Your Random Rock Trivia Round-up

Wherein I relate random bits of trivia that either A) have been stuck in my head for a long time or 2) came out of my research but didn’t exactly fit a given post or series. Enjoy!

++Not so much rock trivia on this one but nevertheless, interesting: In 1939, Billie Holiday recorded a song called “Strange Fruit,” about the lynching of black men in the Southern United States. The song was written by a guy named Abel Meeropol, a New York teacher and songwriter.

Sympathetic to the cause of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg who were executed in 1953 for treason, Abel adopted their two sons. (Who got little support from their own family.) The two Meeropol brothers have been in the press lately as they are asking President Obama for exoneration for their mother whom they believe was unjustly executed. (Russian records show that Julius was clearly a spy.)

++Phil Spector’s first hit was a song he wrote when he was with a group called the Teddy Bears. It’s called “To Know Him is To Love Him,” and while yes it’s a love song, the phrase actually came from his father’s tombstone.

++According to the musical documentary Soundbreaking, when George Martin wanted to add strings to The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby,” he decided to give them a staccato feel after hearing Bernard Herrmann’s soundtrack for Hitchcock’s Psycho:

++As I mentioned in my series about The Police, their original guitarist was a Coriscan guy named Henry Padovani. While he largely stayed under the radar for years, in 1988, Police manager Miles Copeland appointed him as Vice President of IRS Records, a role he performed until 1994. He still performs and in fact, just released an album in September.

++When the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964, one of the other acts was the cast from the Broadway play Oliver! Standing in the wings watching them perform was an 18-year-old Brit who was starring as the Artful Dodger.

To himself he said, “I watched the Beatles from the side of the stage, I saw the girls going crazy, and I said to myself, this is it, I want a piece of that.” And so in September 1966, Davy Jones along with his bandmates premiered in a TV show called The Monkees. In 1967, The Monkees outsold the Beatles and Rolling Stones combined. I was a total Monkees fan.

++There is a concert sequence in the movie A Hard Day’s Night. A 13-year old Phil Collins is one of the attendees in the audience. You can see a brief clip here with Collins explaining why he was there.

++Drummer Henry Spinetti, who was a session man with so many great artists (Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Eric Clapton), is the brother of the late actor Victor Spinetti. Victor appeared in A Hard Day’s Night (as TV director), Help and Magical Mystery Tour. George’s mother fancied him.

++Celine Dion tried to name her Las Vegas show Muse but was threatened with a lawsuit by the same-named band. She offered them $50,000 USD for its use but they rejected it as they did not want to be mistakenly known as her backup band.

++The Beatles’ recording of “Twist and Shout” is notable for John Lennon’s impassioned vocal. George Martin apparently planned for this to be the last song to be recorded on their debut album, Please Please Me.

Martin wanted Lennon’s voice to be ragged, more or less as he heard it at the Cavern. Lennon’s voice was already shot from a 12-hour session. But he sucked on a couple of throat lozenges, gargled with milk (!) and took his shirt off. He later said his voice was not the same for a long time afterward, and that “every time [he] swallowed, it felt like sandpaper.”


++According to Woodstock founder Michael Lang’s book, tired from incessant touring behind Tommy, Pete Townshend did not want to play the festival. But Lang and his partner were convinced they needed The Who for Saturday night. They kept bringing the subject up all night but Townshend “refused to be swayed.”

The partners stayed up all night, outlasting Pete who started dozing around 4 am. They kept waking him up and finally at 8 am, Townshend couldn’t take it any more. “Okay we’ll do it,” he said. “Just let me go to fucking bed.” The Who came on at 5 a.m. Sunday morning and played most of Tommy plus some other stuff.

10 thoughts on “Your Random Rock Trivia Round-up

  1. Great post. Always look forward to these rock-trivia ones.
    I have a little of my own for you that links to the Phil Collins / Hard Day’s Night appearance: Phil Collins now hates Paul McCartney, thinks he’s a complete arsehole. He was promoting his book recently and this is from an interview in the Sunday Times:
    “I’ve got to preface this by saying McCartney was one of my heroes,” Collins told the Times, “But he has this thing when he’s talking to you, where he makes you feel (…) ‘I know this must be hard for you, because I’m a Beatle….I’m Paul McCartney and it must be very hard for you to actually be holding a conversation with me.’”

    Collins said he met McCartney at Buckingham Palace about 14 years ago, when McCartney was still married to Heather Mills. “I had a first edition of The Beatles by Hunter Davies,” Collins said, “I said, ‘Hey Paul, do you mind signing this for me?’ And he said, ‘Oh Heather, our little Phil’s a bit of a Beatles fan.’ And I thought, ‘You fuck, you fuck.’ Never forgot it.”


  2. I actually read this too just recently. In fact my son and I were discussing it. I did not want to believe it because I am a fan of both guys. That said, I know that McCartney can be somewhat of a dick. I suspect the key word that set Phil off was ‘little’ more than anything else. He’s 5’6″.


    1. I imagine so – it does come across a little patronising. On the couple of occasions I met and spoke with him he was always nothing but polite though, when he was with Heather Mills he wasn’t quite as such without, if that makes sense?


      1. The couple of occasions you met and spoke with him? You say that casually as if he was the guy down the block. WTF. How did these wondrous occasions come to be? Elaborate please. 😉


        1. Ahh.. because he kinda is/was the local celebrity. He’s got a place out in Rye / Peasmarsh and I used to be on the mngmnt team at the closest multiplex cinema to him (Ashford). So he’d come in from time to time (having booked in advance and probably still does but I haven’t worked there for some 15 years) and catch a film in the ‘Deluxe’ screen (smaller number of guests / bigger seats / waiter service)
          He was always very cool and chilled as long as you didn’t make a big “oh my god you’re a Beatle” type thing – kinda the opposite of some ‘celebs’ that came in and would get upset if nobody fawned at them. I did have to stop a member of staff going home to get his guitar for Paul to sign during the film and once heard that one of the staff nearly tripped over his ex-wife’s leg which she’d slipped off and left kinda close to the aisle.


        2. That’s pretty cool, especially that you, sorry, let it be. However, should you run into him again in the future, let me make you aware of an important fact for your edification. He’s not a person from Planet Earth. He’s


          I hope that helps. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Oh believe me I know, I spent the majority of the time trying to ignore the voice in my head shouting “HE WROTE ELEANOR RIGBY!!” and the rest not tripping over my own feet.


        4. Remember our conversation about my moving to England in the wake of our electing this president? Well, I don’t know where Rye/Peasmarsh is, much less Ashford but I am moving there next year. Just in case. See you at the local.


  3. Rye is about 12 miles away from where I am in Hastings on the south coast. You’d love it – a great live music scene around these parts, for when you are not stalking Mr McCartney…


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