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The Untold Truth Of Howard Stern

Howard Stern's long career has been extremely well-documented—after all, the guy has spent countless hours talking on the radio for 40 years and is known for telling his fans all kinds of intimate details about his personal and professional life. The King of All Media encourages his employees to save their grievances for the air and has no problem sharing even his most divisive opinions with the world. What about Stern could possibly be left untold? As it turns out, there are still a few things even the greatest shock jock of all time doesn't like talking about.

Recorded a dirty, Weird Al-like parody album in 1982

Those who've listened to Howard Stern's attempts to sing on his show know that he's not exactly Art Garfunkel (or even Andrew Ridgeley), but that didn't stop him from recording an album of parody songs with his producer Fred Norris in 1982. Stern, Robin Quivers, and Norris were just starting to pop at station WWDC in Washington, D.C., so perhaps Stern was still trying to find his comedic voice or just wanted to cash in on his first flush of success, but the resulting 50 Ways to Rank Your Mother album is not his finest moment. There's a reason even most of the biggest Stern fans don't own it. The title track is a parody of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and other songs include a spoof on "I Shot the Sheriff" called "I Shot Ron Reagan," with Stern as a whimpering John Hinckley, and "Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh, OJ—Baby You Can Rent a Car," which is about O.J. Simpson being Hertz's spokesman (this is still over a decade before his murder trial) set to the tune of The Beatles' "Drive My Car." There are also comedy bits like a fake ad for an album by Neil Young's cat and a filthy take on Leave It to Beaver called "Unclean Beaver," which is what the album was retitled for its reissue in 1994. Stern has spoken about how he's not happy with how the production came out, which must be why it's nearly impossible to find much information about it today.

Stern didn't always despise Jay Leno

It might be tough for millennials to believe, but Jay Leno wasn't always a punching bag for comedians. Years before he started hosting The Tonight Show, many in Hollywood considered Leno one of the sharpest comics around. Then NBC tapped him to take over for Johnny Carson, a decision that Carson and his staff reportedly didn't like, which led to a fallout with friend and previous Tonight Show heir apparent David Letterman. Despite Stern's friendship with Letterman, he still defended Leno in his 1993 book Private Parts, calling him "nice Jay." Stern then quoted himself from his radio show: "How can you be pissed at Jay Leno? He's like a puppy. There couldn't be a better ass-kisser in the U.S. than Jay Leno." That's not necessarily a ringing endorsement, but it's miles away from "spineless maggot," which is how Stern's described Leno more recently.

Stern made a number of highly rated appearances on The Tonight Show. Wanting to raise the stakes for a 1995 visit, the shock jock brought a pair of adult entertainers, Nikki Tyler and Janine Lindemulder, to the set in order to stage The Tonight Show's first lesbian kiss and urged Leno to spank one of the women. Leno eventually walked off the show, although his exit was cut from the broadcast. Although Stern continued to make guest appearances for the remainder of the decade, their relationship only soured from there.

Former Show staffer and voiceover superstar Billy West won't talk to Stern

Billy West first started providing voices for The Howard Stern Show in 1989. Fans quickly fell in love with his ability to impersonate everyone from Johnny Carson and Johnnie Cochran to Connie Chung and Lucille Ball. There didn't seem to be anyone West couldn't mimic.

In 1991, West also started working on Nickelodeon's new hit animated series The Ren & Stimpy Show. The show's creator, John Kricfalusi, and the network didn't see eye to eye creatively, and he was fired in 1992. Kricfalusi wanted West to walk away too, but he refused. In 1995, Stern surprised West by having Kricfalusi on the show to discuss their disagreement. It got uncomfortable, and some Stern fans point to this as the beginning of the end between West and the show.

That same year, West left after failed contract negotiations with Stern's then-employer, Infinity Broadcasting. While West has never said it publicly, it seems he blames Stern for not backing him against Infinity. Stern claims there was nothing he could do. In 2009, West appeared on the SiriusXM show Jackie's Joke Hunt, hosted by fellow former Stern staffer Jackie Martling. When asked if he'd go back on the Stern show, West said he would not and might write a book about why he left later. The next day on his own show, Stern claimed he has absolutely no idea why West still holds a grudge.

A warrant for Stern's arrest was issued in Texas

Days after Tejano superstar Selena was gunned down by one of her own fans, The Howard Stern Show played some of her music with gunfire in the background. After that, Stern said, "Spanish people have the worst taste in music. They have no depth ... Alvin and the Chipmunks have more soul." As you might imagine, that infuriated Selena's still grieving fanbase. The comments incensed Eloy Cano, a Justice of the Peace in Harlingen, TX, so much he issued a warrant for Stern's arrest citing disorderly conduct. Cano stated, "I did it for all the Tejano fans." While it seems like more of a publicity stunt than an actual legal statement, the warrant remained in place for at least a full year, if not longer. Technically, police could have arrested Stern if he'd set foot in Texas during that time—but that's still probably light compared to what the Selena fans would've done to him.

Dana Plato committed suicide one day after being heckled by Stern fans

From 1978 to 1986, the TV sitcom Diff'rent Strokes made Dana Plato a child star. Most people remember the show as the launching pad for Plato's adopted TV brother, Gary Coleman, but the popular sitcom made the whole cast famous. Like fellow Strokes vet Todd Bridges, Plato fell on hard times after Diff'rent Strokes ended and battled substance abuse.

On May 7, 1999, Plato appeared on The Howard Stern Show to discuss her troubled life, drug use, poverty, and run-ins with the law, but claimed to be sober for 10 years at that point. When callers accused her of sounding high, she offered to take a drug test to prove it. Producer Gary Dell'Abate snipped a few hair samples from her with the intention of sending them to a lab. Stern later said that after the show, the former child star begged to have the hair samples back because she didn't want them tested.

The following day, Plato visited her mother in Moore, Oklahoma, for Mother's Day. While there, she overdosed on the painkiller Lortab and the muscle relaxant Soma. Police later ruled her death a suicide.

Stuttering John claims Stern didn't take care of his employees financially

John Melendez started as an intern at The Howard Stern Show in 1988. The story goes that Stern wanted Melendez hired because of his stutter, which led to the nickname "Stuttering John." Eventually, the Show started sending Melendez to red carpets to ask celebrities uncomfortable and confrontational questions. The recurring bit turned into a fan favorite and Stuttering John became a full-time employee.

In 2004, Melendez left The Howard Stern Show to become an announcer/on-air personality at The Tonight Show. Four years later, Melendez went on The Adam Carolla Show and talked about how Stern never paid him fairly. He also said that Stern didn't like his employees taking on outside gigs to make ends meet. Following that interview, Stern unleashed a half-hour rant on his SiriusXM show, calling Melendez an ungrateful and talentless hack. Stern even went as far to say that he no longer wanted his then-fiancee, Beth Ostrosky, being friends with John's wife.

This summer, though, Stuttering John announced on his podcast that he and Stern have finally reconciled.

Howard Stern tapped Michael Cera to voice his teenage self

In 2004, Spike TV came very close to bringing Stern fans an entire cartoon series about their hero's teenage years. Produced by Stern himself and aptly titled Howard Stern: The High School Years, the show earned a 13-episode order from the young network. Michael Cera, then just a year or so into his run on Arrested Development, was cast to voice young Stern. Unfortunately, Stern didn't like how the animation looked in the test episodes and scrapped the entire project because it would've been too expensive to fix.

Artie Lange claims his relationship with Stern soured when he called him a pelican

From 2001-'09, Stern fans laughed along with—and worried about—show regular Artie Lange. The larger-than-life comedian became Stern's sidekick when Jackie Martling left, and the two seemed perfect cohorts: Lange's loose approach to comedy and life balanced Stern's uptight genius. Unfortunately, Lange had a long-documented problem with addiction, and finally management had to ask him to take time off. Less than a month later, Lange attempted suicide and after his rehabilitation, Stern thought it best he didn't return.

In a recent interview, Lange stated that Stern continued to be there for him through many of his toughest years, but they don't speak any longer. Lange has attempted calling his former boss numerous times with no response. Lange doesn't think Stern holds his addiction issues against him, however. Instead, he pinpoints the moment when Stern asked him if he thought Stern looked like a pelican—and Lange said yes.

"When I said the pelican thing, it was over. No one ever said that. And I was out of line, quite frankly," Lange recalled. "But when he said, 'do you think I look like a pelican?' And I said 'yes,' there was no going back, it was a matter of time."

Wow. We knew Stern was sensitive about his looks, but that seems like a lot even for him.