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Friday, March 11, 2011
Top of the Pops: A pop music pop quiz ('60s edition)
Question: What '60s song, made popular by which group, gained most of it fame from its mysteriously vulgar lyrics and was supposedly recorded just after its lead singer had dental surgery?
Answer: "Louie, Louie," as recorded by The Kingsmen in 1963, was the subject of a Federal Bureau Investigation probe into the supposed obscenity of the lyrics.  (Go to and search for "True Lyrics to Louie Louie."  If you were in junior high school in 1963, prepare to be, like the FBI investigators, disappointed by what you discover.)  The FBI probe ended without prosecution.
Question: What song, which is a song that you do know, originally had the title "Scrambled Eggs"?
Answer: The song, which is formally listed, as are all Lennon and/or McCartney songs which were recorded by the Beatles, as a Lennon and McCartney song, was actually written entirely by Paul McCartney. Paul woke up one morning with the melody, but no real lyrics, in his head.  The working opening verse was "Scrambled eggs/Oh, my baby how I love your legs."  The song "Scrambled Eggs" later became a huge hit record.  The new title, with appropriate accompanying lyrics, is "Yesterday."
Question: What song is the most performed song in the English language?
Answer:  No, it is not "Yesterday," although it has had the most cover versions of any song ever written (over 3,000), was voted Best Song of the 20th Century in a 1999 British Broadcasting Corporation Radio poll, and, in addition, was the most-played song on American radio for eight consecutive years.
The most performed song is, most likely, "Happy Birthday to You", the story of which begins with sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, kindergarten teachers in Louisville, Ky., writing "Good Morning to All" in 1893.  Then the same melody, with new lyrics, was copyrighted in 1935 as the "Happy Birthday" song known worldwide today.
According to law professor Robert Brauneis, "There is no evidence that these two sisters wrote those particular words."  It even is possible that children in the Hill sisters' school might be responsible. Why would anyone care?  This pretty little ditty is a cash juggernaut, generating approximately $2 million in royalties every year.
Question: What was the first song composed by a Beatle which was recorded by the Beatles?
Answer: "Love Me Do" or "Please Please Me" would be good guesses but wrong.  "When I'm Sixty Four" was written by Paul McCartney when he was a teenager, "during the Cavern days," that is, before the Beatles became the Beatles.
Question: What long-lived rock group's name is based on an ancient aphorism turned blues song then become band name?
Answer: This band name has its origin in the first century before Christ, when Plubilius Syrus wrote a series of Latin proverbs, including saxum (rocks) volutum (rolled) non (no) obducitur (collect) musco (moss), that is, "a rolling stone gathers no moss."  
In 1948 Muddy Waters wrote a song called "Rollin' Stone."  Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were big Muddy Waters fans.  According to Richards, Jones christened the band while phoning Jazz News to place an advertisement. When asked what the band's name was, Jones glanced at a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor of which one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone," pluralized it, and there you go.
Question: What über-popular pop group named itself in punning tribute to earlier pop rocker Buddy Holly's band?
Answer:  This Cricket-alluding band's various names, in chronological order, were The Black Jacks, The Quarry Men, Johnny and the Moondogs, The Nerk Twins, The Beatals, The Silver Beetles, The Silver Beats, The Beatles, The Silver Beatles and, finally, The Beatles (for once and for all).
George Harrison suggested that the name was inspired by the Marlon Brando film "The Wild One," where a black leather-clad motorcycle gang was referred to as the Beetles. As Hunter Davies put it, "Stu Sutcliffe saw this film . . . and suggested it to John as the new name for their group. John said yeah, but we'll spell it Beatles, as we're a beat group."
Gary D. Gaddy started growing his hair "to look like the Beatles" before he ever even saw a picture of one of them.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 11, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 10:44 AM EDT
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