Image: Leo Reynolds via Flickr
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a rock quiz. I wrote a fact or fib for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet. The letters that correspond to the fibs spell out a song that was covered by Janis Joplin.
If you’d like to give it a shot, stop reading now and go to this link. So that you don’t see anything, I’m posting String Cheese Incident’s “Sometimes a River,” which Return of Rock says is the band’s best song.
Here are the lies:
E: The Eagles hold no grudges despite how the band was made fun of in “The Big Lebowski.” In fact, The Dude — aka Jeff Bridges — once ran into Glenn Frey and the two laughed about The Eagles’ treatment in the movie. Frey commented that any publicity is good publicity and the movie probably led to some record sales.
In fact, Bridges described a tense exchange with Frey, though not with the level of detail I’d like.
I: The great Ian Dury and the band he fronted, The Blockheads, were banned for life by the BBC for sneaking lewd and suggestive lyrics into broadcasts despite contractual arrangements that gave the broadcaster editorial control.
Though Dury clearly was out there–and something of a lyrical genius–nothing like this happened.
M: Since Felix Pappalardi was important in both Cream and Mountain (a producer for the former, bass player for the latter) there was some thought of having Leslie West, who he had discovered, simply slip into Eric Clapton’s spot and have Cream carry on.
Pappalardi was an important individual in each band, but there is no evidence that the above happened. West was playing in the New York metro and released a solo album called “Mountain.” A band was formed with Pappalardi (bass/vocals), Steve Knight (keyboards) and N.D. Smart (drums – Corky Laing came later). The album used the same name as the West solo record. Cream was a memory by this point.
R: The Righteous Brothers worked once or twice with Phil Spector but concluded that his style was too dense and got in the way of the vocal power which was the band’s main asset.
Spector and the blue-eyed soul band had a long relationship.
S: The String Cheese Incident’s name is related to a stop in a restaurant during which a patron began to gag and was given the Heimlich Maneuver by guitarist Bill Nershi.
The band initially “only played ski resorts for free lift tickets as well as private functions” and the name was a “place holder” that just stuck, according to TV Tropes.
T: Though she became one of the greatest singers and attractions in rock, Tina Turner wanted to be a graphic designer and only took up singing in her mid-twenties.
The Ike and Tina Turner Revue started performing in the 1950s, according to Biography. There is no mention of an intent to become a graphic designer.
U: Many names for the band U2 were under consideration. The Edge — David Howell Evans — had a habit of abbreviating in notes to the point that his meaning sometimes was unclear. This mildly annoyed the very precise Bono. Finally, somebody suggested U2 — which often was used by Evans — as an inside joke and its sense of reaching out to fans.
After cycling through two names – The Larry Mullen Band and The Hype – the name U2 was chosen. The name is from the U-2 spy plane that was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. Pilot Francis Gary Powers was captured, tried and convicted of espionage. He was released in a prisoner exchange.
So, unless I messed up – which is quite possible or even a likelihood – the letters can be used to spell the word “Summertime.” The music for the song was written in 1934 by George Gershwin and the lyrics by DuBose Heyward for the opera “Porgy and Bess.” Heyward, by the way, wrote the novel upon which the opera was based.
Joplin’s studio version of the cover is on Cheap Thrills. Below is a live version from 1969. I often wonder how Gershwin would have reacted.
This was fun. The most rewarding of all the images the research created was a guy calling Moe Howard, identifying himself as a musician who wants permission to use the word “stooges” in a band fronted by a guy named Iggy Pop.