Thursday, 11 April 2013

Band Trivia

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808 State - The band are named after the famous Roland TR-808 drum machine, and were formed in Manchester , England in 1988. They are considered pioneers of the acid house scene. 

Abba - The name is an acronym of the first letters of the bands christian names (Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid). One of the best-selling music artists of all time, in 1978 they were Sweden’s most profitable export, car maker Volvo was number two. ABBA have never officially split, but they have not recorded music or sung together for over 26 years. Their last performance was on the British TV programme The Late, Late Breakfast Show (live from Stockholm) on 11 December 1982.

A-ha - Formed in Oslo in 1982, the origin of the name A-ha comes from the title of an early song 'The Juicyfruit Song'. This name was chosen because the phrase means the same in a number of languages. The band has sold over 60 million albums and 15 million singles worldwide, and are still considered to be within the top 50 largest grossing bands in the world from music sales, tours and merchandising. 'Take On Me' is still considered to be one of the top music videos of all time together with Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. In 1986, Michael Jackson was in the audience at their first US concert. Notable comments on the band's influence have been made by major artists such as Chris Martin (Coldplay), Adam Clayton (U2) and Graham Nash (crosby, Stills & Nash).

Ace Of Base - The band's first studio was in a basement, hence they became masters (ace) of their basement (base). Selling over 30 million albums worldwide, they are the third most successful Swedish band of all time, behind Abba and Roxette. 

All Saints - Formed originally as a trio in 1993, the British/Canadian band were named after All Saints Road, London. They thought of 'Spice' as their original name but decided it wasn't good enough. They appear at No.12 in the worlds best-selling girl groups of all time (3rd in Britain, behind Spice Girls and Bananarama). 

Aswad - They are are a British reggae group and have been performing since the mid-1970's. Their name means 'Black' in Arabic, and they have released over 20 albums. The band has toured extensively, playing in locations such as Montego Bay, West Africa, Israel and Japan.

Bachman Turner Overdrive - Often referred to by the initials BTO, they are a Canadian rock group which featured predominantly in the 1970's. The band's name is derived from a combination of the band members' surnames and a trucker magazine. They were also featured in The Simpsons episode 'Saddlesore Galactica'. In 2012, writers of three comic strips in the British weekly science fiction anthology 2000AD used the names Bachmann, Turner and Overdrive as the names of the three principal villains in a storyline starring Judge Dredd.

Backstreet Boys - American vocal harmony group named after Back Street Market, Orlando, Florida. They are the best-selling boy band of all time selling over 130 million records worldwide. On June 2, 1999, the Backstreet Boys embarked on the 'Into The Millennium Tour', which comprised 115 sold-out shows in 84 cities

Bay City Rollers - Often referred to as 'the tartan teen sensations from Edinburgh', the band randomly chose their name after sticking a pin in a map and it landing on Bay City, Michigan (which incidentally is the birthplace of 'Madonna'). Although best known for their hits 'Bye-Bye Baby' (a Four Seasons cover) and 'Shang-A-Lang', their first hit was 'Keep On Dancing' which reached No.9 in the UK charts in 1971. It was a cover of a 1965 hit by 'The Gentrys'. 

Billy Joel - Born William Martin Joel to an English Mother and German father, he was raised in The Bronx. Before deciding to pursue music as a career, Joel boxed as a welterweight on the amateur circuit in the New York area. He Released his first hit song 'Piano Man' in 1973, and has sold over 150 million records worldwide. Joel battled depression for many years. In 1970, a career downturn and personal problems aggravated his condition. He left a suicide note and attempted to commit suicide by drinking furniture polish, saying later, 'I drank furniture polish. It looked tastier than bleach'. In November 2010, Joel opened a shop on Oyster Bay, Long Island to manufacture custom-made, retro-styled motorcycles and accessories.

Bob Dylan - Originally named Robert Allen Zimmerman, he thought this name was too long, and was electing to call himself Robert Allan (until finding that there was already a saxophonist with this name). Being inspired by the writings of Dylan Thomas, he decided on the surname Dylan and chose the forename Bob because there were several 'Bobbies' in popular music at the time. Explaining his change of name in a 2004 interview, Dylan remarked: 'You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.'

Bon Jovi - Formed in 1983 they are an American rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey, consisting of Jon Bon Jovi (vocals/guitar), Richie Sambora (lead guitar), David Bryan (keyboards) and Tico Torres (drums). The band name is a re-spelling of the lead singer Jon Bon Jovi's real name John Francis Bongiovi (Jr). At 16, Bon Jovi met David Bryan and formed a band called Atlantic City Expressway. Still in his teens he then played in the band 'John Bongiovi and the Wild Ones', and by 1980 had formed another band 'The Rest'. 

Boney M
- The band's German producer Frank Farian named them after Boney, the hero of an Australian TV series. Famous for hits such as 'Rivers Of Babylon', 'Brown Girl In The Ring' 'Mary's Boy Child' and 'Rasputin', the group has sold more than 150 million albums and singles worldwide. Boney M was hugely popular in the Soviet Union in the 1970s, although the song 'Rasputin' was banned by the Soviet authorities during the group's concert in Moscow in December 1978.

Bush - The band was formed in London (1992) and was named after the district Shepherd's Bush in London. Dave Parsons (bassist) joined Bush shortly after leaving the band Transvision Vamp. They toured with Nickelback on their 'Here and Now' tour.

Chicago - Self described as 'a rock & roll band with horns', they are one of the most successful and long-running rock groups in history. Originally named 'Chicago Transit Authority', they shortened their name to to Chicago when the actual Chicago Transit Authority (the operator of buses and trains in Chicago) threatened to sue. Lead vocalist Peter Cetera left the band at the end of 1985 to pursue a solo career.

Crowded House - The pop/rock band was formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1985. The band's name alludes to the cramped quarters they were sharing whilst recording their album in L.A. They are referred to as 'The Crowdies' by Australian fans. The track 'Chocolate Cake' is a humorous comment on American excesses that wasn't taken well by some US critics and sections of the public. Perhaps unsurprisingly it failed to chart in the US. Bassist Nick Seymour, who is also an artist, designed or co-designed all of the band's album covers and interior artwork. He also designed some of the costumes worn by the group, notably those from the cover of the group's debut album Crowded House

Cypress Hill - An American hip-hop group from California, named after a location where the first band members lived, Cypress Avenue, South Gate, Los Angeles. Selling over 18 million albums worldwide, they are one of the most well-known groups in West Coast rap and hip-hop in general. The sound and groove of their music is notable for its spooky sounds, together with bass-heavy rhythms and odd sample loops ('Insane in the Brain' is notable for having a pitched-altered horse neigh looped in its chorus).

David Bowie - David Robert Jones was born in Brixton, London in 1947. He changed his name to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of 'The Monkees'. The Bowie surname is a tribute to the Alamo hero Jim Bowie and his 'Bowie' knife. Bowie received a serious injury at school in 1962 when his friend George Underwood punched him in the left eye during a fight over a girl. Doctors feared he would become blind in that eye. After a series of operations during a four-month hospitalisation, his doctors determined that the damage could not be fully repaired and he was left with faulty depth perception and a permanently dilated pupil. The latter condition has misled some to believe that Bowie has different coloured eyes, when in reality both irises are the same blue colour. Despite their altercation, Underwood and Bowie remained good friends, and Underwood went on to create the artwork for Bowie's early albums. Throughout his career, he has sold an estimated 140 million albums.

Deacon Blue - Formed in Glasgow in 1985, Deacon Blue were one of the top-selling UK bands of the late 1980s and early 1990s. They took their name from the title of a song by Steely Dan (Deacon Blues). Ricky Ross, a former school teacher, was the group's frontman, penning the vast majority of Deacon Blue's songs. He married band member Lorraine McIntosh in 1990. Although the band split in 1994, they held a reunion gig in 1999, and the band continues to work on a part-time basis.

Depeche Mode - Formed in Basildon, Essex, the band name is derived from a French fashion magazine, loosely translated meaning hurried or fast fashion. They have sold over 100 million singles and albums worldwide and are probably the most popular electronic band the world has ever known.

Duran Duran - One of the most successful bans of the 80's, they were named after the character Dr. Durand-Durand from the science-fiction film 'Barbarella'. Formed in Birmingham UK (1978), they were resident band at the city's Rum Runner nightclub. The band were noted for their movie-like music videos, shot by professional directors with 35mm movie cameras.

Elton John - Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in 1947, he derived his stage name from the two British musicians Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. He started playing piano at the age of 3, and had took up formal piano lessons by the age of 7. At the age of 15 he became a pianist in his local pub 'The Northwood Hills', earning £35 a week + tips. Early in his career he was also a session musician which included playing piano on The Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy' and backing vocals for the band The Scaffold. In 1979 John became one of the first western artists to tour the Soviet Union. In 1986 he played piano on two tracks for heavy metal band Saxon, on their album 'Rock The Nation'. John's voice was once classed as tenor although now it is baritone. A longtime tennis enthusiast, he wrote the song 'Philadelphia Freedom' as a tribute to his long-time friend Billie Jean King (her tennis franchise has the same name).

Elvis Costello - Originally named Declan McManus, he derived the stage name from a combination of his grandmother's maiden name and Elvis Presley. A vegetarian since the early 1980's, Costello says he was moved to reject meet after seeing the documentary 'The Animals Film' (1982), which also inspired his song 'Pills & Soap'.

Engelbert Humperdinck - Arnold George Dorsey was born in Madras, India (one of ten children). As a child he moved to Leicester, England. He originally performed as Gerry Dorsey, playing saxophone in various nightclubs before moving into singing, but latterly changed his name to that of the German 'Hansel and Gretel' composer. He also fronted a television show 'The Engelbert Humperdinck Show', although this was rather short-lived. He represented the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, where he came in 25th place (out of 26) with 12 points.

Eric Clapton -  Born in Surrey, England, Clapton has been referred to as one of the most influential guitarists of all time.  Born in 1945 to an unwed mother, he grew up believing that his grandparents, Rose and Jack, were his parents and his mother was his sister. This was to shield him from the shame as this was quite often frowned upon during this time. Clapton cites Freddie King, B.B. King and Albert King as guitar playing influences (bit of a 'king' thing going on here). He stated blues musician Robert Johnson to be his single biggest influence, and to be 'the most important blues musician who ever lived'.   

Eurythmics - Synthpop duo comprising of Annie Lennox and Dave Stuart, the band name is a respelling of a classical dance and music technique called 'Eurhythmics'. Taken from their second album 'Sweet Dreams' the title track was a worldwide success topping the charts in many countries.

Everything But The Girl - The duo met at the University of Hull, England (1982) and took their name from the slogan of a shop on Beverley Road called 'Turner's Furniture'. Their most famous track is entitled 'Missing' and was remixed by Todd Terry. The shop slogan read 'for your bedroom needs, we sell everything but the girl'.

Fleetwood Mac - Record sales exceed 140 million worldwide, and they are ranked No.22 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists Of Rock & Roll. They derived the name from the surnames of the rhythm section of the band Mick Fleetwood and John McVie. On a US tour in 1971, Guitarist Jeremy Spencer left his hotel to visit a book shop and did not return. He was eventually tracked down and found to have joined the religious group Children of God, and declared that he no long wanted to be part of the group.

Guns 'n' Roses - Formed in Los Angeles, California, the name originates from combining the names of the two previous bands from which the band members came (Axl Rose and Tracii Guns). They have been credited with reviving the popularity of rock music at a time when music was dominated by pop-metal and dance music. They embarked on a tour, the 'Use Your Illusion Tour' lasting over 2 years, which is still currently the longest tour in rock history.

Hall & Oates - An American musical duo comprising of Daryl Franklyn Hohl and John William Oates. They were from competing bands in a competition at the Adelphi Ballroom in Philadelphia in 1967. Whilst waiting to perform, gunfire between two rival gangs broke out and the couple met in the elevator whilst making their escape. Hall & Oates surpassed the Everly Brothers as the most successful duo in rock history, having earned 19 gold and platinum awards.

Herman's Hermits - Formed in Manchester, England (1963), the band commented on lead vocalist Peter Noone's resemblance to the character 'Sherman' in 'Peabody's Improbable History' (a cartoon in the 'Rocky and Bullwinkle' show), however the bassist Karl Green misheard the name as 'Herman', and it stuck ever since.

Jamiroquai - Greater Manchester born lead singer Jay Kay (Jason Cheetham) chose this name as a combination of 'jam session' and 'iroquai' (the latter referring to his empathy toward the Native American Iroquios tribe). 'Buffalo Man' is the name of the dark silhouette character, sketched by Jay Kay and featuring on many of their releases. He has a strong love of exotic cars and owns over 60 including various models of Ferrari and Porsche. In 2007 he drove a Maserati Quattroporte in the Gumball 3000 Rally as part of Team Adidas. 

John Denver - Originally named Henry John Deutschendorf Jnr., he used the surname Denver as a tribute to the state of Colorado which he loved. One of the most popular acoustic artists of the 70's, he began his career in folk music groups during the 60's. During his career he had released approx. 300 songs, about 200 of which he wrote himself. The Colorado state legislature adopted 'Rocky Mountain High' as one of it's state songs in 2007. He was an avid pilot, and died whilst flying his personal aircraft at the age of 53. Upon announcement of Denver's death, Colorado governor Roy Romer ordered all state flags to be flown at half mast.

Keane - Keane are known as 'the band with no guitars' for using a piano/synth as the lead instrument instead of guitars, differentiating them from most other rock/pop bands. Originally named 'Cherry Keane', after an older lady the boys knew when they were younger. 'Cherry' was eventually removed from the name to just become 'Keane'. Since the start of their career the band have sold over 10 million albums worldwide.

Kool & The Gang - The 'Kool' in the name refers to vocalist/bassist Robert 'Kool' Bell. The band started it's career as a pure jazz outfit called the 'Jazziacs'. In 2012 they toured with Van Halen. How 'kool' is that?

Level 42
- Named after the supercomputer's response to the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything, in 'Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy'. The response after 7.5 years calculation was...42. Mark King's slap-bass guitar playing was the driving force behind many of the band's hits. In 1992 King toured as a solo act, and played at the Jazz Cafe in London under the name The Mark King Group.

Linkin Park - An American rock band formed in 1996 from Agoura Hills, California. The name Linkin Park is a homage to Lincoln Park in Santa Monica. They wanted to utilise the name Lincoln Park, however changed it to Linkin Park to acquire the internet domain name Linkin Park's influences include Nine Inch Nails, Deftones and Aphex Twin, and they are the first rock band to achieve more than 1 billion YouTube hits.

Lionel Richie - Born Lionel Brockman Richie (Jr). Richie was a star tennis player during high school, and during his music career has enjoyed a remarkable run of 13 consecutive top ten hits, including five number ones.

Little River Band
- An Australian rock band who chose it's name after passing a road sign leading to the township of Little River, near Geelong. They have enjoyed sustained commercial success in both Australia and the U.S., selling more than 25 million records. During 1982-1986 vocalist Glen Shorrock was replaced by John Farnham.

Lynyrd Skynyrd - The band Lynyrd Skynyrd took their name from their Physical Education teacher, Leonard Skinner. Skinner had given some of the band members a hard time in school because of their long hair. Ask someone to spell this bands name - unless they're a fan, it's unlikely they'll get it right first time.

M People - Originating from Manchester, England, the band's name is short for 'Mike's People', and refers to the band's founder member Mike Pickering, one of the original DJ's from the famous Hacienda in Manchester. Heather Small became the lead vocalist of the group with her distinctive vocal style.

Pink Floyd - One of the most commercially successful and influential groups in the history of popular music, they have sold more than 250 million albums worldwide. When they played in front of a large lake at the Crystal Palace Bowl in London in 1970, they played so loud that a number of fish were killed. Regarded as pioneers of live music performance and sonic experimentation, Pink Floyd have influenced numerous artists including David Bowie, Queen, Tool, Radiohead, Kraftwerk, Queensryche, Nine Inch Nails, The Orb and Smashing Pumpkins.