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A Penny For Your Thoughts

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Everything you ever wanted to know about various musicians and so much more...

The Motown female group The Supremes, which dominated the pop charts in the 1960's, was originally called The Primettes.

According to Margaret Jones, author of a Patsy Cline biography, there are a dozen places in Virginia that could claim to be the hometown of the nomadic Cline. Her family moved 19 times before she was 15.

When the Yardbirds broke up in 1968, Jimmy Page was left to honor the band's commitments, performing as The New Yardbirds. The group eventually evolved into Led Zeppelin.

At age 47, the Rolling Stones' bassist, Bill Wyman, began a relationship with 13-year old Mandy Smith, with her mother's blessing. Six years later, they were married, but the marriage only lasted a year. Not long after, Bill's 30-year-old son Stephen married Mandy's mother, age 46. That made Stephen a stepfather to his former stepmother. If Bill and Mandy had remained married, Stephen would have been his father's father-in-law and his own grandpa.

The brass family of instruments include the trumpet, trombone, tuba, cornet, flügelhorn, French horn, saxhorn, and sousaphone. While they are usually made of brass today, in the past they were made of wood, horn, and glass.

Most toilets flush in E flat.

The rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd took their name from a high school teacher named Leonard Skinner who had suspended several students for having long hair.

According to Beatles producer George Martin, Neal Hefti's catchy composition of the 1960's "Batman" Emmy-winning theme song inspired George Harrison to write the hit song "Taxman."

At the tender age of 7, the multi-award-winning composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch ("The Way We Were," "The Sting") was one of the youngest students ever admitted to the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York City.

In the band KISS, Gene Simmons was "The Demon", Paul Stanley was "Star Child", Ace Frehley was "Space Man", and Peter Criss was "The Cat.

The song "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" was written by George Graff, who was German, and was never in Ireland in his life.

The famous Russian composer Aleksandr Borodin was also a respected chemistry professor in St. Petersburg.

In 1992, Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, better known to country music fans as singer/comedienne Minnie Pearl, was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President George Bush. In 1994, Minnie became the first woman to be inducted into the Comedy Hall of Fame. She was too frail and sick to attend the ceremony, and so good friend and comedian George Lindsey ("Goober") accepted the award for her. She died in 1996 at age 83.

Bill Haley and the Comets, one of rock and roll's pioneer groups actually began their career's as Bill Haley's Saddle Pals - a country music act.

The voice of Tony the Tiger is Thurl Ravenscroft, who also sang the "Rotten Mr. Grinch" song in the movie, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas". He was also narrator for Disney's "A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion" album. He performed for many Disney attractions including: voice of Fritz the parrot in "The Enchanted Tiki Room, " lead singer in "Grim Grinning Ghosts" in the Haunted Mansion, narrator on Monorail. He was the voice for the Disneyland LP based on the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. The flip side of this LP contained a number of sea chanties he sang.

In 1939 Irving Berlin composed a Christmas song but thought so little of it that he never showed it to anybody. He just tossed it into a trunk and didn't see fit to retrieve it until he needed it for a Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire movie, HOLIDAY INN 10 years later.
Bing Crosby was a staunch Catholic and at first refused to sing the song because he felt it tended to commercialize Christmas. He finally agreed, took eighteen minutes to make the recording, and then the "throw-away" song become an all-time hit.
Crosby's version has sold over 40 million copies. All together, this song has appeared in 750 versions, selling 6 million copies of sheet music and 90,000,000 recordings ,just in the United States and Canada.
You might not recognize the song from the movie HOLIDAY INN...or from the composer's name of Irving Berlin. But you're bound to know it because it's on everyone's list of Christmas favorites: WHITE CHRISTMAS.

Dark Side of The Moon (a Pink Floyd album) stayed on the top 200 Billboard charts for 741 weeks! That is 14 years.

Brian Setzer, of the Brian Setzer Orchestra, started out in a garage band called Merengue.

"Mr. Mojo Risin" is an anagram for Jim Morrison.

The horse's name in the song Jingle Bells is Bobtail.

No one knows where Mozart is buried.

The Beatles featured two left handed members, Paul, whom everyone saw holding his Hoffner bass left handed, and Ringo, whose left handedness is at least partially to blame for his 'original' drumming style.

Tommy James was in a New York hotel looking at the Mutual of New York building’s neon sign flashing repeatedly: M-O-N-Y. He suddenly got the inspiration to write his #1 hit, 'Mony Mony'

Tickets for Frank Sinatra's first solo performance at the Paramount Theatre in New York City in 1942, sold for 35 cents each.

Jim Morrison found the name "The Doors" for his rock band in the title of Aldous Huxley's book "The Doors of Perception", which extolls the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

The Granny Smith apple was used as the symbol for the Beatles' Apple Records label.

Verdi wrote the opera Aida at the request of the khedive of Egypt to commemorate the opening of the Suez canal.

Warner Communications paid $28 million for the copyright to the song "Happy Birthday".

John Lennon named his band the Beatles after Buddy Holly's 'Crickets.'

The Beatles played the Las Vegas Convention Center in 1964. Some 8,500 fans paid just $4 each for tickets.

Jonathan Houseman Davis, lead singer of Korn, was born a Presbyterian, but converted to Catholic because his mother wanted to marry his stepfather in a Catholic church. He was also a member of his high school's bagpipe band. (For those of you who have been to Hume Lake's Christian Camps, if you know Cliff, the guy in charge, he was the guy who taught Jonathan Davis to play the bagpipe.)

"When I'm Sixty Four" was the first song to be recorded for the Sgt. Pepper album. "Within You Without You" was the last.

Jazz began in the 20th century, when bands in New Orleans began to apply the syncopated rhythms of ragtime to a variety of other tunes. In the first days of jazz, ensemble playing was emphasized. Only gradually did jazz come to be based on improvised solos.

The song with the longest title is 'I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with my Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues' written by Hoagy Carmichael in 1943. He later claimed the song title ended with "Yank" and the rest was a joke.

Nick Mason is the only member of Pink Floyd to appear on all of the band's albums.

The Beatles appear at the end of "The Yellow Submarine" in a short live action epilogue. Their voices for the cartoon movie were done by Paul Angelis (Ringo), Peter Batten (George), John Clive (John), and Geoffrey Hughes (Paul).

When the producers approached the Beatles about this film, the group, which hated the TV cartoon show of them, agreed to it only as a easy way of completing their movie contract. As such, they contributed only a few old songs and four quickly produced numbers, Only a Northern Song, Hey Bulldog, All Together Now, and It's All Too Much. However, when they saw the finished film, they were so impressed by it that they decided to appear in a short live action epilogue to the film.

Peter Batten was a deserter from the British Army at the time of the creation of the film. In the final weeks of production, he was arrested for desertion, and Paul Angelis had to finish voicing the part of George.

In every show that Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt (The Fantasticks) did there was at least one song about rain.

The Beatles song 'A day in the life' ends with a note sustained for 40 seconds.

"Memory," has become a contemporary classic. It's been recorded more than 600 times, including as international hit recordings for such artists as Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow and Judy Collins, among many others. It's most recent incarnations underline its diverse and universal appeal: as a #1 dance smash by European chanteuse Natalie Grant, and as a duet for Placido Domingo and Natalie Cole during a live telecast of the tenor's world tour.

Elvis Presley's hit recording of "Love Me Tender" entered Billboard's pop charts in October 1956. It stayed on the charts for 19 weeks, and was in the Number 1 spot for five of those weeks. The song, from Presley's debut film with the same title, was adapted from the tune "Aura Lee," which had been written back in 1861.

An eighteenth-century German named Matthew Birchinger, known as the little man of Nuremberg, played four musical instruments including the bagpipes, was an expert calligrapher, and was the most famous stage magician of his day. He performed tricks with the cup and balls that have never been explained. Yet Birchinger had no hands, legs, or thighs, and was less than 29 inches tall.

Montgomery is the birthplace of music great Nat King Cole, pop singers Clarence Carter and Toni Tenille, Metropolitan Opera singer Nell Rankin, and blues legend Willie Mae Big Mama Thornton.

Beethoven's Fifth, was the first symphony to include trombones.

EMI stands for ' Electrical and Musical Instruments'.

The only musical instrument you play without touching it is called the theremin. The technology is simple: when activated, the theremin generates a sonic field around a small antenna that sticks out vertically from the top. When you put your hand closer to the antenna, the sound field is broken and the unit emits a high-pitched, electronic wail-that's the music. Different varieties of pitch are achieved by placing your hand closer to the antenna and moving it away. When your hand approaches the antenna, a low pitch will be created. As your hand gets nearer the antenna, the pitch becomes higher. (It's easily recognized for its spooky "ooo-eee-ooo" sound. You know it if you've heard the Beach Boys song "Good Vibrations.")

Brian Epstein, a record store owner in London, was asked by a customer for a copy of the record, "My Bonnie", by a group known as The Silver Beatles. He didn’t have it in stock so he went to the Cavern Club to check out the group. He signed to manage them in a matter of days and renamed them The Beatles.

In 1976 Rodrigo's 'Guitar Concierto de Aranjuez' was No 1 in the UK for only three hours because of a computer error.

George Anthiel composed film scores, but earlier in his life he had been an avant garde composer. In 1924 his "Ballet mecanique" was performed at Carnegie Hall. The work was scored for a fire siren, automobile horns, and an airplane propeller. After only a few minutes of this racket, an aging gentleman in the orchestra seats tied his handkerchief to his cane and began waving a white flag.

The Beach Boys formed in 1961.

The Beatles performed their first U.S. concert in Carnegie Hall.

Brian Epstein managed The Beatles to superstardom.

The leading female singer in an opera is called the prima donna.

Elvis Presley received his U.S. army discharge on March 5, 1960.

Mass murderer Charles Manson recorded an album called "Lie."

Vaudevillian Jack Norworth wrote "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in 1908 after seeing a sign on a bus advertising BASEBALL TODAY - POLO GROUNDS. Norworth and his friend Albert von Tilzer (who write the music) had never been to a baseball game before his song became a hit sing-along.

The Japanese national anthem is expressed in only four lines. The Greek anthem runs 158 verses.

John Philip Sousa enlisted in the Marines at age 13. He worked as an apprentice in the band.

At age 14, George Harrison joined his friend Paul McCartney's band, the Quarry Men, led by John Lennon.

Dances with twisting motions accompanied jazz as far back as Jelly Roll Morton. The Paul Williams Saxtet - a sax-intensive jazz combo - recorded a two-sided 78 called "The Twister." Chubby Checker wasn't even the first man to record the song "The Twist." Hank Ballard was, in 1959.

At age 15, Jerry Garcia swapped his birthday accordion for an electric guitar.

At age 4, Mozart composed a concerto for the clavier.

At age 22, Jerry Lee Lewis married for the third time. His bride? His thirteen year old cousin.

In 1764 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played for the Royal Family at Versailles in France. He was even given the honor of standing behind the Queen at dinner - Mozart was only eight years old.

Through the mid-1500s in France, the lute was still the favorite instrument, but in 1555, Balthazar de Beujoyeux, the first famous violinist in history, brought a band of violinists to Catherine's de Médicis court and made violin music popular.

Paul McCartney's younger brother, Michael, formed a group of his own, known as "The Scaffold" and goes by the name "Mike McGear". He is mentioned in the lyric of "Let 'Em In" as "Brother Michael" (available on McCartney's "Wings At The Speed Of Sound" album).

The Beatles held the Top Five spots on the April 4th, 1964 Billboard singles chart. They're the only band that has ever done that.

The most recorded song of all time - with more than 2,000 versions - is 'Yesterday'. Included on the 'Help!' soundtrack, it was number one for four weeks in 1965.

Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?

Crazy but True