Thursday, May 24, 2007

School of Rock Update

In my previous entry, I wrote about my plans to spend this summer studying who's who among the rock and roll greats. Here are just a few interesting tidbits I found interesting in my first week of research:

1. Queen has sold over 300 million albums since 1973.

2. Guitarist Rado "Bob" Klose, Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason, and Rick Wright formed a band in the mid-late 60's called "Tea Set," soon afterwards naming Syd Barrett as their lead vocalist and guitar player. When "Tea Set" discovered that they were on the same bill with another band with the same name, Syd Barret came up with a new name based on two blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council... which is why you now know them as Pink Floyd.

3. Joey Ramone, singer and songwriter of the early punk band The Ramones, stood 6 feet 6 inches tall, suffered from severe OCD, Marfan Syndrome, and lymphoma, which ultimately took his life in 2001. He was listening to U2's "In a Little While" when he passed away.

4. Led Zeppelin's album (the title is a symbol; it was their fourth album) that released the colossal hit "Stairway to Heaven" has sold 23 million copies in the US alone. Despite the popularity of "Stairway to Heaven," the band never released it as a single.

5. John Bonham, drummer for Led Zeppelin (pictured above; he's the one at the top), died after starting an evening of drinking with four quadruple vodkas (that's 2/3 pint) and continued drinking late into the night. After midnight and a halted rehearsal, Bonham fell asleep and was found dead in the morning.

6. Aerosmith is the best-selling American rock band of all time at over 140 million record sales worldwide, and are also one of the few 70's rock bands whose original lineup still performs today.

7. The Doors did not perform with a bass guitar player. Instead, Ray Manzareck would play the bass notes on the Fender Rhodes keyboard with his left hand while playing other keyboards with his right.

8. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles' eighth album, was recorded in 129 days beginning December 6, 1966. The album was nominated for six Grammy awards in 1967 (of which they won four), is #1 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 2007 was named Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Most Definitive Rock and Roll Album."

More lessons from the School of Rock to come, check back soon...


Danny Boy said...

Good stuff Bras. I have some material for your classes that you will be receiving in the not so distant future.

Robey said...

Wow dude! that's a lot already! That is interesting about the Sgt. Pepper album being so influential. Did you read anything about where the name came from?

Ryan B said...

Amigos, thanks for your comments and welcome to the world of blogging. I look forward to your "material" soon, Ned.

Lucky, I did a little research on your question about the title of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album, so here are a couple points you might find interesting:
1. The Beatles' were one of the most famous names in the 20th century, so they would often disguise themselves in public and give aliases when checking into hotels. It was McCartney's idea to go a step further and create a record as fictitious characters in a fictitious band. The opening song introduces their band as "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band," which then segues into a song that gives Ringo Starr the alias "Billy Shears."

2. The Sgt. Pepper album is bookended with a title song, which was innovative for that time and is considered one of the first "concept albums" (the CD sticks to a theme rather than random songs)

3. The band made a concept record so they wouldn't have to go on tour, an idea they learned from Elvis Presley. Elvis would send his Cadillac on tour (while he stayed home); The Beatles figured they could avoid a tour if they released a CD and "toured it" in similar form.

Here's an actual quote from Paul McCartney on the album's concept:
"We had this idea that we'd make a record, and the record itself would go on tour for us. That came from a story we'd heard about Elvis' Cadillac going on tour. We though that was an amazing idea: He doesn't go on tour, he just sends his Cadillac out. Fantastic!"

Thanks for spurring me on,