You know that person down the bar who's always dropping delicious trivia about pop music? The dude who's always got a little anecdote, a little tale, about whatever band pops up on your playlist?
Yeah. You know you'd like to be that person.
Here's a list of 15 bits of shocking, funny, amazing, weird, or just plain cool pop music trivia to get you started.
What’s your favourite nugget of music trivia?
Tell us in the comments, below.
Flea Plays Bass On "Bust A Move"
You've danced to it a million times. It played to cheers at your wedding, at your high school graduation and at your '80s Party last Saturday night. It's a stone classic, a bubblegum rap number that hit #7 in 1989 and would go on to win a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. But, did you know that the iconic bassline was played by Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers? Word is he was paid a mere $200 for his trouble, a pittance considering even your Grandmother can probably hum it today. (That's Flea, in the amazing pants, at the 2:00 mark of the video.)
Gregg Allman's Shooting Party
This one is… painful. At the height of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, ever more young men across the United States were being drafted into military service to be sent overseas to an uncertain fate. But, since this was also their height of the anti-war movement, some of these young men were willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to avoid having to join the Army. The story goes that a young Gregg Allman held a "foot shooting party" to which he invited several girls he wanted to impress. Egged on by his older brother and bandmate Duane (who was exempt because he was the eldest son in a family without a father), the future lead singer of the Allman Brothers Band shot himself in the foot with a pistol. Ouch.
Mike Nesmith Has Had An Amazing Career
Where even to begin? The man best known as the toque-wearing Monkee has had an astoundingly diverse career. Between penning Linda Ronstadt's breakthrough hit (1967's terrific "Different Drum"), starring in a groundbreaking 1960s TV show, producing a bona fide alt-country masterpiece in Iain Matthews' "Valley Hi" (1970), releasing a series of hugely influential psychedelic country records in the 1970s, serving as Executive Producer for the 1984 cult classic film "Repo Man," producing the videos for Lionel Ritchie's "All Night Long" in 1983 and Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" in 1987, and arguably inventing the very format of the music video TV show as Creator and Executive Producer of Nickelodeon's PopClips in 1980 and 1981, the man has had an extraordinary effect on the landscape of popular culture. Oh, and his mother Bette Nesmith Graham invented Liquid Paper.
Lou Adler's Very Weird, Very Successful Year
1971 was a good year for record executive and manager Lou Adler. Though he had already made his fortune (he had produced Sam Cooke and The Mamas & The Papas, and had sold his Dunhill Records to ABC Records for $3 million in 1967, a few months before producing the wildly successful Monterey Pop Festival), he was still on the lookout for talent he could push into the limelight. In what feels like the kind of story that could only come out of the early 1970s, Adler served as producer on two records in 1971, by two wildly different acts, and both became massive, astonishing hits: wistful folkie Carole King's indelible "Tapestry" and stoner comedy duo Cheech And Chong's eponymous debut. (Sadly, they did not tour together.)
John Sebastian, The Doors' Secret Harmonica Savior
The 1969 recording session for The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" weren't going well. Jim Morrison was a shambling mess of alcohol and drugs, guitarist Robby Krieger couldn't seem to find the sound the producer wanted — "We're going to the roadhouse, Robby, not the bathroom!" he can be heard to yell on an outtake — and the song just seemed to be missing something crucial. The next day the label brought in some reinforcements in the form of session guitarist Lonnie Mack (ostensibly to play bass, but that's him on guitar) and John Sebastian, the former lead singer of the Lovin' Spoonful, on harmonica. Perhaps due to a clause in his contract (or perhaps out of fears about being associated with Jim Morrison following his indecent exposure arrest in Miami), Sebastian's famous work was credited to a G. Puglese.
50s-era Teenybopper Little Sylvia Becomes A Hip-Hop Pioneer
Anyone who has seen "Dirty Dancing" can probably recite all the calls-and-responses that make the 1957 hit "Love Is Strange" so enticing. (Remember: "Sylvia!" "Yes, Mickey." "How do you call your Lover Boy?" "Come here, Lover Boy!" "And if he doesn't answer?" "Oh, Lovvvverrrr Boooooy!" "And if he still doesn't answer?" "I simply say..." (sung) "Baby/ Oh baby/ My sweet baby/ You're the one.") Well, Mickey and Sylvia eventually spilt up, and Sylvia bounced around the industry before re-emerging in 1972 with a proto-disco smash hit "Pillow Talk" only to fade from view yet again while she and her husband formed a new label. In 1979, the fledgling Sugar Hill Records released their first single, The Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," generally regarded as the first ever hip-hop release. Before the end of the year, Sylvia Robinson would co-write and produce what would become rap music's first socially-conscious anthem, "The Message," a hit for Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five.
Chip Taylor Was Born James Voight
Chip Taylor, the man who launched a million garage bands after he wrote "Wild Thing" in the mid-1960s, only turned to songwriting after his first career as a professional golfer went nowhere. Oh, yeah, Taylor was actually born James Voight, and he's Oscar-winning actor John Voight's brother. And, yes, that makes him Angelina Jolie's uncle. Taylor also wrote the Janis Joplin hit "Try (Just A Little Bit Harder)" and Juice Newton's 1981 mega-hit "Angel Of The Morning" and was recently up for a Grammy for "Best Recording Package" (but he lost to The Black Keys).
Stephen Stills Was Almost A Monkee?
Speaking of The Monkees, did you know that Stephen Stills, soon to achieve fame as a member of the Buffalo Springfield, auditioned for a part as one of the Monkees? He was turned down — rumours have it that it was everything from bad teeth to his weight, but more likely it was a contract issue — and he recommended his old buddy Peter Tork for the role. Which worked out pretty well for Peter Tork.
Noah "40" Shebib Was An Adorable Child Actor
That's right, "40," hip-hop producer extraordinaire, and the man behind those sexy, luminous soundscapes on all your favourite Drake tracks was once the adorable little guy you see in that photo.
Neil Young Was In A Band With Rick James
In the mid-1960s, long before he'd emerge as everyone's favourite Super Freak, an unknown soul singer named Ricky James Matthews moved into Toronto's hip Yorkville scene. By then a kaleidoscope of coffee houses and discos boasting stages for the dozens of bands rocked the little neighbourhood every night and Matthews quickly found some musicians to play with and started a band called The Mynah Birds. For awhile their guitarist was none other than a fresh-faced Neil Young. In 1966 they headed down to Detroit to record for Motown, but while they were there "Matthews" was apprehended and sent to prison for going AWOL. Soon, Young would up and leave Toronto for L.A. where he'd join the Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills.
The Reverend Little Richard
One of the greatest voices in the development of rock 'n' roll music, Little Richard wrote and performed some of the most influential music of the 1950s. His flamboyant stage presence, his wild camp persona, his extraordinary phrasing, all of these would prove as important to subsequent generations of performers as Elvis Presley's hips or Carl Perkins's blue suede shoes. But following an epiphany in 1957, Richard vowed to quit rock 'n' roll and become a Christian minister, enrolling in theology classes at an Alabama college. For five years, Little Richard toured across America as a preacher with the Little Richard Evangelistic Team, singing gospel songs and eschewing the rock 'n' roll that he'd helped to invent. In 1962 he changed his mind and went back to singing the hell out of "Long Tall Sally."
Jerry Lee Lewis Is Jimmy Swaggart's Cousin (Mickey Gilley's Too)
Speaking of religion and 1950s-era rock 'n' rollers, did you know that Jerry Lee Lewis (he of the "Great Balls Of Fire") is television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart's cousin? Goodness gracious.
Phil Hartman Designed Poco's Logo!
Long before he won fame as a beloved cast member on "Saturday Night Live," a young Phil Hartman actually had a career as a graphic designer. He is credited with having designed over 40 album covers including, America's "Greatest Hits" and, most famously, Poco's iconic cover for "Legend."
Your Correspondent: Jimmy Buffett
From 1969 to 1970, Jimmy Buffett was a staff writer for Billboard magazine in Nashville. The soon-to-be-head-Parrot-Head took the job upon graduating from college and while working to develop his own music. It wasn't much of a stint as a journalist, but the son of a son of a sailor did manage to break the very big news that bluegrass legends Flatt and Scruggs had broken up.
Darlene Love's Lethal Weapon
One of the borderline anonymous singers who fronted Phil Spector's various girl groups in the early 1960s, Darlene Love sang lead vocals on The Crystals hits "He's A Rebel" and "He's Sure The Boy I Love," along with several hits by Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. She managed one monster hit under her own name, the holiday standard "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) in 1963. But then… not much. After more than 20 years out of the spotlight, Love re-emerged in the late-1980s as an actor. Her biggest role? Love played Danny Glover's wife Trish in all four "Lethal Weapon" movies.