20 Random Music Facts

Posted in: Musicouching by Alistair Briggs on February 5th, 2009 | 29 Comments

Here we take a look at 20 random music fact, ranging from the interesting to the bizarre.

How many of these 20 random music facts will you already know? Read on to find out. Most of these facts are about the UK charts.

  1. It was way back in 1857 that Leon Scott (a French scientist) found a way to record sound on to paper that had been blackened with candle wax. This invention was called a ‘phonoautograph’.
  2. Twenty years later the phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison. It recorded the sound on to wax cylinders.
  3. Ten year later, in 1887, Emil Berliner went one better, by adapting Edison’s idea to work on a flat wax disc and thus the LP was born. Berliner’s Gramophone Company went on to become EMI.
  4. It was 1952 when the first UK singles charts appeared. Listing only the sales of 78s. The first number one on the chart was Here In My Heart by Al Martino.
  5. It was the Dutch company Philips who developed the cassette tape as a mechanism for recording dictations in offices. In 1963 they made their debut as a means of getting music to the masses.
  6. The CD (compact Disc) was released widely released to the public for music in 1983.
  7. The song ‘Spirit In The Sky’ has been taken to number one in the UK on three separate occasions by three different artists. Norman Greenbaun, who wrote the song, released the original in 1970, followed by Doctor and the Medics version in 1986. Gareth Gates took the song to the top spot in 2003.
  8. Not the only song to hit the top spot on three different occasions though. The Beatles song ‘With A Little Help From My Friend’ was never released as a single by the Fab Four but still managed to reach number one in the UK three times. Firstly for Joe Cocker in 1968, then by Wet Wet Wet in 1988. Finally hitting the top spot for Sam and Mark in 2004.
  9. Talking about the Beatles. When the double A side ‘Penny Lane’/'Strawberry Fields Forever’ only reached number 2 in 1967 it was their first song not to hit the top spot in the UK since ‘Please Please Me’ in 1963. The song that kept it off number one was ‘Please Release Me’ by Engelbert Humperdink.
  10. Roger Daltrey (he of the ‘Who’ fame) sang the song that was used as the theme tune for the TV programme CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. He also appeared in one episode as a Vegas boss called Mickey Dunn.
  11. The Droogs, Moloko, Orange Mecanique, Malchicks and Heaven 17 all took their names from the film ‘A Clockwork Orange’.
  12. Could you name a song that has been number one in the UK in four different years? Well that is exactly what happened with the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen. Originally released in 1975, it hit the top spot at the tail end of November and was still there in early 1976. After lead singer, Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991, the song was re-released, hitting number one in December of that year and holding on until late Janury of 1992.
  13. The Jackie Wilson song ‘Reet Petite’ was originally released in 1957 but eventually hit number one in the UK charts in 1986. 29 years and 42 days after the original release.
  14. Louis Armstrong holds the record of oldest chart topper. Having reached number one in the UK in 1968 with the song ‘What A Wonderful World’. He was 67 at the time.
  15. Simon & Garfunkel, one of the most famous duos of all time, were originally called Tom & Jerry.
  16. AC/DC hold the record for most singles without managing to hit the top ten in the UK having released 29 singles. (Upto the year 2009)
  17. The first song recorded by rocker Jon Bon Jovi was actually a song called ‘R2-D2: We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ for an album called the Star Wars Christmas Album. He was only 17 at the time.
  18. Diana Ross appeared on at least one hit single every year between 1964 and 1996, an incredible 33 years.
  19. Although most people think that the UK chart is only a top 40 (as that is what is broadcast on the radio) it is actually a top 75. An ultimate one-hit wonder would be one that manages to hit that number 75 spot before dropping away immediately. Famous Hollywood actor Anthony Hopkins released a song called ‘Distant Star’ in the UK in 1986. It hit number 75 for one week then disappeared.
  20. When the song ‘Spaceman’ by Babylon Zoo was used in a Levi’s Jeans advert in 1995 it was always going to be destined for number one in the UK. The part used in the advert was the very start of the song which sounds as if the song will be a dance song. Many people bought the song because of this only to take it home and play it, just to find it was actually a rock song. Other songs to hit the top after being used in their ad include, ‘The Joker’ by the Steve Miller Band, ‘Inside’ by Stiltskin and ‘Boombastic’ by Shaggy.

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