Music has charms to sooth a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.

"It's no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently or if your favorite films wouldn't even speak to each other if they met at a party." Nick Hornby

Those who dance are considered insane by those who cannot hear the music. George Carlin

Price of fame is isolation. Only other famous people can behave normally in yr presence.

Once you have a child you will spend, over the next 5 years, roughly 45 minutes total, listening to songs you like, and roughly 17,000 hours listening to songs on topics like 'The wheels of the bus go round and round'

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Aerosmith did music for a Dodge TV commercial, and part of the deal was that each band member got a Viper. They could either have the current model or wait six months for the new version. Brad Whitford told Dodge he wanted one right away, but he also wanted to order a new one (expecting to pay for it). Dodge gave him both. (If you don't ask, you don't get!)

Story about school quiz night parents' social - first question music - played first line of a song and you were meant to write down the next line from memory. So they played "There she was just a walking down the street..." and 200 people leapt to their feet and sang, waving their hands and stomping their feet "Singing doowahdiddydiddydumdiddydoo" so even if hadn't heard the song in 30 years they still remembered every single syllable..

One of the things people like about the music from 1960's on is that it allows you to take part - dance to it, sing along with it. The earliest music was all participatory - music and singing was a family activity, both in home and church, but then for about 500 years it turned into a perform/audience system.

Baby boomers the first generation to grow up with record players and jukeboxes and hit parades - accustomed to the idea that our lives have a soundtrack.

Historically pre-literate societies remembered all knowledge through songs and chants - we still do it today - what's the number for Pizza Hut "Oh eight hundred, 83 83 83".

Do men and women respond differently to music? one female rock journalist said that men treat it like some secret nerd battle where you use your superior arsenal of trivia to prove that you are a bigger Clash fan that the other guy. Women on the other hand prove that they love a song by either getting up and dancing to it or by bursting into tears. Women make jokes about the bands' hair and work out in which order they'd shag the band members. That is, obviously, a far purer response to the music, because no band ever formed with the aim of being quibbled over by a bunch of trainspotting blokes. They form to make women drink, dance on tables, and want to have sex with them.

The lyrics for the theme song for M*A*S*H* were written by 14-year old Mike Altman, who earned more than one million dollars in royalties for his composition - his father, Robert, earned $70,000 for directing the movie!

How can rich people ever be unhappy? (ref Dogbert cartoon). String quartet hired, at v good wage, to perform private function. But bc it was a nudist gathering, the band too, would be expected to play nude. So they set up on stage behind curtain, curtain goes up .... and everyone is dressed in formal gowns and dinner suits. (The guy who told the story had a big double bass to hide behind, but not the female violinists)

Why do bands break up? Roger Waters gave one of the more succinct explanations when asked that question about Pink Floyd: "It became more and more like trying to wade through treacle, as is well known. We were increasingly at odds because we had different aspirations. Up until The Dark Side of the Moon, I think our thoughts and feelings were pretty concurrent: We wanted to become rich and famous and we worked together as a pretty close-knit team to that end, but once that end had been achieved, then there were other things that started to become important, certainly to me, and it became increasingly difficult to have to argue about stuff."

The Eagles, like many other groups, disbanded after a major attack of conflicting egos, vowing never to appear on the same stage together ever again. So, when they united for their Hell Freezes Over Tour, they managed to preserve their vows by standing on individual bits of carpet ....

Knock-off bands - Bjorn Again ("Almost Abba") making more money than the original. Started as a pub band in Melbourne; now franchised all over the world. As one reviewer put it "peddling a carbon copy of a band that was crap 20 years ago - they are pretending to be Abba, and the audience, in some bizarre way, are pretending to be fans of Abba."

Pat Boone was making a steady income from royalties of his old songs until the Beatles showed up in US, and stations stopped playing his songs, so royalty stream dried up. So he bought the rights to market pictures of the Beatles in the States, commissioned 4 paintings, and made more money out of that than had ever made out of his songs

Towards the end of her life Marlene Dietrich was living in poverty in a Paris attic - but she had an admirer in Calif who was depressed and seeing a psych Dietrich suggested he send her the money he was paying the shrink and she would sing for him 5 nights a week.

Bob Geldof reckoned pop stars only made 2 levels of money: Not as much as you'd think, and More than you could ever dream of.

Lenny Kilmister, of Motorhead, is a fan of Airfix model bombers (the things kids grow out of when they are about 10, max). He apparently has dozens of them hanging from his bedroom ceiling. So when they went on tour of Germany, he decided the stage needed an extra prop - a large model of a Lancaster WW2 bomber. First stop Dresden, a town famously carpet-bombed into the Stone Age during WW2. Motorhead goes on stage; the lights come up, illuminating the huge British war machine hanging above them. "Good evening Dresden," yells Lenny "I bet you haven't seen one of these for a while."

Kinks are making more money today, selling their songs for adverts, than ever did first time round.

Rolling Stones still touring - much has been made of fact that their combined age is about 1000, but thing is they can do effortlessly at 60 what they did at 20, and that's more than most people can say - one of world's great brands.

Their biographer Philip Norman once described the Rolling Stones as not so much a rock band, more a corporation that holds its occasional board meetings on stage.

Aerosmith made more money in royalties from their Guitar Hero: Aerosmith game than ever made from any of their albums, which leads Activision to suggest bands should pay game developers rather than expect a licensing fee from Activision.

An engineer at the project-sharing site Instructables has figured out how to convert digital music files into vinyl-like LPs, using 3D printing.

1893 Chicago World Fair featured the first ferris wheel. (But they made George Ferris, the inventor, pay for the whole thing - the stress of raining money and getting it built in time killed him). Fair also featured an exotic dancer named Fahreda Mahzar, who called herself Little Egypt, and had a signature dance called the hootchy-kootchy wearing layers of transparent chiffon.

AA Gill on country music - big hearts and small minds.
He was a country singer - they wouldn't let him sing in the city
You can always tell a country music fan - they can't think of a polite word to rhyme with 'truck'
The concert had a happy ending - everyone was pleased when it finished
Difference between bagpipes and onions? No one cries when you cut up bagpipes
He was going to be a violinist but he didn't know which chin to tuck it under
Went to watch Pavarotti once - he doesn't like it when you join in

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At an open-air concert on Hampstead Heath I was dancing to Bjorn Again, the Abba tribute band, when I noticed something very peculiar. My daughter, aged 8, seemed to know every word of every Abba song. How was this possible? I had never known her listen to the music. We do not play Abba in the house except at dinner parties that have got out of hand. Yet there she was, chirping along to everything - even the fiddly French bits of Voulez-Vous Oldies Music

When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted 'termination rights, which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years. Particularly for songwriters, who had to share revenue with publisher, and now ongoing royalties from film and TV, ringtones, ads and video games. more

Lively - an app to record concerts - fans watching their smartphones instead of the show, crap recordings. Lively records from soundboard and stage cameras - bands sell copies for $5 and fans get HQ recordings.

Music reduces stress after operations. Singing groups in dementia homes. Increased appetite in care homes when played at mealtimes.

Obsessives - guys with multiple copies of same LP. Sometimes slightly different versions for different countries, sometimes already have a copy but never listen to it, so forget that have it, sometimes "just couldn't leave it sitting in the remainder bin".(Most of my oldest friends I met in record shops, so they don't think I'm insane.")

Vinyl LPs are collectible again but this guy is trying to collect all the records in the world.

Suggestion that bc kids have broadband to watch and listen to any song they ever want, far less need to get up an escape dreary suburbs as 60's and 70's kids did, just to get away from the boredom.

U2 made a lot of money from touring, but it cost $750,000 a day to keep the show on the road.

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Oasis concert in Manchester couldn't complete because power failure, so offered to refund tickets. 20,000 fans took him up on offer - a potential cost of over £1 million. Oasis sent out checks signed by both Liam and Noel Gallagher, and bearing a unique 'Bank of Burnage' (where concert held) logo. As they expected, few fans cashed them. Flipnosis

Arctic Monkeys gave away demo CD's (rather than charging for them, as some bands did) and encouraged fans to distribute them on Internet. It made gigs better because fans came along knowing the words to the songs, and sang along. The group's first single "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor" made history - went to No 1 on pop charts without aid of major record label. Click

We are in the middle of a whole new way of dealing - huge incr in ability to share and to take collective action, all outside traditional framework of institutions or organizations. By making it easier for groups to self-assemble, and for people to contribute without having to be managed, the new tools radically altered the old limits on the scope of unsupervised effort. The music industry was smashed by the discovery that the reproduction and distribution of music, previously a valued and valuable service, is now something customers could do themselves. Here Comes Everybody

Paul Anka. Living in France, heard a song there he liked, changed it a bit for piano. Then few months later got a call from Frank Sinatra (PA was a sort of junior member of the Las Vegas Rat Pack) saying he was going to do one final record album then retire. So he decided to write a song for that album - overnight composed My Way and sent it to him. A month later Sinatra called him up from Vegas and played him the song over the phone."And man, I knew my kids were going through school on that one!" Parky's People

One Christmas, Stewart 'thought long and hard' about what to give 'Sharon' and came up with a £300 novelty fridge. At the touch of a switch its door opened and up rose a bottle in a cloud of vapour. 'Elton's present to me that year: a Rembrandt,' he recalls. 'A drawing, the Adoration of the Shepherds. A f****** Rembrandt! I felt pretty small - although not as small as Elton wanted me to feel when he later referred tartly to my present as an 'ice bucket'. For John's 50th birthday Stewart bought him a full-size, sit-under women's hairdryer while John marked Stewart's marriage to Hunter (another blonde, leggy model), with a £10 voucher from Boots. It was accompanied by a card that said, 'Get yourself something nice for the house.' Rod Stewart: The Autobiography

Guy running Sony wanted to get Thais to do something about the flood of counterfeit music and movies coming out of Bangkok. Set up a meeting with the Thai king, who he thought would be sympathetic because he knew that the King had been a pro musician in his youth. But the King told him "I sold 65,000 CD's of my work. Unfortunately, 55,000 of them were pirated. And I was the ruler. If I can't protect my own music in my own country, how can I help you?" Tell To Win

The Beatles success was not inevitable - their luck (got Hamburg experience very much by chance) and the persistence of Brian Epstein The Beatles - All These Years: Vol 1

Myth of Beethoven as a genius composing masterpieces in a flash of inspiration. But in fact, his notebooks show him working through sixty or seventy different drafts of one phrase before settling on the final one. Mozart dazzled royalty as a precocious pianist. Precocious is the word - he was advanced for his age, but not better than contemporary adults. But today many young children exposed to the Suzuki and other rigorous training methods play as well as the young Mozart. Such achievements are recognized for what they are: the consequence of early exposure, exceptional instruction, constant practice, family nurturing and a child's will to learn and please parents. The Genius In All Of Us

Apple had to tweak random shuffle algorithm because people didn't believe it was random. Had to make it less random by inserting a command to space out songs by any one artist. Users were perceiving patterns that weren't actually there. Confirmation bias - If you heard a Kinks song soon after another one you started paying attention, and if another one did come up, your brain wd assume a pattern - that yr iPod 'like' the Kinks. But those who understood randomness couldn't convince those who didn't. In end it was easier to stop arguing and just give them what they wanted. The Perfect Thing

Radiohead's 2007 expt with putting album online and asking downloaders to pay what they thought it was worth.They made abt $2.26 a download, which wasn't bad because they didn't have to share any of it with a record company. And then when the album was released as CD, sold 3 million copies (twice sales of previous 2 albums). The Price of Everything

Roy Orbison the original Bad Luck Brian - wife killed in a bike crash, sons died in a house fire, then, right after his first hit for decades - You Got It - he died. First record producer was a Brit - Joe Meek. First to manipulate every element of the track - vocals, guitars, drums, backing singers - with Johnny Remember Me. Until he came along, records made by recording live performances.

Meek had serious issues - tone deaf, couldn't play an instrument, a very bad temper (fell out with everyone he worked with), and he was gay. Pop music was an escape from his demons. Parallels with Phil Spector - both outcasts desperate to prove themselves and both crashed and burned when the musical fashions changed. Honeycomb's marching song Have I The Right ("Come right back, I just can't bear it.") Spector's masterpiece was You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling - No 1 in both US and Britain. Spector got more and more eccentric until shot an actress; Meek shot his landlady and then himself in 1967. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

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Songs - the poetry of modern life

I love rock n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

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AKA Mondegreens


Vernon Duke (1903-1969), US composer; among his famous songs is April in Paris. Inspired by Duke's famous song, a friend of his decided to spend three weeks in Paris one April. The weather was appalling, and when he returned he told Duke so. "Whatever possessed you to go to Paris in April" asked the composer. "The weather in Paris is always horrible in April." The astonished friend said, "But, I went there because of your song!" "Oh," said the composer apologetically. We really meant May, but the rhythm required two syllables.

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There was a composer called Brahms
Whose music has wonderful charms.
Some say its old-fashioned,
Should be banned and then rationed,
While others it soothes and it calms.

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*Abbey Rd

*Bohemian Rhapsody


*Music The Diagrams

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Q: What happens if you sing country music backwards?
A: You get your job and your wife back.

A cowboy and a biker are on death row, and are to be executed on the same day. The day comes, and they are brought to the gas chamber. The warden asks the cowboy if he has a last request, to which the cowboy replies, "Ah shore do, wardn. Ah'd be mighty grateful if'n yoo'd play 'Achy Breaky Heart' fur me bahfore ah hafta go."

"Sure enough, cowboy, we can do that," says the warden. He turns to the biker, "And you, biker, what's your last request?".

"That you kill me first."

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Letters and posts to forums

Music discussions - piracy, VR concerts, lyrics


At the airport the young man heard far-off drums echoing in the night. He imagined the young woman in the plane sitting still, hearing whispers of a quiet conversation near the rear of the fuselage.....

Music Short Stories