lemon and fresh gingerroot. Prince’s requests didn’t just include the food, but extended to how it was presented: All dishes had to be covered with plastic wrap.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Bebeto Matthews/AP/Shutterstock (6528346a) Steven Tyler Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith performs at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards show at New York's Radio City Music Hall on . Aerosmith took home three awards for video of the year, best group video and viewer's choice award for "Cryin Steven Tyler, New York, USABebeto Matthews/AP/Shutterstock


While dining in their “East Indian Style” room, the “Dream On” band opted for healthier options, asking for meals of rice cakes, hard-boiled eggs, baked potatoes and chicken tikka with yogurt and mint dip (you don’t need to be a rock star to enjoy it)—no processed meat or processed cheeses allowed.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Globe Photos/Mediapunch/Shutterstock (10191737a) The Beach Boys The Beach BoysGlobe Photos/Mediapunch/Shutterstock

The Beach Boys

The “Good Vibrations” crooners also request healthier fare, including boiled and peeled shrimp and an array of veggies including avocado and alfalfa sprouts, with a bag of peanut M&M’s as an indulgence. However, they do have one specific request: Promoters have to make sure that there are no red nuts in their bowl of pistachios (channel The Beach Boys and whip up your own delicious pistachio treat).

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Lynn McAfee/Shutterstock (73173n) Journey - Steve Perry Journey in concert - 1979Lynn McAfee/Shutterstock


Don’t stop believin’ that Journey’s backstage priorities are drinks, including classic canned Cokes, fresh-squeezed orange juice and Stewart’s Orange Cream Premium Soda. Promoters have to be careful to get the right brand, as the band will only drink Martinelli’s apple juice and spring water that isn’t Evian.

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Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Danjaq/Eon/Ua/Kobal/Shutterstock (5886276by) Grace Jones A View To A Kill - 1985 Director: John Glen Danjaq/EON/UA BRITAIN Film Portrait James Bond Action/Adventure Dangereusement vôtreDanjaq/Eon/Ua/Kobal/Shutterstock

Grace Jones

Along with specific wine requests—including Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne and vintage French red and white wine—the “Slave to the Rhythm” singer required two dozen Findeclare or Colchester oysters in her dressing room. The only catch? She wanted them unopened, so she could shuck them herself. (Here’s how we like our oysters.)

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andre Csillag/Shutterstock (497745bp) EDDIE VEDDER OF PEARL JAM PERFORMING AT BRIXTON ACADEMY, LONDON, BRITAIN - JUL 1993 VariousAndre Csillag/Shutterstock

Pearl Jam

Much like Grace Jones, Pearl Jam has been all about DIY: They carry their own juicer, but require produce like grapefruits, carrots and ginseng root to be provided. They also get in their fill of pre- and post-performance carbs with multigrain bread, bagels and chips with guacamole and salsa.

Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.