• Johnny Ramone, lead guitarist for the Ramones, was a baseball fanatic. According to Howie Pyro, musician for D Generation, sometimes at a concert Johnny would be watching a baseball game on a TV set that was off to the side of the stage, not even looking at his guitar, but “just playing like a machine.” (In his juvenile delinquent phase just after graduating from high school, Johnny always enjoyed finding a TV set that someone had thrown in the garbage. He would lug it up to a rooftop, watch for pedestrians to come along, and then drop the TV set in front of them.)
• In 2008, Ringo Starr released a new album titled Liverpool 8. Mr. Starr feels strongly about his music, and he was supposed to play the title song on the TV show Live With Regis and Kelly. However, when the producers wanted to reduce the performance time of the title song to 2 minutes and 30 seconds down from 4 minutes and 15 seconds, Mr. Starr said, “God bless and goodbye,” and then walked away.
• Stephin Merritt, frontman for The Magnetic Fields, tends to think up titles to 26 songs at one time because he finds that it helps his creativity to think up a song title for each of the letters of the alphabet. He says, “This helps me come up with songs like ‘Xavier Says’ and ‘Zombie Boy’ that I otherwise might not think of.” Some people who listen to his lyrics may consider him a pessimist, but Mr. Merritt points out, “A pessimist is always right in the long term. If you read anybody’s biography, you know the ending.”
• Many of the early Ramones’ songs had “I Don’t Wanna” in the title: “I Don’t Wanna Go Down in the Basement,” “I Don’t Wanna Walk Around with You,” and “I Don’t Wanna Be Learned / I Don’t Wanna Be Tamed.” Dee Dee Ramone joked, “We didn’t write a positive song until “Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue.”
• While Lily Pons and André Kostelanetz were entertaining the troops during World War II, they heard of a general who had been asked for the password while out walking. The general didn’t know the password, so the sentries asked him, “Who is Frank Sinatra?” The general replied, “A d*mn poor singer!” Apparently, this answer was correct, as the sentries allowed the general to pass.
• During World War I, tenor Henry Wendon was with a fellow British soldier in Palestine when his companion suddenly fell to the ground during one of their walks. He thought something was wrong, but his friend had seen some black tulips growing in the wild, and he asked Mr. Wendon to help him dig some bulbs for his garden back home in England.
• Music can exert a powerful effect on human beings. In December 1937, during the Spanish civil war, African-American actor/singer Paul Robeson went to Spain. While there, he sang — soldiers on both sides of the conflict called a truce for an hour just so they could hear his concert.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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