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Music Trivia

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Before he pursued a career in the music industry, Elvis Costello worked as a computer operator at an Elizabeth Arden cosmetics factory.

Before making his mark as a composer of acclaimed pop tunes, Paul Williams served as an apprentice jockey at age 13. He also worked for an insurance company, joined a skydiving show, and appeared on the stage in summer stock.

Before she hit it big as a singer, Mariah Carey worked as a restaurant hostess.

Benny Goodman was declared the "King of Swing." He was so extraordinarily capable on the clarinet that he became the definitive clarinet musician in the world. During Goodman's "reign," a clarinet player had to play the instrument in Goodman's style, or it was considered that he was not playing clarinet correctly. This created tremendous pressure for good clarinet players; they would have preferred to develop their own style instead of being a copy of Goodman.

Brandy was just 4 years old when she first declared she would become a professional singer. At age 11, she released her first single, and she charted a single in the Billboard Top Ten at age 15.

Broadway musicals come from “operetta,” which were introduced to New York in the early twentieth century by European composers.

Burt Bacharach started his career as an accompanist for singer Vic Damone – he was fired.

Child singer Jimmy Boyd was 12 years and 11 months old when he sang the Christmas favorite, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." The song hit the top of the pop charts.

Combined, the Monkees' first two albums were Number 1 for 31 consecutive weeks. Their single “I'm a Believer” was the Number 1 record of 1967.

Songs with sexual or violent lyrics are not new. Cole Porter's sensual "Love for Sale" was a hit in 1930, but the tune was banned from radio for decades. Blues singers of the 1920s and R&B bands of the 1950s performed songs that were thick with the blatant double-entendre. Additionally, traditional ballads of Scotland, Ireland, and the American Appalachians are filled with stories of murder.

Stephen Stills, who went on to join Crosby, Stills and Nash, originally tried out to be a Monkee. He didn't get the part. Producers felt he was losing too much hair and that his teeth were too bad.

The Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye" hit the Number 1 spot on Billboard's charts in the United States on December 30, 1967 and held the position for three weeks. The single was Number 1 in the United Kingdom for seven weeks.

The Beatles' first Number 1 hit song was the 1964 "Love Me Do."

The Beatles held the Top Five spots on the April 4th, 1964 Billboard singles chart. To date, they're the only band that has ever accomplished that.

The Bee Gees became so desperate to sell records that they gave members of their fan club money to go out and buy albums. There were only six people in the fan club at that time.

The brass family of instruments include the trumpet, trombone, tuba, cornet, flügelhorn, French horn, saxhorn, and sousaphone. While they are usually made of brass today, in the past they were made of wood, horn, and glass.

The composer of "Stardust" was Hoagy Carmichael.

The first percussion instrument introduced to the orchestra was the timpani -- or kettledrums -- in the 1600's.

The first performer to win Grammy Awards for jazz and classical recordings in the same year was Wynton Marsalis in 1984. His albums were "Trumpet Concertos" and "Think of One."

Composer Irving Berlin took his tune "Smile and Show Your Dimples," changed the lyrics, and retitled it "Easter Parade."

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