The other day I was looking online and reading other (none nearly as good as mine) music blogs. I stumbled upon one of the most interesting facts of the music industry. Leo Fender, the namesake behind the Fender Guitars, and creator of 2 of the 3 most used guitars in the world, the Stratocaster and Telecaster, actually could NOT play the guitar. This just blew my mind! I mean, wow!! I guess some people are just on this earth for specific reasons.FenderLogo_000

After I came across the fact about Leo Fender, I decided to compile a list of some of the oddest, most unique facts about music, musicians, and the music industry. Hope you enjoy them!

Brian Epstein, a record store owner in London, was asked by a customer for a copy of a record, “My Bonnie”, by a local group known as The Silver Beatles. Epstein didn’t have it in stock so he went to the Cavern Club, a local club where bands played, to check out the group his customer asked about. He signed the group after their performance…the group he signed became The Beatles.

pet_soundsThere are many conflicting stories as to how the Beach Boy’s came up with the title of their landmark album “Pet Sounds.” I know personally from very reliable sources the truth! When Beach Boy’s singer Mike Love first heard the music, he thought it was ridiculous and was unsupportive of the new and experimental direction chief songwriter Brian Wilson was taking the group. Love said, “Who’s gonna hear this shit? The ears of a dog?”


Village+People+pngThe group The Village People was formed by one of the future band members putting an advertisement in a local paper that was looking for musicians with a unique look to be in their newly formed group. Sources say the ad stated “Macho types wanted: Must have moustache”.

Jimi Hendrix is one of the most famous left-handed guitarists. He had to learn to play right handed because his father believed that playing with his left hand was a sign of the devil.

Many people have held the title, “The 5th Beatle.” It was not just used to refer to producer George Martin. Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, Brian Epstein, George Best, and Billy Preston were all at one time referred to as the 5th Beatle.

Lead singer of the rock group The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis, was babysat by Cher and Sonny Bono.

When actor and comedian Billy Crystal was a child, his babysitter was the legendary Jazz vocalist Billie Holiday.

Since the rapper Jay-Z released his landmark “Blueprint” album on September 11th, 2001, he has NOT written down any of his lyrics…this man really is everything people say he is!

The life of rapper 2pac (Tupac Shakur) used to be a real course you could take in college. It was taught at Berkeley for a few years after Shakur’s death. It is now a course taught at University of Oslo in Norway. Starting in 2012, Professor Knut Hermundstad Aukrust taught “Tupac, hip-hop, and cultural understanding.”

tumblr_lc7fwm6apV1qc5quxo1_400Guess which rock stars went to Harvard? Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, and Audioslave graduated from Harvard in 1986. Rivers Cuomo, front man of Weezer, graduated in 1998. For good measure, guitarist of rock band Incubus, Mike Einzinger, studied the history and philosophy of physics at Harvard. He also contributed to a prominent article on the topic of human evolution with evolutionary biology figure and Brown University professor Dr. Kenneth Miller.

Guitarist from Queen, Brian May, has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Imperial College in London.

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

The Compact Disc, also known as the “CD,” was developed by Philips and Sony in 1980.

The first CD that was pressed in the U.S. was Bruce Springsteen’s mega smash album “Born in the USA.”

The LP (long-playing) record was invented by Paul Goldmark in 1948. The LP is not dead yet, despite what your parents might think. Don’t give those old records away anymore. Vinyl records sell more than 10 million copies every year, with the number steadily climbing.

I have always wondered why Elvis Presley’s famous home is called Graceland. Now I know…because the first and original owner of the house SE Toof had a daughter named Grace.

James+Brown+jamesbrownThis one is classic! Soul legend James Brown’s wife tried to have her numerous traffic tickets dismissed because of “diplomatic immunity” in June of 1988. She claimed her husband is the official “ambassador of soul.” Needless to say, she lost the case.

Alanis Morrisette changed a couple words of her song “Ironic” 10 years after it was released. She changed, “It’s meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife,” to “It’s meeting the man of my dreams /and then meeting his beautiful husband.” She did so to support same sex marriage.

In 1958, fans of the rock n roll music were issued a major public warning. The warning stated that playing rock in roll music on your car radio would cost you more money. Researchers from Esso Gas Company said that the rhythm of rock n roll music could cause drivers to be foot heavy on the pedal, which in turn would cause drivers to waste more fuel.

What is the world’s best selling instrument? The Harmonica. Ya, I was surprised too!

Kidsinclogo-1The fictional kids TV music group of the 80’s KIDS Incorporated had a couple of kids in the group that went on to be pretty famous in their own right. Stacy Ferguson aka “Fergie” of Black Eyed Peas and successful solo career. Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, actor and TV host Mario Lopez, and a few others. A side note to this, back in my partying heydays I used to occasionally tell girls I met at bars that I was the child actor who played Wesley from the hit 80’s show “Mr. Belvedere.” One of my cohorts during those days used to tell girls he was the drummer in KIDS Incorporated until one time a girl we were having drinks with said, “no he wasn’t! Mario Lopez was.” Little did I know that Lopez actually was the drummer for a short period of time. I followed by saying, “oh ya, but Mario Lopez was only the drummer for a short period of time.” To answer all of your questions, no these lame pick-up lines NEVER worked!

Think you can dance? In August 1983, Peter Stewart of Birmingham, UK set a world record by disco dancing for 408 hours. WOW! Talk about letting the rhythm get in you!

Axl Rose, front man of rock group “Guns ‘n’ Roses,” used to have a very interesting job. He got paid $8 an hour for smoking cigarettes for a science experiment being held at UCLA.

The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.

The top selling singles of all time are Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind ‘97″ (version he re-recorded for Princes Diana’s funeral), at 33 million. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, at 30 million, and Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” is 3rd with 25 million sold.

Most toilets flush in E flat.

imgjohnny cash3After his death, Johnny Cash’s estate was approached by an advertising company asking for permission to use Ring Of Fire on an ad for a hemorrhoid cream. Their request was refused.

I should stop there, might be grossing some of you out. I guess these might be useless (but funny) facts, so here are some that might be more useful for you.

You don’t think illegal downloading poses a problem for record labels? Think again! 40 billion songs are downloaded illegally every year, that’s some 90% of all music downloads.

Many artists till think getting signed is the “Holy Grail” of the music business and a sign of success for an artist’s career. Many aspiring artists always say that is their goal! Why? Here is something for you to think about. A record contract does not guarantee that a record company has to release anything that you’ve recorded.  As one influential major label exec surprisingly stated on national TV recently,  “Well, I think we’ll record around 42 albums this year and maybe release about 28 of them.”

In the older music paradigm, top-selling albums used to reach sales figures of about 20 million copies before the advent of online piracy. By 2009 it had dropped to about 5 million, and has dropped further since.

The music industry generates about $4 billion in online music sales, but looses about $40 billion to illegal downloads.

The number of recorded CDs and blank CDs sold were about equal in each of the past few years.

About one-third of recorded CDs ever sold were pirated.

Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.

The US share of the world music market is 31.3%.

Only 10 percent of albums released actually make a profit. This is one of the main reasons that record labels and management companies need to see upfront that you have a profitable career and a solid fan base. They are taking a BIG risk.

So, I hope you enjoy these fun, and useful (or in some cases useless) facts. Have some of your own?? Shoot them my way.



5 Responses to Like Music Facts?

  1. Nikki G says:

    I am just smirking over here lol. Here are some I found: Courtney Love’s real name is – Love Michelle Harrison. Lynard Skynard’s band name came from their PE Teacher named Leonard Skinner who gave them a hard time in school for having long hair. Eric Claptons mother was unwed so he was raised by his grandparents and actually told his grandparents they were is parents and his mother was his sister (I don’t know why I feel that one is strange). Melba Toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931). Justin Bieber’s YouTube Play Count is Greater than the Combined Population of China and India.The name of the only member of ZZ Top without a beard is Frank Beard. I am sure you found all of these when doing your research lol. Super fun, thanks!

    Thanks for such a fun post this time. I sure needed it.

    • The Commish says:

      Nikki, as always you are one of my biggest supporters and readers of my blog. Much appreciated. I dig the facts you shared with me (some of them I knew as well, and others were unknown to me), and I was surprised by the Clapton one as well! Thanks for the facts you shared. Shoot me anymore you might find.

      I found a ton of other facts you might like as well. But, was only able to put so many in my blog. Thx for reading and commenting!

  2. Sean Weston says:

    “Most toilets flush in E flat.” Baahaha. That’s fantastic. Thanks “Commish”, as always, for an entertaining read!

    • The Commish says:

      You are welcome! Glad you dig it. Make sure to check out more of the blogs. Looking forward to hearing any feedback!

  3. Ghezzi says:

    Great blog Commish! I particularly like the real story of Pet Sounds, one of my favorite records of all times. What a masterpiece!I had heard many different versions of how the name came about; good to know the real story. “Cowboy”(Randy Jones) from The Village people was a senior at The NC School of The Arts when I was accepted there at 11 years old. He is a sweetheart and has gone on to have a super successful solo career. The Axl Rose cigarette job is a hoot and so perfect. But… my favorite fact here is the James Brown traffic ticket fact. Ha! Hilarious.

    “A record contract does not guarantee that a record company has to release anything that you’ve recorded. As one influential major label exec surprisingly stated on national TV recently, “Well, I think we’ll record around 42 albums this year and maybe release about 28 of them.” Word.:-)

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