Music fast facts
To win a gold disc, an album needs to sell 100,000 copies in Britain, and 500,000 in the United States.
Melba toast is named after Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba (1861-1931).
Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.
The CD was developed by Philips and Sony in 1980.
40 billion songs are downloaded illegally every year, that’s some 90% of all music downloads.
The music industry generates about $4 billion in online music but loose about $40 billion to illegal downloads.
Top-selling albums used to reach sales of 20 million copies before the advent of online piracy – by 2009 it had dropped to about 5 million.
The number of recorded CDs and blank CDs sold were about equal.
About one-third of recorded CDs ever sold were pirated.
The Star-Spangled Banner became the US national anthem in 1931. Prior to that, it was My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” which had the same melody as Britian’s national anthem God Save the Queen, which is based on music written by John Bull in 1619. Bull’s melody has been used more than any song in national anthems.
The British anthem was performed the most times in a single performance. In 1909, while waiting for King Edward VII who was getting dressed a German band played the anthem 17 times.
Tap dancing originates from Irish clog dancing and what is called the Irish reel and jig.
The harmonica is the world’s best-selling music instrument.
It was at a concert in Minneapolis in 1954 that Al Dvorin first closed Elvis’s concerts with: “Ladies and Gentleman, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night.”
Elvis favorite collectibles were official badges. He collected police badges in almost every city he performed in.
Elvis was an avid gun collector. His collection of 40 weapons included M-16s and a Thompson submachine gun.
Duran Duran took their name from a mad scientists in the movie Barbarella.
Bob Dylan’s first professional performance was as opening act for John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in New York, 1961.
Before they were known as Journey, Steve Perry called his band Golden Gate Rhythm Section.
Kenneth Edmonds was nicknamed Babyface by funk bassist and singer Bootsy Collins.
The world’s largest disco was held at the Buffalo Convention Centre, New York, 1979. 13,000 danced a place into the Guinness Book of World Records.
In August 1983, Peter Stewart of Birmingham, UK set a world record by disco dancing for 408 hours.
Ireland has won the most Eurovision song contests (7 times).
Annie Lennox holds the record for the most Brit awards (8).
The Beatles holds the top spot of album sales in the US (106 million), followed by Garth Brooks second (92 million), Led Zeppelin (83 million), Elvis Presley (77 million), and the Eagles (65 million). Worldwide The Beatles sold more than 1 billion records.
Klezmer music is derived from two Hebrew words, clay and zimmer, meaning “vessel of music.”
The Ocarina, a musical wind instrument, is also known as the Sweet Potato.
The LP (long-playing) record was invented by Paul Goldmark in 1948. The LP is not dead yet: more than 10 million LPs are sold every year.
The longest song to reach number one on the Billboard charts on LP was “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meatloaf, the shortest: “Stay” by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs.
At the first Grammy Awards, held on 4 May 1959, Domenico Modugno beat out Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee for the Record of the Year, with “Volare.”
The British, the highest per capita spenders on music, buy 7,2% of the world music market.
The first pop video was Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, released in 1975.
The Beatles song “Martha My Dear” was written by Paul McCartney about his sheepdog Martha.
Jeanne Louise Calment’s CD was released on her 121st birthday in 1996. Titled “Time’s Mistress” it features Ms Calment reminiscing to a score of rap music and other tunes.
A grand piano can be played faster than an upright (spinet) piano.
A piano covers the full spectrum of all orchestra instruments, from below the lowest note of the double bassoon to above the top note of the piccolo.
The term “disc jockey” was first used in 1937.
The last note of a keyboard is C.
Themes from movies Unforgiven, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, and Absolute Power were all written by Clint Eastwood.
The US share of the world music market is 31.3%.
The only guy without a beard in ZZTOP surname (last name) is Beard.
Since its launch in 1981 the song Memory of the musical Cats has been played on radio more than a million times.
Paul McCartney was the last bachelor Beatle when he married Linda Eastman in a civil ceremony in London, 1969. Paul’s brother Mike was his best man. No other Beatle attended the wedding.
There are 6 versions of Franz Schubert’s “Die Forelle” (“The Trout”), simply because when friends asked him for copies of the song, he wrote out new copies to the best he could remember at the time.
In 1952, John Cage composed and presented ‘ 4’33” ‘, a composition consisting of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.
The Carpenters signature song, We’ve Only Just Begun, was originally part of a television commercial for a California bank.
In 1972 Leslie Harvey of Stone the Crows died after being electrocuted onstage in England. In 1976 Keith Relf, who used to play for The Yardbirds, was electrocuted by his guitar while playing in his basement. During a mid-performance in 1994 Ramon Barrero, a Mexican musician famous for playing the world’s smallest harmonica, inhaled the harmonica and choked to death.
U2 was originally known as Feedback. To date, U2 have sold more than 70 million records, grossing $1,5 billion.
In May 1997, Paul McCartney broke his own world record by obtaining his 81st gold disc.
Global sales of pre-recorded music total more than $40 billion.
The top selling singles of all time are Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind ‘97”, at 33 million, Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas”, 30 million, and Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock”, 25 million.
“Guess Things Happen That Way” by Johnny Cash was the 10-billionth track sold on iTunes, February 2010. It was bought by Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Georgia, who won a $10,000 (£6,500) iTunes gift card.
The real name of Lorde is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor. See more Real Names of Famous Musicians.
DVD discs are the same diameter (120mm) and thickness (1.2mm) as a Compact Disc (CD) but a DVD can store 13 times or more data.
Beethoven was the first composer who never had an official court position, thus the first known freelance musician. Born in 1770, he grew up poor, but published his first work at age 12. By age 20 he was famous. He often sold the same score to six or seven different publishers simultaneously, and demanded unreasonably large fees for the simplest work. He was short, stocky, dressed badly, didn’t like to bath, lived in squalor, used crude language, openly conducted affairs with married women, and had syphilis. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his Ninth Symphony.