Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rock & Roll Trivia

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'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.