75 Facts: The History and Evolution of Musical Instruments

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1Sparrow

Sparrow

During the Chinese Sparrow extermination campaign, the Polish Embassy refused to allow Chinese to kill the Sparrows hiding in their complex, so the Chinese waited outside hitting drums for two days straight until all the sparrows died of exhaustion.


2. Leon Theremin invented the Rhythmicon, the world's first drum-machine in 1931.


3. George Clinton doesn't know who played guitar for one of Funkadelic's greatest guitar solos, "Get Off Your A*s and Jam" (1975). The mystery guitarist was a white heroin addict who asked to sit in and was paid $50.


4. Eric Clapton once showed up drunk to George Harrison's house, silently handed him a guitar and amp, and the two had a musical duel for 2 hours.


5. In 1969, Willie Nelson ran into a burning house to save his guitar, and a pound of Cannabis.


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6Jack White

Jack White

Jack White of the White Stripes was saving Seven Nation Army's guitar riff in case he got asked to do a James Bond theme.


7. Dimebag Darrell once asked Eddie Van Halen for a copy of his guitar "Bumblebee" from the cover of Van Halen II. Eddie said yes but forgot. After Dimebag was killed, he turned up at the viewing with the original and it is now buried with him.


8. Derek Amato is one of just 30 “acquired savants” worldwide. After being taken to the hospital with a serious concussion from a diving accident, he sat down at a piano and discovered he was a musical genius.


9. When German fighter ace Hans-Joachim Marseille was asked to play the piano in front of Hitler, he played a forbidden jazz song.


10. In 1970's, Chuck Berry toured with only a guitar, finding some local bands for each show. He was confident that he could hire a band that already knew his music. He did not even give them a set list and just expected the musicians to follow his lead.


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11Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin

Demetri Martin would play guitar and have music playing in the background of his comedy specials so Comedy Central couldn't edit his set.


12. One of the first typewriters was initially called a "Literary piano."


13. Actor Joe Pesci started as a singer, guitar player and played in the same band as Jimi Hendrix.


14. Rock musician Chuck Berry created Berry Park in Missouri, his own rock n roll themed amusement park with a guitar shaped swimming pool, in response to the whites-only country clubs from where he was once excluded.


15. The guitar playing in the Metalocalypse show is 100% animated accurately. Animation of the characters on the show fretting guitar solos actually corresponds to the notes they're playing.


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16Bob Marley

Bob Marley

Bob Marley was buried with his red Gibson guitar, a bible opened to Psalm 23, and a bud of marijuana.


17. Brendon Small, co-creator and voice actor of Metalocalypse, performs the vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, keyboards, and (most) bass guitar for all the studio recordings for the Dethklok music heard in the show and is the frontman for live Dethklok concerts.


18. Keith Richards once woke up in the middle of the night, laid down and recorded a guitar riff for what would be the song Satisfaction (I Can't Get No). The following 40 minutes on the tape recorder is him snoring.


19. Woody Guthrie, who wrote "This Land is Your Land", painted the words "THIS MACHINE KILLS FASCISTS" on his guitar.


20. John Mayer became interested in the guitar after watching the prom scene in "Back to the Future".


21Replacements band

Replacements band

The Replacements band (who were replacing The Pointer Sisters at the last minute as the SNL musical guest) smuggled booze and drugs backstage, got drunk with Harry Dean Stanton, broke a guitar on their way to perform, swore on-air, and were banned from returning to the show.


22. Jazz pianist Ryo Fukui taught himself piano when he was 22 and released his first album just 6 years later.


23. James Franco, a non-smoker, took up smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, learned to ride a motorcycle, play guitar, and cut himself off from his loved ones, all to prepare for his role as James Dean.


24. In the song "Misunderstood", John Petrucci wrote and played the guitar solo, and then reversed it. He then learned how to play this reversed version, and after recording it reversed it once more. This resulted in a solo like the original but with a unique twist to the way the notes sounded.


25. James Taylor gives free online guitar lessons.

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