5 Huge Rock Singles Bands Hated Playing Live

Many bands struggle for years to have a hit single. But once a band's hit becomes so enormous that they feel obligated to play it or disappoint fans, some bands choose the later option. Many bands feel that their big hit is not a good representation of the band. Others stop playing their hit because they fear bodily harm. Here are 5 hit songs that these bands hated playing for various reasons.

Nirvana famously refused to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" at the 1992 MTV Music Awards, they agreed to play "Lithium" instead. Kurt Cobain almost had MTV pull the plug on him when he rebelliously teased their new song "Rape Me" before playing "Lithium." 

Although Nirvana disliked playing "Teen Spirit" after it became an enormous hit in 1991, they continued to play it live at almost every show. Instead of dropping the song from their setlist, the band reportedly often played it badly on purpose. Nirvana's mimed their 1991 British Top of the Pops performance of "Teen Spirit" in which only Kurt's octave lower than normal vocals were live. It's the worst and most hilarious performance of their biggest hit. 

Foo Fighters reportedly stopped playing their 1995 hit "Big Me" for six or seven years after being repeatedly pummeled with rock-like Mentos candy by fans at their shows – after their "Footos" commercial parody video was a huge MTV hit. 

In 2006, Dave Grohl told Today.com, "We did stop playing that song for a while because, honestly, it's like being stoned. Those little … things are like pebbles – they hurt." Foo Fighters avoided playing the song – especially in the U.S. – until Weezer played "Big Me" live (with Grohl's permission) almost every night during their 2005 co-headlining Foozer tour without any Mentos throwing incidents.  

Beastie Boys played their biggest hit, "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)," about 30 times on their 1987 Licensed to Ill tour – including this bizarre MTV Daytona Beach performance where they gave up the mic to the audience. After this tour they never performed the song again.

The Beasties considered the song too juvenile compared to their subsequent material. Mike D. commented that, "The only thing that upsets me is that we might have reinforced certain values of some people in our audience when our own values were actually totally different. There were tons of guys singing along to 'Fight for Your Right' who were oblivious to the fact it was a total goof on them."

Pop singer Ke$ha and punk rock band Pennywise have each played "Fight For Your Right" more times live than the Beastie Boys ever did.

Despite being one of R.E.M.'s biggest hits, "Shiny Happy People" was only performed live twice in 1991: once on Saturday Night Live with B-52's singer Kate Pierson (watch rehearsal) and once without her in a rare Spanish television performance . When chided in a comical TV interview with cartoon character Space Ghost to sing the song Michael Stipe refused and deadpanned, "I hate that song." R.E.M. played "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult the same number of times live as "Shiny Happy People."

Many Radiohead fans, including English singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, are disappointed that the band's breakthrough 1993 hit "Creep" has never become a live staple. In 2014, Ocean told Gigwise, "What we do, is we're entertainers, at the end of the day. It's like the whole Radiohead not playing 'Creep' thing. You are entertainers because you've charged people £40 ($62.50) to be here, and it's not going to kill you to take three minutes out of your setlist to play the one song that everyone wants to hear. Just f**king play it. You'll make everybody's night." Surprisingly Radiohead have played "Creep" live 309 times over the years including this odd 1993 MTV Beach House live performance.