The phrase “party like a rockstar” exists for a reason: Rock stars are really good at partying. So are pop singers, rappers, and the various glamorous people they surround themselves with. On certain special occasions, when the conditions are just right, musicians are able to throw soirees that transcend even their normal champagne-drenched, star-studded affairs. What follows are 10 legendary music parties we wish we could’ve attended. Those flies on the wall didn’t know how lucky they were.
A Princely Soiree
Early in the evening, the place to be at Prince’s 2005 Oscar bash was the kitchen. That’s where Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson, Puff Daddy, and that year’s Oscar host, Chris Rock, were reportedly assembled around a chocolate fountain. Later on, the smart move was to mosey into the living room, where Prince jammed with Christina Aguilera, Sheila E. and Stevie Wonder. The fun lasted until dawn, by which time Joni Mitchell had retreated to the porch to smoke some cigs and reflect on how freakin’ incredible it had been.
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Yeezy Hoops It Up
Disco Debauchery at Studio 54
For a three-year period from 1977 to 1980, the global epicenter of cool was Studio 54, the famed NYC disco hangout for celebs like Michael Jackson, Andy Warhol and Elizabeth Taylor. Getting past the velvet ropes was nearly impossible, but even if the doorman deemed you worthy, you’d likely never see the VIP room, where A-listers could indulge in whatever they desired. “On a good night,” journalist Anthony Haden-Guest said, “Studio 54 was the best party of your life.”
After Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special, everyone who was anyone in music or comedy headed to the Plaza hotel to celebrate. Prince jammed with Haim. Taylor Swift rocked with Paul McCartney on The Beatles’ classic “I Saw Her Standing There” and her own “Shake It Off.” Bill Murray and Beyonce were in the house. So was Michael Bolton, so you know it was lit.
Elton Does 50 Right
When Elton John was sending invites for his 50th birthday party, he might have used a simple mathematical formula: 10 people for every year he’d been alive. But the 500-person guest list (attendees ranged from composer Andrew Lloyd Webber to hypnotist Paul McKenna) was just the beginning. Elton turned up in a lavish Louis XIV costume, complete with a silver coat and 15-foot feather train. Party pricetag: $500,000 -- a cool 10 grand for every year of his life.
Andy Factory Madness
Before Studio 54, there was The Factory, pop-art provocateur Andy Warhol’s assembly line of a studio in NYC. The place was crawling with creative types, and that naturally made for killer parties. Throughout the ‘60s, people like Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg would mingle with drag queens, aspiring actors, and various other scenesters. And then there was Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, the Warhol-affiliated band whose bleakly cool rock ‘n’ roll soundtracked Andy’s artsy, sexy revolution.
Ri Rules the Met Gala
Even if Rihanna hadn’t sung a note at the 2015 Met Gala, she’d have won the event, thanks to her crazy-long, retina-burning bright-yellow Guo Pei gown. Ri’s commanding three-song set—”Diamonds,” “Pour It Up,” and the indelible “Bitch Better Have My Money”—solidified her status as belle of the annual ball, which was attended by a parade of bold-face names including Beyonce, Kanye West, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Lorde, George Clooney and so many more.
Launched in 1998, P. Diddy’s annual “white parties” in the Hamptons had already entered into pop-culture lore by the time he hosted the 2004 edition. Because it fell on July 4, Diddy naturally got a copy of the Declaration of Independence -- borrowed from Norman Lear, who paid $8 million for it. He also held guests like Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige to a strict all-white dress code. How strict? One invitee got turned away for wearing cream. Diddy may love American democracy, but he’s the absolute ruler of his parties.