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10 little known rock n' roll facts

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As far as music trivia goes, we all know about 'Forever 27' which is the strange but true fact that musicians historically have had a bad pattern of passing away too early at the young age of 27 (Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Robert Johnson, Mia Zapata, and Brian Jones to name a few). We all know that "Stairway to Heaven" attempts to speak to Satan when played backward. We all know that Eric Clapton wrote a few tunes in reference to George Harrison's wife. The song "Layla" is a perfect example. But what don't we know? The answer to that question is big enough to fit inside the Grand Canyon. Here are a few.

Queen's Brian May - rocket scientist?
Queen's Brian May - rocket scientist? dailymail.co.uk

Queen's Brian May - rocket scientist?

Queen's lead guitarist, Brian May, who was directly involved with such classics as "We Will Rock You" and "Fat-Bottomed Girls" also possesses a PhD in Astrophysics from Imperial College.  With a perm like that there is no telling what else he could achieve if he set his mind to it.

The first take of Guns n' Roses' "Patience"
The first take of Guns n' Roses' "Patience" Paul Natkin

The first take of Guns n' Roses' "Patience"

Legendary rock band Guns n' Roses were legends not only in the music world, but also quickly gained legendary status in the partying hall of fame.  The beautiful and somber track "Patience," which turned out to be a massive hit, was recorded in the midst of a drunken stupor.  However upon a second listen to the recording they knew they had to re-record the track due to the audible sound of front-man Axl Rose puking during the song.

A legendary Kurt Cobain lyric's origin
A legendary Kurt Cobain lyric's origin biography.com

A legendary Kurt Cobain lyric's origin

Everyone has heard the song "Smells Like Teen Spirit" unless you have been locked in a Red Chinese prison for the past thirty years.  Along with that you probably know that "Teen Spirit" was the name of a deodorant.  What you may not have known is that the legendary lyric in the song "Here we are now, entertain us," is what Cobain used to say instead of 'hello' when walking into a party.

"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"
"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" dailymail.co.uk

"Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"

The Beatles' "Lucy" wasn't at all about dropping acid and seeing visions of plasticine, marmalade skies, and eating marshmallow pies.  There have been times when people put too much thought into in and looked at the title "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" as an acronym LITSWD and picked out the letters L-S-D as a hidden meaning.  The song was inspired from a drawing by Julian Lennon, John Lennon's 4-year-old son, of a girl named Lucy that sat next to him at school.  Julian told his father that "she is in the sky with diamonds."  Now doesn't that sound like something a small child would say?

Surely their last names aren't all "Ramone"
Surely their last names aren't all "Ramone" Sire Records

Surely their last names aren't all "Ramone"

For those of you that thought so, that is actually incorrect.  The Ramones called themselves The Ramones as an homage to Paul McCartney.  'Ramone' is the name that McCartney would often use as a fake name when he checked into hotels.  Pretty neat, huh?

U2 found an accounting loophole
U2 found an accounting loophole mtv.com

U2 found an accounting loophole

Yes it is possible for Ireland's biggest rock band to anger the entire nation of Ireland.  Nobody enjoys paying taxes, but rich people really shouldn't mind it as much as poor people.  The band U2 made the decision to move their music publishing to the Netherlands to avoid taxation on songwriting royalties.  This angered Ireland being that Bono had been asking the Irish government to do more to help the African poor.  Wouldn't that tax revenue have gone a long way in Ireland helping out Africa?

Neil Young and Rick James?
Neil Young and Rick James? wikipedia

Neil Young and Rick James?

You may not have known that eccentric rock legend Neil Young and flamboyant super freak Rick James were once in a band together called the Mynah Birds.  The Canadian R&B scene in Toronto in the mid-1960s must have been something else to behold.  It's a shame they never released an album.

Jimi Hendrix wasn't always a southpaw
Jimi Hendrix wasn't always a southpaw Getty Images/Jan Persson

Jimi Hendrix wasn't always a southpaw

Jimi Hendrix, arguably the best guitarist to ever walk the planet, was known for playing left-handed.  Hendrix was actually forced by his father to learn to play guitar right-handed as he saw left-handed behavior as demonic.  So if Jimi had to, he could have played either way.  Left or right.  He chose what came naturally in the end.

One of Pearl Jam's biggest songs has no official lyrics
One of Pearl Jam's biggest songs has no official lyrics Sony/Epic Records

One of Pearl Jam's biggest songs has no official lyrics

The B-side of Pearl Jam's 1992 single, "Jeremy," ended up being a song that got as high as number 21 on the Billboard charts.  "Yellow Ledbetter" has been a track in which people have argued over the lyrics for almost 25 years now.  A lot of mumbling can be heard as well as the words "whether a box or a bag" all in a beautiful melody carved out around a Hendrix-inspired guitar riff.  Nobody actually knew until 2008 when front-man Eddie Vedder spoke about it to the audience during a show in NJ on his solo tour.  He indicated that the idea behind the song was that a young man received the infamous 'yellow letter' communicating that his brother had been killed in the Gulf War.  After hearing this news he took a walk on the beach to clear his head and walked by a house that had a flag waving in front.  He stopped and looked at the old couple on the porch of the house to give sort of a salute to the flag but was looked down upon by the older couple as he looked a little "too alternative."  Some of the words you get here and there in the song actually make that story make sense if you give it another listen.

Not every Led Zeppelin song had deep meaning
Not every Led Zeppelin song had deep meaning Atlantic Records

Not every Led Zeppelin song had deep meaning

Led Zeppelin had a lot of thinking songs, some introspective songs, some love songs, and some filler songs that meant nothing.  They also had a little ditty about dirty sweaty sex called "Black Dog."  Unless you're a real sicko, dogs and sex just don't go together.  So why the title?  A black dog wandered into the studio while they were working on the track.  Simple as that.

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