101 facts you really never knew about music: part 1

Welcome to MusicRadar's 101 facts you really never knew about music, the third in a continuing series of trivia blowouts born from the marriage of our insatiable thirst for knowledge with our warm appreciation of the pub quiz.

If you need to orient yourself in MusicRadar's world of trivia then give last year's 101 facts a read.Then possibly follow that up with 101 more.

Otherwise, go on ahead and dive into our 2010 selection. This time, we're serving up facts you really never knew about music. Really.


101 facts you really never knew about music

1. Joni Mitchell claims to have used 51 (and probably counting…) different guitar tunings during her career.

2. Tiny Tim was actually 6' 1".

3. Before settling on REM (a random pluck by Michael Stipe from a dictionary, according to legend), the band's first gigs back in 1980 were played under such delightful names as Twisted Kites, Cans of Piss and Negro Wives.

4. One for the gamers. Factory Records catalogue numbers have been assigned to everything from egg timers (FAC8) to hairdressing salons (FAC98) to dental bills (FAC99). FAC91 however was assigned to a computer game, still finished. Maybe in time for PlayStation 4…

5. The Pixies' first demo tape is known to fans as 'The Purple Tape' because of the tape cover's purple background.

6. After discovering the chosen name of their latest opus shared a title with a 1973 album by Stafford blues rockers, Medicine Head, Pink Floyd decided their forthcoming project would be renamed Eclipse. Medicine Head's commercial failure however meant the band could relax and thus The Dark Side Of The Moon eventually reclaimed its original title.

7. During World War II, instrument manufacturing virually stopped at Gibson due to shortages of wood and metal. Gibson did war production instead, making wood parts for various military needs.

8. Joe Strummer was naturally left-handed, but learned to play guitar right-handed.

9. Bono's first 'music nickname' was Steinvic von Huyseman. Before reaching Bono levels of brevity, he was also knows as Bono Vox of O'Connell Street

10. According to guitarist Robby Krieger, the Doors turned it appearing at Woodstock because they thought it would be a "second class repeat of Monterey Pop Festival". Not everyone agreed. Indeed, drummer John Densmore attended he can be seen on the side of the stage during Joe Cocker's set.

11. The official soundtrack to Sid & Nancy contains no songs sung by either the Sex Pistols or Sid Vicious. Or Nancy for that matter.

12. There have been a lot of descriptions of Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone but we like Springsteen's speech during Dylan's inauguration into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988: "That snare shot sounded like somebody'd kicked open the door to your mind"

13. The first US number one for Motown was Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes, released in 1961. A couple of years later, they got another number one courtesy of a song by some fella called Little Stevie Wonder.

14. While the origin of the term heavy metal remains uncertain, here's a quote from William Burrough's Nova Express (1964) which might provide some clarity: "With their diseases and orgasm drugs and their sexless parasite life forms - Heavy Metal People of Uranus wrapped in cool blue mist of vaporized bank notes - And The Insect People of Minraud with metal music." Us neither.

15. A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It's hard for me to relate to that. I mean, it, you know, people enjoying the type of pain, you know?" Dylan on Blood On the Tracks. And you can see his point.

16. The name The Jimi Hendrix Experience was actually coined by their business manager Mike Jeffery.

17. On 9th September 1963, John Cale played in an 18-hour piano-playing marathon that was the first full-length performance of Erik Satie's Vexations. Afterwards, Cale appeared on the US TV panel show I've Got a Secret. Cale's secret was that he had performed in an 18-hour concert. He was accompanied by a man whose secret was that he was the only audience member who had stayed for the duration!

18. Back in the '80s, Moog built a synth (the MG-1) that bore the 'Realistic' brand name and was sold in branches of RadioShack.

19. Gary Numan didn't intend Tubeway Army to be a synth band - they only started to use the instrument because a Minimoog had been left in the studio when they went in to record their first album.

20. In December 2002, ten of Ray Charles's 12 children attended a lunch with their father, at which the star presented each of them with a cheque for $1 million.

21. When Quincy Jones produced all-star charity record We Are The World in 1984, he posted at sign at the entrance to the studio that said: "Check Your Ego At The Door".

22. As late as the 1950s and 1960s, use of the word 'funk' in polite sociiety was frowned upon as it was considered to be somewhat indelicate.

23. In 2007, Rihanna had a huge worldwide hit with Umbrella. However, the song had originally been offered to Britney Spears, who turned it down. Mary J Blige also said no.

24. It's often reported that Joe Strummer was Lily Allen's godparent, though this isn't technically true. Her mum did go out with Harry Enfield for a bit, though.

25. Back in the '80s, Michael Jackson asked U2 if he could send a camera crew over to Dublin to film them working in the studio. The band said no.

The MusicRadar team

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