This is the eighteenth in a series of examinations of music legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here to view an archive of the previous music urban legends.
MUSIC LEGEND: Salman Rushdie secretly lived in Bono’s guest house in Ireland for four years.
STATUS: I’m Going With False
Salman Rushdie first came to international attention in 1981 with his Booker Prize winning novel, Midnight’s Children.
However, it was his fourth novel, released in 1988, The Satanic Verses, that really made Rushdie a household name.
This time around, though, it wasn’t for his literary skills, but rather for the fact The Satanic Verses was deemed highly offensive to believers of Islam. So offensive that there was a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989 ordering Muslims to kill Rushdie. Rushdie went underground for many years.
In 1991, a friend of his took him to a concert U2 was giving to promote the album Achtung Baby.
Rushdie met with Bono, lead singer of the band and the two talked for awhile.
Two years later, when the band was on tour promoting their latest album, Zooropa…
the band performed at Wembley Stadium in England and asked Rushdie to come out on stage with them in a show of solidarity.
Amusingly enough, they brought him out when Bono was dressed as his devil character “MacPhisto.”
In any event, a few years later, an Irish newspaper “broke” a story that Rushdie had been secretly living in Bono’s guest house for four years during the 1990s.
U2 and Rushdie denied the story, U2 a little more vehemently than Rushdie, as in their case, you could understand why such a story would not be good for them, security-wise.
Here’s the Edge on the issue…
It’s not really accurate. In fact we’re a bit pissed off about it because it implies that Salman was staying for long periods of time in Bono’s house, which wasn’t the case. He did stay for the weekend on maybe two occasions. But it wasn’t like he was living with Bono for months on end, which was sort of what the story claimed.
He’s been on stage with us. We don’t have a problem with standing beside him. But the focus of that story seemed to be on Bono’s house, which we could have done without, from a security point of view.
Since they both deny it and their responses seem reasonable enough, I’m willing to buy their take on the story and give this one a false.
MUSIC LEGEND: Elton John wrote a song for a sports team that was gone before the song was even released.
In 1974, the World Team Tennis league was formed.
Team Tennis was played on a four colored tennis court with teams comprising of at least 2 men and 2 women.
The franchise Philadelphia Freedoms had Billie Jean King on their inaugural squad.
King’s close friend, Elton John, wrote the theme song for the team.
The song, “Philadelphia Freedom,” was released the next year as a single (not as a track on John’s 1975 album, Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy. That would be foolish!)
There was just one little snag.
By the time the song had come out, the team was finished!
You see, after the first season of World Team Tennis, the Philadelphia Freedom merged into the Boston Lobsters!
The song was a big hit, though! It hit #1 on the charts!
Almost thirty years later, the Philadelphia Freedom returned to World Team Tennis!
The current team’s most famous player is Andre Agassi (seem here with a teammate)…
MUSIC LEGEND: Joe Walsh sneaked hidden messages via Morse Code into a couple of his songs.
Joe Walsh is certainly one of the more interesting figures in rock ‘n’ roll.
In fact, he’s often referred to as the Clown Prince Of Rock.
One of his lesser known interests, though, is amateur radio. Walsh is involved with fostering amateur radio enthusiasm in schools, and helps out with the American Radio Relay League with charity auctions and such.
On two of his albums, Walsh actually used Morse code (a staple of the amateur radio set) to put hidden messages into two songs.
The first time came on his 1972 album, Barnstorm.
It was on the song “Register and Vote,” and that’s what the message was.
In 1980, Walsh had a joke campaign for the U.S. President (even though he was not yet 35 years of age) where one of his promises was that he’d make “Life’s Been Good to Me” the national anthem.
He continued the joke in 1992 (this time for the Vice-Presidency) and included a new song on his 1992 album Songs for a Dying Planet…
titled “Register and Vote For Me.”
Once again, he added a hidden message through Morse code – the same “Register and vote for me.”
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com