monday music trivia: the common root of “Scarborough Fair/ Canticle”, “Girl from North Country” and “Boots of Spanish Leather”

June 15th, 2009

A bit of a return to Monday music trivia after a while off, mostly because I was talking about this connection the other day and thought it was interesting.

Which British folk singer’s arrangement of the traditional Anglo-American ballad Scarborough Fair (aka “The Elfin King”) was appropriated by Simon & Garfunkel and also inspired Bob Dylan’s songs “Girl from the North Country” and “Boots of Leather”?

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monday trivia returns: in the aeroplane’s cover designer

February 9th, 2009

I admit it: I’m a bit of a nerd. Okay, maybe I’m a lot of a nerd. I like trivia and I like music, so I started a weekly trivia question. If you have ideas for the weekly trivia question let me know.

I’m going to take another stab at the Monday music question, here.

The cover designer for Neutral Milk Hotel‘s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is best known as which fellow-Athens, Georgia-based band’s staff designer? Bonus: Name the designer.

Guess in the comments or highlight the bottom of this post if you give up.

In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’s cover was designed by R.E.M.’s staff designer Chris Bilheimer.

monday trivia: album names to band names

December 1st, 2008

Which of these songwriters does NOT lead a band that shares its name with his previous band’s last album?
A) Jason Molina
B) Will Oldham
C) Phil Elverum

Guess in the comments or highlight the bottom of this post if you give up.

B. Will Oldham (of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy). Jason Molina’s Songs:Ohia released an album called Magnolia Electric Company before he started calling his band that. Phil Elverum’s the Microphones released an album called Mount Eerie before he took that as the name of his band.

monday music trivia

November 24th, 2008

What almost-six minute single reached #2 on the US Charts upon rerelease in 1992 after originally only managing a #9 peak position in 1976?

Guess in the comments or highlight the bottom of this post if you give up.

Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” hit #2 on the US Charts after being rereleased in 1992 following it’s prominent use in Wayne’s World

monday trivia: james jamerson’s bass

November 17th, 2008


Long time Funk Brother and the bass player on most of the Motown hits James Jamerson played what bass and what word had he carved into the heal of the neck?

Guess in the comments or highlight the end of the post to see the answer.

Jamerson played a 1962 Fender Precision bass that he dubbed The Funk Machine with the word “Funk” carved into the heal of the neck. No doubt, many hopeful pawn shop and thrift store buyers took the necks off their P-basses looking for that word, but none have found it–the Funk Machine is still missing today.

monday trivia: band’s name from Mets baseball story

November 10th, 2008

I admit it: I’m a bit of a nerd. Okay, maybe I’m a lot of a nerd. I like trivia and I like music, so I started a weekly trivia question. If you have ideas for the weekly trivia question let me know.

What long running band gets it’s name from a story involving the on-field calls of Mets players Richie Ashburn and Elio Chacón?

Guess in the comments or if you’re stumped you can highlight the bottom of the post to see the answer.

Yo La Tengo (Spanish: “I have it!”) comes from what center fielder Ashburn would yell so Venezuelan shortstop Cancón would understand his calls for the ball and not run into him.

monday trivia: “dear prudence”‘s sister

November 3rd, 2008

As promised last monday, I’m going to do monday music trivia questions here. Because I’m a music nerd and I love trivia. Deal.

This week’s question:
Which actress’s sister is the subject of the Beatle’s “Dear Prudence”?

Guess in the comments (or highlight the end of the post).

I won a prize from the local oldies station in 1994 for being the first person to answer this question correctly. The prize was a promo greeting card which contained the Beatles’ version of the Shirelles’ “Baby, It’s You” (Live at the BBC version) on CD.

Mia Farrow is Prudence Farrow’s sister

odds and ends, part 22

October 27th, 2008

Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy champ, has an interesting blog post about Elliott Smith that also includes a fun trivia question:

When I was in high school, I had an Otis [Redding] greatest hits CD that had “Cigarettes and Coffee” on it, which I used to listen to over and over. Great song. But “Cigarettes and Coffee” is not the only Otis Redding hit whose last six letters spell a delicious hot drink. Can you name another?

For the answer head to the Ken Jennings forum or highlight or click the following “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”.

Fun stuff. I should start a weekly trivia column here. For the music NERDS!

Malcolm Gladwell (of Tipping Point fame) wrote an article about late bloomers in art and literature:

Genius, in the popular conception, is inextricably tied up with precocity—doing something truly creative, we’re inclined to think, requires the freshness and exuberance and energy of youth. Orson Welles made his masterpiece, “Citizen Kane,” at twenty-five. Herman Melville wrote a book a year through his late twenties, culminating, at age thirty-two, with “Moby-Dick.” Mozart wrote his breakthrough Piano Concerto No. 9 in E-Flat-Major at the age of twenty-one.

Picasso was the incandescent prodigy. His career as a serious artist began with a masterpiece, “Evocation: The Burial of Casagemas,” produced at age twenty. In short order, he painted many of the greatest works of his career—including “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” at the age of twenty-six. Picasso fit our usual ideas about genius perfectly.

Cézanne didn’t. … A painting done by Picasso in his mid-twenties was worth, [economist David Galenson] found, an average of four times as much as a painting done in his sixties. For Cézanne, the opposite was true. The paintings he created in his mid-sixties were valued fifteen times as highly as the paintings he created as a young man. The freshness, exuberance, and energy of youth did little for Cézanne. He was a late bloomer—and for some reason in our accounting of genius and creativity we have forgotten to make sense of the Cézannes of the world.

I wast trying to think about this in terms of musicians. In classical music terms, examples seem quite easy. Mozart was impossibly precocious. Copland, on the other hand, wrote his best music starting in his late thirties and early forties.

In popular music, finding the precocious is once again easy: the Beach Boys, Phil Spector, Beirut, Stevie Wonder and Simon & Garfunkle all had noteworthy accomplishments in their teens. I’m sure there are many examples from hip hop as well, such as Biggie Smalls.

The late-bloomers, it seems, are harder to pin point in popular music. Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam was 28 when Creek Drank the Cradle came out. That hardly seems to qualify him as a late bloomer. Bob Pollard may be a better example: he was 36 when Guided By Voice’s break out album, Bee Thousand, was released (though their first real outside exposure came a couple years earlier). John Vanderslice is now 41, though he’s been known in growing circles since his late 90s work in mk ultra. Bob Dylan released some acclaimed music later in life, but few would argue that it matches his work as a young man.

Is popular music really a young person’s game? Do you know of any good examples of late-bloomers? It actually seems fairly reasonable that there wouldn’t be: popular music has an image of being something for young people so that would discourage older people attempting at large-scale success, and financially, few would attempt to grow in it once family responsibilities and other later-life financial burdens were apparent.

I liked this video of the “I Saw the Bright Shinies” by the Octopus Project. I’d written about the song before.