Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today's Trivia - Music & Musicians

Everyone can relate to music; it’s the universal language. Below is another yet round of useless but interesting information about it, and the artists that make it happen...

- As a boy, David Bowie was taught art by Peter Frampton's father, Owen Frampton, at Bromley Technical School where he was an art teacher and head of the Art department. Both Bowie and Frampton were pupils at this school.

- David Howell Evans, U2's 'The Edge', used to live in the Los Angeles house where Eric and Lyle Menendez killed their parents in 1989.

- Paul McCartney has used several pseudonyms in his career including 'Paul Ramone', 'Bernard Webb', 'A. Smith', 'Apollo C. Vermouth', 'Country Hams', ‘Percy Thrills Thrillington’ and 'The Fireman'.

- Sheryl Crow started her singing career as a backup singer on Michael Jackson's Bad tour; also, she was a backup singer on tours for George Harrison, Joe Cocker, and Rod Stewart before starting her solo career.

- Monaco's national orchestra is bigger than its army.

- Madonna was protected by 10,000 soldiers and riot police at her Moscow concert after the Russian Orthodox Church staged protests against her self-crucifixion stunt, which has become an infamous part of her Confessions tour.

- Guitar probably comes from the word kithara, which was the principal stringed instrument of the ancient Greeks and later of the Romans. The kithara was played with a plectrum; it was a larger and stronger form of the lyre.

- As of 2005, Queen albums have spent a total of 1,422 weeks or 27 years on the UK album charts; more time than any other musical act including The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

- While pregnant, Madonna had cravings for peanut squash and sticky toffee pudding. Mel B had cravings for peanut butter, cheesecake, ice-cream and chips, while her former band mate Victoria just craved gherkins.

- In 1987, queen of soul, Aretha Franklin, was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, followed by The Supremes in 1988.

- The first Grammy Awards ceremony was held on May 4, 1959. Domenico Modugno won for Record of the Year for his album “Volare”. Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee were also competing in the same category.

- The first pop musical video was released in 1975. The video was “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.

- The musical instrument that has the highest sales in the world is the harmonica.

- Clint Eastwood wrote the theme songs for the movies, “Unforgiven”, “A Perfect World”, “Bridges of Madison County”, and “Absolute Power.”

- Until he married Linda Eastman in London in 1969, Paul McCartney was the last Beatle to get married. His brother, Mike, was his best man and there were no other Beatles in attendance at the ceremony.

- “We’ve Only Just Begun,” by the Carpenters was originally used for a bank commercial.

- U2’s original name was Feedback.

- Before he pursued a career in the music industry, Elvis Costello worked as a computer operator at an Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory.

- Before she hit it big as a singer, Mariah Carey worked as a restaurant hostess.

- The top three selling singles of all time are: “Candle in the Wind ‘97” by Elton John, “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby, and “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley.

- The first UK male artist to top the US singles chart was Laurie London with the track " He's Got The Whole World (In His Hands)", April 19th 1958. And the first record to enter the UK singles chart straight in at the No.1 spot was Elvis Presley with ''Jailhouse Rock'' January 25th 1958.

- George Harrison originally wrote "All Those Years Ago" for Ringo. Although he recorded it, Ringo thought it too high for his voice. When John Lennon got murdered, George altered the words and made it a tribute to John. Although the band had split up, all 3 remaining Beatles plus Linda McCartney are featured on the track.

- Billboard’s Hot 100 Chart debuted in 1958, with Ricky Nelson’s first recording “Poor Little Fool” in at #1. "Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes was Motown's first #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1961, and The Supremes have scored twelve US #1 hits; more than any other female vocal group in history.

- At the Wembley Memorial Concert, during the long goodbye to Freddie Mercury in 1992, 316 miles of cable were used to enable the event to be relayed to 80 countries. The stars plus V.I.Ps, in a replica of the Hard Rock Cafe backstage, consumed 2000 hamburgers, 1000 veggie burgers, a quarter of a ton of fries, 3000 bottles of wine and 4000 gallons of coke and beer.

- Pre the Stones days, in 1960, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Dick Taylor (later of Pretty Things), formed the band Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.

- Peter Gabriel started the annual WOMAD (World Of Music And Dance) festival, held for the first time July 16 - 18 in 1982 at Shepton Mallet in England. It featured musicians from Africa and the Far East who had influenced Gabriel. WOMAD currently holds festivals in over 20 countries.

- The famous long guitar intro to Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" is taken from the track "Taurus", which was composed and played by guitarist, the late Randy California when he was only 16 in 1967. The instrumental was dedicated to his Taurian girlfriend and recorded a year later by his band "Spirit". Led Zeppelin heard it while on tour with Spirit in USA. (Randy Wolfe, was named "California" by his great friend Jimi Hendrix, who tried to bring him to the UK, but Randy was too young at the time).

- Elvis Costello worked as a computer operator for a cosmetics company while trying to make it as a musician, and in 1977 he was arrested for performing outside a Hilton Hotel where there was a conference of Columbia Records executives. Shortly after, he was signed to that label.

- Composer, Tchaikovsky was financed by a wealthy widow for 13 years, and at her request, they never met.

- Eric Clapton removed the JJ Cale song, Cocaine, from his set list because he felt it gave people the wrong message about cocaine. He started playing it again after he had re-arranged the song so the backup singers repeated the line, "that dirty cocaine", through the chorus.

- Beethoven couldn’t even hear his own Ninth Symphony when he composed it. He was deaf.

- "Please Mr. Postman" has been a Number 1 hit on Billboard's record charts twice: the chart-topping versions were recorded by The Marvelettes in 1961 and The Carpenters in 1974.

- A concert promoter in Hawaii sold a thousand tickets to a Spice Girls concert. Unfortunately the concert was never scheduled. The man was arrested and told police he needed the money for a nose job and a sex change.

- According to Beatles producer George Martin, Neal Hefti's catchy composition of the 1960s Batman Emmy-winning theme song inspired George Harrison to write the hit song "Taxman."

- According to sources, singer John Denver's real name was Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.

- Aerosmith used to like to bring chainsaws with them on tour so they could hack up hotel rooms easier. They also traveled with extra-long extension cords, so that the televisions they tossed out windows would keep playing until they hit the ground. (I didn’t know one of my favourite bands behaved so badly.)

- Aerosmith went berserk on their first Japanese tour. On opening night, they destroyed the backstage area when they found turkey roll on the buffet table.

- After a concert, Van Halen’s David Lee Roth would sit in the door of their tour bus and have the road manager douse his feet in Perrier.

- After a trip to Egypt, Culture Club’s Boy George decided to enter the stage of a 1983 concert through a giant sphinx head. The first time he tried it, the head didn’t open. Boy George stood behind it screaming curses. When the stage crew pulled the head open, George appeared on the stage smiling and skipped out to greet the crowd.

- Alice Cooper liked to wear a pet boa constrictor around his neck while on stage. While rehearsing in his hotel room, the snake started to constrict Cooper’s neck. A bodyguard couldn’t get the snake to release, so he took out a pocketknife and cut off the snake’s head. (Idiot... Poor snake...)

- Johnny Cash was given the name "J.R." because his parents could not agree on a name, only on initials. When he enlisted in the United States Air Force, the military would not accept initials as his name, so he adopted John R. Cash as his legal name. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he took Johnny Cash as his stage name.

- According to the band, the song "Black Sabbath", released February 13th 1970, was inspired by a frightening experience that Geezer Butler had related to Ozzy Osbourne. In the days of Earth, Geezer painted his apartment matte black and placed several inverted crucifixes on the walls. Ozzie gave him a book about witchcraft. He read the book and placed the book on a shelf before going to sleep. When he woke up, he claims he saw a large black figure standing at the end of his bed. The figure disappeared and Geezer rushed to get the book, only to find that the book was gone. He then told Ozzie, who wrote the lyrics to the song.

- Elvis Presley has had the most Hot 100 entries with a total of 151 and Paul McCartney has written the most number one hits with a total of 32.

- Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys died in 1983. He drowned while swimming near his boat in California. Ronald Reagan, then President of America, gave special permission so Dennis's body could be buried at sea.

- After counting 23 faked orgasms performed by Donna Summer in "Love to Love You Baby", the British Broadcasting Corporation (The BBC) banned the song. However, it did not stop it from becoming a massive hit. In 1976, 'Love to Love You Baby' reached No.4 on the UK single charts and peaked to number two on the American Billboard pop chart.

The week after Michael Jackson died he had thirteen top 40 Hits in the charts (the chart w/e 11th July 2009). He held positions 2, 10, 12, 13, 19, 25, 26, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 40 with "Man In The Mirror", "Billie Jean", "Thriller", "Smooth Criminal", "Beat It", "Black Or White", "Dirty Diana", "They Don't Care About Us", "Earth Song", "The Way You Make Me Feel", "You Are Not Alone", "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough", and "Bad".

- In the mid-1950s, Ella Fitzgerald became the first African-American to perform at the legendary Mocambo, on Hollywood's Sunset Strip, after Marilyn Monroe had lobbied the owner for the booking. The incident was turned into a play by Bonnie Greer in 2005.

- In 1955, while still at Brooklyn's Abraham Lincoln High School, Neil Sedaka formed the group The Tokens (originally called the Linc-Tones). Neil recorded their debut single, "While I Dream" before he left the band in 1957. They went on to have a major hit in 1961 with "The Lion Sleeps To-night".

- In March of 1980, Elvis Presley's autopsy was subpoenaed during the trial of Dr. George Nichopoulous, who would later be found guilty of over-prescribing drugs to Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other clients.

- English rock band, Black Sabbath, formed in Birmingham in 1968 by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward, was originally formed as a heavy blues-rock band named "Earth". The band began incorporating occult and horror-inspired lyrics with tuned-down guitars, and changed their name to "Black Sabbath". The band has since experienced multiple lineup changes, with a total of twenty-two former members.

- American singer and composer Roy Orbison was credited by the Beatles as being influential to their early musical style.

- Aretha Franklin was sued for breach of contract in 1984 when she was unable to open in the Broadway musical Sing, Mahalia, Sing, mainly because of her phobia of flying.

- At a concert in Sacramento, California, in 1965, Keith Richards smashed his microphone with the neck of his guitar. It caused a giant bolt of electricity that sent Richards flying through the air, and knocking him on his back, unconscious. Two minutes later, he came to. He credited his survival to the thick soles of the suede Hush Puppy boots he was wearing at the time.

- At fifteen years old, James Brown was arrested and sent to jail for stealing clothes out of parked cars.

- Burt Bacharach started his career as an accompanist for singer Vic Damone; he was fired.

- Child singer Jimmy Boyd was 12 years and 11 months old when he sang the Christmas favorite, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." The song hit the top of the pop charts.

- Stephen Stills, who went on to join Crosby, Stills and Nash, originally tried out to be a Monkee. He didn’t get the part. Producers felt he was losing too much hair and that his teeth were too bad.

- The Beatles' first Number 1 hit song was the 1964 "Love Me Do."

- The Beatles held the Top Five spots on the April 4th, 1964 Billboard singles chart. To date, they're the only band that has ever accomplished that.

- The Bee Gees became so desperate to sell records that they gave members of their fan club money to go out and buy albums. There were only six people in the fan club at that time.


  1. These were very interesting. Like you, I had no idea how tempermental Aerosmith was. Hmmm, the Bee Gees have inspired me; perhaps paying may be a way to increase my fan base... lol!

  2. I was very disappointed about Aerosmith's bad attitude.