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Ten Music Facts That May Surprise You

Music

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.

KISSJohann_Christian_Bach

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.

(KISS statuettes: NMirada. Harmonica player: Helkathon)

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Our New Things: Links to Music Sites and Info on Analog Tech and Vinyl

TDMB has focused on music and musicians. We will continue to do that, of course. We're also expanding our coverage to include vinyl and analog equipment.

More specifically, we'll look at this huge and interesting world from the perspective of music lovers who want a better experience, not committed non-audiophiles.

Check out is some of what we've written so far:

-- Assessing the Value of Vinyl Records: An Overview

-- 7 Quick Tips on Optimizing Your Turntable Cartridge

-- Why Vinyl Records Continue to Thrive

-- Finding the Best Amplifier

-- Finding the Best Phono Preamp

-- What Speakers Do I Need for My Turntable?

Check out more articles on analog equipment and vinyl.

The site also is home to The Internet Music Mapping Project, an effort to list and describe as many music-related sites as possible.

Our Music

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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