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Rock 'n' Roll Trivia - Page 2

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Trivia and obscure facts in popular music.

Author: Robert Benson
Robert writes about rock/pop music, vinyl record collecting and operates "collectingvinylrecords.blogspot.com"
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Rock 'n' Roll Trivia
Page 2
Recording Artists
  • Rock and roll fakers Milli Vanilli had a problem during one of their "live" performances. Apparently, the tape-loop jammed and kept repeating the same line over and over again. The boys danced a few steps and then both bolted from the stage to fix the malfunctioning equipment.

  • Cher was a background vocalist on the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling".

  • When Stu Cook and Doug Clifford reformed CCR as Creedence Clearwater Revisited in 1995, former band mate John Fogerty won a court injunction to prevent the use of the name and the live performance of CCR's hits. The pair toured as Cosmo's Factory until the injunction was overturned on appeal.

  • Pat Boone spent a total of 21 weeks at the top of the Billboard Pop chart with six different number one hits spread out between 1955 and 1961. His daughter Debby had only one hit, "You Light Up My Life" in 1977, but it stayed number one for 10 straight weeks.

  • "Beyond The Sea" by Bobby Darin was based on a song called "Le Mer", written by Louis Charles Augustin Georges Trenet in 1945. Bobby used the same melody, but the English words are not a translation of the original French lyrics.

  • When United Artists was preparing to release Electric Light Orchestra's debut album, a company representative tried to place a call to someone connected with the band to find out what the LP should be titled. The caller, having failed to reach the desired party, jotted down the notation "no answer," a phrase which was mistaken for an album title and assigned to the U.S. version of the LP.

  • In 1967, CBS-TV attempted to turn Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant into the next Tom Jones. In fact, Plant recorded a lushly orchestrated Italian ballad called "Our Song." It actually sold over 800 copies.

  • The longest title of an album that actually made the Billboard chart is by Fiona Apple. Made up of 90 words, the album is called - "When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He'll Win the Whole Thing 'Fore He Enters the Ring There's No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won't Matter, Cuz You'll Know That You're Right"

  • The motel that was the scene of Janis Joplin's death in 1970 was right across the street from where Bobby Fuller died in 1966.

  • 1950s crooner, Pat Boone is the great, great, great, great grandson of American frontier hero Daniel Boone.

  • Led Zeppelin founder Jimmy Page played as a session guitarist on Tom Jones' 1965 hit, "It's Not Unusual".

  • The world's first jukebox was installed at the Palais Royal Hotel in San Francisco on November 23rd, 1899. At a nickel per play, the machine earned nearly $1000 during the first six months of operation.

  • While upset about a girl who had just left him, Joe Rock wrote most of the lyrics to The Skyliners 1959 number one hit, "Since I Don't Have You", while sitting in his car between stoplights.

  • In 1931, George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacker designed and built the world's first electric guitar. Because of its odd shape, it was nicknamed 'Rickenbacker's Frying Pan'. The pair were granted a patent for their invention in 1937.

  • Paul McCartney originally wrote the first two lines of "I Saw Her Standing There" as "She was just seventeen, Never been a beauty queen." When he sang it for John Lennon, both realized that it was a poor rhyme. Finally, it was John who came up with "She was just seventeen, you know what I mean", which they knew was a perfect sexual innuendo for the song.

  • "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" has reached the Billboard Hot 100 six times in versions by Marvin Gaye (#1), Gladys Knight (#2), Creedence Clearwater Revival (#43), Roger Troutman (#79), King Curtis (#83) and The California Raisins (#84). The song has also been recorded by dozens of other artists including The Temptations, Ike and Tina Turner, Paul Mauriat and Elton John.

  • In a 2005 interview, Billy Joel said that during the recording of "We Are The World", most of the artists didn't like the song, but nobody would say so. Cyndi Lauper thought it sounded like a Pepsi commercial and Billy agreed.

  • The contract that made Brian Epstein the Beatles' manager was never really valid. Both Paul and George were under 21 at the time and needed a legal guardian to sign. Epstein himself never signed the document at all.

  • Rocker Neil Young arrived at Woodstock in 1969 with fellow musician Jimi Hendrix. When they realized that they had to travel several miles from the helicopter pad to the stage, they stole a pickup truck for the journey. Young calls the theft, "One of the high points of my life."

  • Al Kooper, founder of Blood, Sweat and Tears was a co-writer of the Gary Lewis and The Playboys' hit "This Diamond Ring". Although the song was a US number one smash, Kooper has said he was very disappointed at how the Playboys version sounded, and sheepish that it became such a hit. None of the Playboys actually played their instruments on the recording and Lewis' vocals were heavily supported by Ron Hicklin's overdubs.

  • The Academy Award winning score for the movie Fame was written by Leslie Gore's brother, Michael.

  • 51 year old Lindsay Crosby, son of Bing Crosby, took his own life on December 11th, 1989, reportedly right after watching his father sing "White Christmas" during the television-airing of the classic Christmas movie, Holiday Inn. Lindsay was said to have suffered years of physical and verbal abuse inflicted on him as a child by his father. In May, 1991, Lindsay's 57 year old brother Dennis would also commit suicide.

  • Elvis's middle name is spelled "Aaron" on his tombstone. According to his official web site, the name was spelled Aron at birth, but as an adult, Elvis planned to change the spelling to Aaron and the tombstone was designed to reflect that wish.

  • In 1967, under Britain's open-ended tax system, The Beatles were in the 96% tax bracket.

  • Before reaching the US Top Ten in 1980 with "Giving It Up For Your Love", Delbert McClinton played harmonica on Bruce Chanel's chart topping 1962 hit, "Hey Baby". While on tour, he also taught some harp licks to John Lennon, who was playing in a then unknown opening act called The Beatles.

  • "Sunday Will Never Be The Same" was first offered to the Left Banke, but they rejected it. The song was then given to The Mamas and The Papas but they also passed on it. Finally, Spanky and Our Gang recorded it and took it to # 9 in the US in 1967.

  • Cat Stevens' song "Morning Has Broken" was an adaptation of a hymn of the same name by Eleanor Farjeon, who wrote many stories for children.

  • From 1969 to 1970, Jimmy Buffett was a staff writer for Billboard magazine in Nashville.

  • The Temptations 1964 classic hit "My Girl" was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White of The Miracles. Robinson wrote the lyrics, which he later said were inspired by his wife, Claudette. They divorced in 1986.

  • The so-called 'Prince of Darkness' Ozzy Osbourne certainly developed a satanic reputation over the years. But Ozzy never took it too seriously, stating: "The devil worship thing was a marketing invention of the record company. We played along to put dough in our pockets."

  • It is well known that Beatle George Harrison was spiritual and after reading about cosmic communication, Harrison climbed a mountain in hopes of receiving message from God. He waited and waited, but the only message he received was to climb back down the mountain.

  • Although the concept of the "hit parade" goes back to the mid 1930s, the invention and naming of the Top 40 format is widely credited to Todd Storz, who was the director of radio station KWOH-AM in Omaha, Nebraska, in the early 1950s. Storz noted the great response certain songs got from the record-buying public and compared it to selections on jukeboxes. He expanded his stable of radio stations and gradually converted them to an all-hits format, pioneering the practice of surveying record stores to determine which singles were popular each week.

  • Steppenwolf's lead singer, John Kay is seldom seen without sun glasses due to the fact that he has been legally blind since childhood.

  • Before Bobby "Boris" Pickett released "The Monster Mash" in 1962, he was working as an actor, making appearances on the TV shows Bonanza, The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.

  • Blood, Sweat and Tears concert contract stated that their shows are not to be advertised as a reunion concert, even though the band has split and re-united at least five times.

  • Buddy Holly asked his future wife for a date, 30 seconds after meeting her and proposed later the same week. Six months earlier, he had recorded a song called "Take Your Time".

  • In 1957, Frank Sinatra was quoted as saying "Rock 'n' Roll is phony and false, and sung, written and played for the most part by cretinous goons."

  • October 17th, 1990 marked the first time that the #1 album in the United States was only available on CD or cassette - and could not be found on vinyl. The album was Vanilla Ice's "To The Extreme".

  • Songwriter Tommy Durden showed his partner Mae Axton a newspaper story about a suicide victim who had left a one-line note that said "I Walk A Lonely Street". The pair added "Heartbreak Hotel" to the line and in 22 minutes had written Elvis Presley's first million seller.

  • Vaudevillian Jack Norworth wrote "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in 1908 after seeing a sign on a bus advertising BASEBALL TODAY - POLO GROUNDS. Norworth and his friend, Albert von Tilzer (who wrote the music) had never been to a baseball game before his song became a hit.

  • Pat Boone was a semi-finalist on the TV talent show Ted Mack's Amateur Hour, but before the finals, he appeared on a similar show called Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, for a fee of $600. Ted Mack's show then disqualified him, as he was no longer an amateur, costing Pat a chance at a $6000 scholarship.

  • In 1972, Keith Richards and his girlfriend at the time, Anita Pallenberg, rented a lavish palace on the French Riviera while the band was recording the LP "Beggar's Banquet." Included in the household budget was $1,000 for food, $1,000 for alcohol, $2,500 for the rent and $2,500 for drugs.

  • Two of Jim Croce's biggest hit songs were inspired by real people. Leroy Brown was a fellow member of the Air National Guard who had gone AWOL and Big Jim Walker ("You Don't Mess Around With Jim") was a pool shootin son-of-a-gun from south Philadelphia.

  • Brenda Lee's 1960, US number one hit, "I'm Sorry", was recorded at the tail end of a recording session with just five minutes of studio time left. It was intended to be the "B" side of a 45 that featured "That's All You Gotta Do", but disc jockeys flipped the platter over and "I'm Sorry" soon shot to the top of Billboard's Hot 100.

  • Jim McGuinn of The Byrds changed his middle name to Roger and began using it as a stage name after becoming interested in Eastern religion. A guru had told him that names starting with the letter "R" would vibrate better with the universe.

  • When Paul McCartney wants to play some of his old Beatles' hits in concert, he must pay a royalty fee to Michael Jackson, who bought the publishing rights for $47.5 million in 1985.

  • In 1929, American Paul Galvin, the head of Galvin Manufacturing Corporation, invented the first car radio. Consumers had to purchase the radios separately as they were not available from carmakers. Galvin coined the name Motorola for the company's new products, combining the idea of motion and radio.

  • When Richard Penniman was asked how he came by his stage name, he said that in his childhood neighborhood, there were only two nicknames used, 'lil and bro. That's when he became Little Richard.

  • When John Lennon's Aunt Mimi bought him his first guitar in the summer of 1956, he practiced constantly. As she watched him play hour after hour, day after day, she finally remarked "The guitar's all very well John, but you'll never make a living out of it."

  • During the early stages of their careers, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Hall and Oates and Steve Martin were all opening acts for the rock and roll nostalgia group, Sha Na Na.

  • The Crickets were given awards as the Best Vocal Group in the US and Great Britain in 1957, despite the fact that the only member of the group that actually sang was Buddy Holly. The background vocals for their number one hit "That'll Be The Day" were sung by Gary and Ramona Tollet.

  • Roy Orbison's highest charting album did not come about until after his untimely death in 1989. "Mystery Girl" reached #5 and was eventually certified platinum.

  • Aerosmith was known to bring a chainsaw with them out on tour so that they could chop up hotel rooms with greater efficiency. They also traveled with extra-long extension cords. Their reasoning? So the TVs that they tossed out of their hotel rooms would stay on and keep playing all the way to the ground before they were smashed up.

  • Danny and the Juniors' 1958, Top 20 hit "Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay" was written in response to a rock record smashing party sponsored by St Louis radio station KWK.

  • The first time that Dick Clark heard a Beatles' record he said, "I don't know what the heck you're so excited about...it'll never fly."

  • According to vocalist Davy Jones, The Monkees were allowed to choose some of the songs they recorded. Two that they turned down were "Knock Three Times", which would become a Billboard chart topper for Tony Orlando and Dawn in 1970 and "Love Will Keep Us Together", which became a million selling number one for The Captain and Tennille in 1975.

  • The term "rock and roll", which was black slang for sexual intercourse, appeared on record for the first time in 1922 on Trixie Smith's "My Baby Rocks Me With One Steady Roll".

  • The term "rhythm & blues" was coined in 1948 by a young Billboard reporter and future Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler, to replace the negative term "Race Records".

  • After John Lennon made his unfortunate remarks about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus", the Bishop of Montreal, the Rt. Rev. Kenneth Maguire said: "I wouldn't be surprised if The Beatles actually were more popular than Jesus. In the only popularity poll in Jesus' time, he came out second best to Barabbas."

  • In the summer of 2005, recording industry insiders estimated that there were still 28 billion songs being illegally downloaded yearly.

  • Mike Stoller, one half of the songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller, survived the 1956 sinking of the luxury ship Andrea Doria off Nantucket Island. When he returned to New York on a rescue freighter, he was greeted by his partner Jerry Leiber who told him that they had just scored their first hit record by "some white kid called Elvis Presley." Stoller replied "Elvis who?"

  • Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees considered himself to be quite the ladies man. In fact, his standard pick-up line was that he had fallen in love and wanted to get married. He was known to walk around with a pocket full of engagement rings but this technique got him into trouble especially when five or six of his "fiancées" gathered together at the stage door.

  • "House Of The Rising Sun" is a traditional Folk song that was first recorded in 1920 and tells a story about a brothel in New Orleans named after Madame Marianne Le Soleil Levant (which means "Rising Sun" in French). It was open for business from 1862, when Union Troops occupied the town, until 1874, when it was closed due to complaints by neighbors.

  • After the death of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham in 1980, guitarist Jimmy Page refused to even pick up a guitar for nearly nine months.

  • Monkees' guitarist Mike Nesmith wrote Linda Ronstadt's 1968 hit, "Different Drum".

  • Gene Chandler, who reached number one in the US in 1962 with "The Duke Of Earl", was the producer of "Backfield In Motion", a 1969 Top Ten hit by Mel And Tim.

  • Tommy Roe wrote and recorded a song called "Sheila" when he was just 14 years old. The effort went nowhere, but six years later, he recorded it again for ABC-Paramount and this time it went to number one in the US.

  • Peter Noone, better known as Herman of Herman's Hermits, once interviewed Elvis Presley for the UK music paper New Musical Express.

  • In 1972, Chuck Berry complained when his record company recorded a concert performance in London. But Berry stopped complaining after a song from his set went on to be his biggest-selling hit. The song? "My Ding-a-Ling."

  • Many listeners believed that Bjork's song "Humanbehavior" contained lyrics sang in Icelandic. Not true, say Bjork, "People think it's Icelandic," she quipped. "But actually whatever noise it feels naturally to sing." Uh, have you met Yoko Ono?

  • In the first two years after the Beatles fired drummer Pete Best, they would gross over 24 million dollars. Best went to work as a baker, earning 8 pounds a week.

  • In the Spring of 1969, The Cowsills had the number two song on Billboard's Hot 100 with "Hair". The changing music scene soon left them hopelessly outdated and by 1970, guitarist Bob Cowsill had a job sweeping a parking garage.

  • When Jerry and the Pacemakers returned to England following their first tour of America in 1964, they were shocked to find that not only did the band not make any money, they actually owed over three thousand dollars in expenses, thanks to lavish dinners and limousine rides.

  • Question Mark and The Mysterians 1966, number one US hit "96 Tears" was recorded in the living room of their manager's house.

  • None of The Beatles were invited to attend the private funeral of their manager Brian Epstein. They did however hold a memorial service for their former leader a few weeks later.

  • The song writing team of Holland - Dozier - Holland wrote "Where Did Our Love Go" for The Marvelettes, who hated the song and turned it down. It was then offered to The Supremes, who reluctantly recorded it. By mid-July, 1964, it became their breakthrough hit, climbing all the way to number one on Billboard's Hot 100.

  • Phil Collins was an extra during the filming of the first Beatles' movie, "A Hard Days Night".

  • Although the term "teeny-bopper" came to mean a young teenager in the 60s and 70s, the original term "bopper" was a street gang term for one who was always looking for a fight.

  • On The Beatles 1970, #1 hit, "The Long and Winding Road", Paul McCartney played the piano, and John Lennon played bass. George and Ringo do not appear on the track at all.

  • Bill Haley and His Comets recorded "Rock Around The Clock" as a "B" side for their first Decca Records recording session. The "A" side was a song called "Thirteen Women And Only One Man In Town".

  • It's ironic that of the members of ZZ Top, Dusty Hill, Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard-Beard is the only member of the classic trio not to sport a beard.

  • Boy George once admitted that he wanted to be reincarnated as Matt Dillon's underwear. No comment from Dillon.

  • Elvis' girlfriend, Ginger Alden, found him dead, lying on the floor of his bathroom. He had been seated on the toilet reading The Scientific Search For Jesus.

  • Twenty years after his death, a report showed that Elvis Presley was the world's best selling posthumous entertainer, with world-wide sales of over 1 billion dollars and 480 active fan clubs. He died owing $3 million.

  • The Association were turned down by every major label who heard their first album, which included the future number one smash, "Cherish".

  • Antoine "Fats" Domino and his wife Rosemary have eight children, all of whom have names that start with "A".

  • The same studio musicians who had just helped Bob Dylan record "Like A Rolling Stone" were asked by producer Tom Wilson to stay in the studio for one more song. He then recorded the electric guitar, bass and drums that were to be added to Paul Simon's voice and acoustic guitar. The result was the 1966 number one hit, "Sounds Of Silence".

  • Stevie Wonder wrote "Isn't She Lovely" for his daughter Aisha Zakia. The names mean "strength" and "intelligence" in an African language.

  • Brenda Lee graduated from high school in Hollywood, having already earned 12 top ten records.

  • Paul Revere and The Raiders' first chart entry, "Like Long Hair" was based on Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Prelude in C-Sharp Minor", written in 1897.

  • The longest title of a US number one record belongs to a Dutch studio group called Stars On 45. Although their medley was simply known as "Stars On 45" in most parts of the world, the US single had a 41 word title: "Intro Venus / Sugar Sugar / No Reply / I'll Be Back / Drive My Car / Do You Want To Know A Secret / We Can Work It Out / I Should Have Known Better / Nowhere Man / You're Going To Lose That Girl / Stars On 45".

  • Performance contracts for the band Van Halen stipulated that they be provided with a supply of M&Ms at every show, but all of the brown ones had to be removed.

  • In 1964, an acoustics expert from New South Wales University measured the noise level during a Beatles' concert at 112 decibels. That's between 10 and 20 decibels higher than a Boeing 707 jet flying at 2,000 feet.

  • Doors guitarist Robby Krieger once said about lead singer Jim Morrison: "I loved the guy when he was straight. I disliked him immensely when he was drunk."

  • In 1956, a Protestant minister in Greenwich Village, New York said about Elvis Presley's music; "I don't think youth wants this sort of thing. It is the result of the letdown that follows every war."

  • Darlene Love, who sang lead vocals on The Crystals hits "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love", played Danny Glover's wife in all four Lethal Weapon movies.

  • Harry Elston, co-founder of The Friends Of Distinction, used to work as a limousine driver for The Temptations.

  • Mercury Records released The Platters' "Twilight Time" on both 78 RPM and 45 RPM discs. The song went to number one in the U.S. in April, 1958 and sold one and a half million copies, of which 98.2 percent were 45s. By that June, Mercury became the first major record label to announce that it would stop producing 78s, effective immediately.

  • After Gene Simmons of KISS graduated form Richmond College, he became a school teacher. This career move was short-lived however, as he quit to form KISS. Why? "I wanted to kill those little pricks," he said.

  • Before Glen Campbell had a successful solo career, he was a studio musician who played lead guitar on The Beach Boys' "Dance, Dance, Dance" and Frank Sinatra's "Strangers In The Night".

  • David Rose, who led his orchestra to Billboard's number one position with "The Stripper" in July, 1962, was a prolific composer of television theme songs in the 1950s. At one point, there were 22 TV shows on the air using his music. He later went on to win Emmy Awards for the theme for "Bonanza", and "An Evening With Fred Astaire", as well as writing music for "Little House On The Prarie" and "Highway To Heaven".

  • Mr. Aker Bilk, who took "Stranger On The Shore" to Billboard's number one spot in May, 1962, learned to play the clarinet while he was in prison. He had been sentenced to three months in jail after falling asleep while on guard duty for the British Army in Egypt.

  • Elvis Presley was number 1 in record sales in the US in the 1950s. In the 1960s he was number 2 and in the 70s he was number 13.

  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney were always on the look-out for interesting titles to write a song around. They did just that when a tired Ringo uttered "God, it's been a hard days night" and again when a chauffer told Paul, "I'm very busy at the moment. I've been working eight days a week."

  • Ellas Bates was still in grammar school when classmates started calling him "Bo Diddley". He says he doesn't know why. A bo diddley is actually a one-string, African guitar.

  • Songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant wrote "All I Have To Do Is Dream" in 15 minutes, but the tune would reach the US charts in four straight decades. The Everly Brothers took it to number one in 1958, Richard Chamberlain's version went to number 14 in 1963, Glen Campbell and Bobby Gentry reached number 27 with it in 1970, and Andy Gibb and Victoria Principal peaked at number 51 in 1981.

  • Dan Whitney, the comedian known as "Larry The Cable Guy" has been influenced by show business all his life. His father used to played guitar with the Everly Brothers.

  • Herman's Hermits recorded "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter" as an album filler, never intending it for release as a single. After an American DJ started giving it airplay, MGM issued it as a 45 and it became the group's third Billboard number one hit in a row.

  • The first time that Del Shannon and his keyboard player, Max Crook, ever played "Runaway" on stage, Crook improvised the organ solo as he went along. When it came time to record the song and in all future performances, he never changed a single note.

  • John Fred and his Playboy Band hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in January, 1968 with "Judy In Disguise". At one time, John's father, Fred Gourrier was a professional baseball player.

  • Before Pete Townshend of the Who began working on the rock opera "Tommy," he had planned to write an opera about a big white rabbit that ruled the world.

  • After The Tokens achieved a number one record with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961, follow up recordings failed to sell. The group however continued to perform and sang back up vocals for Connie Francis, Del Shannon and Bob Dylan, as well as recording commercials for Pan Am, Ban Deodorant, Wendys and Sunkist.

  • In the 1960s, during the height of Beatlemania, there were about 90 records released every week in the UK. Only 2 or 3 ever made the charts.

  • The Shirelles 1962, US Top 10 hit, "Baby, It's You" was actually recorded with only Shirley Alston Reeves' voice over the instrumental demo. The other members of the group don't appear on the record at all, as the original backup vocals, provided by male singers, were left in place.

  • It took Elvis Presley 31 takes of "Hound Dog" to get the final version that we hear today. In 1988, the song was named the most played record of all time on American juke boxes.

  • 'Wake Me Up Before You Go Go' by Wham! was inspired by a note that group member Andrew Ridgeley left lying in his bedroom.

  • Paul Evans, who sang the US Top Ten hits "Seven Little Girls" and "Happy-Go-Lucky Me", wrote the music for Bobby Vinton's hit, "Roses Are Red" in 3 minutes, just after seeing Al Byron's lyrics for the first time. After Vinton recorded it, the song went to #1 in the US and sold over 4 million copies.

  • Poor Ringo. In 1989, after becoming clean and sober, Starr sued to stop the release of an album that he had recorded during his drinking days, claiming he sounded too drunk. The court agreed and the album was never released.

  • Tommy James and the Shondells' "It's Only Love" album cover was the first professional photo shoot by Paul McCartney's wife, Linda Eastman.

  • Robert Todd Storz is credited with being the father of the Top 40 radio format. In the early 1950s, he noticed that people would play the same juke box selections over and over, and gradually converted his stable of radio stations from playing dramas and variety shows to an all-hits format. He dubbed the result "Top 40". Storz also pioneered the practice of surveying record stores to determine which singles were the most popular each week. Ironically, he died of a stroke in 1964, in his 40th year.

  • John Hall, co-founder of the Rock band Orleans, was elected to US Congress in November, 2006, representing New York's 19th congressional district. That's him you hear doing the slick guitar work on "Still The One" and "Dance With Me".

  • Before they formed The Lovin' Spoonful, John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky were in a group called The Mugwumps, whose other members included Cass Elliot and Denny Doherty, who would rise to fame in The Mamas and The Papas.

  • The Barry Manilow hit "I Write The Songs", written by The Beach Boys' Bruce Johnson, has been recorded by over two hundred artists and has a cumulative, worldwide sales figure of twenty-five million copies.

  • Seven-foot drag queen RuPaul appeared with comedy legend Milton Berle at the MTV awards. Uncle Milte said, "You know RuPaul, thirty years ago when I was on television, I used to wear dresses too." "That's interesting," the giant cross-dresser snapped. "You used to wear dresses, now you wear diapers."

  • During the last years that Elvis Presley performed live, he opened his shows with "The Theme From 2001". When asked about it, Presley said that he felt the number 2001 had a special significance in his life that he couldn't explain. Elvis died August, 16, 1977, which numerically is 8-16-1977. When these numbers are added up, they equal 2001.

  • The day after Elvis died, Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day, the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland had surpassed the number for any other event in the company's history.

  • Paul McCartney wrote "Hey Jude" for Julian Lennon after John's divorce from his first wife, Cynthia. The song's original name was "Hey Julian", then changed to "Hey Jules" before settling on the final title.

  • The members of Exile, who scored a US number one hit in 1978 with "Kiss You All Over", toured with the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars in 1965 as back-up band for artists including Brian Hyland and Tommy Roe.

  • Billboard Magazine printed the first Hot 100 singles chart in August, 1958. Their first number 1 hit was "Poor Little Fool" by Ricky Nelson.

  • When he was a boy, David Bowie took art lessons from Peter Frampton's father, Owen.

  • In 1963, artists managed by Brian Epstein placed 85 songs in the Top Ten of the British record charts.

  • In 1966, songwriter Tommy Boyce asked Del Shannon to record the theme for Dick Clark's upcoming TV show Where The Action Is. Shannon didn't like the song and turned it down. It was then offered to Freddy Cannon, who had a #3 US hit with it.

  • Mary McGregor recorded her 1977, number one hit, "Torn Between Two Lovers" while standing in a bathroom, to take advantage of the room's natural echo.

  • The Notorious B.I.G. married his flame, Faith Evans, only eight days after he met her. Responding to a reporter's question on how it was working out, Biggie replied, "She ain't speaking to me right now."

  • Marilyn Manson has always denied rumors that he was a child actor who had appeared on the popular television show "Mr. Belvedere." "I've masturbated during the show when it was on TV," he explained. "But, I have never been on it."

  • At the same time as "Love Will Keep Us Together" was starting to fade from the Billboard Hot 100, The Captain and Tennille had a Spanish version of the same song ("Por Amor Viviremos") enter the chart. It was the only time in Rock history that an act had two versions of the same song in different languages and on different singles, appear simultaneously on the Hot 100.

  • While Ernie K-Doe's hit "Mother-In-Law" was at the top of the US charts in 1961, Dick Clark decided he would not have K-Doe on American Bandstand because he felt the song was disrespectful towards his Mother-in-Law.

  • The line from Chuck Berry's Johnny B. Goode, "That little country boy could play" was originally written as, "That little colored boy can play." Berry knew that in order to get the song played on the radio, he would have to change that lyric.

  • The world's most expensive record has an estimated value of $180,000 and is in the possession of Paul McCartney. The disc is the first pressing of "That'll Be The Day", recorded in 1958 by the Quarry Men, made up of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, Colin Hanton and John Duff Lowe.

  • It was Paul Simon who actually wrote The Cyrkle's 1966 hit "Red Rubber Ball" under the assumed name of Jerry Landis.

  • The studio group who helped Boz Scaggs record the bulk of his hits in the 1970s, including "Lido Shuffle" and "Lowdown" would go on to form the nucleus of the band Toto. Jeff Porcaro, David Hungate and David Paich scored four Top Ten hits of their own with "I Won't Hold Back" (#10), "Hold The Line" (#5), "Rosanna" (#2) and "Africa" (#1).

  • In 1984, former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page founded a new band called The Firm with ex Bad Company and Free vocalist Paul Rodgers. Page said the group was to be a vehicle to show people that he was not a washed up drug user. In the fall of the same year, he was arrested for possession of cocaine.

  • Janis Ian got the inspiration for her hit "At Seventeen" while sitting at the kitchen table reading a New York Times article about a debutante. The opening line of the story was "I learned the truth at 18." Janis wrote the lyrics as "at seventeen" because it flowed better.

  • Five different record companies, including Decca, Roulette, Columbia, RCA and Atlantic turned down "That'll Be The Day" by Buddy Holly. Finally, Bob Thiele at Coral / Brunswick Records heard the demo and signed Holly to a contract.

  • In order to give fans a "gold record", the first 100,000 copies of "We're An American Band" by Grand Funk Railroad were stamped out of gold colored vinyl.

  • Lesley Gore appeared in two episodes of the TV show Batman in 1966. She played the role of "Pussycat", one of Catwoman's henchwomen. She may have had a little help landing the role, as Howie Horwitz, one of the show's producers, is her uncle.

  • Even though they have such strange names as Moon Unit, Diva, Dweezil and Ahmet Rodan, Frank Zappa once said that he believed that his kids would always have more trouble because of their last name.

  • Years before scoring 1972's number one smash "I Can See Clearly Now", Johnny Nash entered a talent show in Houston Texas. He lost to a young Soul singer named Joe Tex, who would have a chart topping hit of his own in 1968 with "Skinny Legs and All".

  • Jimi Hendrix was hired as the Monkees opening act for their 1967 Summer tour. Unfortunately, US audiences had never seen anything like Hendrix before and booed him off of the stage. He quit the tour after two weeks.

  • According to BMI, the performing rights organization that represents, songwriters, composers and music publishers, Mason Williams' 1968 hit, "Classical Gas" has received more radio airplay than any other instrumental.

  • Before starting his run at the legendary Whisky A Go Go, Johnny Rivers hired a fill-in bass player named Sylvester Stewart. Things didn't go well the first night and Stewart was promptly fired. A few years later, he would re-appear on the music scene as the leader of his own band...Sly and The Family Stone.

  • According to guitarist Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan's backup band resisted all conformity, even naming their ensemble. After landing their own recording contract, record company executives pressed them for a group name, but had to settle for simply The Band.

  • In April, 1967, the Greyhound bus company began offering a guided tour of what they called "Hippyland" in San Francisco.

  • According to producer Mickie Most, The Animals went into a recording studio at 8 A.M. to cut "House Of The Rising Sun" and 15 minutes later, the track was complete. With studio time costing the equivalent of $20 an hour, the song cost $5 to record, but would go on to top both the US and UK charts.

  • The set on which Rick Nelson appeared in the TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, was an exact copy of the Nelson's real Hollywood home.

  • Frank Sinatra once called Rock and Roll "The most brutal, ugly, degenerate, vicious form of expression it has been my displeasure to hear."

  • The musicians who backed The Chiffons on their 1963 #1 hit "He's So Fine" were all members of The Tokens, who had scored their own chart topper with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in 1961.

  • In the Fall of 1965, while the Four Seasons' "Let's Hang On" was a Billboard #3 smash, they also scored a #12 hit with "Don't Think Twice" under the name of The Wonder Who. At the same time, lead singer Franki Valli reached #39 with a solo release called "You're Gonna Hurt Yourself", giving him three Top 40 hits at the same time, all under different names.

  • While talking on the phone with his mother, Disc Jockey Murray The K mentioned that he and Bobby Darin were soaking their feet after playing a game of softball in Central Park. A few minutes later, she called back to say that she had an idea for a song - "Splish, Splash, take a bath..." Murray and Bobby began sorting out some lyrics while Murray's mother, Jean, who had been a vaudeville piano player, finished the melody. It became the first of Bobby's 22 US Top 40 hits when it reached #3 in the Summer of 1958.

  • The Beatles recorded two different versions of the song "Strawberry Fields Forever". One was a half-tone higher and slightly faster than the other. The group couldn't decide which rendition they liked better and finally asked producer George Martin if he could put them together somehow. When one was slowed down, it fit perfectly with the other, resulting in the song we know today.

  • Apparently, Little Richard was not a real smart child. As a lad, he wanted to give one of his neighbors a "creative gift." But his neighbor, Miz Ola screamed when she opened her present. It seems young Richard thought that defecating in a box and wrapping it up as a present for his elderly friend would be a good gift for her. Little Richard stated in his autobiography: "God bless Miz Ola, she's dead now." No word on if he selected other neighbors to receive his thoughtful gift.

  • When Malcolm Young and Angus Young named their band AC/DC, they apparently didn't realize that the electrical term was also slang for bisexual. But the ambiguous name helped them out in the beginning as the group was hired to play many gay-themed gigs. Work is work, I guess.

  • In the early days, the Bee Gees were so desperate to sell their records that they actually gave members of their fan club money to go out and but their records. Thankfully, there were only six members in the fan club or the trio would be broke.

  • Ironically, only Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys was the group's only surfer.

  • Antoine "Fats" Domino came by his nickname because he stood 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed 225 lb.

  • When Elvis Presley was inducted into the US Army on March 24th, 1958, Uncle Sam started losing an estimated $500,000 in lost taxes for each year that Private Presley served.

  • Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead was brought in as a session musician to play steel guitar on Brewer and Shipley's March, 1971 hit, "One Toke Over The Line".


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