David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Children, Concerts

Children

• Rock goddesses have kids, too. Pat Benatar was a major 1980s rock star and continues to play today. Her songs such as “Heartbreaker” are on Guitar Hero, and lots of children — and adults — rock out to them, including her two daughters, Haley and Hana. Of course, kids can ask embarrassing questions, and Haley and Hana sometimes ask their mom this question about the Spandex pants she used to wear on stage: “How did you get into those pants?”

• Jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams was blessed with perfect pitch — she could identify any note and any key after hearing it. In the third grade, she heard her teacher hum a song, and she said that she could identify the key. Her teacher was skeptical and tested her by playing a note on a piano. Mary Lou immediately identified it.

• When Stevie Wonder was young, he sang in a church choir — until he was expelled because a church member heard him singing rock and roll.

Clothing

• Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940), a coloratura, was singing Lucia di Lammermoor in Puebla, Mexico, on a stage flooded because of a rainstorm and a leaky roof. To keep from ruining her dress, she held it a few inches above the water. This displeased a woman in a box, who commented on the shocking display of a lady’s ankles. Ms. Tetrazzini walked underneath the woman’s box, then improvised her own words to the music of the opera: “Madam, you are shocked, very shocked, I know it, yes I do. But do you know the stage is soaking wet and our dresses all are spoiling, yet just to please you I am ready, perfectly ready, to let my dress drag through the wet and be completely ruined if you, dear Madam, will promise to buy me a lovely new one.” This gave the audience a laugh and kept the critic quiet for the rest of the performance.

• Pianist Richard Goode was far from dressing with splendor, although at times he tried. He once ran the hot water in his bath in an attempt to steam wrinkles out of his tailcoat. Unfortunately, he forgot to stop the bathtub, and an hour later the ceiling of the apartment underneath his had collapsed. On another occasion, he put his newly washed white bow tie in a toaster oven so he could dry it. Unfortunately, he singed the bow tie, so he tried to cover up the singed places with talcum powder.

• Musician David Broekman used to know someone with the unconscious, but annoying, habit of picking lint off the suit of the person he was talking to, so Mr. Broekman used a small paint brush to paint a dot of white on his suit. Sure enough, the man with the annoying habit tried to pick off the piece of “lint” from Mr. Broekman’s suit.

Concerts

• Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was discovered in a very Hollywood-movie fashion. In his native Montreal, Canada, Mr. Peterson was playing in a small club. Producer Norman Grantz heard him, liked what he heard, and invited him to play at Carnegie Hall with the band Jazz at the Philharmonic on September 19, 1949. Mr. Peterson did exactly that. By the way, unlike Mr. Peterson, not every musician is competent. Gioacchino Rossini was once forced to work with a very poor contralto whose competence was limited to singing B-flat notes. Therefore, Rossini composed an aria that required her to sing only B-flat notes; the orchestra carried the melody. The aria was successful — the contralto received a standing ovation.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Buy:

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