Here are quick descriptions of each of the previous editions of Music Urban Legends Revealed.
To see if they are true or false, you have to click on the link!
#1 – Harry Nillson’s coffin was lost during an earthquake
A Frank Zappa album was given a Parental Advisory sticker…even though the album was completely instrumental!
Bob Dylan had to re-record a song due to worries about slander/libel.
#2 – A musician was sued for infringing on the copyright of a silent song.
Graham Nash once wrote a hit song on a limo ride on the way to the airport on a dare from the driver.
“Softly as I Leave You” was written by a dying man as his wife slept at his bed side.
#3 – Kiss got into trouble for the Kiss logo appearing to contain the logo for the Nazi S.S.
A musician used morse code to express his displeasure with his record company.
Polka was created in Poland.
#4 – A misheard lyric led to the title of the song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”
George Michael’s “Father Figure” accidentally became a slow tempo song.
“Mr. Bojangles” is about the famous dancer Mr. Bojangles.
#5 – The Rolling Stones were performing “Sympathy for the Devil” when a crowd member was killed at the Altamont Free Concert.
The song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was inspired by the film “Roman Holiday.”
The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” won a Grammy for Best R&B Instrumental!
#6 – Michael Jackson’s song “Dirty Diana” was about Diana Ross and/or Princess Diana
An American poster company airbrushed a cigarette from a poster of the Beatles’ Abbey Road.
Bob Dylan had an amusing response to The Byrds changing the lyrics to one of his songs.
#7- The Lovin’ Spoonful got their name from a slang term for heroin and/or a slang term for male ejaculate
The Lovin’ Spoonful were the original choice for the TV series that eventually became the Monkees.
Zal Yanovsky left the band because he turned in his drug dealer to avoid deportation.
#8- Pearl Jam was named after a peyote concoction that Eddie Vedder’s great-grandmother Pearl used to make.
The Green Day song “Stuck with Me” got its name by someone in the studio switching the labels on two songs.
Alvin and the Chipmunks made a comeback in 1980 based on a joke by a New York disc jockey
#9- The Rolling Stones’ song “Wild Horses” is based on something Marianne Faithfull said after almost overdosing.
Paul McCartney once used a pseudonym for a song to see if he could write a hit song without using the fame from his name.
Petula Clark went to extreme great lengths to keep a scene between Harry Belafonte and herself in a TV special she made in 1968.
#10- Van Morrison was pressured to change his song “Brown Skinned Girl” to “Brown Eyed Girl.”
The BBC originally banned the playing of the Who’s “My Generation” because it was offensive…to stutterers!
Lou Reed was given some striking early advice from the legendary American poet and author, Delmore Schwartz.
#11- Carly Simon auctioned off the identity of who “You’re So Vain” was about for $50,000!
Bob Holness played saxophone on Gerry Rafferty’s hit, “Baker Street.”
Maya Rudolph is referenced in the song “Loving You.”
#12- A misheard word due to the accent of Tom Petty’s wife led to the Stevie Nicks’ song “Edge of Seventeen.”
Morey Amsterdam wrote the song “Rum and Coca Cola.”
A singer once had a Top 40 song with 28 variations of the song depending on where the song was released!
#13- Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring caused a riot upon its first performance.
Stravinsky had a particularly cutting telegram retort to a request to have his worked altered by another musician.
Stravinsky was arrested for adding a chord to the National Anthem.
#14- The band behind “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” did not really exist.
The Beatles used flag semaphore to spell out “help” on the cover of their album, Help!
During the Civil War, the Star-Spangled Banner had an extra verse written by Oliver Wendell Holmes!
#15- William Zanzinger murdered Hattie Carroll by beating her to death with a cane.
Both the trees in Joshua Tree AND “One Tree Hill” have since died!
Kris Kristofferson used a highly dramatic method of getting Johnny Cash to pay attention to his demo tapes.
#16- Marvin Gaye tried out for the Detroit Lions.
Frank Sinatra had to conduct an odd race against time to record “Strangers in the Night.”
Stephen Sondheim’s “Marry Me A Little” was first recorded by Harry Nilsson…as a Christmas present!
#17- The head of Madness’ record company bet his company that “It Must Be Love” would be a hit.
Billy Idol wrote “White Wedding” as a put down towards his sister.
#18- Salman Rushdie secretly lived in Bono’s guest house in Ireland for four years.
Elton John wrote a song for a sports team that was gone before the song was even released.
Joe Walsh sneaked hidden messages via Morse Code into a couple of his songs.
#19- The film A Hard Day’s Night originally was made just so United Artists’ music company could get around Capitol Records’ exclusive rights to put out Beatles music in the United States.
The violinist for Bob Dylan’s album, Desire (as well as the accompanying tour), was hired off of the street.
The lyrics to “Every Breath You Take” are taken from an actual stalker’s letters.
#20- Delbert McClinton taught John Lennon how to play the harmonica.
The original recording of Jimi Hendrix on Happening With Lulu was saved by being hidden on an old tape by a BBC engineer.
The Cure put a disclaimer sticker on their singles compilation album, Standing on a Beach, to make sure people did not misinterpret the meaning of one of their songs.
#21- “We’ve Only Just Begun” was originally a song for a bank commercial.
A non band member sang “Incense and Peppermints” because no one in the band wanted to.
Ricky Valance named himself after Richie Valens.
#22- Pat Boone recorded Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That a Shame” but changed the song to the grammatically correct “Isn’t That a Shame.”
“Hang On Sloopy” is the Official Rock Song of the State of Ohio.
Cher’s first single was a novelty song about Ringo Starr.
#23- When Pat Boone recorded Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” the lyrics were re-written and toned down.
Bob Dylan lifted a number of lines from a Japanese novel for songs on his album “Love and Theft.”
Clem Snide’s “Moment in the Sun” is a parody of Jewel.
#24- Alice Cooper’s title track for the film Man with the Golden Gun was rejected by the film’s producers.
“Unchained Melody” was actually the melody to the film Unchained!
“Danger Zone” was originally going to be a Toto song!
#25- Barry Manilow wrote “Mandy” about his dog.
Giorgio Moroder wrote “Danger Zone” and “Take My Breath Away” with his former mechanic.
Old Crow Medicine Show co-wrote a song with Bob Dylan, working nearly thirty years apart!
#26- Tom Lehrer quit writing protest songs because Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The BBC forced a change to the song “The Cover of Rolling Stone” for it to be played in England.
An interesting confluence of events had to occur on the road to “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song (including a title change).
#27- “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)” was originally about the repeal of Prohibition.
Kanye West wrote “Gold Digger” after seeing Jamie Foxx play Ray Charles in “Ray.”
David Bowie adapted the song Paul Anka used to write “My Way” before Anka!
#28- The Crystals’ “He’s a Rebel” was not performed by The Crystals
Paul Anka got the publisher’s rights to “My Way” for free.
Angus Young was still a teenager when AC/DC signed their first record contract.
#29- AC/DC was named after a slang term for bisexuality or a sly satanic reference.
The Rolling Stones almost did not release “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” because Keith Richards felt that the famous riff sounded too similar to another song.
Jon Bon Jovi’s first professional song recording was for a Star Wars Christmas Album.
#30- Doublemint gum adapted Chris Brown’s “Forever” into a gum commercial.
The cereal Wheaties was saved from termination by a radio jingle.
The famous “I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who” part of the Monotones’ “Book of Love” was inspired by a Pepsodent commercial!
#31- Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot” was about the real life suicide of Kurt Cobain.
Stone Temple Pliots took their band name from an attempt to keep the same initials as their earlier, extremely “unsafe for radio” band name.
The hit song “The Poor People of Paris” got its name through a mistaken translation.
#32- Toto’s “Rosanna” was about Rosanna Arquette.
A song was re-named years after it first came out because it was used in a clip package for an Olympic athlete.
Jack Lawrence wrote a song for a five-year-old little girl who grew up to marry Paul McCartney.
#33- “Windy” was originally written about the hippie boyfriend of the songwriter, with the lyrics re-written by The Association to be about a woman.
Not only did C + C Music Factory use a different singer to lip sync to the music sung by another singer for the music video AND some live performances of their hit song “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” they did not even CREDIT the actual singer on the song!
Before becoming a judge on American Idol, Kara DioGuardi was part of a musical hoax along with Dave Stewart.
#34- Before saying goodbye for the last time before Buddy Holly died in a plane crash, Waylon Jennings told Holly that he hoped his plane crashes.
Outkast was sued by Rosa Parks for a song named after her.
American Idol’s parent company and/or Simon Cowell owns the publishing rights to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”
#35- Due to a marquee missing a “D,” the Food Fighters became the Foo Fighters.
50 Cent was sued over the use of the term “it’s your birthday” in “In Da Club.”
The song “Mony Mony” was named after the bank Mutual of New York.
#36- The Red Sox began playing “Sweet Caroline” in honor of a Red Sox employee who named her newborn daughter “Caroline” in 1998.
Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn indirectly led to the naming of the band Yo La Tengo.
The first published baseball song pre-dates the Civil War!
#37- A song had a strange history with the Boston Red Sox to the point of seeming to be a World Series “good luck charm.”
John Fogerty wrote “Centerfield” after watching the 1984 All Star Game from the centerfield bleachers at Candlestick Park.
A baseball player spent his career in the Major Leagues also as a pop artist, using a slightly different name.
#38- The Dixie Cups’ version of “Iko Iko” was recorded without their knowledge.
Stevie Nicks wrote “Edge of Seventeen” based on the way that Tom Petty’s wife pronounced the word “age.”
Helen O’Hara was hired by Dexy’s Midnight Runners after the lead singer of the band discovered her at a bus stop with her violin.
#39- The official release of “Through the Wire” has re-recorded vocals by Kanye after his jaw had further healed.
“School Spirit” had to be censored for Aretha Franklin to agree to allow her song to be sampled on the track.
“Homecoming” is about a woman named Wendy.