Here are ten (actually, a few more) fun facts about music:
1. Merle Haggard was incarcerated in San Quentin Prison from 1958 to 1960. He was inspired by Johnny Cash’s performance there to join the prison’s country music band.
2. Leonard Cohen is a year older then Elvis. He was born in Montreal and first found fame as a poet and novelist. The songwriting and performing came later.
3. Johann Sebastian Bach was better known as an organist than a composer during his lifetime.
4. Leadbelly, serving a prison sentence for murder at the Texas state prison in Huntsville, wrote a song asking Governor Pat Neff to pardon him. Neff granted the request.
5. Chuck Berry played shows with local musicians provided by the venue. A young Bruce Springsteen was one such musician.
6. Louis Armstrong was given his first instrument—a cornet—by a Lithuanian-Jewish family for which he worked for as a youth in New Orleans. Armstrong wore a Star of David and ate matzoh for the rest of his life.
7. The Beastie Boys’ video “(You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (to Party!)” featured Rainn Wilson, Jason Schwartzman, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Amy Poehler, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph, Kirsten Dunst, Orlando Bloom, Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Jack Black.
8. Billie Holiday’s real name was Eleanora Fagan and she sometimes baby sat Billy Crystal, whose father was a record executive.
9. KISS has sold more than 100 million albums.
10. Tony Bennett was discovered in Greenwich Village by Pearl Baily and hired by Bob Hope.