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Rock 'n' Roll's Fascinating Facts

Here is some obscure trivia about your favourite classic rock acts.
New trivia is added weekly.







Martha Reeves of The Vandellas once worked at Motown Records as a secretary. Her duties included supervising a very young Stevie Wonder.


Marvin Gaye's father shot and killed the famous singer with the same gun his son had given him the previous Christmas.

The father of Paul McCartney's first wife, Linda, changed the family name to Eastman before she was born. Their original name was Epstein.

Billboard magazine columnist Maurie Orodenker started to use the term "rock-and-roll" to describe upbeat recordings in 1942.

Tommy Roe's hit "Sheila" topped the charts in America and Australia in 1962, but the record did not achieve Gold status for $1,000,000 worth of world wide sales until 1969.

The phrase "Teenage Idol" was first used by Time magazine to describe 16 year old Ricky Nelson in the cover story of their December 1958 issue. Nelson would release a song called "Teenage Idol" in July of 1962 that would reach number 5 in the U.S.

"Stranger On The Shore", the 1962 hit by Mr. Acker Bilk, was the first UK single to reach Number 1 in America. This was nearly two years before The Beatles hit the top in the USA with "I Want to Hold Your Hand" on February 1, 1964.

The original title of The Beatles' album "Abbey Road" was "Everest". When it was suggested that the band travel to Mount Everest to have their picture taken, the idea was quickly dismissed and they simply walked outside in front of Abbey Road Studios to be photographed walking across the street.

The cover art for the album "America's Greatest Hits" was created by a graphics designer by the name of Phil Hartman, the same funny-man who later appeared on Saturday Night Live, and then News Radio, before he was murdered by his wife in 1998.

Harry Nilsson's song "Coconut" (She put the lime in the coconut...) has only one chord in the entire song. It is the only record without any chord changes to reach the Billboard Hot 100.

When Elvis first played Las Vegas at the New Frontier Hotel in 1956, Colonel Tom Parker instructed his friends from Memphis to shout "There goes Elvis Presley!" when Elvis walked through the casino.

Freddie Mercury claimed that he wrote "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" in just 10 minutes, while relaxing in a hotel bath.

More than 2,200 cover versions of The Beatles' 1965 song "Yesterday" exist, making it the most recorded song in history. It has been performed over seven million times in the 20th century alone.

On December 9th, 1967, Jim Morrison became the first Rock artist ever to be arrested on stage during a performance when he was led away on charges of inciting a riot, indecency and public obscenity.

In 2008, the iconic bass drum skin used on the front cover of The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" sold at auction for over $900,000.

The twin guitar solo on The Eagles' "Hotel California", played by Joe Walsh and Don Felder, was named as the best guitar solo of all time by Guitarist magazine in 1998.

Barry and Robin Gibb got the inspiration to write "New York Mining Disaster 1941" while sitting on a darkened staircase at Polydor Records following a power outage. The echo of the passing elevator caused them to imagine that they were trapped in a mine.

According to Peter Noone, the quick guitar riff on Herman's Hermits' 1965 hit, "Silhouettes", was played by future Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page.

Despite the fact that "We Didn't Start The Fire" topped the Billboard chart and received a Grammy nomination for Record Of The Year, Billy Joel has said that the song was "one of the worst melodies" he ever wrote.

Elvis Presley came by his nick-name, The King Of Rock 'n' Roll, for good reason. He had 108 Billboard Hot 100 hits, 80 of which made the Top 40. He also had 129 albums on the Hot 200 Albums chart and his LPs spent a total of 67 weeks at #1.

In 1983, Paul Simon married actress Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy. The marriage lasted less than a year.

Herb Alpert is the only recording artist to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart as both a vocalist ("This Guy's in Love with You", 1968) and an instrumentalist ("Rise", 1979).

Despite all of the hits that they've had, The Who have never had a number one record in the UK or the US.

Bobby Goldsboro's rendition of the Bobby Russell penned "Honey" was the largest selling single record in the world in 1968.

The highest selling singles with a one word title are: "Smooth" by Santana (#1), "Macarena" by Los Del Rio (#2) and "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John (#3).

Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead often introduced the Marty Robbins penned "El Paso" as the band's "most requested number." Over a twenty-five year period, The Dead performed the tune 389 times.

Keith Moon, drummer for The Who, died in the same apartment that had previously belonged to Harry Nilsson and earlier, Mama Cass Elliot.

Even though it had been banned from some U.S. radio stations for promoting drug culture, Brewer And Shipley's "One Toke Over The Line" was performed by Lawrence Welk as a Gospel song on his weekly TV show.

Producer George Martin considered calling The Beatles' first album "Off The Beatle Track" before "Please Please Me" became a hit single in the UK.

In 1963, Johnny Cymbal scored a number sixteen hit with a song called "Mr. Bass Man". After several unsuccessful follow ups, he changed his stage name to Derek and re-appeared on the record charts in 1969 with the number eleven hit, "Cinnamon".

The Electric Light Orchestra has had twenty US Top 40 Hits, but have never had a number one record.

Buddy Holly's real surname is "Holley". After being mis-spelled on his first recording contract, the name stuck, but it is spelled correctly on his tombstone.

Gene Chandler's 1962 number one hit, "The Duke Of Earl", originated from warm-up exercises that he used with his group, The Dukays. The record would be inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002 and was named one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

Paul McCartney performed at the 2012 London Olympics Opening Ceremony for the grand fee of 1 pound ($1.57).

Michael Jackson's entire lead vocal for his 1983 hit "Billie Jean" was performed in one take, but the song was mixed 91 times by audio engineer Bruce Swedien before it was finalized.

The Four Seasons' "December 1963 (Oh, What A Night") was originally written about the repeal of Prohibition with the title of "December 5th, 1933", but new lyrics changed it to a nostalgic remembrance of a young man's first affair with a woman.

Georgie Fame's "Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" topped the UK chart on January 24th, 1968 and according to the lyrics, "Bonnie and Clyde got to be Public Enemy Number One". This is not actually true. Although the pair made the F.B.I.'s Public Enemy list, only John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson and Alvin Karpis were actually named "Public Enemy Number One."

The Dave Clark Five's "Glad All Over" was billed by their U.S. label as "the Mersey Sound with a Liverpool beat." In fact, the group came from London.

"The First Cut Is The Deepest", written by Cat Stevens in 1967, has been a hit record for P. P. Arnold (UK #18 in 1967), Keith Hampshire (Canadian #1 in 1973), Rod Stewart (US #21 in 1977) and Sheryl Crow (US #14 in 2003).

The first group to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were The Coasters in 1987. Before them, only solo artists and one duo, The Everly Brothers, were enshrined.

Melanie (Safka) became the first female performer to have three Top 40 hits concurrently when "Brand New Key" (#1), "Ring the Living Bell" (#31) and "The Nickel Song" (#35) made the list in early 1972.

Bobby Helms' Christmas classic "Jingle Bell Rock" made the Billboard Pop or Country chart on six separate occasions between 1957 and 1996.

Carole King's 1971 LP "Tapestry" is the first female solo album to reach Diamond status, surpassing 10 million copies sold, as certified by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The 1967 Grammy winner for Best Contemporary Recording, "Winchester Cathedral", was recorded by studio musicians. When it became an international hit, an actual group had to be assembled, who then toured as The New Vaudeville Band.

Strawberry Alarm Clock's "Incense and Peppermints" spent 16 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified Gold for selling one million copies in December, 1967. In the UK, it failed to chart at all.

"Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree" was first offered to Ringo Starr. His representatives rejected it, telling song writers Irwin Levine and L. Russell Brown that they should be ashamed of themselves for writing a song about a ribbon in a tree. Tony Orlando's rendition went on to top the charts in America, Australia and England, selling over six million copies world-wide.

Tommy Roe's hit "Sheila" started as a poem he wrote for a high school crush named Frieda. The name was changed when he first recorded it and when it was re-recorded in 1962, it went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Todd Duncan's rendition of "Unchained Melody" was nominated for an Oscar in 1955, but lost to "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing".

Elvis Presley's 1957 musical drama Jailhouse Rock was banned in many towns throughout England after being slammed as "sex crazed and disgusting" by British film critics. London critics described the film as "An unsavoury, nauseating and muddy brew of deliquency, bad taste and violence". In Australia, church leaders and psychiatrists tried to have the film banned.

The only group to have their one and only album go to #1 on the Billboard charts is Blind Faith.

Billy J. Kramer's "Little Children" b/w "Bad To Me" is the only debut single whose sides separately reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Pop chart. (#7 and #9 respectively)

The Beatles' "Hey Jude" is the longest #1 hit in US Rock history at 7 minutes and seven seconds. Don Mclean's "American Pie" is 8 minutes and 32 seconds long, but it was the edited version of the song that got the most airplay on US radio, clocking in at 4:08. The same holds true for Donna Summer's version of "MacArther Park". The album version was 8:40 long, but it was the shortened cut that became her first Billboard #1 hit.

Paul McCartney once said that he bought his first violin shaped Hofner bass guitar in 1961 because "I couldn't afford a Fender." In 1963 he aquired a second 500/1 and the following year was presented a third from Hofner, this one with gold-plated hardware.

Most of the guitar solo on the final take of "Vehicle" by The Ides Of March was accidently erased in the studio and had to be replaced with a discarded version from an earlier take.

When Jimi Hendrix played at 1969's Woodstock Festival, he was paid $18,000 for his performance plus $12,000 for the rights to film him.

The only time that a record topped the Cashbox Best Sellers chart but did not even register on the Billboard Hot 100 was on December 12, 1992 when Cashbox said Wayne Newton's "The Letter" was the best selling single in America. The song never even appeared on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart or the Bubbling Under chart.

In his autobiography, Donovan revealed that the phrase "electrical banana" in his song "Mellow Yellow", was a reference to a yellow-coloured vibrator.

The first Heavy Metal song to crack the Billboard Top 40 was Blue Cheer's version of "Summertime Blues" which reached #14 in 1968.

Among the background singers on Freda Payne's 1970 hit, "Band Of Gold", were Joyce Vincent Wilson and Telma Hopkins, who would go on to find sucess as Dawn with Tony Orlando.

The worldwide merchandising and licensing of Elvis Presley memorabilia generates $32 million a year.

Zager and Evans' 1969 hit, "In the Year 2525", was written in just 30 minutes, but spent 6 weeks as Billboard's #1 record during a 12 week stay and sold over 5 million copies.

When Steve Winwood left The Spencer Davis Group in the summer of 1967, one of the rejected applicants to be auditioned was a young piano player named Reginald Dwight, who would later launch a solo career, re-naming himself, Elton John.

Alan Freed is often credited with popularizing the term "Rock and Roll", although the phrase had been used as early as 1942 by Billboard magazine columnist Maurie Orodenker to describe upbeat recordings.

The lyrics to Harry Chapin's 1974 hit, "Cat's In The Cradle", began as a poem written by Harry's wife, Sandy, which was inspired by the awkward relationship between her first husband and his father.

The words "Everybody Loves Somebody" appear on Dean Martin's grave marker in Los Angeles.

The Doors were the first American band to accumulate eight consecutive gold albums.

It is often rumored that actor Mike Myers patterned his Austin Powers character after Peter Asher of Peter and Gordon.

The Beatles were so impressed with Joe Cocker's version of "With A Little Help From My Friends" that they sent him a telegram of congratulations and placed an ad in the music papers praising it.

Lesley Gore recorded "It's My Party" on March 31st, 1963. She was shocked to hear the song on the radio exactly one week later.

Paul Rodgers did not name his group after the Jeff Bridges film Bad Company as is often quoted. Rodgers himself has said that he took the moniker from a book of Victorian morals that showed a picture of an innocent child looking up at an unsavory character leaning against a lamp post. The caption read "beware of bad company."

Jonathan Edwards' 1972 hit "Sunshine" was not originally planned for release, but when an engineer accidentally erased another track near the end of a recording session, "Sunshine" was used to fill the remaining album space.

The first time the original members of the Eagles played together was as a backing band for Linda Ronstadt at Disneyland.

"Happy Birthday" was the first song to be performed in outer space, sung by the Apollo IX astronauts on March 8, 1969.

In the late 1950s, Elvis Presley's backing band, Bill Black, Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana were paid a weekly salary of $200 when they were working and a $100 a week retainer when they weren't.

Paul McCartney wrote The Beatle's 1966 hit "Paperback Writer" in response to a request from an aunt who asked if he could "write a single that wasn't about love."

AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young once worked as a sewing-machine mechanic in a bra factory.

More Americans watched Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii than watched the first Lunar landing.

The highest climbing Billboard single in which both the song and the artist's name are palindromes is "SOS" by ABBA.

Although it held the number one spot in the US for only a week, Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" remained on the Billboard album chart for 741 weeks and has sold an estimated 50 million copies world wide.

Bobby' Vinton's oldest son, Robbie, portrayed Bobby in the 1990 movie Goodfellas. The film ranks twelfth in the list of films that most frequently used "the F-word."

Keith Richards has often said that he came up with the guitar riff and some of the lyrics for the song "Satisfaction" in his sleep.

James Brown, Bill Haley, Ike Turner and B.B. King all started their music careers as disc jockeys.

Because so many special effects and studio musicans had been used record "This Diamond Ring", Gary Lewis And The Playboys could not re-create their sound when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. In compromise, Lewis sang along with pre-recorded tracks as the Playboys pretended to play their instruments.

Shorty Long, who reached #8 on the Billboard Pop chart in 1968 with "Here Comes The Judge", also co-wrote "Devil With The Blue Dress", a #4 hit for Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels in 1966.

Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, and Rory Gallagher all have something in common. They are three of the candidates who didn't get past the jamming phase in their unsuccessful bid to replace The Rolling Stone's Mick Taylor. Ronnie Wood, of course, won the gig.

The Beatles song "Dear Prudence" was written about Mia Farrow's sister, Prudence, when she wouldn't come out and play with Mia and the Beatles at a religious retreat in India.

Although Andy Williams was closely indentified with the song "Moon River", it was never released as a 45 and therefor never charted as a hit single.

Judy Collins' 1971 hit, "Amazing Grace", was first published in 1779 as a Christian Hymn.

Peter Frampton was the lead guitar player on Frankie Valli's 1978 hit, "Grease".

Joe South wrote Deep Purple's US #4 hit "Hush", which he adapted from an old American spiritual that included the line: "Hush, I thought I heard Jesus calling my name."

Only Lawrence Welk has had more musical appearances on U.S. network television than Paul Revere And The Raiders!

Willie Nelson told talk show host David Letterman that the hit he wrote for Patsy Cline, "Crazy", was originally titled "Stupid".

Dr. Elmo Shropshire invested $40,000 of his own money to produce the original album and music video for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer". In return, he became a millionaire five times over.

The recording of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" that appears on the album was meant to be a soundcheck while the band waited for the arrival of their producer. When the rehearsal was completed, it was agreed that another take was not needed.

Although Paul McCartney's 1977 hit "Mull Of Kintyre" is about his love of his Scottish home, most of the lyrics were written by the song's co-writer, Denny Laine.

When Elvis started filming Loving You in early 1957, he dyed his hair jet-black for the part. He liked the change from his natural dark blonde so much, he continued to dye it for the rest of his life.

David Gates of Bread was inspired to write the hit songs "Lost Without Your Love" and "Everything I Own" by the death of his father.

On the Beach Boys' 1988 Billboard #1 smash, "Kokomo", they sang, but the instrumental background was provided by studio musicans.

Louden Wainwright III, who reached #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road" in 1973, was also an actor who appeared in three different episodes of M*A*S*H.

For years it was reported that Paul Anka wrote "Diana" about one of his younger sibling's babysitters that he had a crush on. In a 2005 interview with NPR's Terry Gross, Anka stated that the song was actually about a girl at his church who he hardly knew.

While The Rascals' "People Got to Be Free" was perceived by some as being related to the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, it was actually recorded before the latter's death. The song was written partly as a reaction to an ugly encounter when the band was threatened by a group of rednecks after their tour vehicle broke down in Fort Pierce, Florida.

In contrast to The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", which took 129 days to record, Paul McCartney's first album with Wings, "Wild Life", was recorded in just over a week, with five of the eight tracks being first takes.

The original demo for "Our Day Will Come" was recorded by Dionne Warwick before it was given to Ruby And The Romantics, who took it to the top of the Billboard Pop chart in 1963. Warwick included her version on her 1982 album "Heartbreaker", which sold over three million copies worldwide.

Barry Manilow's 1981 hit, "The Old Songs" was written by Buddy Kaye, who also wrote Perry Como's #1 smash, "You're Adorable" as well as "Speedy Gonzales" for Pat Boone and the theme for I Dream of Jeannie.

On the strength of digital re-issues, The Beatles were the second best selling act in the decade from 2000 to 2009. Only Eminem sold more.

In 1963, The Isley Brothers hired a new kid to play lead guitar for them at a rate of $30 per night. This young man's name was Jimi Hendrix.

Many of the sets and props used by Screen Gems for The Monkees' TV show were left over from The Three Stooges short films.

Carole King wrote or co-wrote 118 Pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

The week before Tommy James was to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show in January, 1969, Ed closed his program by announcing "and next week, for all the youngsters... Tony Jones and the Spondells."

On the day Elvis was buried, over 3,000 orders of flowers covered the front lawn of Graceland. It took over four hours to move them all to Forest Hill cemetary for the funeral.

The Turtles' rhythm guitarist Jim Tucker quit the band in 1967 after his musical hero John Lennon publicly berated him in a drunkenly tirade for trying to be just like The Beatles. In March of that year, The Turtles "Happy Together" had knocked The Beatles "Penny Lane" out of Billboard's top spot.

Although Johnny Tillotson's 1962 hit "It Keeps Right On a-Hurtin'" was sung as a love song, it was actually inspired by his father's terminal illness.

In 1964, Capitol Records released four Beatles albums in America, "Meet The Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album", "Beatles '65" and "Something New", all without consulting the band or Brian Epstein about cover art, song selection or album title.

Paul McCartney wrote his 1976 hit "Silly Love Songs" in response to a comment by John Lennon, who claimed that the only songs that Paul wrote for the Beatles were silly love songs. The single topped the US chart and went to #2 in the UK.

Albert Hammond's 1972, Billboard #5 hit "It Never Rains In Southern California" was actually written in London, England, which receives about 29 inches of rainfall every year. According to the National Climatic Data Center, Southern California can receive as little as 1.6 inches of precipitation annually.

Elvis' 1968 "comeback special" helped restore his popularity. Yet to get Presley to agree to it, producer Steve Binder had to first convince him that he wasn't The King anymore by taking him down to Sunset Boulevard to see if he'd get mobbed. He didn't.

Daily broadcasts of Dick Clark's American Bandstand were actually taped five at a time on Saturdays to allow Clark and the artists appearing on the show time to pursue other interests.

Elvis Presley's 1965 hit "Crying In The Chapel" was written by Artie Glenn for his son Darrell, who first recorded it in 1953. His version went to #1 on Cashbox and #6 on Billboard and was one of the most covered songs of the year, with five other renditions reaching the Billboard Pop, Country and R&B charts.

The Rolling Stone's 1966 hit "Nineteenth Nervouse Breakdown" was written after the band had finished a long tour of the U.S. Mick Jagger announced to his band mates, "I don't know about you blokes, but I feel about ready for my 19th nervous breakdown."

Guitarist and vocalist Rob Rob Parissi of the band Wild Cherry said he got the inspiration to write the band's million selling hit "Play That Funky Music" from Black audience members who would tease the group about their song selection. "When the Disco machine would go off, they'd say 'You White boys gonna play any Funky music?'"

In 1969, Kenny Rogers took the Mel Tillis composition "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" into the Top Ten in the US and the UK. Tillis based the song on a couple who lived near his family in Florida, who were having marital troubles. He left out the real-life ending to their tale, where the man killed his wife in a murder-suicide.

Annette Kleinbard was the female vocalist in The Teddy Bears, who, along with Phil Spector and Marshall Leib, had a 1958 hit called "To Know Him Is To Love Him". She later changed her name to Carol Connors and went on to co-write The Ripchords' 1964 hit "Hey Little Cobra", "Gonna Fly Now" (The Theme From Rocky), as well as the 1980 Billy Preston / Syreeta Wright duet "With You I'm Born Again".

While The Byrds were debating possible titles for their ninth album, producer Terry Melcher filled out the record company's official label sheet, writing the placeholder (Untitled) in a box specifying the album's name. Without anyone associated with the band realizing, Columbia Records went ahead and pressed the LP, calling it "Untitled".

It was during his time with The Yardbirds, 1963-65, that Eric Clapton acquired his nickname, Slowhand. Whenever Clapton broke a guitar string, he would immediately stop playing and start restringing his guitar. The crowds would often start a slow handclap until he had his guitar restrung and could resume playing.

Smokey Robinson wrote "Being With You" with Kim Carnes in mind, but when he played it for producer George Tobin, he found out they were no longer working together. When Smokey recorded it himself, it rose to #2 in the US, kept out of the top spot by "Bette Davis Eyes", by none other than Kim Carnes.

In 2011, a team of scientists at Goldsmiths University in London, England concluded that "We Are The Champions" by Queen was the catchiest song in the history of Pop music, with "Y.M.C.A." coming in at number two.

According to Guinness World Records 2009, Led Zeppelin hold the record for the "Highest Demand for Tickets for One Music Concert" as 20 million on-line requests were made for their December 10th, 2007 reunion show at The O2 Arena in London.

Artie Kornfeld, one of the main concert promoters of the 1969 Woodstock Festival, co-wrote Jan And Dean's "Dead Man's Curve" and The Cowsills' "The Rain, The Park And Other Things". At age 21, he became the youngest vice-president at Capitol Records and as a writer, producer, manager and promoter, he earned over 100 Gold and Platinum discs while writing over 75 Billboard charted songs.

Both of The Left Banke's big hits, "Walk Away Renee" and "Pretty Ballerina", were written about the same girl, Renee Fladen, the girlfriend of the band's bass player.

"Ebony And Ivory", by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, topped both the US and UK charts in 1982, but over the years the song has seemed to fall out of favor with listeners and gets little air-play today. In 2004, Blender magazine ranked it as #10 on their list of the worst songs of all time and in October 2007, BBC 6 Music listeners named it their worst duet ever.

Despite the references to Boston and the Charles River in The Standells 1966 hit "Dirty Water," the band was actually from Los Angeles. Producer Ed Cobb wrote the song after a visit to Boston, during which he was robbed on a bridge over the Charles River. None of the Standells had ever been to Boston before the song was released. In 1997, "Dirty Water" was adopted the "official victory anthem" of the Boston Red Sox.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart wrote "Blue Moon" for the 1934 movie Manhattan Melodrama. Richard Rodgers hated the Marcels' 1961, doo-wop arrangement of this song so much that he took out advertisements in UK trade papers, urging people not to buy it. The public ignored his pleas and the song topped the charts in both the UK and the US.

In 2006, to deter gangs of youths from congregating in a residential area late at night, Australian officials blasted Barry Manilow songs every weekend.

When Paul McCartney got his iconic Höfner violin bass guitar out of storage to record "My Brave Face" in 1989, a set list was still taped to the back of it from the Beatles' roofop concert, twenty years earlier.

The original title of The Bee Gees' hit "Stayin' Alive" was to be "Saturday Night", but the group decided that there were already too many songs with that name.

As a follow-up to The Paris Sisters' 1961 US #5 hit, "I Love How You Love Me", Philles Records released "He Knows I Love Him Too Much", which would reach #34. Unfortunately for the trio, the master tapes for an intended album release were accidently discarded by a record company employee and lost forever. Anger over the incident caused an argument which led to the record company dropping the group from the label and although they were signed by MGM in 1963, The Paris Sisters never had another Top 40 hit.

The Beach Boys' version of "Barbara Ann" was recorded live during an in-studio break, with Dean Torrence of Jan And Dean singing lead vocals. Brian Wilson would later recall that "half the people in the room were singing while the other half were munching on potato chips." Capitol Records later released the track without the band's knowledge. At first they were upset because they wanted to get away from surf and hot rod tunes and be taken more seriously, but when the single reached Billboard's #2 spot and topped the Cashbox Best Sellers chart, they changed their mind.

"Gonna Fly Now", the theme from the motion picture Rocky, topped the Billboard Hot 100 in July, 1977. Bill Conti and orchestra recorded it along with the entire score for the film in just three hours at a total budget of $25,000. The picture itself went on to earn over 117 million dollars in the U.S. alone.

Before they had a string of ten Billboard Top 40 hits between 1961 and 1968, The Marvelettes called themselves "The Casinyets", which was short for "can't sing yet."

Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote Love's 1966 hit, "My Little Red Book", but didn't like the band's take on their composition. Bacharach said "it would have been better with the right chords... but I liked their energy on the song and I liked that it was a hit."

Hall and Oates "Rich Girl" was actually based on a real person, the wealthy heir to a fast food chain who had dated Sara Allen, Daryl Hall's longtime girlfriend. The original lyrics included the line You're a rich boy, but Hall changed the gender so it could be sung from a male perspective.

The Jordanaires, Elvis Presley's back up vocalists, also worked for Ricky Nelson, but at Presley's behest were not permitted credit on Nelson's albums.

Irving Berlin, the man who wrote "White Christmas", hated the holiday for good reason. In the early hours of Dec. 25, 1928, his first son, Irving Jr., was discovered dead in his crib.

Harry Chapin, who reached #24 in the US with a song called "Taxi" in 1972, actually did have his taxi driver's license in New York City and drove a cab for six months in Long Beach, New York.

Before finding success with the Soft Rock group Bread, David Gates was a songwriter who had written The Murmaids' "Popsicles and Icicles" and The Monkees' "Saturday's Child", and had worked with Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Merle Haggard, Duane Eddy and Brian Wilson.

In 1934, songwriter John F. Coots offered a song called "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" to Eddie Cantor who used it on his radio show in November. The morning after the broadcast, there were orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music, and by Christmas, sales had passed 400,000.

"Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus has sold millions of copies around the world, yet contains only two chords, A and E.

Roger Daltrey's stuttering delivery on The Who's recording of "My Generation" is said to have come about because he had not rehearsed the song prior to the recording and was unable to hear his own voice through the monitors. Daltrey tried to fit the lyrics to the music as best he could, and the band decided the stammering worked well enough to keep. The BBC initially refused to play "My Generation" because it did not want to offend people who stutter, but reversed its decision after the song soared to #2 on the UK charts.

Sonny Bono is the only member of US Congress to have scored a #1 Pop single on the Billboard Hot 100. (It was 1965's "I Got You Babe".)

Little Richard's opening line to his hit "Tutti Frutti", A-wop bop-a loo-mop, a-lop bam-boom! was a scat that was supposed to imitate a drum solo opening.

Followning the break up of Kenny Rogers And The First Edition in 1975, drummer Micky Jones went on to carve out a successful career as a character actor. He has appeared in over two dozen films, including Sling Blade with Billy Bob Thornton and several TV shows, including The Dukes of Hazzard, Baywatch and Tim Allen's Home Improvement.

The inspiration for the song "Hang On Sloopy" is said to be Jazz pianist Dorothy Sloop, who went by the nickname Sloopy. She is best known as a pianist with a number of mostly female Jazz bands in the New Orleans area, primarily from the 1930s through the 1950s.

Pianist Mort Shuman and lyricist Doc Pomus wrote a song called "Save The Last Dance For Me", which went to #1 in the US and #2 in the UK for The Drifters in 1960. The lyrics describe how a man tells his date that she is free to mingle during the evening, but to make sure to save the last dance of the night for him. It is believed that this actually happened in real life, as Doc Pomus had polio and needed crutches to get around, while his wife was a Broadway actress and dancer.

"Stay" recorded by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs, was written by Williams in 1953 when he was just 15 years old. He had been trying to convince his date not to go home at 10 o'clock as she was supposed to. He lost the argument, but gained the inspiration to write a number one hit that has sold over 8 million copies.

The Everly Brothers turned down the chance to be the first to record "Lay Lady Lay" because when they heard Bob Dylan sing it for them, they mis-heard the lyrics as "Lay lady lay, lay across my big breasts, babe." Thinking it was a song about lesbians, they politely declined.

Although they are fondly remembered as a pioneering Rock 'n' Roll band, Bill Haley And His Comets were a Country act called The Saddlemen just a few months before recording "Crazy Man, Crazy", the first Rock 'n' Roll song to hit the American charts.

The biggest selling album in the US that didn't make it to number one is "Led Zeppelin IV", which sold over 23 million copies, but stalled at #2 on Billboard's Hot 200 chart.

The four members of The Monkees were each paid $450 per episode in the first season of their TV show. Although their salary was raised to $750 for the second season, they received virtually nothing for their merchandising.

Songwriters Isaac Hayes and David Porter found the inspiration to write Sam And Dave's 1967 hit "Soul Man" while watching TV news coverage of riots in Detroit. African-Americans had written the word "Soul" on buildings owned by black Detroit business people, so they would not be destroyed, giving Hayes the idea of someone being "a Soul man."

Brian Wilson was inspired to name The Beach Boys' album "Pet Sounds" after band mate Mike Love expressed his dis-like for the material by commenting: "Who's gonna hear this shit? The ears of a dog?"

When Phil Spector was looking to sign new acts to replace the declining Ronettes and Crystals, he had a chance to sign both The Rascals and The Lovin' Spoonful, but passed on both. Between them, those two groups would have 24 US Top 40 hits after they signed with other labels.

In the first seven years following Elvis Presley's death, his estate earned ten times more than Elvis had earned in his twenty-three years of performing.

Iron Butterfly was booked to play at the Woodstock Festival in 1969, but got delayed at the airport and missed the gig. It was a wasted opportunity that cost them a fortune in royalties.

Bob Seger has said that in his song "Night Moves", the line about "humming a song from 1962" was written with The Ronnettes "Be My Baby" in mind. Oddly enough, that song wasn't a hit until the Autumn of 1963.

Twenty-two different labels rejected Janis Ian's "Society's Child" before Verve / Folkways Records took a chance on it. The song rose to #14 and was eventually certified Platinum for sales of over one million copies sold in the US.

The words "Da Doo Ron Ron" started out as being gibberish filler while Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry worked out the lyrics to a new number they were writing. When nothing else came to them, they not only kept the phrase in the song, it ended up being used as the title to the now classic Rock tune by The Crystals.

When Gary Paxton put a group of musicians together to record the novelty song "Alley-Oop", he thought it was to fulfill his contract obligation to his former label, Brent Records. According to drummer Sandy Nelson, "all the participants were hopelessly drunk on cider by the time they recorded the song." Despite the loose performance, the song went all the way to Billboard's number one spot in July, 1960.

Annette Kleinbard, who sang lead vocals on The Teddy Bears' 1958 hit, "To Know Him Is To Love Him", suffered a near fatal car crash in 1959 which required four operations. After she recovered, she changed her name to Carol Connors and returned to the music scene as a songwriter. Her credits include the Rip Chords' 1964 hit "Hey Little Cobra", the 1977 smash "Gonna Fly Now" from the movie Rocky, and the 1980 Billy Preston / Syreeta Wright duet "With You I'm Born Again", along with several motion picture sound tracks.

When Rupert Holmes wrote "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)", he originally wrote it as "If you like Humphrey Bogart and getting caught in the rain", before coming up with the final lyrics. He would later admit that at the time, he had never tasted a Pina Colada.

America reached #8 in the US with "Ventura Highway" in 1973. Although no such highway exists, there is a Ventura County in California and Highway 101 runs through it.

Brian Wilson and Mike Love got the inspiration for The Beach Boys' hit "Fun, Fun" Fun" after drummer Dennis Wilson said about his girlfriend, "We'll have fun 'til her daddy takes the T'bird away".

According to Neil Sedaka, Michael Jackson told him on many occasions that "Laughter In The Rain" was one of his all-time favorite songs.

The Beatles hit "Ticket To Ride" was written after John Lennon and Paul McCartney had visited Paul's cousin's, Mike and Bett Robbins, who operated a pub in the seaside town of Ryde. The journey took place after the pair had purchased a ferry ticket to Ryde.

Bubble Puppy's 1969, #14 hit "Hot Smoke and Sasafrass" was inspired by an episode of the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies where Granny said "Hot smoke and sassafras, Jethro, can't you do anything right?"

Song writer Jim Steinman first offered "Making Love Out Of Nothing At All" to Meatloaf, but the two couldn't reach a financial agreement. Australian group Air Supply later had a Billboard #2 hit with it. Steinman also gave Meatloaf the first chance at "Total Eclipse Of The Heart", but it was Bonnie Tyler who took it to the top of the UK and US charts.

The Band's Robbie Robertson said that when he wrote "The Weight", the line about pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' 'bout half past dead, the town was actually Nazareth, Pennsylvania because they make legendary Martin Guitars there.

Only two Lennon / McCartney songs have ever topped the Billboard Hot 100 by an artist other than The Beatles. They were "A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon in 1964 and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" by Elton John in 1975.

After recording "Make It Easy on Yourself" in August, 1962, Dionne Warwick was disappointed to find out that Jerry Butler's version of the song would be the one released by Scepter Records. She was assured that Hal David and Burt Bacharach would write an equally good song for her, to which she replied "Don't make me over, man." That phrase, meaning "Don't con me", was used by the songwriting duo to pen what would be her debut hit, "Don't Make Me Over", which rose to #21 on the Billboard chart in early 1963 and started a string of 31 Billboard Top 40 hits.

Dino, Desi and Billy's only Billboard Top 20 hit, "I'm A Fool", was written by Elvis Presley's longtime bodyguard, Red West, who based the song on one that rhymes with it, "Don't Be Cruel".

The opening line to Jan and Dean's 1963 chart topper "Surf City", Two Girls For Every Boy was originally written as Goody Connie Won't You Come Back Home by the song's writer, Brian Wilson.

When Elvis Presley's mother first heard Gene Vincents's "Be-Bop-A-Lula", she mistakenly thought it was her son's latest single.

When "The Cover Of The Rolling Stone" was released by Dr. Hook, the magazine sold more copies in the next two weeks than any other time in their history.

The Rays' 1957 recording of "Silhouettes" was actually intended to be a demo record to introduce the song to The Diamonds. When both versions ended up being released, The Rays took the song to number 3 and The Diamonds reached number 10 simultaneously.

At a party in Los Angeles, comedian Groucho Marx jokingly pointed his index fingers at Elton John, as if holding a pair of six-shooters. Elton threw up his hands and said, "Don't shoot me, I'm only the piano player," which inspired the title of his 1973, US number one album. As a sly tribute to Groucho, the LP's cover included a movie poster for The Marx Brothers' movie Go West.

The flute solo in The Mamas and Papas' "California Dreamin'" was performed by a Jazz player named Bud Shank, who just happened to be in the building when the tune was being recorded. He was recruited on the spot by Papa John Phillips, who played the bed track of the song so Shank could get the feel of it. He then recorded the solo in one take.

British singer Kenny Lynch was the first artist to cover a Beatles' song when he recorded "Misery" in early 1963, which failed to chart. Kenny also fancied himself as a songwriter and during a tour with Helen Shapiro, offered to help John and Paul with the writing of "From Me To You". When the song didn't seem to be going anywhere, Kenny walked away, declaring "Well, that's it. I am not going to write any more of that bloody rubbish with those idiots. They don't know music from their backsides."

In 1965, with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Mamas And Papas all turning out big hits, the Grammy Award for Best Performance By a Vocal Group was won by The Anita Kerr Singers for "We Dig Mancini".

New York newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell first coined the term "disc jockey" in 1934 for radio announcer Martin Block.

Although many of Little Richard's songs contain obscure sexual references, like "Long Tall Sally, she's built for speed", a television censor once said: "How can I reject it when I can't even understand it?"

Elvis Presley's version of "One Night" was originally a 1956 R&B hit for Smiley Lewis, who recorded it as "One Night Of Sin". Knowing that the original lyrics would never get past the strict radio censorship of the day, Elvis himself changed the words from "One night of sin is what I'm now paying for." to "One night with you is what I'm now praying for." His instincts proved correct and the song reached number one in the UK and number four in the US in 1959.

In 1963, Chubby Checker reached #12 on the Hot 100 with "Loddy Lo", a song he had written about Catharina Lodders, who won the Miss World title a year earlier. The two were married in 1964.

Songwriter Richard Lee got the inspiration to write Crystal Gayle's 1977 number one hit "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue" from his dog, who had one brown eye and one blue eye.

With only 15 minutes of a 3 hour session left, The Diamonds recorded a song that they had just learned a few hours earlier called "Little Darlin'". The first and only take would turn out to be million seller that reached number 2 on the Billboard chart during a 21 week stay and become the third highest selling single of 1957.

When John Lennon's Aunt Mimi met George Harrison for the first time, she took an instant dis-like to him because of his deep Liverpool accent. She later told John "You always seem to like the low-class types, don't you John?"

After Deep Purple recorded "Smoke On The Water", they didn't particularly care for it and rarely performed the song in concert. When it was released as a single over a year after the album came out, it rose to #4 in the US and #21 in the UK.

In 1957, The Ohio Penitentiary News blasted Elvis Presley's version of "White Christmas" as "a song beloved until this creature recorded his barnyard version of it." Radio station CKXL in Calgary also banned "Elvis’s Christmas Album", saying “Presley sings the Christmas songs exactly as we expected he would. It is one of the most degrading things we have heard in some time.” Despite heavy criticism, the L.P. topped the Billboard album chart and by 1963 had reached Gold Record status.

While waiting for producer Jim Hilton to arrive, Iron Butterfly ran through "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as a soundcheck for engineer Don Casale, who had started the tape rolling. When it was played back, everyone agreed that the band couldn't improve on it. It's that seventeen minute "soundcheck" that appears on the multi-platinum album.

In 1963, after The Beatles had moved to London, John Lennon had a conversation with fashion model Sonny Freeman, who told John that her father had been shot by a German soldier for his anti-Nazi views. John told her that he didn't think he was going to live very long either. He had a premonition that he would be shot too.

Billy Swan recorded his 1974, number one hit "I Can Help" with an organ that Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge had bought for him as a wedding gift.

Originally the title of The Beatles' ninth album was supposed to be "A Doll's House", but that was scrapped when it was discovered that a British band called Family had already issued an LP called "Music in a Doll's House". After some design problems, the double disc effort was simply issued in a plain white jacket, embossed with the words "The Beatles". Fans would call it "The White Album".

Bernie Taupin wrote the lyrics to Elton John's 1973 hit, "Daniel" in the morning, Elton put them to music in the afternoon and before the day was done, their band recorded it. The song rose to #2 in the US and #4 in the UK.

Roseanne Cash won a Grammy Award in 1985 for a song called "I Don't Know Why You Don't Want Me" that she had written about not winning a Grammy for her 1981 breakthrough hit "Seven Year Ache".

When John Lennon first started to comb his hair like Elvis Presley in the mid-'50s, his Aunt Mimi commented that he looked "like an overgrown lavatory brush." When he got his hair cut for the filming of How I Won The War, she declared that it was too short and called it a "horrible skinhead style."

The Bee Gees' first UK number one hit was "Massachusetts", in October, 1967. Although the opening lines are "Feel I'm going back to Massachusetts, Something's telling me I must go home", the song was written before Robin, Maurice and Barry Gibb had ever been to Massachusetts. They wrote it on a boat near the Statue of Liberty. They later said that they just liked the sound of word. The record topped the charts in twelve countries world-wide, but only reached number eleven in the United States.

Wayne Wadhams, the keyboard player and lead vocalist for The Fifth Estate on their 1967 hit "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead", went on to write TV jingles and ad campaigns. Later still, he arranged and sang the main theme for the Candid Camera TV series, NBC sports specials and the Massachusetts State Lottery. Wadhams has credits as producer, arranger, and/or engineer of over two dozen singles and albums.

Although a tombstone inscribed with the name "Eleanor Rigby" stands in the graveyard of St. Peter's Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, just yards away from where Paul McCartney met John Lennon in 1957, Paul said he came up with the name Eleanor from actress Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the film Help!. Rigby came from Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers, the name of a store in Bristol. In 1984, Paul was quoted as saying "I just liked the name. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. Eleanor Rigby sounded natural."

When Elvis bought Graceland for he and his parents to live in, he said he wanted to create "the most beautiful bedroom in Memphis" for his mother. Gladys, however had other priorities. She wanted to add a chicken coop and a hog pen.

The hit version of Neil Diamond's "Cherry, Cherry" has no drum track because it was recorded as a demo and was never intended to be released as a single. In later sessions, drums and horns were included, but none of those tracks turned out as well as the demo.

The Righteous Brothers' 1965 hit "Unchained Melody" started out as the theme to an obscure 1955 prison film called Unchained, based on the non-fiction book Prisoners are People by Kenyon J. Scudder. The movie's plot centers around a man who contemplates either escaping from prison to live life on the run, or completing his sentence and returning to his wife and family. Vocalist Todd Duncan sang the original movie theme which was nominated for a Best Song Oscar but lost to "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing".

Bruce Springsteen wrote "Dancing In The Dark" after a heated argument with his manager, Jon Landau, who wanted a hit single for the "Born In The USA" album. Springsteen later said about the song: "It went as far in the direction of Pop music as I wanted to go, and probably a little farther."

When Paul McCartney and John Lennon first played "She Loves You" for Paul's dad, he said "That's very nice son, but there's enough of these Americanisms around. Couldn't you sing "She loves you, yes, yes, yes!". The duo collapsed in a fit of laughter.

The Four Preps placed seven songs on Billboard's Top 40 between 1958 and 1961, including "26 Miles", "Big Man" and "Down By The Station". After their recording career came to an end in 1967, three of the original members went on to excel in other show biz ventures. Ed Cobb focused on work as a record producer and sound engineer, producing The Standells' "Dirty Water" and working with Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan and Pink Floyd. He also wrote "Tainted Love" in 1966, which became a hit for Soft Cell in 1982. Glen Larson became the well-known TV producer of McCloud, Quincy, Battlestar Gallactica, Magnum P.I., The Fall Guy and others. Bruce Belland became a script writer for Manix, McCloud and To Catch A Thief and later still a producer, an actor and eventually Vice-President of NBC.

Bobby Hebb wrote his 1966 hit "Sunny" about an unknown woman's smile that had lifted his spirits after his brother had been killed in a knife fight outside a Nashville nightclub.

Elvis Presley had a juke box in a pavilion near his Graceland swimming pool that contained records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr., Tom Jones and many others. None of his own songs were ever included in the collection.

The off-duty policeman whose car struck and killed John Lennon's mother, Julia, later became a postman. One of his assigned routes took him to the Forthlin Road home of Paul McCartney, where he dropped the mail while Paul and an unsuspecting John practiced their guitars.

The title of the Hollies 1969 hit "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" was first used as the title of a column in Kiwanis Magazine, published by Roe Fulkerson in 1924. The phrase later became associated with Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, who came across a drawing, created by Van B. Hooper, of a young boy carrying his brother in the Christmas 1941 edition of the Louis Allis Messenger. The caption read "He ain't heavy Mister — he's m' brother!" With permission from the magazine, the phrase became the motto of Boys Town.

After being formed as "The Noble Five" and later "My Backyard", Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd took their name as a jab at a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, Leonard Skinner, who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school's policy against boys having long hair. Over the years the band eventually developed a friendly relationship with Skinner and actually invited him to introduce them at a concert in Jacksonville.

Bobby Fuller, who enjoyed a #7 hit with "I Fought The Law" in 1965, died in his car, which was parked in front of the apartment building where Sonny Curtis, the writer of "I Fought The Law", used to live.

In early 1967, Elvis Presley bought a 163 acre Mississippi ranch he dubbed The Circle G for $300,000. One of the horses he bought for the ranch was a mare that he named after William B. Ingram, who was the mayor of Memphis at the time. He called her Mare Ingram.

Frank Sinatra topped both the US and UK charts in 1966 with "Strangers In The Night", later winning a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Record of the Year. Despite these successes, Sinatra despised the song and called it "a piece of shit," and "the worst fucking song I ever heard."

Madonna's 1984 hit "Like a Virgin" was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Steinberg said that the song was not only not written for Madonna, it was not even written for a female singer. The lyrics were actually inspired by his own personal romantic experiences.

Charlene D'Angelo, who recorded under the name Charlene, recorded "I've Never Been to Me" in 1976 and saw it rise to #97 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 1977. In 1982, a Florida disc-jockey started giving the song regular play on his radio show and it was soon re-issued by Motown Records, this time climbing to #3 in the United States and #1 in the United Kingdom. By this time, Charlene had lost her recording contract, moved to England and was working in a sweetshop in Ilford, London.

The Ed Sullivan Show was a TV institution on Sunday nights in America for 23 years and was a springboard for nearly every major music act in the 60s. The show was canceled in 1971 and Sullivan passed away of esophageal cancer at age 73 just over three years later, coincidentally on a Sunday night.

Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" has been recorded by over 900 other artists. Co-writer Keith Reid told the website www.songfacts.com that he came up with the title after overhearing someone at a party saying to a woman, "You've turned a whiter shade of pale."

Before Bette Midler took "Wind Beneath My Wings" to the top of the Billboard Pop chart on June 10th, 1989, the song had already been recorded by Roger Whittaker, Sheena Easton, Lou Rawls, Lee Greenwood, B.J. Thomas, Gary Morris and Gladys Knight. Only Morris' version had significant success, reaching #5 on the Billboard Country chart.

Actors Walter Matthau, Rock Hudson, Slyvester Stallone, Joe Pesci, Burt Reynolds and Jerry Mathers have all recorded albums. Every one was a flop.

In 1963, when "You're The Devil In Disguise" was debuted to a British audience on the BBC television show Juke Box Jury, celebrity guest John Lennon voted the song “a miss”, saying that Elvis Presley was "like Bing Crosby now." It turned out that John's prediction was wrong and the song would rise to the top of the UK chart.

After reading an article about a college student who took off his clothes and ran through a crowd, Ray Stevens thought it was a great idea for a song. By the time "The Streak" cracked the Billboard chart in April, 1974, there were already fifteen other songs about streaking, with another forty to follow. Some stores even set up sections for Streaks Of The Week. Stevens song topped the Pop chart just five weeks after its debut and stayed in the top four for a month.

To help launch the new Beatles' recording company, Apple Records, the firm encouraged new acts to send in their auditon tapes. They signed Bad Finger, Mary Hopkin and a host of others, but turned down the up-and-coming David Bowie.

After being injured at a Boy Scout blanket toss, 13 year old Johnnie Ray lost most of the hearing in his right ear. A later surgery left him almost completely deaf in both ears, yet with the help of hearing aids he would go on to record over 65 singles, including "Cry" (#1), "Just Walking In The Rain" (#1) and "You Don't Owe Me A Thing" (#10). He was even referred to in Dexys Midnight Runners' 1982 hit "Come On Eileen" as "Poor old Johnnie Ray, sounded sad upon the radio, he moved a million hearts in mono".

Paul McCartney got the inspiration to write his 1982 hit "Ebony And Ivory" after hearing Irish comedian and musician Spike Milligan say "black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony folks!".

On April 18th, 2004, a 20 year old American R&B singer calling himself Eamon (Eamon Jonathan Doyle) released a song called "Fuck It (I Don't Want You Back)". It would go on to become the first song with an expletive in its title to reach the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #16. It reached #1 in the UK and Australia. The song was also listed in the Guinness Book Of World Records for "the most expletives in a #1 song", with 33.

In 1964, The Beatles topped the Cashbox Magazine record chart for sixteen straight weeks with four different songs. From January 25th until May 16th the Fab Four lead the best sellers list with "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (8 weeks), "She Loves You" (2 weeks), "Twist And Shout" (1 week) and "Can't Buy Me Love" (5 weeks). Their streak was interrupted by Louie Armstrong's "Hello Dolly" for one week before "Love Me Do" put them back on top for another week.

In 1967, a song called "Yellow Balloon" by a group of studio musicians billed under the same name, reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The problem was that there was no actual band that could go on tour in support of the single or to record an album. Producer Ken Handler of Canterbury Records enlisted the help of Don Grady, a former Mouseketeer and better known as Robbie Douglas of the TV series My Three Sons, who put a band together and recorded a self-titled LP that is now considered a cult classic.

Shel Silverstein, the writer of Dr. Hook's hit "Sylvia's Mother" revealed that he really did call a girl named Sylvia (her last name wasn't Avery like the song says) and her mother resisted letting him talk to her, telling him that Sylvia was packing to go away and get married. Although she finally relented, she cautioned Silverstein "Shel, don't spoil it."

The Four Tops recorded "Reach Out, I'll Be There" in just two takes, assuming it would never be anything but an album filler. When Motown boss Berry Gordy released it as a single in 1966, it topped both the UK and US charts.

Elvis Presley once said that he had never tasted alcohol.

After the amazing success of "Dark Side Of The Moon", Pink Floyd planned an album that featured the sounds of household objects, which fortunately was never recorded.

Sherrell Paris of The Paris Sisters, who reached #5 on the Billboard Pop chart in 1961 with "I Love How You Love Me", went on to serve as Bob Barker's personal assistant on the US TV show The Price Is Right.

As a child, Brian Wilson's mother told him that dogs could pick up vibrations from people, so that a dog would bark at "bad vibrations." In 1966, Wilson turned that idea into The Beach Boys' number one hit "Good Vibrations".

"This Diamond Ring" was turned down by The Drifters and Bobby Vee before Gary Lewis and The Playboys took it to #1 in the US in 1965. Songwriters Al Kooper, Bob Brass and Irwin Levine later said they were "revolted" by the Playboy's version because it was intended to be a soulful R&B song and Lewis, they noted, "made a teenage milkshake out of it."

Creed Bratton, a cast member on the NBC comedy series The Office, is a former member of The Grass Roots who appeared on their first four albums and eight of their hit singles.

From 1968 to 1970, Jim Morrison lived at the humble Alta Cienega Motel in Los Angeles, in a room with no telephone.

'80s rocker Billy Squier allegedly had a rider in his contract that said if the venue he was performing at misspelled his name as "Squire" on the marquee, he was entitled to 100 percent of the door receipts.

Roland Kent LaVoie, who records as Lobo, nearly gave away his biggest hit. He offered a song called "I'd Love You To Want Me" to The Hollies, but they didn't like the line about "When you moved your mouth to speak, I felt the blood go to my feet" and wanted half of the writing credit to change it. When LaVoie opted to record the tune himself, it went to #1 on the Billboard Contemporary chart and sold over a million copies.

Jean Terrell, the singer who took Diana Ross' place in The Supremes in 1970, is the sister of the former WBA heavyweight boxing champion, Ernie Terrell, who lost twice to Muhammad Ali.

After leaving Danny And The Juniors in 1960, vocalist Dave White went on to write "You Don't Own Me" for Leslie Gore, as well as "1-2-3" and "Like A Baby" for Len Barry.

When it was first introduced in late 1958, "The Chipmunk Song" by David Seville and The Chipmunks received the lowest rating in the history of American Bandstand. Record buyers felt differently and by Christmas the song had risen to #1 on the Billboard Pop chart, where it stayed for four weeks.

In the 1940s, the Wurlitzer Jukebox company slogan was "The Magic That Changes Moods."

Brenda Lee's Christmas classic "Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree" was recorded in July, with an air conditioner chilling the studio and a Christmas tree set up to get the musicians in the holiday spirit.

"The First Noel" is a traditional English Christmas carol that is said to date back to the 18th century and was first published in a collection of songs called Some Ancient Christmas Carols in 1823.

Dean Martin's 1959 rendition of the holiday tune "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow", was written in 1945 by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne on what Cahn would later remember as "the hottest day of the year."

Songwriter Johnny Marks wrote many memorable Christmas songs, including "Holly Jolly Christmas", "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day". It's interesting to note that he was Jewish.

When asked if he thought Ringo was the best drummer in the world, John Lennon replied "Ringo's not even the best drummer in The Beatles."

When an interviewer asked Paul Simon "What's the smartest thing you ever heard anybody in Rock 'n' Roll say?", Simon answered "Be bop-a-lula, she's my baby."

The Four Seasons' hit, "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)", was originally written by Bob Gaudio as "December 5th, 1933". After some prodding by Frankie Valli, Gaudio reworked the lyrics and the melody into the song that topped both the US and UK charts in 1976.

During his Presidential campaign in 2000, George W. Bush was asked by Oprah Winfrey what his favorite song was. He replied "Wake Up Little Susie by Buddy Holly."

Angela Lansbury, famous for her starring role in the TV series Murder She Wrote, played Elvis' mother in the film Blue Hawaii. She was only 35 years old when the movie was filmed, just 10 years older than Elvis. In later years, Lansbury would say that she regards Blue Hawaii as the low point in her acting career.

Ian Thomas, who reached #34 in the US with "Painted Ladies" in 1973, is the brother of Dave Thomas, who played Doug McKenzie of The McKenzie Brothers as well as appearing in the TV show Grace Under Fire with Brett Butler.

Although most us remember The Temptations as being the R&B vocal group from Detroit who placed 38 songs on the Hot 100 between 1964 and 1991, there was actually another recording group who used that name first. They were a white doo-wop quartet from Flushing, New York, who reached #29 on the Billboard Top 40 with a song called "Barbara" in 1960.

Jim Sundquist and Phil Humphrey, who had a #5 Billboard hit in 1960 with a novelty tune called "Mule Skinner Blues", called themselves The Fendermen because they both played Fender guitars and connected them to the same amplifier.

The largest group to ever have a hit record on the Billboard Top 40 was The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The 375 voice ensemble reached #13 with "Battle Hymn Of The Republic" in 1959.

Just before the release of what would become their US #1 hit, "Chapel Of Love", a New Orleans vocal group had their name changed to The Dixie Cups. They were originally called Little Miss and The Muffets.

The first song known to have used a multi-track recording technique was "How High the Moon" by Les Paul in 1951.

Lynyrd Skynyrd is most often associated with the song "Sweet Home Alabama", but the band was actually formed in Jacksonville, Florida.

Although Bobby "Boris" Pickett was imitating the voice of actor Boris Karloff when he recorded "Monster Mash", Karloff's daughter later told him that she didn't think he sounded like her father at all.

The musical Grease ran as a New York play for over three thousand performances and the film version was the number one box office draw of 1978.

The largest industry in Nashville is health care, which generates three times as much revenue as the number two industry, music.

Michael Jackson's "Thriller" holds the record as the best selling album world wide, with sales of over 100 million.

The original back album cover of Wings' "Red Rose Speedway" contained a Braille message to Stevie Wonder that said "We love you, baby."

When he was a boy living in Englewood, NJ in the early 1960s, Vincent Curatola, who went on to play Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni on the hit TV show The Sopranos, delivered newspapers. Some of his customers were Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Dizzy Gillespie, Leslie Gore, Sarah Vaughn and Tammy Tyrrel.

Led Zeppelin is the only band to have every one of their albums reach the Billboard Top Ten.

While over 500 million songs were legally downloaded in 2006, over 5 billion were downloaded illegally.

Early in his career, Bill Haley was billed as "the Ramblin' Yodeler."

Hall and Oates often receive requests to play "Baby Come Back" at their live shows. Embarrassed fans are then informed that the tune was recorded by the group Player, not by Hall and Oates.

The Four Seasons' 1966 smash, "I've Got You Under My Skin" was written by Cole Porter and was originally a hit for Ray Nobel in 1936.

Ronn Moss, the bassist for Player on their 1977 hit, "Baby Come Back", went on to play Ridge Forrester on the TV soap The Bold And The Beautiful.

U2's vocalist, Paul Hewson has been called "Bono" by his family and fellow band members since his adolescence. The nickname is short for "Bono Vox", an alteration of Bonavox, a Latin phrase which translates to "good voice."

Before joining KISS in 1982, Vinnie Vincent was a staff songwriter for the TV programs Happy Days and Joanie Loves Chachi.

When the TV show Cops went on the air in 1989, they used the now familiar "Bad Boys" by the Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle as the theme song. The Big Beat label didn't issue the song as a single until 1993, but when they did, it sold over seven million copies and rose to #8 on the Billboard chart.

Before reaching #20 on the Billboard chart with "I Wanna Testify" in 1967, the Parliaments vocalist George Clinton was a foreman in a Hula Hoop factory.

Although "Stairway To Heaven" is now one of Led Zeppelin's most popular songs, the first time they played it 'live', the audience booed. They came to hear "Whole Lotta Love".

In 2008, more than 10 million vinyl records were sold.

The birth of guitar fuzz distortion is believed to have come about by accident when Marty Robbins recorded "Don't Worry". Session man Grady Martin's guitar was plugged into a faulty amplifier, which created the strange effect. The crew liked it so much, they used it in the final mix. Their instincts proved correct as the song reached #3 on the Billboard Pop chart and #1 on the Country chart.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith will not allow anyone to refer to him as Steve.

One of Elvis Presley's first jobs was at a factory assembly line for the Precision Tool Company in Memphis, where he operated a drill press. His weekly take home pay was $27.00 for working from 7:00am to 3:30pm, five days a week.

The real name of the theme song from the TV show Jeopardy is "Think Music", written by the show's creator, Merv Griffin, who has collected millions of dollars in royalties from the tune since the show went on the air in 1964.

Songwriter Randy Newman has had only one Billboard Top 40 hit, "Short People", which reached #2 in 1978. It's a song which pokes fun at prejudice, but it brought Newman so much unwanted attention from folks who thought he really didn't like short people, that he has repeatedly refused to include it in any Greatest Hits package.

Herb Alpert's first US chart hit, "Lonely Bull" was inspired by a bull fight he attended in Tijuana, Mexico.

Songwriter Shel Silverstein wrote Johnny Cash's hit "A Boy Named Sue" after attending a judicial conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at which a male prosecutor named Sue Kerr Hicks was a speaker. Hicks was involved in the 1925 trial of John T. Scopes, a Dayton, Tennessee teacher accused of teaching the Theory of Evolution, in violation of Tennessee state law. Hicks' father named him after his deceased mother, who had died from complications with Hicks' birth.

In 1964, Ed Cobb of The Four Preps wrote a song called "Tainted Love" as a ballad for a singer named Gloria Jones. Eighteen years later, the Techno-pop duo, Soft Cell, took a synthesized version of it to #8 on the Hot 100.

Although some Eagles fans insist that the band's name is simply Eagles, guitarist Don Felder told TV's Night Talk in 2009, the band's name is The Eagles.

Vocalist Peter Kraemer of Sopwith Camel had actually suggested the name "Sopwith Camel" for another newly formed group, but they passed on it and decided on Big Brother and The Holding Company.

Roy Orbison's million selling, #2 hit, "Only The Lonely" was rejected by both Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers.

During the recording of The Isley Brothers' 1959 hit, "Shout", they were accompanied by the organist from their church, Professor Herman Stephens.

When The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia heard the finished tape of The Jefferson Airplane's newest album, he remarked "Sounds like a surrealistic pillow," and the album's name was born.

Rick James, who scored a hit with "Super Freak" in 1981, is the nephew of Temptations vocalist Melvin Franklin.

On July 18, 1953, Elvis Presley went to the Memphis Recording Service at the Sun Record Company and paid $3.98 to record the first of two double-sided demo acetates, "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin". Presley then gave the disc to his mother as a belated birthday present, even though the Presleys did not own a record player at the time.

After they split, Michael Jackson agreed to pay his ex-wife Debra Rowe $900,000 a year, according to court documents. In the divorce settlement, Debbie was also awarded a Beverly Hills mansion and a $4 million one time payment.

According to The Surfaris' rhythm guitarist Bob Berryhill, the cracking noise at the start of "Wipeout" is supposed to represent a breaking surf board. The sound was produced by splitting a piece of plywood near a microphone and the laughing voice that went along with it was provided by their manager, Dick Smallen.

On the January 4th, 1962 issue of Mersey Beat magazine, which shows The Beatles as Liverpool's top band, Paul McCartney's last name is mis-spelled "McArtrey". The group's names were provided to the publication by John Lennon, who either didn't know how to spell Paul's name or was playing a trick on him.

The Doors' "Light My Fire" topped the Billboard chart for three weeks in the summer of 1967, but Jim Morrison often indicated that he never liked the song and resented having to sing it. Ironically, it was the last song he ever did with the band during their final public performance at The Warehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 12, 1970.

Ray Charles was not born blind. He began to have vision problems at the age of five and his site was gradually erroded by glaucoma until he lost it completly.

Bill Black and Scotty Moore quit as Elvis Presley's back-up band in September, 1957 because they were so poorly paid. The pair made under $8,200 in 1956, while Elvis pocketed over $1 million. In 1968, Elvis called Scotty and asked him to play on his upcoming TV "Comeback Special". Scotty agreed without an understanding of the wages he would receive. When he was paid for the show, the amount didn't even cover his travel and lodging expenses.

Steve Van Zandt, who played guitar for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band from 1975 until 1984, landed a role as Silvio Dante in the hit HBO series The Sopranos in 1999. The slicked back hair style that he wore for the show was actually a wig. Steve's bride Maureen Van Zandt played his on-screen wife during season five of the show.

Pete Townshend accidentally broke the neck of his guitar at a low-ceilinged venue and the audience enjoyed it so much it became a regular part of the act.

The backup vocal group on Paul Simon’s "Slip Slidin’ Away" was The Oak Ridge Boys.

During his "Wall of Sound" days, Phil Spector's practice was to put an instrumental on the B side of a 45 to keep disc jockeys from flipping the record over and taking attention from the A side.

The inspiration for the line "I read the news today, oh boy, four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire" in The Beatles' song "A Day In The Life" came to John Lennon after he read a newspaper article about a plan to fill 4,000 potholes in the roads of the Northwestern English town of Blackburn.

According to Bill Harry, founder of the UK music magazine Mersey Beat and personal friend of The Beatles, the rumor that the group took their name from a line in the movie The Wild Ones, is totally false, as the movie was not released in England until 1968. Nor did it have anything to do with "Beat" music, a term that didn't come out until after the band was established. He says it was Stu Sutcliffe who suggested "Let's have a name like The Crickets."

Chuck Berry originally wanted to be a professional photographer and started singing and playing in a band to buy cameras and photography equipment.

The most successful American Idol is Kelly Clarkson, who has placed ten songs on the Billboard charts. One of the least successful is John Peter Lewis, who finished eighth in season three. His 2006 album sold about 1,000 copies.

Santana's 1970, Billboard #4 hit, "Black Magic Woman" was written by Peter Green and first appeared as a Fleetwood Mac single that rose to #37 in the UK in 1969.

The record for the longest time between number one albums belongs to Johnny Cash. He had the top LP on Billboard's Hot 200 chart with "At San Quentin" in 1969. In 2006, he repeated this feat with "American V: A Hundred Highways", a span of 37 years.

Clay tablets relating to music, containing the cuneiform signs of the "Hurrian" language, were excavated in the early 1950s at the Syrian city of ancient Ugarit in what is now modern Ras Shamra. One text contained a complete hymn, both words and music and is the oldest known preserved music notation in the world.

The Chordettes, who placed 9 songs on the Billboard Top 40 between 1954 and 1961, including "Mr. Sandman", "Born To Be With Him" and "Lollipop", were the first act to perform 'live' on American Bandstand.

To the surprise of many, the novelty tune "Witch Doctor" by David Seville topped the Billboard R&B chart for one week in May, 1958.

Jimi Hendrix first UK gig took place in a pub in Newcastle and lasted about three minutes. He played so loud that he blew every fuse in the building and the show came to an end.

In the 1930s, Jazz musicians started calling gigs "apples" and New York city became "The Big Apple."

Despite having 17 number one singles in Britain, Elvis Presley never toured there. His manager, Col. Tom Parker was not a US citizen and had no assurance that he'd be allowed back in the country if he left.

Producer Phil Spector played guitar on The Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire".

In Bill Withers' 1971 Billboard #3 hit "Ain't No Sunshine", he repeats the words "I know, I know, I know..." twenty-six times. This rather annoying repetition was originally meant as a place holder until Withers could think up some better lyrics that he never did come up with.

The epitaph on Sonny Bono's headstone reads: "And The Beat Goes On".

The shortest record to reach the Billboard Top 40 was "Some Kind-A Earthquake" by Duane Eddy. This seldom heard instrumental, which is only one minute, seventeen seconds long, reached #37 in 1959.

After Jan Berry of Jan and Dean was seriously injured in a car accident on April 12, 1966 and could no longer perform, his partner Dean Torrence formed a graphics design company that was responsible for over 200 album covers including "The Turtles Golden Hits", nine for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and several for Harry Nilsson. He won a Grammy Award for Best Album Cover of the Year in 1972 for the LP "Pollution" by the group of the same name and was nominated on three other occasions.

In November, 2008, Fort Lupton Municipal Judge Paul Sacco sentenced a group of teens convicted of playing music too loud to an hour of listening to Barry Manilow music. The judge explained "When you have a person playing Rap at extreme volumes all over the city, and they have to sit down and listen for an hour to Barry Manilow, it's horrible punishment."

The Raspberries 1972 debut album sported a raspberry scented 'scratch and sniff' sticker.

The Dr. Hook hit, "The Cover of Rolling Stone" was written by Shel Silverstein, a best-selling author of children's poems who was also a contributor to Playboy. When the group appeared on the magazine cover, it was in caricature, not an actual photograph.

David Gates of Bread wrote the Billboard #5 hit, "Everything I Own" in honor of his father, with the words 'You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, gave my life to me, set me free.'

B.B. King named his guitar Lucille after nearly losing it in a fire started by two men fighting over a woman with that name.

Misheard lyrics, such as "There's a bathroom on the right" instead of the correct "There's a bad moon on the rise" - is called a mondegreen.

The Eagles first learned the J.D. Souther written "How Long" in 1974, and although it was frequently included in their live shows, they refrained from recording it so Souther could use it on his own solo album. It finally appeared on their 2007 album, "Long Road Out Of Eden" and was released as a single in January, 2008. A month later, the song brought the band their fifth Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" was written as an answer to two Neil Young songs, "Southern Man" and "Alabama", which dealt with themes of racism and slavery in the American South. Young was born in Toronto, Canada and Skynyrd's members were from Florida.

Dave Clark turned down his initial appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show because he'd never heard of it. It was only after the band got to America and performed on the program, did he learn how big the Sullivan show was in the US.

A luthier is a craftsman who makes or repairs stringed instruments, such as guitars or violins.

Although they are mostly remembered for accompanying Elvis Presley on over 360 songs, The Jordanaires also sang back-up on 30,000 other recordings.

The English rock band Duran Duran had three members whose last name is Taylor, but none of them are related.

The album simply titled "The Beatles", which most fans call The White Album, was originally slated to be named "A Doll's House". That title was scrapped after the British progressive band Family released an album earlier in 1968, bearing a similar title.

Pat Benatar, who placed 15 songs in the Billboard Top 40, including "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" (#9 in 1980) and "We Belong" (#5 in 1984) trained at Julliard as an opera singer.

The words to "Amazing Grace" were written in 1772 by Englishman, John Newton, a former slave trader turned abolitionist. The original poem was later added to a variant of the tune "New Britain", penned in 1844, to form the song we know today. Judy Collins version rose to #15 on the Billboard chart in 1971.

When they were both youngsters, future Eagles member Don Felder gave guitar lessons to Tom Petty.

The first few copies of "Hey Paula" were credited to "Jill and Ray", since the singer's real names were Jill Jackson and Ray Hildebrand. For continuity sake, the duo were quickly re-named Paul and Paula.

Although ABBA placed 16 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, they did not speak English, and therefore pronounced their lyrics phonetically.

The first week of February could well be called "The week the music died" as all of these artists passed away.
1959 - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash.
1960 - 20 year old Jesse Belvin, who scored a hit with "Goodnight, My Love", died in an auto accident.
1967 - Joe Meek, producer of the Tornadoes hit, "Telstar" committed suicide.
1976 - Rudy Pompilli, sax player for Bill Haley's Comets, passed away.
1981 - Rock and Roll pioneer Bill Haley died of a heart attack at the age of 55.
1981 - Hugo Montenegro, who is best remembered for "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly", died of emphysema.
1983 - Karen Carpenter died of heart irregularities caused by anorexia nervosa.
1990 - Del Shannon died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. (Feb 8)
1998 - 51 year old Carl Wilson, lead guitarist of The Beach Boys, died of lung cancer.
1998 - Falco, who had a hit with "Rock Me Amadeus," was killed in a traffic accident.

The real life "Peggy Sue" that Buddy Holly sang about was Peggy Sue Gerron, the girlfriend of his drummer, Jerry Allison. The song was initially titled "Cindy Lou", but Allison convinced Buddy to change the title just before the recording session. Allison and Gerron were later married.

Steely Dan founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker first got together in a band known as The Bad Rock Group and later as The Leather Canary. Future comedy star Chevy Chase was their drummer.

Although today's Billboard magazine is devoted to the music industry and maintains several internationally recognized music charts, when it was founded in Cincinnati in 1894, it was a trade paper for the bill posting industry.

"The Twist" was written by Hank Ballard, who originally recorded it in 1959 with his group The Midnighters. He got the idea for the song by watching his band move around on stage. He said they looked like they were "trying to put a cigarette out."

Johnny Rivers' 1964 'live' album "Johnny Rivers At The Whisky A Go Go" was rejected by nearly every major US label. After Imperial Records took a chance on it, the L.P. sold well over a million copies, reaching #12 on the Billboard chart. The single taken from it, "Memphis" would reach #2.

When George Harrison visited his sister Louise in Benton, Illinois in September, 1963, he brought home two significant items: a Rickenbacker 425 guitar and a copy of James Ray's "Got My Mind Set On You". George's re-worked version of that 1961 recording would become his third and final Billboard chart topper as well as reaching number two in the UK in 1988.

Bertie Higgins, who took the romantic ballad "Key Largo" into the Billboard Top Ten in 1982, was once the drummer for Tommy Roe's backing band.

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.

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.

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.

Elvis Presley's 1957 LP "Elvis' Christmas Album" is the top selling holiday release of all time, racking up over nine million in sales.

The chords and structure of Tommy James' 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.

Bruce Hornsby's demo tapes were rejected by over 70 record companies. A year after RCA signed him in 1985, his tune "The Way It Is" topped the Billboard chart, followed by five more Top 40 hits, including "Mandolin Rain" (#4) and "The Valley Road" (# 5).

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 Four Seasons' Frankie Valli was arrested by Columbus, Ohio Police in September 1965, after his manager forgot to pay his hotel bill.

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.

Jay And The Americans first learned the song "Cara Mia" in 1962 because it contained the only four chords they knew. When they finally recorded it in 1965, the tune rose to #4 on the Billboard chart.

After seeing Marvin Gaye's large collection of pornography, writer David Ritz suggested that Gaye needed some "sexual healing". The two later collaborated on some lyrics which went into the hit song, but Ritz was not given any writing credit. After Gaye died, Ritz successfully sued.

The Allman Brothers' only Billboard Top 10 hit, "Ramblin' Man" was the last song recorded by bassist Berry Oakley before his death in 1972.

The soundtrack for the movie Saturday Night Fever was composed and performed primarily by The Bee Gees and has gone platinum fifteen times over. Despite this success, The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb says he has never seen the film all the way through.

Although Elvis Presley memorabilia sold more than 30 million dollars worth in 1965, Elvis only pocketed $60,000 in royalties.

When "Monster Mash" first started to get air-play in 1962, Bobby "Boris" Pickett was working part time as a cab driver. The song has since become an annual favorite, reaching the Billboard Top 10 in '62 and '73, earning three gold records and selling an estimated four million copies. Bobby has said that royalties from the record have "paid the rent for 43 years". Not bad for a song that took a half hour to write and another half hour to record and was intended to be a bit of fun to be shared only among family and friends.

The Who's album "Tommy" spent over two years on the US chart, but in their home country, the UK, it lasted only nine weeks.

Peter Cetera wrote "If You Leave Me Now" about a faltering relationship. Although the song proved to be Chicago's biggest selling record, it didn't help save the union, as the woman involved ended up leaving anyway.

CCR's John Fogerty had a notebook in which he jotted down words and names that he thought would make good song titles. At the top of his list was "Proud Mary", a phrase that brought images of a domestic washerwoman to John's mind. When he got around to putting it to music, the first few chords he used reminded him of a paddle-wheel going around. Instead of Proud Mary being a clean-up lady, she became a boat.

Lesley Gore's first album was called "I'll Cry If I Want To" which consisted of songs completely devoted to crying.

"Mack The Knife" was written for the 1928 German play The Threepenny Opera, in which "Mack" is Mackie Messer (Macheath), an amoral, anti-heroic criminal. Although it suffered an initially poor reception, the show went on to run 400 times in the next two years. It was translated into English in 1933 and since that time, at least seven productions have been mounted in New York, on and off Broadway.

It has often been rumored that Billy Joel played piano on The Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack", but this has been denied by one of the song's co-writers, Ellie Greenwich.

The original version of "Louie Louie" by The Kingsmen cost just $36 to record, but sold over 12 million copies.

In the 1950s, Paul McCartney's father lead a combo called Jim Mac's Jazz Band, where he played piano and trumpet. When he was a boy, Paul said that someday he hoped to be as good as his dad.

Set to Ronald White's tune, Smokey Robinson was inspired by his wife Claudette to write the lyrics to one of music history's greatest love songs, "My Girl". Smokey's personal problems lead to their divorce in 1986.

From clay tablets and other forms of pictures, historians have determined that stringed musical instruments were developed in ancient Egypt and Rome over 3,300 years ago. The first six string guitar, called a vihuela, was developed in Spain in the 17th century.

In February 1949, after RCA Victor introduced the first 45 rpm phonograph, they put together a promo package of seven 45s that were sent to US disc jockeys and retailers. The records were color coded for classification of music. Popular - Black; Classical - Red; Popular Classical - Midnight blue; Children's - Yellow; Country and Western - Green; Rhythm And Blues - Cerise; International - Sky blue.

John Fogarty's comeback album, 1985's "Centerfield", included a couple of songs titled "Zantz Can't Dance" and "Mr. Greed", which were believed to be attacks on Fogerty's former boss at Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz. Zaentz responded with a lawsuit, which forced Fogerty to issue a revised version of "Zaentz Can't Dance", changing the lead character's name to Vanz.

The Knack's lead vocalist, Doug Fieger, is the older brother of famed attorney Jeffrey Fieger, who defended doctor-assisted suicide advocate, Dr. Jack Kervorkian.

Three Dog Night's 1972, #1 hit "Black And White" was written in the mid-1950s about the 1954 US Supreme Court's landmark decision banning segregation in public schools. Some of the verses were changed in the Three Dog Night version. The original second verse went "Their robes were black, Their heads were white, The schoolhouse doors were closed so tight. Nine judges all set down their names, To end the years and years of shame".

Diane Renay, who was born Renne Diane Kushner, initially wanted to be billed as Renay Diane. She chose the "Renay" spelling to keep it from being mis-pronounced as "Ree-nee". Unfortunately, Atco Records misunderstood and printed early copies of her first recordings that said "Diane Renay". Rather than make an issue out of it, she decided to leave it that way. The record, "Navy Blue", went on to reach #6 in the US in 1964.

Joey Scarbury, who reached #2 on the Billboard chart with "Believe It Or Not" in 1981, was discovered by singer-songwriter Jimmy Webb's father, who wandered into a furniture store and heard the 14 year old's mom praising her son's singing ability. His initial recordings were not successful and it took another 12 years for Joey to have his big hit. Although he never cracked the Top 40 again, he did record the soundtracks for ER, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Fahrenheit 9/11.

By 1968, around eighty-five different manufacturers had sold over 2.4 million cassette players world wide and in that year alone, the cassette business was worth about $150 million.

In August, 2008, ABBA's "Gold" compilation rose to #1 on the UK album chart for the fifth time since being released in 1992, making it the oldest ever UK #1 album to return to the top of the chart, 16 years after release.

"For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield got its title when Stephen Stills first played the song for the group, saying "Here's a new song I wrote, for what it's worth." When he finished playing, he was asked what the title was. Stills said he didn't have one. Someone then replied, "Sure you do. You just said it."

David Rose, who had a Billboard #1 hit in 1962 with an instrumental called "The Stripper", also wrote the theme for the TV show Little House On The Prairie.

In January, 2005, on what would have been Elvis Presley's 70th birthday, "Jailhouse Rock" was re-released in the UK where it went straight to #1. At over 47 years after its original release, it became the oldest recording ever to top the UK charts.

The lightest Elvis ever weighed as a six foot tall adult was 170 lbs in 1960 following his discharge from the U.S. Army. The heaviest was at the time of his death, which was 260 lbs.

Helen Reddy's husband, Jeff Wald, was also her manager. He was also the manager for Sylvester Stallone, George Foreman, James Brolin, George Carlin, Elliot Gould, Deep Purple, Donna Summer, Flip Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Chicago and Crosby, Stills & Nash, to name only a few.

In 1959, Philadelpia's Overbrook Highschool boys basketball team won their league championship. Members of the team included future NBA stars, Walt Hazzard and Wally Jones, along with Len Borisoff, who would later change his name to Len Barry and become a member of The Dovells, who had a hit with "The Bristol Stomp" as well as having a solo hit with "1-2-3".

Chip Taylor is the stage name of American songwriter James Wesley Voight, brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle of actress Angelina Jolie. Besides writing The Troggs' hit "Wild Thing", he also penned "Angel of the Morning", by both Merrilee Rush and Juice Newton as well as "I Can Make It With You" by The Pozo Seco Singers and many other hit records.



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