David Bruce: The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Fame, Fans


• In 2005, British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield became famous as a result of her Top 40 songs “Unwritten” and “These Words (I Love You, I Love You).” But when did she know that she was really famous? Actually, in 2008. She needed to get into a building in New York that had very tight security. She had forgotten her passport, but she did have a copy of Rolling Stone. She says, “I just opened up my Rolling Stone and said, ‘See the person in white? That’s me!’ And they let me in.”

• Leo Slezak spent a short time in the Austrian army, then went on to fame and fortune as an operatic tenor. He gave his former commanding officer a photograph of himself as Othello, and inscribed it, “In remembrance of the recruit of the 17th Rifle Battalion, who rose to the command of the Venetian fleet.”

• Run-DMC’s first hit was “It’s Like That.” At the time, both Run and DMC were college students at different schools. Run was walking on campus at LaGuardia College when “It’s Like That” began playing on the radio. Excited, he caused a scene by shouting, over and over, “That’s my song! That’s my song!”


• Classical pianist Christopher O’Riley sometimes plays music other than classical during his concerts and during From the Top, his weekly National Public Radio program. For example, at concerts he will play works by Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and British experimental rock group Radiohead and by French composer Claude Debussy and English singer-songwriter Nick Drake. When he plays Radiohead on his NPR program, he sometimes gets interesting telephone calls. Mr. O’Riley says, “I would play ‘True Love Waits’ or ‘Karma Police’ and announce that it was by Radiohead,” says O’Riley. “People would call in and ask, ‘Who is Mr. Head, and where can I find more of his music?’ They assumed it was classical music because I was playing it. We also heard from Radiohead fans who became Mozart fans. They would say, ‘Mozart, I always wanted to check him out.”

• The B-52s recorded “Love Shack” on their 1989 album Cosmic Thing and sure enough, 19 years later, in 2008, they recorded the album Funplex. Singer Fred Schneider admits, “We’re not exactly the most prolific group.” (In 1992, they recorded the studio album Good Stuff.) Despite not producing a lot of new music, the B-52’s retain their old fans and they have acquired new fans, thanks in large part to YouTube. “I’m happy doing the new stuff, and the response to the new stuff, because of YouTube, they already know it,” Mr. Schneider says. “In the past, they used to clap politely, and then you’d play an older song and they’d go wild.” The B-52’s started making music over 30 years ago in Athens, Georgia. Mr. Schneider jokes, “I’m just lucky. I haven’t got a skill, so as long as I can sing and stuff, I’m OK.”

• One problem with modern celebrity is that going out in public can be dangerous. Tegan Quin of Sara and Tegan fame remembers being able to sign autographs for hours with no problems, but then things changed with greater fame. Tegan says, “That’s the one thing I regret. The bigger you get, the less you can connect with people.” Still, at times Tegan can act like a normal person. In 2008, she got on a public bus and was recognized by a few girls who asked her, “Why are you on the bus?” Tegan had the perfect answer: “I don’t drive!”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


The Funniest People in Music, Volume 3 — Buy:

The Paperback




Smashwords: Many Formats, Including PDF


Music Recommendation: John Prine — “Summer’s End”


Music: “Summer’s End” from the album THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS

Artist: John Prine

Artist Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Info: “A two-time Grammy-winner, John Prine is among the English language’s premier phrase-turners. … a remarkable career that has drawn praise from Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, Roger Waters, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen & others. He is a 2019 Rock & Songwriter’s Hall of Fame inductee, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member and a PEN New England Lyrics Award.”

John Prine’s life dates are October 10, 1946 – April 7, 2020. He died of the coronavirus.

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $9.99 for 10-track album.

Genre: Americana, Singer-Songwriter


John Prine on Bandcamp