Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rock & Roll Trivia

As a special treat for the holidays, I am reprinting a very popular series I call Rock & Roll Trivia.  Interesting tidbits about our music and our musicians, this will be posted every day until Christmas.  Enjoy:

The night before their recording session, The Kingsmen played a 90-minute version of "Louie Louie" during a gig at a local teen club. Once they got into the studio, the song was recorded in one take. The original version of "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen cost just $36 to record, but sold over 12 million copies.

Courtney Love of the band Hole gained the distinction of being the first AOL subscriber to have her e-mail account shut down, mainly for the death threats she posted against people she thought deserved them.

Eagles' bassist Timothy B. Schmit sang backing vocals on Firefall's 1977 hit, "Just Remember I Love You".

Anne Murray's 1969 hit "Snowbird" was released as the "B" side of a 45 RPM single, with a song called "Bidin' My Time" as the "A" side. A radio station in the Eastern United States flipped it over and "Snowbird" caught on. Record sales soon topped one million copies, marking the first time in history that an American gold record was awarded to a solo Canadian female.

Although singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson placed eight songs on Billboard's Top 40 chart, including the Grammy Award winning, million seller "Everybody's Talkin'", he disliked performing in public so much that he seldom appeared in concert and rarely made televised appearances.

While Elvis only recorded twenty Christmas songs, his holiday albums have sold more than twenty-five million copies in the US alone. Amazing what repackaging can do....

Scotland's hard-rock group Nazareth recorded a tune called "Love Hurts" as a B-side filler, never intending it to be a hit. Record buyers felt differently and the single rose to number 8 in the US and number 15 in the UK. One count revealed that over 42 different artists have recorded the song, including The Everly Brothers and Roy Orbison.

Bobby Helms' "Jingle Bell Rock" entered the Billboard Pop chart only two days before Christmas in 1957, but still managed to climb to number 6 during a six week stay.

For many years it was thought that the very first song ever recorded was "Mary Had A Little Lamb", as spoken by Thomas Edison while testing an early phonograph in 1877. In March, 2008, the Association for Recorded Sound Collections announced the discovery of a recording of "Au Clair de la Lune", found by audio historians in the archives of the French Academy of Sciences in Paris. The recording was made by Parisian inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville and recorded on a "phonautograph", a device that engraved sound waves onto a sheet of paper blackened by the smoke of an oil lamp. The recording took place on April 9th, 1860...17 years before Thomas Edison invented his phonograph.

The chords and structure of Tommy James & the Shondells 1967 Billboard #10 single, "Mirage", were actually the chords to his previous hit, "I Think We're Alone Now" in reverse, created when it was accidentally played backwards during a writing session.

Although he sang the lead vocal for "Sugar Sugar", a song that sold over 13 million copies and was named Billboard magazine's Record of The Year, Ron Dante did not earn any royalties for the hit. Just happy to be recording at all in 1969, he did the session for the musicians' union scale wage.

In November, 2007, Neil Diamond finally revealed a secret that he had held onto for decades. The inspiration for his 1969 hit "Sweet Caroline" was President Kennedy's daughter.

They say you don't have to be a rocket scientist to write a hit song, but Michael Kennedy was working for the McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company when he co-wrote The DeFranco Family's "Heartbeat - It's A Love Beat". He later gave up music and went on to work on the International Space Station.

This Date In Music History - December 5


Richard Penniman (Little Richard) (1932)

JJ Cale (1938)

Eduardo Delgado - ? & The Mysterians (1945)

Jim Messina - Buffalo Springfield, Loggins & Messina, Solo (1947)

Andy Kim (1952)

Les Nemes - Haircut 100 (1960)

Jack Russell - Great White (1960)

Johnny Rzeznik - Goo Goo Dolls (1965)

Glen Graham - Blind Melon (1968)

Craig Gill - Inspiral Carpets (1971)

They Are Missed:

Born today in 1899, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blues harmonica player, singer/songwriter. Van Morrison, The Who, The Animals, Yardbirds and Moody Blues all covered his songs. He died on May 25, 1965.

Co-founder of Gin Blossoms Doug Hopkins died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in 1993 (age 32). The guitarist and songwriter was in a detox unit of Phoenix's St. Luke's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona when he snuck out and bought a .38 caliber pistol. The next day Hopkins committed suicide.

In 2004, Billy Maybray, bassist / drummer / vocalist for the Jaggerz, died of cancer at the age of 60. Billy played drums on the band's 1970, Billboard #2 hit, "The Rapper" and wrote and sang their debut single, "Baby I Love You."


Alan Freed's "Rock Rock Rock" film (with Connie Francis singing for Tuesday Weld) was released in 1956.

Elvis Presley started a ten-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1960 with 'G.I. Blues,' his fifth US #1 album.

Paul McCartney and Pete Best were arrested in 1960 for pinning a condom to a brick wall and then igniting it. The two were told to leave Germany and the Beatles returned home, discouraged.

Ray Charles was arrested in an Indianapolis hotel in 1961 and charged with possession of drugs.

Lorne Greene star of the NBC TV show 'Bonanza' was at #1 on the US singles chart in 1964 with "Ringo," making him the second Canadian (after Paul Anka) to have a US #1 single. The star of NBC-TV's hit show Bonanza would record seven albums for RCA.

RCA announced in 1964 that 'Elvis' Christmas Album' had sold over 800,000 copies since being released in 1957.

The Rolling Stones cover of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster” topped the U.K. chart in 1964. Meanwhile, across the pond, “Time Is On My Side” became the first Stones single to crack the US Top 10. It peaked at #6.

In 1965, the Beatles played their last ever show in their hometown of Liverpool when they appeared at The Liverpool Empire during the group's final UK tour. Only 5,100 tickets were available, but there were 40,000 applications for tickets.

Also in 1965, the Rolling Stones played two shows at the Convention Hall, San Diego, California on the last night of a 37-date North American tour.

Buffalo Springfield recorded "For What It’s Worth" in 1966.

The release of The Rolling Stones’ new album 'Beggar’s Banquet,' was celebrated at a party in London in 1968. A food fight with custard pie was the highlight of the event that went on without an ill Keith Richards. The original cover for the LP was in the form of a plain white invitation, but was later changed.

Graham Nash quit the Hollies in 1968 and he announced the formation of Crosby, Stills and Nash three days later.

Fleetwood Mac's tenth album went Gold in 1975 and will eventually reach Platinum status. This is the first LP by the regrouped band, including founders Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, veteran Christine McVie and newcomers Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. The album contains the tunes "Rhiannon," "Say You Love Me" and "Over My Head."

Music weekly NME reviewed the Sex Pistols debut single 'Anarchy In The UK' in 1976 saying "Johnny Rotten sings flat, the song is laughably naive, and the overall feeling is of a third-rate Who imitation."

Belinda Carlisle went to #1 on the US singles chart in 1987 with "Heaven Is a Place on Earth," the ex Go-Go's member first solo #1 (also a #1 hit in the UK). The promotional video was directed by Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton and featured an appearance of Carlisle's husband Morgan Mason.

The Jesus And Mary Chain were banned from appearing on a US music TV show in 1987 after complaints of blasphemy when the group's name was flashed across the screen. The CBS show asked the band to be called JANC but the group didn't agree.

Ice Cube went to #1 on the US album chart in 1992 with 'The Predator.'

R. Kelly started a six week run at #1 on the US singles chart in 1998 with "I'm Your Angel," featuring Celine Dion.

Korn were at #1 on the US album chart in 1999 with ‘Issues,’ the bands second US #1.

In 2001, Don Henley and David Crosby helped raise $300,000 for children of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by headlining a concert in Lowell, Mass. US Rep. Martin Meehan organized the benefit to help children of his district pay for future education expenses.

Snoop Dogg was at #1 on the US singles chart in 2004 with "Drop It Like It's Hit."

U2 started a two week run at #1 on the UK album chart in 2004 with 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb,' the bands ninth UK #1 album. The band also went to #1 on the US album chart giving them their sixth US #1 album.

A Bob Dylan interview was aired on CBS in 2004. It’s Dylan’s first on-camera interview in two decades. The low-key chat (somebody should have jabbed Bob with a stick to wake him up) with Ed Bradley helps promote Dylan’s book, Chronicles: Volume One.

The Killers released Christmas-themed song "A Great Big Sleigh" exclusively through iTunes in 2006. "Sometimes . . . you get so caught up in business and being an adult that you forget to have fun and enjoy things and be nice to people," says singer Brandon Flowers.

The piano that John Lennon used to pen "Imagine" was on view at a special antiwar photography exhibition in Dallas in 2006. The instrument was on loan from its owner, pop singer George Michael, who paid $2.1 million for it in ‘00.

Also in 2006, Yes issued a five-disc box set titled "Essentially Yes." The collection features four of the band's latest albums, '94's "Talk, '97's "Open Your Eyes," '99's "The Ladder" and '01's "Magnification," plus a previously unreleased '03 concert in Montreux, Switzerland, that includes "I've Seen All Good People."

In 2006, Beatles lyrics handwritten by Sir Paul McCartney to an early version of Maxwell's Silver Hammer sold for $192,000 at an auction in New York. A guitar owned by Jimi Hendrix fetched $168,000 , a notebook containing lyrics written by Bob Marley, sold for $72,000 and a poem penned by Doors frontman Jim Morrison made $49,000 at the Christie's sale.