101 facts you never knew about music: part 1

We'll tell what the sleeve of X&Y means
We'll tell what the sleeve of X&Y means

Think you know a lot about music trivia? So did we, until MusicRadar started researching its New Year trivia blowout where you'll find more useless (and some useful!) musical facts than you thought ever existed.

MusicRadar's 101 facts… come in four parts over the next four days. Today, you'll learn about John Lennon's eyesight, the honour George W Bush bestowed on Texan boogie trio ZZ Top and just how you really pronounce 'Moog'.

There are no prizes. Just the warm glow that you know more than your friends. Enjoy!

101 facts you never knew about music: part 1

1. Leo Fender
, inventor of the Stratocaster and Telecaster, couldn't play the guitar.

2. John Lennon
's eyesight was so poor that he was legally blind without his glasses.

3. Noel Gallagher
, Gary Moore and Mark Knopfler write left-handed but play guitar as if right-handers. Coldplay's Chris Martin plays guitar and draws right-handed, but he writes left-handed. And the world's most-famous 'left-handed' player, Jimi Hendrix, wrote with his right hand.

Kiss's Gene Simmons can speak Hungarian.

Queen's multi-millionaire drummer Roger Taylor was once spotted in Guildford's Sainsbury's supermarket filling out a National Lottery ticket. Question: why?

Moog synthesiser

Moog synthesiser

A Moog synthesiser

6. The surname of the late Robert Moog, inventor of the legendary Moog Synthesiser, is actually pronounced 'Mogue' (rhyming with 'rogue'). But everyone has said 'Moog' for so long, no-one bothers to correct it anymore.

Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich is a keen modern art collector. In 2008 he auctioned his "last Basquiat" for $13.5 million.

8. Slash
was born in Hampstead, London. (Not Stoke, England, as is usually reported.)

Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus, 63, suffers from severe memory loss and no longer remembers much of his life. MusicRadar bets his accountant remembers everything.

The reverend run

The reverend run

Joseph Simmons aka The Reverend Run

10. The 'Reverend Run', of Run-DMC, is a real ordained minister, with New York Pentacostal church Zoe Ministries.

Whereas Leonard Cohen, writer of Hallelujah, is an ordained Rinzai Buddhist monk.

'Irish' band U2 aren't really all Irish. Adam Clayton was born in Oxfordshire, England, to English parents. The Edge (David Evans) was born in Barking, east London, to Welsh parents.

The world's official fastest rapper is Ricky Brown. He holds the Guinness World Record by rapping 723 syllables in 41.27 seconds on his track No Clue, in January 2005, in front of a licensed speech therapist.

Public Image Limited bassist Jah Wobble (John Wardle) worked for a while, post-PiL, for the London Underground. He allegedly once made an announcement over the PA system at London's Tower Hill underground station: "I used to be somebody. I repeat, I used to be somebody."

The 15 May 1997 was declared official 'ZZ Top Day' in the band's home-state of Texas. Who would pass such bizarre legislation? The Texas State Governor at the time, George W Bush.

In his teens, Johnny Marr had trials as a footballer for Manchester City FC. "I was good enough for City," he reckons, "but they didn't follow up because I was probably the only player wearing eyeliner."

Whereas Damon Gough - aka Badly Drawn Boy - had trials for Manchester United.

Veteran gangsta rapper Ice-T's birth name is Tracy Lauren Marrow. So you're named after two girls and a vegetable, hard man?

Brian Eno partly-produced Dido's new album, Safe Trip Home. Which makes for a full-name collaboration between Brian Peter George St John Le Baptiste de la Salle Eno and Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong. That's posh parents for you.



Coldplay say "make trade fair"

20. The seemingly-random block artwork on Coldplay's third album album uses the Baudot code. It spells out 'x and y', in Emile Baudot's pioneering code used for early telegrams. The code spells out 'Fair Trade' on the CD inner-booklet.

Crooner Engelbert Humperdinck was born Arnold George Dorsey. He borrowed his stage name from a German composer who died in 1921. Weirdly, Arnold Dorsey sounds much cooler.

The original Village People line-up was recruited via an advert that read "Macho types wanted: must have moustache".

Graham coxon

Graham coxon

Dapper gent Graham Coxon

23. Blur's Graham Coxon models for Cordings, an upmarket London gentleman's tailor, part-owned by Eric Clapton.

Before Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder was the singer in Bad Radio, a progressive funk rock band heavily influenced by early Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Over the years, Pete Best, Stuart Sutcliffe, Brian Epstein, George Martin, George Best and Billy Preston have all been referred to as The Fifth Beatle.

Go to Part 2 of 101 facts.


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