Category: Did you know?

11 musical ‘did you know’ facts

The London Symphony Orchestra was originally booked to perform on the Titanic on its maiden voyage, but they ended up on another boat at the last minute.

The German composer Robert Schumann often plunged his hands into the entrails of a slaughtered animal to heal his ailments.

Axl Rose used to earn $8 an hour by smoking cigarettes for a science experiment at University of California, Los Angeles.

The actress Angelina Jolie’s uncle was the song writer Chip Taylor who wrote Wild Thing for the Troggs, On My Word for Cliff Richard and I Can’t Let Go for the Hollies.

AC/DC’s guitarist Malcolm Young once worked in a bra factory as a sewing-machine mechanic.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark contains 29 letters in the name and they had 29 UK hit singles.

Billie Holiday was once a babysitter for the comedian Billy Crystal.

On 30th December 1916 Rasputin died in the Russian city of St Petersburg, on the same date in 2010 Bobby Farrell from Boney M, who mimed the lyrics to their hit Rasputin, also died in St Petersburg.

The Clash’s 1982 hit Rock the Casbah was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

Led Zeppelin’s track Black Dog got its name from a black Labrador retriever that would wander the grounds of Headley Grange where they recorded the song.

The night after Frank Sinatra died, the lights on the Empire State Building in New York City were turned blue.

Duos from groups

It’s not often that two members of the same group form a duo/duet partnership and have chart success. I have found 13 examples, can you think of anymore? I haven’t included Glenn & Chris who were both former THFC players.

Duo Number of hits Former Group
Dollar 14 Guys ‘N’ Dolls
Justin Hayward & John Lodge 1 Moody Blues
Appleton 3 All Saints
Keith & Shane 1 Boyzone
H & Claire 3 Steps
Tony Meehan & Jet Harris 3 Shadows
Gallagher & Lyle 4 McGuinness Flint
Larry Mullen Jr & Adam Clayton 1 U2
Godley & Crème 3 10cc
Billy Davis Jr & Marilyn McCoo 1 Fifth Dimension
Page & Plant 2 Led Zeppelin
Hudson Ford 3 Strawbs
Gary Barlow & Robbie Williams 1 Take That

Middle names

Many singers use a pseudonym and in more recent years, more singers are known mononymously, but there are a lot of singers who use their real middle name as a forename or stage name, here’s 20 examples.

James ‘Paul’ McCartney
Howard ‘Andy’ Williams
David ‘Justin’ Hayward
June ‘Deniece’ Williams
Sean ‘Feargal’ Sharkey
Holly ‘Michelle’ Phillips
Alton ‘Glenn’ Miller
John ‘Julian’ Lennon
Robert ‘Gary’ Moore
George ‘Anthony’ Newley
Jacob ‘Taio’ Cruz
Pierre ‘David’ Guetta
Peter ‘Marc’ Almond
Sam ‘Newton’ Faulkner
Paul ‘Bruce’ Dickinson
Adele ‘Emeli’ Sandi
William ‘Holly’ Johnson
Kanneth ‘Tony’ Blackburn
Margareet ‘Leann’ Rimes
Walter ‘Max’ Bygraves


Bacharach & David

Burt Bacharach and Hal David were a formidable songwriting duo who, together, wrote over 40 UK hits. Including songs that sample their tunes then together and separately they have written over 80. Here is a list of their 15 most successful collaborations as a pairing and it’s based on total weeks on UK singles chart.

Rank Artist Title Weeks on Chart Peak Position
14= Merseybeats It’s Love That Really Counts 12 24
14= Cilla Black Alfie 12 9
14= Dusty Springfield I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself 12 3
13 Engelbert Humperdinck I’m A Better Man 13 15
10= Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass Casino Royale 14 27
10= Dionne Warwick Walk On By 14 9
10= Walker Brothers Make It Easy On Yourself 14 1
8= Aretha Franklin I Say A Little Prayer 15 4
8= Michael Holiday The Story Of My Life 15 1
7 Perry Como Magic Moments 17 1
4= Gene Pitney Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa 19 5
4= Herb Alpert This Guy’s In Love With You 19 3
4= Bobbie Gentry I’ll Never Fall In Love Again 19 1
3 Cilla Black Anyone Who Had A Heart 20 1
2 Carpenters They Long To Be Close To you 23 6
1 Sacha Distel Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head 27 10


In 1981, the charts were swimming with medley songs like Stars on 45 as well as individual artist medleys including The Beatles, Beach Boys and The Hollies, but it wasn’t a new craze. The first medley was in the very first chart back in 1952 and was by Max Bygraves. It was called Cowpunchers Cantata and comprised of Cry Of The Wild / Goose Bumps / Riders In The Sky / Mule Train & Jezebel.

The have been 195 charting medleys consisting of two or more songs and 30 have made the top five. Here’s the list of top five medleys.

Artist Titles Position Year
Winifred Atwell And Her Other Piano Let’s Have Another Party 1 1954
Boney M Mary’s Boy Child/Oh My Lord 1 1978
Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers Swing the Mood 1 1989
Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers That’s What I Like 1 1989
Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers Let’s Party 1 1989
Peter Kay Animated All Stars The Official BBC Children in Need Medley 1 2009
Winifred Atwell And Her Other Piano Let’s Have A Party 2 1953
Various Artists All Star Hit Parade 2 1956
Star Sound Stars On 45 2 1981
Star Sound Stars On 45 Volume 2 2 1981
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Hooked on Classics 2 1981
Various Artists The Brits 1990 (Dance Medley) 2 1990
Status Quo The Anniversary Waltz – Part One 2 1990
Winifred Atwell And Her Other Piano Let’s Have A Ding Dong 3 1955
Barron Knights Call Up the Groups 3 1964
Barron Knights A Taste of Aggro 3 1978
David Bowie and Bing Crosby Peace on Earth – Little Drummer Boy 3 1982
Bronski Beat and Marc Almond Love To Love You Baby / I Feel Love / Johnny Remember Me 3 1985
John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John The Grease Megamix 3 1990
Bandaged Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth 3 2008
Winifred Atwell And Her Other Piano Let’s Have A Ball 4 1957
Gladys Knight And the Pips The Way We Were/Try to Remember 4 1975
Detroit Spinners Cupid – I’ve Loved You for A Long Time 4 1980
Tight Fit Back to the 60’s 4 1981
Mirage Jack Mix II / Jack Mix III 4 1987
Jive Bunny and The Mastermixers That Sounds Good To Me 4 1990
Russ Conway More & More Party Pops 5 1959
Barron Knights Pop Go the Workers 5 1965
Amii Stewart Light My Fire/137 Disco Heaven 5 1979
Bob Marley and The Wailers One Love/People Get Ready 5 1984

Songs written about a son or daughter

Here are a dozen songs that were written about the writer’s son or daughter.

Artist Title Written about
Stevie Wonder Isn’t She Lovely Aisha Wonder
John Lennon Beautiful Boy Sean Lennon
Jay-Z Glory Blue Ivy Combs
David Bowie Kooks Duncan Jones
Neil Young Here for You Amber Jean Young
Bob Dylan Forever Young Jakob Dylan
Lenny Kravitz Garden for Zoe Zoe Kravitz
Skream Anticipate  Jesse Jones
Tom Jones Daughter Of Darkness Les Reed’s daughter Donna Reed
East 17 Hey Child Tony Mortimer’s daughters Atlanta and Ocean Mortimer.
Paul Weller Sweet Pea, My Sweet Pea Leah Weller
Eminem Mockingbird Hailie Jade Mathers