Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Music Songs Pop Bands

I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime.

Aerosmith did music for a Dodge TV commercial, and part of the deal was that each band member got a Viper. They could either have the current model or wait six months for the new version. Brad Whitford told Dodge he wanted one right away, but he also wanted to order a new one (expecting to pay for it). Dodge gave him both. (If you don't ask, you don't get!)

David Bowie interviewed American TV show asked about his experiences on tour."Well I remember I did one show, and I yelled out 'It's great to be in Cincinnati!'.... That was a lie."

Story about school quiz night parents' social - first question music - played first line of a song and you were meant to write down the next line from memory. So they played "There she was just a walking down the street..." and 200 people leapt to their feet and sang, waving their hands and stomping their feet "Singing doowahdiddydiddydumdiddydoo" so even if hadn't heard the song in 30 years they still remembered every single syllable.

America's Got Talent entry 'Tequila' karaoke - deadpan delivery of "Tequila". By the third one the audience was on its feet, shouting "Tequila" with him.

An engineer at the project-sharing site Instructables has figured out how to convert digital music files into vinyl-like LPs, using 3D printing.

Prince wrote The Bangles 1986 hit single, ‘Manic Monday’ using a pseudonym.

A man was actually set on fire for the cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" album. An unexpected change in wind direction during the shoot caused stuntman Ronnie Rondell's moustache to catch on fire and burn off.

Prince was Prince's real name (Prince Rogers Nelson), but after a contractual dispute with Warner Bros, he changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol earning himself the name "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince" and "forcing a mass mailing of floppy disks with custom font."

Spotify subscribers who pay $10 a month, or $120 a year, to access the service are spending more on music than the average US consumer did at the peak of the CD boom.

iPods may have changed our perception of music, and that as young people become increasingly familiar with the sound of digital tracks the more they grow to like it. Rennie Pilgrem, a dance music producer, said that he mixed his tracks while listening to them through iPod headphones to cater to the less refined tastes of today's youth. "To my ears iPods are not even as good quality as cassette tape," he said. "But once someone gets used to that sound then they feel comfortable with it."

Some day, "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Dr. Dre will be playing somewhere, and an elderly couple will turn to each other and say, "They're playing our song."

Dread Zeppelin is a parody band. They perform Zeppelin material in a reggae style, sung by a 300-pound Elvis impersonator.

The full lyrics to "Oh My Darling, Clementine" recounts the narrator falling in love with a woman named Clementine, but she drowns in a river so the narrator promptly goes for her little sister.

Randy Bachman (of Bachman Turner Overdrive) wrote the stammering parts in their hit ‘You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet’ to tease his brother Garry, who had a speech impediment when he was younger.

Buckethead, the guitar virtuoso, has released TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY-SEVEN full studio albums and 171 under aliases and with other bands. In 2015 after the death of his parents he released an average of 1 studio album every 3 days.

Napoleon Dynamite was a pseudonym used by singer-songwriter Elvis Costello in the 80s.

Now seems that the idea of musical 'genius' is a myth. Talent has more to do with how hard you work rather than innate ability. Any school of music or anything will quote you examples of lesser students overtaking greater students simply by working harder. To become the master of anything takes roughly 10,000 hours of work.

One of the things people like about the music from 1960's on is that it allows you to take part - dance to it, sing along with it. The earliest music was all participatory - music and singing was a family activity, both in home and church, but then for about 500 years it turned into a perform/audience system.

Lady Gaga's stage name came from Queen's song "Radio Ga Ga". "One day when Fusari addressed a cell phone text to Germanotta under the moniker 'Radio Gaga' [and] his cell phone's spell check converted 'Radio' to 'Lady.' Germanotta loved it, and 'Lady Gaga' was born."

News You Can Use: When they were starting out, the band Guns N' Roses practiced and "lived" in a storage unit in Los Angeles, according to a book-review essay in May 2016 Harper's magazine, and "became resourceful," wrote the essayist. Wrote bass player Duff McKagan in one of the books, "You could get dirt-cheap antibiotics--intended for use in aquariums--at pet stores. Turned out tetracycline wasn't just good for tail rot and gill disease. It also did great with syphilis."

There is an Australian rock band named "The Beards." Every single one of their 38 songs is about beards.

Patti Boyd unique in inspiring 3 great rock ballads - George Harrison wrote "Something" after they married; Clapton wrote "Layla" when she refused to leave George then "Wonderful Tonight" after she'd moved in with him. Yet after divorcing 2 of the wealthiest rock gods on the planet she somehow ended up broke, living in a small flat in Hammersmith.

In 1962, at the University of Texas at Austin, Janis Joplin was voted "ugliest man on campus".

John Williams hired by Steven Spielberg to write score for Schindler's List. He was shown a rough cut but so overcome by emotion of film that left room and burst into tears. Came back and said to SS "You need a better composer than me." SS "I know, but they're all dead."

I read a summary once of The Man Who Fell to Earth: David Bowie is a strange alien who came to Earth to make millions of dollars and sleep with supermodels. He's also in this movie.

American singer Trent Reznor felt his song "A Warm Place" was too good to be his own work. After the song had been released, he was horrified to discover that he had indeed copied the melody from a piece by David Bowie called "Crystal Japan", written for a Japanese gin advert. Bowie found this hilarious.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone wrote a song called "Motherf*cker" for their 1999 South Park movie debut, but the MPAA threatened them with an NC-17 rating. They circumvented the threat by changing the song to "Uncle F*cka".

The only member of ZZ Top without a long beard is named Frank Beard.

In 1980, the Bee Gees sued Robert Stigwood for £30 million, claiming "unfair enrichment". Instead, an audit revealed that Stigwood had, in fact, overpaid them. The Bee Gees were forced to hand back a hefty cheque, but the falling out so upset Stigwood that he went into virtual retirement and spent the next decade running his affairs as a tax exile from his 126ft luxury yacht in Caribbean.

Brian May, the guitarist with Queen, takes himself very seriously. As well as having a PhD in astrophysics and being an animal rights activist, he likes to collect stereophotography, a Victorian form of 3D viewing. May has just cowritten a book on the subject, focusing on images of women in crinolines, below. He said at the launch that the stiff petticoats were responsible for 300 fatalities. “There was even one case of a woman who took a stroll near the cliff and was swept off her feet to an untimely death,” May said. A Queen fan in the audience at the launch was unable to resist on hearing that and shouted: “Another one bites the dust.” May fixed him with an icy stare. Maybe he’d have preferred Fat Bottomed Girls.

Toto IV, which included the hit track Africa, was issued as a limited-edition picture disc shaped like the continent of Africa. The gimmick helped send the song to #3, making it their biggest hit in Britain. (Guitarist Steve Lukather: "I thought it was the worst song on the album. It didn't fit, the lyrics made no sense and I swore that if it was a hit record, I'd run naked down Hollywood Boulevard! That's how good I am at picking singles! (Laughs) I mean I love the song now but, to be honest with you, at the time I thought it was really the odd ball song on the album. It almost didn't make the record and it was a #1 worldwide single and still gets played everywhere today. No matter where I go in the world, people know that song... it's bizarre! For a song that Dave (Hungate) and I wrote in his living room, people know it in Indonesia!")

London Tube buskers have to pass an audition and then get 2 hour slots at one of 34 Tube stations. But they say it's not unusual to come away with £2 tips for 2 hours playing, so they are grateful when music companies give them £40 fee to play promo tracks when they are re-releasing stuff like Johnny Cash Ring of Fire.

By law, buskers in Dublin must have a repertoire of at least 20 songs.

AUTHORITIES in Sweden, perhaps feeling that 2016 hasn’t been strange enough already, have awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature to Bob Dylan. But maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised. Last year, a team at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden discovered more than 727 references to his music in the scientific literature. There is “The CRISPRs, they are a-changin’: how prokaryotes generate adaptive immunity” and “Blowin’ in the wind: both ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ feedback in an obscured high-z quasar”.
However, Dylan isn’t the king of sci-lit references. In a new unpublished paper, Ger Rijkers at the University College Roosevelt in the Netherlands and his colleagues found 211 publications since 1990 citing Dylan in their titles, but no less than 589 papers referenced the Beatles, with titles such as “I get height with a little help from my friends: herd protection from sanitation on child growth in rural Ecuador”.

Carl Haber created a machine that can read the surface of very old audio recordings and reproduce them without having to touch them; using the same type of technology that was used to see the Higgs boson particle.

When Takeo Morita worried that "tainted" power would affect the quality of his tunes, he installed a roughly $10,000 utility pole with his own transformer to get more electricity straight from the grid. And he's not alone -- there's a whole magazine dedicated just to selling audio-related power equipment, including poles.

Successful bands are the ones who've created Anthems - catchy tunes with lyrics simple enough for the average punter to recall - from Queen's We Are The Champions to Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony. Both on football terraces and at live shows, give you a chance for a good shout, a chance to let go in a safe environment.

Baby boomers the first generation to grow up with record players and jukeboxes and hit parades - accustomed to the idea that our lives have a soundtrack.

John Peel, British DJ, died couple years ago. Had a massive record collection - 26,000 LPs 40,000 CDs and 40,000 singles - many records rare pre-release and promo copies sent out by record companies during his 40 year career in music.

Creedence Clearwater Revival were all from San Francisco and had never even visited Louisiana or the Bayou. Their accents were simply exaggerated for effect.

In Tokyo, where 1Kara has several 24-hour locations, taking time out of your day to belt out pop songs solo isn’t strange. The concept of hitokara, the Japanese term for doing karaoke alone, must be understood in context. In the US, karaoke often means standing in front of an audience of total strangers at a bar. In Japan, it’s typical to go to a “karaoke box” that rents private rooms by the hour and sing with a group.

After they divorced, Eagles' guitarist Glenn Frey often dedicated the song Lyin' Eyes to his first wife, whom he called "the Plaintiff".

Sir Thomas Beecham once advised an inquiring mother that easiest instrument her child should learn to play was the bagpipes as sounds exactly the same once you've mastered it as when you begin.

It's a beautiful day for Bono - who can now add billionaire to his list of accomplishments. U2's lead rocker has edged out the Beatles' Paul McCartney as the world's richest pop star thanks to an early investment in Facebook, the Mirror reported. Back in 2009, Bono bought a 2.3 percent share of Facebook for nearly $76 million through Elevation Partners, an investment company he cofounded. Six years later, that venture became a $1 billion payday - raking in more money than his entire decades-long music career. McCartney's fortune totals $818 million, with Madonna coming in third place at $582 million.

(Richard Branson on signing) Sex Pistols. 'I saw them live at some little club off Oxford Street - the Speakeasy, I think,' says Branson of the punk rock phenomenon that rescued Virgin from hippie purgatory. 'I rang up [the Pistols' then record company] EMI and said that if they wanted to get rid of their embarrassment they should speak to me. They didn't take my call. At six o'clock the next morning, after the Bill Grundy show [when the drunken chat show presenter goaded members of the Pistols into swearing], I got a call from the chairman of EMI, who said: 'Come over for breakfast, the contract is yours.' I got there, shook hands with their manager Malcolm McLaren, and Malcolm went off and signed them to A&M an hour later. They promptly threw up over the desk at A&M and by lunchtime they were on Virgin.'

Historically pre-literate societies remembered all knowledge through songs and chants - we still do it today - what's the number for Pizza Hut? "Oh eight hundred, 83 83 83".

A tree in Los Angeles' Griffin Park which was dedicated in 2004, with an appropriate plaque, to the memory of George Harrison, had to be cut down. It was infested ...... with beetles.

(Rod Stewart) "In the old days songwriting was not something I was running towards because there was too much shagging and drinking to do, which is why You Wear It Well took me three years to write. When Ron [Wood, Stewart's great friend in the Jeff Beck Group and the Faces] and I would try and write songs at his mum's house, we'd sit there with a blank page and look at each other. Then the wine would come out. Then we'd fall down on the floor drunk and that would be the end of the day."

Ben E King's Stand By Me went to No 4 in the American charts in 1961 and made the top ten again in 1986 when it was used as the theme song for the movie of the same name. In Britain, the 26-year-old song topped the charts in 1987 after it had been used in a TV ad for Levi's jeans. Remarkably, When A Man Loves A Woman - sung by King's good friend Percy Sledge, who also died in 2015 - was used in the same series of Levi's ads, and made No 2 in the charts behind Stand By Me.

Enya is one of the wealthiest musicians in Europe (£104 million), despite having released only six albums since 1988, never touring, and hardly ever performing live.

In the week of release of Watermark, Tower Records phoned up to say that when they played the album in the shop they sold 45 copies - almost everyone in the shop had bought the record, Dickins told The Guardian. It was unheard of. It went from 29 to 5, then to no. 1, and we sold bucketloads of albums.

As a media model, old-school commercial radio often seems like a particularly obnoxious dinosaur that's still sticking around at a mammal party, talking far too loud, monopolising the stereo and generally making a dick of itself. The vapid small-talk. The relentless advertising. The unadventurous playlists. The excruciating breakfast "personalities" trying so desperately to be hilarious.

Castratos - women barred from singing in church, boys voices too temporary, castratos more powerful than either. At first just church choirs, but 17th Century new opera houses gave chance for a career. During 200 years up to 1900, 4000 boys a year castrated in Italy in hopes that they would become great singers. Castration also took testosterone out of equation, so adolescent bone growth continued longer, making them taller and bigger, and ribs didn't fuse to spine as do normally, so very flexible chests. Everything came together - long training, big physique and great breath control made them amazing singers - they could sing more notes with one breath and with amazing control.

Is This a Great Country or What? There's hardly a more "generic" song in America than "Happy Birthday to You," but to this day (until a judge resolves a pending case) Warner/Chappel Music company is still trying to make big dollars off the 16-word ditty (15 original words plus a user-supplied 16th). Its original copyright should have expired, at the latest, in 1991, but amendments to the law, and technicalities in interpretation (e.g., did the copyright cover all public uses or just piano arrangements?) bring Warner at least $2 million a year in fees. A federal judge in California is expected to rule soon on whether the song is in fact uncopyrightably "generic"--125 years after the Hill sisters (Mildred and Patty) composed it.

Hedge fund put on one of most extravagant musical events ever - an OTT version of Woodstock called Hedgestock - Cuban cigars inst joints, Dom Perignon inst warm beer, hired The Who amongst other bands - 4000 people paid 500 quid each to sit in luxury themed tents.

Something In The Air went to No 1 in the week of the first Moon landing in July 1969 and captured the zeitgeist. "I think it just hit the spot at the time, historically and politically - it seemed to resonate with people," the pianist "Thunderclap" Newman said. Ironically, it was the only No 1 single on which Pete Townshend ever played - the highest chart placing he achieved with the Who was when My Generation and I'm A Boy each made it to No 2.

Do men and women respond differently to music? one female rock journalist said that men treat it like some secret nerd battle where you use your superior arsenal of trivia to prove that you are a bigger Clash fan that the other guy. Women on the other hand prove that they love a song by either getting up and dancing to it or by bursting into tears. Women make jokes about the bands' hair and work out in which order they'd shag the band members. That is, obviously, a far purer response to the music, because no band ever formed with the aim of being quibbled over by a bunch of trainspotting blokes. They form to make women drink, dance on tables, and want to have sex with them.

Expt where, amongst a battery of other tests, subjects had to compile a CD of their favorite songs. Then others tried to guess their personality type - adventurous, melancholy extrovert etc - out of all the ways of quickly assessing someone, this was most accurate.

Which implies that Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, in which Rob reckoned you should always judge a potential mate by their record covers, might have been right.

Men tend to use music to identify themselves with a particular tribe, whereas women use to reflect mood, but in both cases reflect their personality.

And dating agencies aware of this - many people are proudly elitist - can't imagine themselves spending time with someone who listens to Celine Dion.

While at a recent Elton John concert, I observed a heated altercation between two ladies. The younger lady wanted to stand up, dance and sing along with Elton. The older lady, seated directly behind her, wanted to stay seated, watch the band and enjoy the music. The older lady asked the younger to sit down, but was told that she should also stand up and dance. An argument quickly broke out. Any thoughts on how they might have resolved the conflict without swinging handbags? I blame Elton John himself, since he apparently did not clearly define property rights, contrary to the recommendations of the great economist Ronald Coase. Should a concert seat come bundled with the right to get up and dance, the older woman could have offered to pay her tormentor to sit down. Conversely, should a seat come bundled with the right to an unobstructed view, it would have been the younger woman offering the bribe. Either way, the dance would have continued only if the dancer's enjoyment outweighed its victim's frustration. Perhaps the bargaining might also have involved swapping seats? Sadly, with no clear property rights, there was no basis for a deal. No wonder the night turned out to be all right for fighting.

From the list of 10 Worst Rock Band names: Goldfish Don't Bounce, Electric Vomit, Guess My Perversion

We Built This City On Rock and Roll was rated the Worst Song Ever in a recent poll. Others to feature in Top 10 included Don't Worry Be Happy and Ebony and Ivory. One reviewer protested that it (We Built This City) was his favorite, mainly because he'd lost his virginity to it (though he did admit that it was all over by the end of the first verse)

(which probably brings us to the topic of 'earworms' - songs, or fragments of songs, that annoyingly linger in your head)

Napier guy got £17,000 at Christie's Auction for a 1969 poster advertising The Who, Small Faces and Paul Jones. (The poster had been sellotaped to the window of a shop "Can I have it?" "Yeah sure, help yourself")

The Kinks had to change the line of their song Lola from "tastes like Coca-Cola" to "tastes like Cherry Cola" to allow their song to be played on the BBC without violating the ban on advertising.

The BBC banned Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" because it mentions Nikon cameras

No words rhyme with Purple, Orange or Month. You've obviously never listened to Dang Me by Roger Miller, where he successfully rhymes purple...

Dennis Davis, 40, and his wife were convicted in October in Britain's Staines Magistrates' Court of manufacturing a line of pirated music CDs. Davis initially denied ownership of the pirated stash but was unable to explain why the CDs bore his company's label with his own photo on it.

Rock music blaring from boomboxes has proved one of the best defenses against an annual invasion of Mormon crickets. The huge flightless insects are a fearsome sight as they advance across the desert in armies of millions that march over, under or into anything in their way. But the crickets don't much fancy Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, the townspeople figured out three years ago. So next month, Tuscarorans are preparing once again to get out their extension cords, array their stereos in a quarter-circle and tune them to rock station KHIX, full blast, from dawn to dusk. "It is part of our arsenal," says Laura Moore, an unemployed college professor and one of the town's 13 residents

The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., recently celebrated 12 consecutive years of around-the-clock musical praying, which Pastor Mike Bickle and his evangelical congregation believe is necessary to fight the devil's continuous infiltration of the realms of power in society (business, media, government, etc). "To keep the music going," according to an October Los Angeles Times dispatch, "the church has 25 bands playing throughout the week in two-hour sets," divided between "devotional" music and "intercessions," in which God is petitioned to help some cause or place. Bickle claims that there are "thousands" of 24/7 prayer groups in the world.

The lyrics for the theme song for M*A*S*H* were written by 14-year old Mike Altman, who earned more than one million dollars in royalties for his composition - his father, Robert, earned $70,000 for directing the movie!

On the first Velvet Underground album, which has a Warhol cover featuring a bright yellow banana, you could actually peel the banana open on the original copies back in 1967.

"Music and math are not really that far apart," he says. "They've found that children that listen to music do better at math, because math and music both use the brain in similar ways. The best music is analytical and pattern-filled and mathematics has a lot of aesthetics to it. They complement each other well."

Of all the ways in which music changed over the twentieth century, the most fundamental was the shift from being something people played to something they consumed; from being part of a greater experience to being a thing that is often heard alone. Until recording, music did not exist without someone playing it, and so music was, by necessity, social.

The New York Times reported in February 2004 on a Washington, D.C., man whose love of music led him, in the 1960s, to meticulously hand-make and hand-paint facsimile record album covers of his fantasized music, complete with imagined lyric sheets and liner notes (with some "albums" even shrink-wrapped in plastic), and, even more incredibly, to hand-make cardboard facsimiles of actual grooved discs to put inside them. "Mingering Mike," whom a reporter and two hobbyists tracked down (but who declined to be identified in print) also made real music, on tapes,using his and friends' voices to simulate instruments. His 38 imagined "albums" were discovered at a flea market after Mike defaulted on storage-locker fees.

Eric Clapton is the only performer to have been inducted to the Hall of Fame three different times. He won the honor with The Yardbirds (1992), with Cream (1993), and as a solo artist (2000). He could feasibly earn a fourth with Derek & The Dominoes.

Whole generation of BB fathers brought up worrying about lyrics of Harry Chapin song The Cat's In The Cradle, and so desperately trying to 'be there' for their sons. Amusing article in Melb Age by guy who's son told him off for trying too hard - "Just give me a little space, dad."

Almost 40 years after John Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen, the insignia has finally been rediscovered. Lennon decided that he had sold out to the Establishment by accepting the honour and sent it back to the Queen in November 1969 as part of a peace protest. He had his chauffeur, Les Anthony, deliver the insignia to Buckingham Palace and sent identical letters to the Queen, the Prime Minister and the secretary of the Central Chancery, explaining his action.

He wrote: "Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain's involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against 'Cold Turkey' slipping down the charts." He signed himself: "With Love, John Lennon."

HE COULD be sleeping like a log in somewhere like Lower Hutt. He would have turned 68 last month, eligible for the pension and the free bus pass, a thin-haired, short-sighted old duffer issuing flat New Zild vowels through his snoot, raising a nice hot cup of Choysa to his thin lips, dreaming in bright colours of the mother whom he last saw one disturbing afternoon when he was a child back in Liverpool - this could be the life of John Lennon, who so nearly came to New Zealand when he was six, but you would also have to imagine the unimaginable. You would have to imagine no Beatles.

A former singer/actress Mary-Lu Zahalan-Kennedy has become the first graduate of Liverpool University's ground-breaking degree in Beatle Music and its influence on Western culture called "The Beatles, Popular Music and Society." Liverpool Hope Uni believe's the master's program offers the first advanced degree based on the life and times of the Fab Four.

John Lennon never said "Ringo isn't the best drummer in the world. He isn't even the best drummer in the Beatles". It was uttered by British comedian Jasper Carrott in 1983, three years after Lennon's death.

When he heard the Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing,” which contains a ridiculously finger-stretching George Harrison guitar solo, Eagles' guitarist Joe Walsh worked tirelessly until he mastered it. Years later, after he became famous, Walsh met Starr and told him the story. Starr looked at Walsh like he was nuts. Harrison had played two guitar parts separately and tracked them on top of each other in the studio. “Nah, nah, nah — he played it twice,” Starr told Walsh. “It’s two notes playing together!” “I think I’m the only guy who can play it — including George,” Walsh says. (Walsh is married to Marjorie Bach, the sister of Starr’s wife, Barbara Bach)

In 1967, The Monkees sold more records than The Beatles and Rolling Stones combined.

Big Band musician Glenn Miller scored 23 number one hits in just 4 years which was more than Elvis Presley (18 No. 1 hits) or the Beatles (20 No. 1 hits) managed in their entire careers.

Pete Best released an album in 1965 called "Best of the Beatles" that contained no Beatles music but fooled so many people into buying it that it was investigated for consumer fraud. The case was dropped because no fraud had been committed, he was Best of the Beatles.

During the week of 4 April 1964, the Beatles held the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 singles simultaneously. This feat hasn't been accomplished by any other artist to date, the closest being 50-Cent, who placed three titles simultaneously.

Why do bands break up? Roger Waters gave one of the more succinct explanations when asked that question about Pink Floyd: "It became more and more like trying to wade through treacle, as is well known. We were increasingly at odds because we had different aspirations. Up until “The Dark Side of the Moon,” I think our thoughts and feelings were pretty concurrent: We wanted to become rich and famous and we worked together as a pretty close-knit team to that end, but once that end had been achieved, then there were other things that started to become important, certainly to me, and it became increasingly difficult to have to argue about stuff."

The King had a thing for the Second Amendment. One day in 1970, after a concert where fans had gotten a bit too close, Elvis went out and bought several thousand dollars worth of guns from a Beverly Hills sporting goods store - troubling, because he also had a temper. Elvis was known to shoot his TV set anytime Robert Goulet or Mel Torme came on the screen. (At least one such-damaged set was later sold as a collectible.) That isn't all he pointed his gun at, though. He also shot his car whenever it refused to start.

Alexander McCall Smith's Really Terrible Orchestra has turned mediocrity into an art form. The orchestra's co-founders say that the secret of its success is keeping performances short and giving away free wine to audiences. It does not matter that we are irretrievably out of tune, McCall Smith said. It does not matter that on more than one occasion members of the orchestra have been discovered to be playing different pieces of music by different composers, at the same time. We are The Really Terrible Orchestra and we shall go on and on.

Where Do People Still Use Cassette Tapes? The answer: in prisons, where CDs are routinely banned because they can be shattered and the shards refined into shivs. MP3 players are unavailable in most prisons, as are, one imagines, turntables. California-based entrepreneur Bob Paris got the idea five years ago to sell cassettes by mail to the 2.3 million people locked up in federal, state, or local prisons across America. Now he finds himself with a thriving analog business in a digital music industry beset by piracy and plummeting sales

Buddy Holly was watching the John Wayne movie "The Searchers," when he fell in love with Wayne's line "That'll be the day." Buddy turned the line into his first hit single.

Eliot Spitzer, as Attorney General of NY, used an attack on music industry to raise his profile to help him get Governor of NY job (he exposed the payoffs the record labels were using to persuade DJ's to play songs they wanted to promote). Then of course Spitzer, the crusader against corruption, got caught with a few secrets of his own, paying off a high-priced prostitute. Ironically the girl, Ashley Dupre, was an aspiring singer, and after the story broke, downloads of her music off her Facebook page netted her over $200,000 worth of .98 cent downloads.

Misheard song lyrics: 'The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind' etc were first given the name 'mondegreens' in a 1954 Atlantic magazine article where the writer thought he heard the line "killed Earl such-and-such and Lady Mondegreen" but later discovered it was 'laid him on the green'
Others that you can find on www.kissthisguy.com include
'Donuts make your brown eyes blue'
'Share your marijuana with me'
'S'cuse me while I kiss this guy'
'I'll never leave your pizza burning' (instead of I'll never be your beast of burden)
'I can find the sink but not the drain' (instead of I can find the sleep but not the dream)

Knock-off bands - Bjorn Again ("Almost Abba") making more money than the original. Started as a pub band in Melbourne; now franchised all over the world. As one reviewer put it "peddling a carbon copy of a band that was crap 20 years ago - they are pretending to be Abba, and the audience, in some bizarre way, are pretending to be fans of Abba."

Officials at Seaford, England's, 12th-century St. Peter's Church, which is renowned for its eerie quietness, created a 30-minute CD [in 2013] of "total silence," first as a small-scale fund-raising project but later for general sales (since word-of-mouth had attracted orders from the noise-annoyed as far away as Ghana). Those who have heard it said they could make out only the occasional squeaking of footsteps on the wooden floor and the very distant hum of a passing car. Said one admiring parishioner, "People sometimes like to sit down and just have a bit of peace and quiet."


Eric Burdon said they once tried to play one of the Animals Gold Disks and it turned out to be an old Connie Francis song.

It’s safe to say that Sting never has to work again if he doesn’t want to. On top of all his income from touring and his incredibly popular back catalog, he earns $730,000 a year — $2,000 a day — in royalties from only one song, ‘Every Breath You Take.’ In 1997 it was appropriated by Puff Daddy for ‘I’ll Be Missing You,’ his tribute to slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. Puff Daddy never asked permission from Sting for the sample, which would have probably allowed him to pay out just 25 percent of the publishing royalties. Instead, due to copyright law, Sting was able to lay claim to 100 percent of them. The track sold seven million copies and won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.

Pat Boone was making a steady income from royalties of his old songs until the Beatles showed up in US, and stations stopped playing his songs, so royalty stream dried up. So he bought the rights to market pictures of the Beatles in the States, commissioned 4 paintings, and made more money out of that than had ever made out of his songs

Church of Elvis and Church of Jim Morrison

George Harrison - If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.

Sir George Martin family crest: containing beetles, and a house martin holding a recorder. "Amore Solum Opus Est " = "All You Need Is Love" and nebuly division with the barrulets would seem to signify guitar strings, no?

Towards the end of her life Marlene Dietrich was living in poverty in a Paris attic - but she had an admirer in Calif who was depressed and seeing a psych Dietrich suggested he send her the money he was paying the shrink and she would sing for him 5 nights a week.

Governor of Arkansas gave Keith Richards pardon for traffic ticket "Won't people object to preferential treatment?" "Not anyone with an IQ above plant life" says Gov.

Elvis is richest dead entertainer - died in 1977 but in 2005 made $45m from royalties; No 2 is Charles Schultz d 2000 but still made $35m 2005 from Peanuts reruns and third is John Lennon who made $22m, mainly for Yoko Ono.

When Gary Glitter made it back to England after couple of years in Vietnam jail for shagging underage boys, LST article suggested that you could have predicted such an outcome from the type of fans he attracted: "little rat-faced specimens who spent most of their time trying to crawl up the teacher's arse and who all went on to become real estate agents." At that stage all the cool kids liked T-Rex and Roxy Music and the future factory cannon-fodder went for Slade and Mud, while the 'wrong-uns' went for GG and Alvin Stardust .

Bob Geldof reckoned pop stars only made 2 levels of money: Not as much as you'd think, and More than you could ever dream of


Angered by Melody Maker's lukewarm review of their 1971 album, Meddle, Pink Floyd sent a gift to the paper's deputy editor, Michael Watts. Assuming it to be a Christmas present, Watts opened the parcel to be confronted with a wooden box concealing a spring-loaded boxing glove.

The Eagles, like many other groups, disbanded after a major attack of conflicting egos, vowing never to appear on the same stage together ever again. So, when they united for their Hell Freezes Over Tour, they managed to preserve their vows by standing on individual bits of carpet ....

Lemmy Kilmister, of Motorhead, is a fan of Airfix model bombers (the things kids grow out of when they are about 10, max). He apparently has dozens of them hanging from his bedroom ceiling. So when they went on tour of Germany, he decided the stage needed an extra prop - a large model of a Lancaster WW2 bomber. First stop Dresden, a town famously carpet-bombed into the Stone Age during WW2. Motorhead goes on stage; the lights come up, illuminating the huge British war machine hanging above them. "Good evening Dresden," yells Lemmy "I bet you haven't seen one of these for a while."

Kinks are making more money today, selling their songs for adverts, than ever did first time round.

Rolling Stones still touring - much has been made of fact that their combined age is about 1000, but thing is they can do effortlessly at 60 what they did at 20, and that's more than most people can say - one of world's great brands.

Interviewer once asked Mick why his face was so wrinkled. "Laughter lines" says Mick. "Nothing's that funny" said interviewer. (But of course the Stones have been laughing their way to the bank for last 50 years).

Their biographer Philip Norman once described the Rolling Stones as not so much a rock band, more a corporation that holds its occasional board meetings on stage.

In 1950 the blues master Muddy Waters released a 45-rpm single, “Rollin’ Stone,” a version of the earlier “Catfish Blues” to which he had added an original stanza: “Well, my mother told my father, / Just before I was born, / "I got a boy child's comin', / Gonna be a rollin' stone . . ."”

In 1962 the young British musician Brian Jones was forming a new blues band, and on a phone call with a club owner he was asked the name of his group. As he (by his own account) cast about in panic, his eye lit on an album by his beloved Muddy Waters and the above song title. Jones’s group would go on to decades of undreamed-of success.

An exhibition of Rolling Stones memorabilia opened this week at London’s Saatchi Gallery but almost all the women associated with the band were absent. No Marianne Faithfull, Anita Pallenberg et al. One woman, though, has remained a constant. Shirley Watts has been married to Charlie, the drummer, for 52 years. His passion, she says, is not music but cricket. One day he appeared in his living room in the full MCC rig — striped jacket and tie, white flannels, white shoes and cap. “Why are you dressed up for the cricket? It’s not until tomorrow,” Shirley asked. “I know,” he replied. “But I’m practising.”

When Jimi Hendrix pinched Keith Richards' GF Linda Keith, she 'borrowed' Keef's prized white stratocaster as she walked out the door. But she was unable to give it back bc Jimi smashed it up on stage the next night. Jimi then pinched Eric Burdon's wife, the beautiful Anglo-Indian Angie King (who Eric had pinched from fellow Animal's guitarist Andy Summers, who later became more famous in the Police.)

Aerosmith made more money in royalties from their Guitar Hero: Aerosmith game than ever made from any of their albums, which leads Activision to suggest bands should pay game developers rather than expect a licensing fee from Activision.

British speed metal band Dragonforce has song on GH3 called "Through the Fire and Flames" that is so hard to play that fans have posted show-off vids on YouTube when they get through it (and which enormously spurred their CD sales)

The Zimmers, a 40 strong band with a combined age of more than 3000, brought together for a BBC doco about the way old people get treated. Producer got them to record a cover of Who classic My Generation. Got 1.5m hits on YouTube and an appearance on Jay Leno Tonight Show (The doco put hidden cameras in old peoples homes and found that prisoners get better food and more fresh air than the oldies).

Rock Bottom Remainders an occasional rock group Stephen King, Matt Groening (Simpsons creator) Amy Tan and Dave Barry celebrated its 15th anniversary with a "Still Younger Than Keith" one-show tour of NY.

AA Gill on country music - big hearts and small minds.

"I don't like country music but I don' mean to denigrate those who do. And for those of you who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'" (Bob Newhart)

Yamaha My Room a soundproof 2.5sq m den which can be installed in corner of living room. Particular blessing with kids who never leave home and you never get spare room back for your hobby.

Consider, if you will, what we have lost because of the CD. As invasive species go, it is up there with grey squirrels and Japanese knotweed. First, it pretty much killed off vinyl, which I'm neither beardy nor long-haired enough to really care about. But it also murdered tape. What is childhood without tape? No wonder your modern teenager spends all day stabbing and binge drinking: it's because he's not at home struggling to record pop songs off the chart show when Bruno Brookes isn't speaking. And how are boys supposed to express their unrequited love for girls without the compilation tape (complete with handwritten inlay card)?

Jogger on beach in California killed by a light plane making a forced landing on an otherwise deserted beach - he didn't hear a thing bc had iPod in ears

The X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke, and the late Jeff Buckley scooped the Christmas No 1 and 2 slots yesterday with their covers of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, the first time in more than 40 years that one title has secured the top two places in the charts. Cohen himself came in at No 36. Martin Talbot, of the Official Charts Company, which compiles the figures, said: "It is a particularly amazing week - chart placings at 1, 2 and 36 are remarkable for a 25-year-old song which has never previously reached the Top 40". The last time one song held the top two spots is believed to be February 1965, when You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling was No 1 for the Righteous Brothers and No 2 for Cilla Black.

Lighter Conversation Starters

He was a country singer - they wouldn't let him sing in the city
You can always tell a country music fan - they can't think of a polite word to rhyme with 'truck'
The concert had a happy ending - everyone was pleased when it finished
Difference between bagpipes and onions? No one cries when you cut up bagpipes
He was going to be a violinist but he didn't know which chin to tuck it under
I was listening to some rap music the other day - I didn't have a lot of choice - it was coming from a car 4 blocks away.
It's a lasting concern that the man who invented Muzac is probably working on something else
Did you know Mozart had no arms or legs? It's true - I've seen statues of him on people's pianos
I take my music pretty seriously - see that scar on my wrist? that's from when I heard the BeeGees were reforming
Went to watch Pavarotti once - he doesn't like it when you join in

The Top 16 Signs Your Favorite Band Has Lost Something

16> KISS: "I wanna rock 'n' roll all night... but, y'know, 'wanna' and 'will' are TOTALLY different things, and I can't miss Leno."

15> The Young Rascals: *Their* young rascals now have their *own* young rascals.

14> Van Halen: Choosing someone from the audience to serve as lead singer for each show.

13> Meat Loaf: "No, I won't do that, or that, and now that you mention it, there's not much at all I *would* do for love if it involves getting off my fat ass -- no, I won't do that."

12> The Who: Who's left?

11> ZZ Top: Now that they look like Santa, songs about poontang and boners seem more creepy than cool.

10> Led Zeppelin: Now pleasure their groupies with Mrs. Paul's fish sticks.

9> Rush: Band members have to stop in the middle of 20-minute songs to take naps.

8> The Knack: "... M-M-M-My Lumbago!"

7> Foreigner: Bowing to political pressure, changed their name to American as Apple Pie.

6> Elton John: Despite repeated costume changes, he still looks like your grandma.

5> Guns 'n' Roses: "Welcome to McDonald's! We've got Double Cheese! You can add fries to anything you want -- may I take your order, please?"

4> Cake: Can only get gigs at state fairs, and only if they agree to add "Funnel" to their name.

3> Bachman-Turner Overdrive: "Takin' Care of Business" now includes a verse extolling the benefits of incorporating in the Caymans.

2> ELO: DOA.

1> Crosby, Stills and Nash: Uh-oh -- now they're "Crosby, Stills, Nash and Hung."


Book Extracts on Music

William Flew Client 1 William Flew Client 2 William Flew Client 3 William Flew Client 4 William Flew Client 5