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Mind-Blowing Facts About Some Beloved Songs

Trivia about some famous tunes.

Brandon Specktor  

 

  • The first commercial CD pressed in the United States was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."
  • Bob Marley gave songwriting credits on "No Woman, No Cry" to his childhood friend Vincent Ford, who ran a soup kitchen (for the homeless) in Jamaica. Royalties from the hit song kept the kitchen running.
  • Simon and Garfunkel bickered nonstop while recording "Bridge over Troubled Water." Garfunkel wanted Simon to sing it ("I'm sorry I didn't," Simon has said), and Simon never liked Garfunkel's closing "Sail on, silver girl" verse.
  • The iconic whistle in "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" was improvised when Otis Redding forgot what he was supposed to sing during the conclusion.
  • Michael Jackson was so absorbed in writing "Billie Jean" on a ride home from the studio one day, that he didn't even notice his car was on fire. A passing motorcyclist alerted him-saving the King of Pop and one of the world's catchiest tunes.
  • Paul McCartney woke up one morning with the tune to "Yesterday" in his head but not the lyrics. The placeholder words he worked with: "Scrambled eggs… oh, my baby, how I love your legs..."
  • The BBC banned Bing Crosby's "I'll Be Home for Christmas" during World War II; they were worried its "sickly sentimentality" would lower the morale of homesick troops.
  • Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs" was written by… someone else (on-again/off-again Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, to be exact).
  •  Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was the most-requested radio song of the '70s. Yet, singer/lyricist Robert Plant once pledged $1,000 to a public radio station that promised never to play it again. ("I've heard it before," he later said.)
  • The dude in Aerosmith's "Dude (Looks like a Lady)" is Motley Crue's lead vocalist Vince Neil, whose long blond locks Aerosmith mistook for a woman's at a bar one night.
  • The Caroline in Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" is none other than Caroline Kennedy, whom Neil saw in a magazine photo in the '60s. "It was a picture of a little girl dressed to the nines in her riding gear, next to her pony," he recalled.
  •  "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" was originally written by a man. Philadelphia singer Robert Hazard wrote and recorded the song four years before Cyndi Lauper made it a hit.
  •  The chord that starts Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" is a tritone-known as the devil's interval and banned from some Renaissance church music for sounding too evil.
  • Number of songs Elvis Presley  recorded: more than 800. Number of songs Elvis Presley wrote solo: zero. (He earned a few co-writing credits.)

  •  "Somewhere over the Rainbow" (listed by the American Film Institute as the greatest film song ever) is about a girl lifting herself up from rural Kansas, but also about the US rising up from the Great Depression under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal programme.
  •  Queen and David Bowie wrote "Under Pressure" in one night (then got pizza).

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