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101 Things You Didn't Know About Rock N' Roll

Hi there. I really wanted to post an article that was entertaining and informative (or kinda), so I decided to do the "101 Things You Didn't Know About Rock N' Roll" (I know you probably know quite a few and that they ain't all about rock but...its a catchy title!). I tried to research as much as I could, but maybe there are some things that aren't (totally) true, so corrections would be greatly apreciated. Also bear in mind that I'm from Argentina (if you are bored, look in a map...I live in the most southern part of the continet...pretty much the World's Ass), and I'm 16 so they might be a few mistakes or weird expressions. I know it's long, but I prefered to do it all in one go. If you think it's too long and you'll get bored, don't read it or post things like "kinda long article...", please.

Anyway, I did my best and here it is:

01. When "Stairway To Heaven" is played backwards, you can hear the phrase "oh here's to my sweet satan..the one who's little path would make me sad, whose power is satan..he'll give you give you 666 there was a little toolshed where he would make us suffer, sad in the part of "if there's a bustle..." (check this, it scared the shit out of me).

02. The mighty final chord of The Beatles' "A Day In The Life" was played by ten hands in three pianos simultaneously: Lennon's, Mc Cartney's, Starr's, Martin's (their manager?) and Evan's (their roadie).

03. The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" is called like this because of an insult between bandmates. When Brian Wilson showed Mike Love (the band's singer) the new material, he said "Who the hell is going to listen to this?...the ears of a dog?".

04. Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" is named after the route that goes through Bob's home state, Minesota, and enters the Mississippi delta.

05. "London Calling" was part of a catch phrase ("Good morning America, this is the London Calling!") of a BBC show during World War II, of which the The Clash's guitarists Joe Strummer was a fan.

06. The night of Jimi's first gig, Jeff Beck was coming out of the club and outside he ran into Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. With a frightened expression he told them "I think we're in trouble here!".

07. Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) has Bonzo's (Led Zeppelin's drummer) symbol, three intersecting symbols tattooed on his forearm.

08. "Layla" was written by Eric Clapton to steal George Harrison's wife, Patty Boid. Layla was the nickname Eric had given her inspired by a turkish legend (not so sure about that) in which Layla was the main character.

09. Zepp's "Black Dog" is called like this because when they were recording the song, a huge black dog entered the studio, that was located in a rather ...rural setting.

10. The Young brothers´s sister was the one who recommended the school uniform to Angus for their first gig (Angus's age was publicized as being 15 to go with the school boy outfit) (thanx Evil Kid 93).

11. Steve Morse's (Deep Purple) guitar has 11 different pickup positions.

12. In 1968 Jimi Hendrix bought a studio located in the 52 West Eight Street, Greewnwich Village, New York, with the idea of transforming it into a nightclub. His sound tecnician convinced him of turning it into a studio and in August 27th 1970 "Electric Lady" officialy opened it's doors. Both recording rooms haven't changed a bit since Jimi jammed there (one still has the same paints hanging on the walls and sofas, and the other -Purple Haze- still has the purple console). When The Clash recorded "Sandinista!" there, they swear Jimi's spirit added an extra guitar line in the album. That may sound weird (and stoned) but the truth is that doors close on their own, floors creak and a magic can be sensed in the air (or so they say).

13. The three...symbols? in the cover of The Police's "Ghost In The Machine" are supposed to represent the band's three integrants...though no one knows why or which is which.

14. The Yardbirds were the ones who gave Clapton the nickname "Slowhand".

15. According to the South Park kids, The Cure's "Disintegration" is the best album of all times.

16. Def Leppard's drummer, Rick Allen, lost an arm in a car crash in the mid-eighties. However, Rick decided to keep on playing, and learned to do it with his feet and some programmed drum lines. The band continued as normal, and their next album with their "new" drummer was "Pyromania".

17. Mitch Mitchell, The Jimi Hendrix Experience's drummer took his first drum lessons with Jim Marshall (that's right, the guy who made amps!)

18. Van Halen's "5150" is named after Eddie's Peavey 5150 amp, which is built exclusively for him.

19. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the name (or slogan..not so sure) of a deodorant brand.

20. Jimi got the inspiration for "Purple Haze" after having a dream where he could walk underwater.

21. The "Government Yard In Trench Town" houses given by the government where Bob Marley lived in the late '50s.

22. The solo in The Beatle's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is played by Clapton.

23. "Freebird" is dedicated to Duane Allman (The Allman brother's band).

24. Axl's "Sweet Child" was Erin Everly, daughter of Don Everly (from the Everly Brothers). Axl and Erin got married, but their marriage only lasted a month (talk about a wasted song).

25. Slash's favourite song is "Nobody's Fault" by Aerosmith. As he said, "first heard it at the house of a girl I wanted to date. I went to her house, talked for a while, smoked a joint, and then she put the cd (Rocks), it hit me like a ton of bricks...and I totally forgot about her".

26. Neil Young wrote "Rockin' In The Free World" after he heard one of the members of Crazy Horse say he liked playing in Europe rather than the Middle East better, because "It's better to rock in the free world". The song became sort of an anthem but really refers to the "pride and guilt of being American".

27. Elton John's real name is Reg Dwight.

28. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" originally started with the phrase "Don't talk to me about the rights of the IRA" but was ultimately changed to "I can't believe the news today" because U2 was afraid that their peace calling would be misunderstood.

29. Black Sabbath's guitarist, Tony Iommi, lost part of two fingers in a "work accident", and it seemed the band was over. However, he managed to continue playing using a device which made his two stump fingers "longer", and tuning the guitar three steps down in order to loosen the strings and bend them more easily. His first song with his new "style" was a damn good one: "Iron Man".

30. Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" is dedicated to the band's former leader Syd Barret. Syd used to be the leader...until his schizophrenia and the LSD started to catch up with him, and he became rather insane. The band called David Gilmour, who had given Syd guitar lessons during high shool, and would cover for Syd during concerts, correcting his mistakes and filling in when he started playing along to a different tune. Syd eventually got more and more distanced of the band and David got to be the lead guitarist, but lots of the insanity themes they sing about is related to their former bandmate.

31. On march 20th 1991, Eric Clapton's son Connor fell out of a balcony in his New York department. The sad, beautiful and chick-magnet song "Tears In Heaven" is dedicated to him (along with "The Circus Left The Town").

32. Lynyrd Skynyrd's Ronnie Van Zant is said to be buried with a Neil Young t-shirt, the same he uses on his last cd cover. The admiration between these two musicians was mutual: Young said he'd rather play "Sweet Home Alabama" than "Southern Man" (his own southern anthem).

33. "Smoke On The Water" refers to a Frank Zappa show in Montreux in 1971, where someone lit a flaregun and "burned the place to the ground". This song is also being learned by 750 guitarists as you are reading this (just kidding but...hey have you ever met a guitarist who didn't know it?).

34. If "The Dark Side Of The Moon" is played at the precise moment the MGM lion roars for the second time in the movie "The Wizard Of Oz", the cd is perfectly sinchronized with the movie. I have downloaded the movie with the cd played over it and I can assure you there are parts (the beggining of "Money" and most of "The Great Gig In The Sky") that seem as if it had been done on purpose.

35. Jimi created "Little Wing" in only 145 seconds! that's only two minutes and a half! pretty much the same as the song's lenght!

36. Malcom Young used to play the solos in AC/DC, until one day he told his brother "You do them...cuz they keep busy the hand I use for drinking!".

37. Pink Floyd's original name was Sigma 6. The band included Roger Waters on bass, Nick Mason on drums, Richard Wright on keyboard, Bob Close on guitar, and Syd Barret also on guitar. With Syd’s influence, the band changed their name to The Pink Floyd Sound, named after Pink Anderson and Floyd Council (two bluesmen).

38. Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Steve Morse and Carter Beauford (Dave Mathews Band's drummer) all share an uncommon passion: on their free time they love to fly aeroplanes (and of course they own a few).

39. Once, a treasured Les Paul Standard that originally belonged to Aerosmith's Joe Perry came into Slash's possesion. Joe had had this guitar (his favourite) taken by his ex-wife or stolen (depending on which story you read), and a dealer eventually got hold of it and offered it to Slash. He snapped it up since it symolized the influence Aerosmith had had on him. Joe pleaded with Slash to have it returned, but he didn't - until Joe's 50th birthday when he presented it as his birthday present.

40. Eric Clapton popularized a setting for lead called "Woman Tone", which basically consists of the neck pickup with tone control rolled back, and is also used by Slash.

41. Steve Vai picked up a guitar for the first time after he heard Zepp's "Heartbreaker". His sister "brought 'Led Zepp II' to my house and that was it. When I heard "Heartbreaker" and that solo...I knew I wanted to play guitar!"

42. The tuning used in "Seven Nation Army" that sounds so...basslike is E A E A C#E in case you ever wondered.

43. One night at a gig, when The Who had just begun, Pete Townshend was experimenting with the feedback he got when he put his guitar near his amp. He accidentally hit the ceiling with the guitar, which caused an awesome sound that was cheered by the (small) audience. Pete tried to repeat that sound with such bad (or good) luck that he broke the guitar's neck. "No one cheered, in fact there was a terrible silence, a "this-guy-is-an-asshole silence, so i finished breaking the guitar acting as if that had been my true intention". On The Who's next performance there were twice as many people.

44. Prince is a huge fan of Hendrix. The song "Purple Rain" is an alegory to "Purple Haze".

45. B.B. King's beatiful guitar is a Gibson ES-355, but is known as Lucille. Actually, King has quite a few of these guitars (and a custom series), all named Lucille. He even dedicated her a song, in which he tells her how much she means to him and the adventures they had together.

46. Slash's real name is Saul Hudson (it is a good thing he changed his name...I'm not so sure he would've been able to inspire a whole generation of guitarists with a name like Saul).

47. "Here we are now, entertain us" was what Kurt would say whenever he entered a party in order to "break the ice".

48. When Brian May was nine he realized that he couldn't play all the songs he wanted to in the acoustic guitar he had gotten two years before, so he decided to change it. However, he didn't have enough money to buy one, so, with a little help from his father, he started building his own ax in 1963. This guitar was finished the next year, and was baptized "Red Special" (it is red, in case you haven't guessed).

49. Elvis liked being generous. Once he drove by a man who was repairing his fence (which was constantly broken by fans), on his shiny brand new truck. The man looked at him admiringly and said "I wish I could have a truck like yours! It is my dream", to which Elvis replied "Do you have a buck?" "Yeah sure" the man gave him a buck. "Here. The truck is yours".

50. We're halfway there! For number 50 I decided to put one of rock's most popular legends:

"If you sit to wait on a crossroads near Missisipi on a moonless night, and you are willing to pay the price, you'll feel a very strange wind. Next, the Devil himslef will tune your guitar and you will be gifted with the ability to play like no one else has before. Of course that in this process you will have exchanged your soul and you will suffer for eternity in hell sooner or later."

This story is the base of the cult to the misterious figure of Robert Johnson, a bluesman who lived and died in Missisipi, at the deadly age of 27 (if you don't believe me ask Jimi, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin... Karen Carpenter anyone?). The legend says it is time to pay the price once you turn 27, so this legend has also been the "logical" explanation for many people to Kurt's and Jimi's death. I also heard that Eric Clapton also performed this agreement with the devil (but apparently found a way to avoid the...payment). The movie "Crossroads" is entirely based on this legend.

51. In the 50's, Little Richard kicked Jimi Hendrix out of his band for stealing the spotlight: Jimi wouldn't wear the uniform Richard had imposed (since he wanted all the attention to his figure) and the audience was delighted with his guitarist's eccentric way of dressing.

52. The blues singer and guitarist Blind Willie McTell was also known as: Pig'N'Whistle Red, Hot Shot Willie, Blind Sammie, Red Hot Willie, Georgia Bill, Peg and Whistle Red and Barrelhouse Sammie. (bad joke: "Did you receive the Blind Willie McTell disc I asked you for?" "No, but I just got this Pig'N'Whistle Red disc. Listen to it!"...."Oh my god I love it! Forget Blind Willie, I'll take every Pig'N'Whistle disc you have!!!")

53. "Yesterday" first appeared in 1965. By 1967, there were 466 versions of the song. Nowadays there are more than 4000 versions.

54. The Sex Pistols were banned almost in every part of the UK, so they started touring under the name SPOT (Sex Pistols On Tour).

55. Steve Vai has a very..uncommon hobby: beekeping. He got into it by chance, when a group of bees decided to live in his backyard...and now he sells honey and the (surprisingly large amounts of) money made goes directly to his "Make A Noise" fundation.

56. James Hetfield got the idea for "Nothing Else Matters" one day he was talking on the phone and with his free hand strummed the strings in a particular order. He hung up and inmediately started working on the song.

57. During the recording of "The Dark Side Of The Moon", the guys from Pink Floyd wrote on little papers questions like "Are you afraid of death?" and gave them to everyboy that was working at Abbey Road studio at the time. This included all the roadies, sound technicians, the Irish doorman, and even Paul McCartney (who was recording "Abbey Road" with the Fab Four on the same studio). The answers to the questions were recorded, and the best ones were put on the disc. However, Paul's answers weren't put on the disc because "he tried to be funny".

58. The Sex Pistols' arch-demon manager Malcolm McLaren used to give them words that he wanted them to brainstorm and make songs from. One of these words was "submission". McLaren expected a song about handcuffs and rubber masks, but the boys gave him a song about a submarine mission, just to piss him off. Get it? Sub-mission. Good shit. (Thank you oh great Nolan Whyte)

59. Another backwards message in a famous cd. If the song "Empty Spaces" from "The Wall" is played backwards, you can hear the phrase "You have now discovered the secret message of Rock 'N Roll...please write".

60. In Freddie Mercury's video "The Great Pretender", one of the women that sing with him is actually the band's drummer Roger Taylor disguised as one.

61. 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. (OK this was really confusing and weird...i put it only to see if any stones fan can confirm this pervert story).

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

63. 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 other day I saw a guy who looked kinda stoned reading it on the subway..and when I got near him to read the back part of the book...he gave me a paranoic look and got down on the next stop running! I'm not kiddin you!)

64. Guns And Roses recorded the beautiful "Patience" one night they were totally drunk (maybe that explains why the song is perfect for a it-doesn't-matter-if-the-bitch-left-you-have-another-beer-and-howl-along-with-us night). The next morning when the band heard what they had recorded they thought it was a hell of a song, but needed to be re-recorded since Axl could be heard puking his guts out in the middle of the it.

65. Unlike pretty much every rockstar, Frank Zappa didn't like beer. He used to say his body "gets along better with pepper, tobacco and coffee". This is kinda contradictory cuz Frank said "You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."

66. One of Rick Nielsen's (Cheap Trick) guitars has five (yes, 5!) necks (I'm gonna need some help neck is a regular one... other is a fretless...a 12-stringed one...but what about the other two??)

67. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder liked so much The Who, and looked up so much to Townshend (probably because of the lack of a fatherly figure in his life) that he claimed that he "should be sending Pete Townshed a card for Fathers Day". (Thanx GoodNite_AmyLee)

68. Ummagumma (a Pink Floyd cd) is (british) slang for sex.

69. The Beatles used to go out and get wasted, laid, high and do fun stuff with some members of the Rolling Stones and...the Bee Gees.

70. The name AC/DC was suggested by Angus and Malcolm's sister Margaret Young, who saw a label that read AC/DC on the back of a vacuum cleaner. The Young brothers thought it was a good name for their band, because "it had something to do with electricity, so it seemed to fit" (thanx Evil Kid 93...again).

71. Bob Dylan said on his school yearbook that his ultimate dream was being in Little Richard's band.

72. The "always amazing, Mr." Steve Vai, in colaboration with Ibanez, literally put himself into a project called the JEM VAI2K DNA guitar - a limited-edition release of the JEM. The fun thing is "Ibanez used my blood – a lot of my blood – in the guitar's swirling paint job. Maybe a hundred years from now, when someone decides to clone me from the blood in the paint, my clone will finally figure out how get his music on the radio." Ahhh Steve, Steve...always so funny and...insane.

73. Sting's real name is Gordon Summer.

74. Foo Fighters is what the US air force used to call the OVNIS in the 40's.

75. Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" LP was originally released in blue plastic shrink wrap; you could not see the cover unless you bought it.

76. The playing time as for "Stairway To Heaven" is longer than it took Plant & Page to write it (they needed one more song for the album.) Yes folks, the song is FILLER!

77. Waylon Jennings was Buddy Holly's bass player. Once, they were deciding how they were going to travel, he lost a coin toss, and took the bus instead of the plane. According to Jennings before his death, Buddy Holly said something to the extent of "I hope you freeze on the bus," and Jennings replied, "I hope your plane crashes." Guess what happened......that's right you guessed.

78. Two songs were recorded by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Elvis: "That's Alright, Mama" and "Yesterday".

79. When The Who were recording "My Generation," John Entwhistle used a newly-available-in-the-UK Danelectro bass, and kept breaking bass strings during the solo. Since replacement strings were not yet available, he had to go out a buy a new bass to be able to get the full set (talk about shopping sprees:P)

80. Pete Townshend (sorry, another Who bit) thought he was lifting his now-famous Windmill move from Keith Richards, because Pete saw Keith doing it as the curtain was rising at a Stones show. Later, after Pete had made it his big move, he talked with Keith about it and realized Keith was just stretching out his arm before starting to play...

81. Special offer! Three x one!

# Roy Harper sang lead vocals on Pink Floyd's "Have A Cigar" on the Wish You Were Here album. It is the only song in the Floyd canon, that a member of Pink Floyd didn't sing. (I don't really know who the guy is..but there's a song by Zepp called "Hats Off - To Roy Harper" so the guy must be good at whatever he does.

# There is only one line in Pink Floyd's "One Of These Days." Nick Mason, the drummer recorded the line ... "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces." That is the only line he ever sang on a Floyd album.

# Mason the only member to play on every Pink Floyd album.

# Everyone knows John Bonham died by aspirating his own vomit after drinking too much; not everyone knows that alcohol almost killed him on the day he was born. The doctor who was on-call to deliver him was drunk, and a suitable replacement was inexplicably difficult to find.

83. Cass Elliot (Mama Cass of The Mamas & Papas) and Keith Moon of The Who that died in the apartment of the same singer/songwriter: Harry Nilsson.

84. Kerry King of Slayer played guitar for Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn". Who said death metal and hip hop couldn't work together? (Don't post something like "Hey what about Linkin Park or Limp Bizkit?" or I will personally hunt you down and kick your ass)

85. This is why MTV is crap: MTV execs came up with the idea of the "Unplugged" series after seeing Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull do a brief, live acoustic set. But when Anderson later asked about having Jethro Tull appear on "Unplugged," MTV turned him down flat, oin the grounds that the band was too old and didn't have enough appeal among the desired teen demographic.

86. The Van Halen brothers were born in the Netherlands and trained as concert pianists. The name of the band was originally Mammoth.

87. Axl Rose's real name is William Bailey.

88. According to Paul McCartney, the "you" in "Got to Get You Into My Life" was marijuana.

89. In the Beatles' "A Day In The Life," there's a bit in the orchestral score where the musicians were told "start on the lowest note your instrument can play, and gradually work your way up to the highest note your instrument can play." (and they did)

90. Eddie Van Halen plays the guitar solo in the middle of Michael Jackson's Beat It.

91. You know that Jimi Hendrix was the last act at Woodstock, but do you know who played right before him? Sha Na Na. (Now that's something for you to show off with your hippie friends...or parents)

92. Sting sings back up on Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing".

93. The memorable reverse-echo effect on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" (Woman.... you need) was actually do to track bleed-through that sound-engineer Eddie Kramer couldn't get rid of, and so added reverb to.

94. of the three members of ZZ Top, the only one who doesn't have a beard is the one whose name is 'Beard'. What a curious thing, ain't it?:P

95. Randy Meisner joined Poco as the bassist, but left before their first album. Luckily for him, he got the same job for the Eagles. Timothy B. Schmidt replaced him in Poco. Right before the Eagles recorded their monster hit Hotel California, Randy left to pursue a solo career. His replacement: Timothy B. Schmidt! (Makes you wonder if Schmidt follows Meisner around to see if he's happy in his current band.)

96. The money used to score the heroin that killed Sid Vicious was given to him by his mother, who was under the impression he was going to use the money to just buy cocaine (What a mom!).

97. A few of the band members Of the Yardbirds were in a pub discussing what name to use for what would become Led Zepp. Someone suggested "The New Yardbirds", and The Who's drummer Keith Moon replied: "That will go over like a lead balloon!". Then they changed balloon for zeppelin nad decided to spell it Led so people in the US wouldn't try to pronounce it "leed".

98. The group UB40 (That's right! Red, Red Wine..) took their name from the form used by the unemployment office in Britain.

99. Before Clapton became known for playing Stratocasters (largely, it is thought, because Hendrix played Strats), he played a 1959 Gibson Les Paul - largely because electric blues guitarists like Mike Bloomfield played one. But when Clapton's famous "Beano" Les Paul was stolen, he never went back.

100. Al Kooper, who played organ on Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone," had never played organ before the session. He had turned up to the studio hoping to play guitar and, finding an excellent guitarist (Mike Bloomfield) already on hand, sat down at the organ instead. After the first take the session producer told Dylan to lose the organ part; Dylan replied that he wanted it louder.

101. Stevie Ray Vaughan was the guitarist on David Bowie's "Let's Dance" album (country meets glam? it turned out just fine)

So that was it! hopefully you liked it and learned a lot of useless facts to tell your friends, relatives, neighbors and barbers (why not? when i get my hair cut we always talk aboout stuff like this with my barber..usually listening to deep purple, jethro tull or SRV)


This post first appeared on Musician Heaven, please read the originial post: here

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101 Things You Didn't Know About Rock N' Roll


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