How Lorenz Hart Kept Writing New Lyrics for a Melody Until He Came Up With “Blue Moon”!

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC LEGEND: Lorenz Hart wrote new lyrics to the same melody for three different songs until finally coming up with “Blue Moon” on the fourth try.

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart were two of the most successful musical composers of the 20th Century. Rodgers would write the music and then Hart would write the lyrics. Sadly, Hart would eventually become an alcoholic and his drinking problem eventually broke up the partnership soon before Hart passed away in 1943. Rodgers would begin to work with the lyricist, Oscar Hammerstein II. Their partnership also worked out fairly well.

Anyhow, in the early 1930s, Rodgers and Hart were hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to do a song for a movie that never came about called Hollywood Party, which would be a basic revue where MGM’s biggest stars would do numbers. Rodgers and Hart came up with a song that Jean Harlow would have sang about her saying her prayers about hoping to become a movie star. Again, the movie didn’t happen. MGM copyrighted the unpublished work.

Later, the two men were hired to write a title song for the new major motion picture, Manhattan Melodrama, about childhood friends who come back into each other’s world when one of them is the district attorney (and later running for governor) and the other is a criminal. The criminal’s girlfriend eventually ends up falling for the politician friend and their friendship is tested when the public believes that the district attorney covered up one of his old friend’s crimes.

Hart wrote new lyrics for the previous song but once again, it didn’t work and it was pulled from the movie.

However, the filmmakers then went back to Lorenz and Hart and asked for them to come up with a song for a nightclub scene and sure enough, they changed the lyrics enough and FINALLY the song was published and it was called “The Bad in Every Man” but, well, just listen to it…
Continue reading “How Lorenz Hart Kept Writing New Lyrics for a Melody Until He Came Up With “Blue Moon”!”

Was the Song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” Not Written About Breakfast at Tiffany’s?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC LEGEND: The song “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was inspired by the film “Roman Holiday.”

In 1995, the band Deep Blue Something debuted their hit song, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

It was on their second album, Home.

The song is about a couple in a relationship, and the speaker of the song is trying to convince the other half of the relationship that they should stay together, while she argues that they have nothing in common (“no common ground between us”) and he ends up relying on the fairly flimsy fact that they both liked the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as grounds that they should remain a couple (as, after all, they have THAT in common, at least!).

It’s a really catchy song, but its genesis is pretty interesting…
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Did ABBA Really Turn Down a Billion Dollar Concert Offer?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: ABBA turned down a billion dollar concert tour.

Longtime reader Jumborg Ace wrote in to ask, “Is it true that a few (maybe a lot of) years ago that ABBA was offered 1 BILLION
dollars to do 1 concert AND they turned it down? I though I heard that but maybe it was just a radio joke.”

Well, the answer to your very specific question is no. They were never offered that much money for one single show.

However, the full answer is closer to true than you would expect!
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Was The Rolling Stones’ ‘Wild Horses’ Almost Accidentally Erased?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” was almost accidentally erased.

For whatever reason, few rock songs have had as many legends about it than the Rolling Stones’ classic song, “Wild Horses.”

In the past, I’ve discussed whether Mick Jagger really wrote it about Marianne Faithful.

In the past, I’ve discussed whether Gram Parsons secretly wrote the song for the Stones.

Now, however, we’re taking a look a surprising thing that happened that nearly caused us to lose one of the great rock songs of all-time!
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Is “Everyday is a Winding Road” About Suicide?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Sheryl Crow wrote the song “Everyday is a Winding Road” about the suicide of former Crowded House drummer, Paul Hester.

Rock and roll history is filled with songs that at first appear to be upbeat but then you listen to the lyrics and realize that they are actually pretty depressing, with Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” being one of the most famous examples of that type of thing.

So if you were to learn that Sheryl Crow’s upbeat pop song, “Everyday is a Winding Road” was about suicide, it probably would not surprise you all that much…

However, just like there are lots of rock and roll songs with lyrics that don’t match their melody, so, too, are there lots of interviews with rock and roll singers where the origins of their songs get sort of jumbled up. When you show up to discuss a career that has lasted more than two decades, sometimes details get a bit blurred.

This was the case recently when Sheryl Crow went on the Howard Stern Radio Show to promote her latest album, Be Myself…

On the official Howard Stern website, they do recaps of their episodes, and they described the discussion of Crow’s hit 1996 song, “Everyday is a Winding Road” as follows:

Sheryl wrote “Everyday Is a Winding Road” about Crowded House drummer Paul Hester who committed suicide shortly after Sheryl and her band started opening for them on tour. The mixer on Sheryl’s second album insisted she include the track due to its subject matter. As a single, it hit No. 11 on the charts and was later covered by Prince.

The song was, indeed, about Paul Hester, the longtime drummer for the Split Enz and then Crowded House…

However, it was NOT about his suicide. It was about him quitting Crowded House in the middle of their 1994 USA tour (where Crow was their opening act). Hester told lead singer Neil Finn (at least Neil Finn says that he said this) that “every day is a winding road, mate, it’s time for me to veer off.” Hester was feeling anxious about touring and leaving behind his newborn baby daughter. So he quit the group.

Crow then wrote the song about Hester’s restless energy. Hester’s daughter was named Sunday, so it is likely the inspiration for the line in the song, “He’s got a daughter he calls Easter, she was born on a Tuesday night.”

In any event, ELEVEN YEARS after he left the tour and NINE years after the release of the song, Hester did, in fact, take his own life. However, that obviously had nothing to do with the original song, which really IS as upbeat as it sounds.

The legend is…

STATUS: False

Thanks to my wife for mentioning this after listening to Crow on the Stern show.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

Did Danny Aiello Record A Response Song and Music Video to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Danny Aiello recorded a response song and music video to “Papa Don’t Preach”.

“Papa Don’t Preach” was a hit song by Madonna off of her third studio album, True Blue, which came out in 1986. It reached #1 on the Billboard charts. The music video was a sensation, winning the MTV Award for “Best Female Video.”

The video co-starred Danny Aiello as the father of Madonna’s character, who has to come to Aiello to reveal that she has gotten pregnant.

Amazingly enough, Aiello actually released a RESPONSE song and music video to “Papa Don’t Preach”! Read on to see the hilarious reason behind the song and the even more hilarious video!
Continue reading “Did Danny Aiello Record A Response Song and Music Video to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach”?”

Was Bruce Dickinson Really the Producer Who Wanted “More Cowbell” on “Don’t Fear the Reaper”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Bruce Dickinson was the producer who added cowbell to the Blue Oyster Cult song, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

One of the most famous Saturday Night Live skits of all-time is the 2000 sketch written by and starring Will Ferrell as a fictitious member of the band Blue Oyster Cult, whose job is only to play the cowbell, something that doesn’t come up very often, but when legendary producer Bruce Dickinson decides that the only thing that the song “Don’t Fear the Reaper” needs is “more cowbell,” then Ferrell’s character really gets into it, much to the dismay of his bandmates…

Besides the made up band member that Ferrell played, the skit tried to be as faithful as it could to the Blue Oyster Cult at the time (including the fact that the song does, in fact, have cowbell in it), depicting the band members very accurately (although they had the wrong member of the band singing lead and made a few other minor errors). However, what about Bruce Dickinson? Did he really produce the song and ask for the cowbell?
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Did Pitbull Really Get His Stage Name From His Love for Dogfighting?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The rapper Pitbull got his stage name from his love of dogfighting.

On the Doug Loves Movies podcast, celebrity guests compete against each other in games based on movie trivia. Each guest competes on behalf of a member of the crowd who brings a sign with their name on it (typically in the form of a movie poster using a movie pun, like if your name was Parker, you could have a Jurassic Park sign with Parker instead of Park. Stuff like that). Each crowd member also writes the name of someone on the back of the poster. In the event that they lose, the host of the show, comedian Doug Benson, will call whoever they write on the back a “$#!thead.” It can be someone that just the crowd member knows or it can be a famous person. Whatever they like. It doesn’t even have to be a person. Anyhow, in a recent episode I was listening to the other day, one of the names was “Pitbull, who got his name from his love for dogfighting.” I had never heard that, and I wondered if it was true.

Pitbull, as you may or may not know, is a famous rapper from Miami who became famous in that city (calling himself “Mr. 305” after Miami’s area code) before becoming world famous (he know calls himself “Mr. Worldwide”).

So is the origin of his name true?
Continue reading “Did Pitbull Really Get His Stage Name From His Love for Dogfighting?”

What is “That” in the Meatloaf Song “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: It is a mystery as to what “that” is in the hit Meatloaf song, “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”

This is a bit of a goofier legend than normal, but reader Erica wrote in to say that she was reading AllMusic and saw a review of the song that stated:

The lyrics build suspense by portraying a romance-consumed lover who pledges to do anything in the name of love except ‘that,’ a mysterious thing that he will not specify. This mystery becomes clear in the second part, where the woman he loves prophesizes that once the glow of love wears off that “you’ll see that its time to move on” and “sooner or later you’ll be screwing around,” an accusation that prompts him to give his titular pledge one last time.

She thought that there was a legend here about how people don’t really know what the song is about. After Erica wrote me about it, I noticed that there were actually a few other notable reviewers over the years who WERE confused about what “that” was in the song. Enough that I began to think that this might actually be worthy of writing about. So what the heck, it may be a bit silly, but I’ll tackle the “legend” of what the “that” in “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” is! Truly the most important legend of all-time!
Continue reading “What is “That” in the Meatloaf Song “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”?”

Was Michelle Pfeiffer Really the Inspiration for Don Henley’s “The Last Worthless Evening”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Don Henley wrote “The Last Worthless Evening” about Michelle Pfeiffer.

In 1989, Don Henley had himself one heck of a career boost with his third solo album, End of the Innocence, which contained three Top 40 singles.

The title track, “End of the Innocence,” plus “The Heart of the Matter” and “The Last Worthless Evening” (it also had a fourth single nearly make the top 40, “New York Minute”)…

The song is about Henley telling a woman that she should be with him and if she does, she will no longer spend any more “worthless evenings”. Here is the first verse:

I know you broke up with him
And your heart’s still on the shelf
It’s been over two years for me
And I’m still not quite myself

You can’t be with someone new
And you can’t go back to him
You’re beginning to realize
That it’s sink or swim

I see you around sometimes
And my heart just melts
You’re lookin’ like if you had your wish
You’d be somewhere else

And it just breaks my heart
To see you here this way
Someday I’ll get the nerve
To walk up to you and say

This is the last worthless evening
That you’ll have to spend
Just gimme a chance
To show you how to love again

The longtime rumor is that the song is about famed movie star Michelle Pfeiffer. Is that true?
Continue reading “Was Michelle Pfeiffer Really the Inspiration for Don Henley’s “The Last Worthless Evening”?”