Tunes and Trivia: 48 Remarkable Facts About the World’s Musicians – Part 2

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1Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

Before he was a famous musician Johnny Cash was a military code breaker for the US Air Force. He worked as a Morse Intercept Operator in Germany, handling the hardest jobs, intercepting Russian intelligence and deciphering code transmissions. He copied the first news of Stalin’s death.

2. In 2013, Kanye West's "Yeezus" was voted both "Most Overrated Album" and "Most Underrated Album" by Pitchfork readers.

3. Jimi Hendrix was once invited to play with Cream alongside Eric Clapton. In the middle of the show, Clapton walked off stage. He was found in the back shaking angrily and smoking a cigarette. When asked what was wrong, he simply replied, "You never told me he was that f*cking good."

4. A letter that Johnny Cash wrote to June Carter in 1994 was voted the greatest love letter of all time. They were married from 1968 until June passed away in 2003. Johnny died 4 months later.

5. Johnny Cash’s ‘The Ring of Fire’ was actually written by June Carter about her falling in love with Johnny Cash while he was still married to his first wife.

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6Jimi Hendrix and Kathy Etchingham

Jimi Hendrix and Kathy Etchingham

Jimi Hendrix and his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham called each other by their middle names, Marshall and Mary. After an argument where Jimi complained about her lumpy mashed potatoes, Etchingham stormed out into the street and left. When she returned the next day, he had written ‘The Wind Cries Mary.’

7. Frank Sinatra's acceptance speech for a Legend Award at the 1994 Grammys was cut short due to commercial breaks. In response, Billy Joel stopped halfway through his performance of 'The River of Dreams' later on, simply looking at his watch and saying 'valuable advertising time going by...'

8. Chrysler (Automobile company) offered Bruce Springsteen $12 million to use "Born in the U.S.A." in an ad campaign. Springsteen turned them down and has still never let his music be used to sell products.

9. 1989’s “Batman” soundtrack album was mainly composed by Prince and is considered to be his 11th studio album, but since Prince had to agree to sign the publishing rights over to Warner Bros, none of the high-charting “Batman” songs appear on future hits compilations.

10. David Bowie performed at the Berlin Wall, while East Germans gathered to listen behind. He recalled, “And we would hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. God, even now I get choked up. It was breaking my heart. I'd never done anything like that in my life, and I guess I never will again.”

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11Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al Yankovic has asked permission from Prince to parody his songs on numerous occasions and has always been refused. When the two were assigned to sit in the same row at an award's show, he got a telegram from Prince's lawyers demanding that he not make eye contact.

12. During an interview in 2012, Canadian singer Neil Young said “Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around.”

13. Prince used the heartbeat of his unborn son as part of the percussion in one track on the 'Emancipation' album. By the time the album was released, his son had died of a congenital birth defect.

14. Bruce Springsteen's classic, ‘Born to Run’, almost became the official song of New Jersey until legislators heard the lyrics and realized that the song was about wanting to get out of New Jersey.

15. The lyrics of Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" are officially credited to his childhood friend Vincent "Tata" Ford, who ran a soup kitchen in the Jamaican ghetto where Marley grew up. Marley gave Ford credit for writing the song so that the royalty payments could keep the soup kitchen open.

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Prince would play concerts as a "cover" in areas affected by natural disasters so that he could be in cities where he could offer help. Because of his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness he couldn’t, and wouldn’t, ever speak publicly about any of his charitable acts.

17. In 1971, when Frank Sinatra couldn't get a ringside ticket to Ali and Frazier's "Fight of the Century", he managed to get a press pass to shoot photos for the LIFE magazine instead.

18. During a 2014 concert, American Rapper Kanye West halted the performance of “Good Life,” saying “I can't do this show until everybody stands up…” pointing at the only person in the audience who wasn’t standing up and dancing. That person was in a wheelchair.

19. Bob Marley's last words to his son Ziggy were "Money can't buy life."

20. A Chicago reporter once asked Frank Sinatra's first wife what she saw in him, calling him "a 119-pound has-been." She told him, "Well, I'll tell you — nineteen pounds is cock."

21Kanye and Jay-Z

Kanye and Jay-Z

In 2011, during a Vancouver concert, Kanye West and Jay-Z performed "N*ggas in Paris" 11 times in a row.

22. There was some controversy to the inclusion of Chuck Berry's 'Johnny B. Goode' on the Voyager Golden Record. Carl Sagan was told that rock music was adolescent. Sagan responded, "There are a lot of adolescents on the planet."

23. Frank Sinatra has three stars on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. One for film, one for music and one for television.

24. Lyrics to the Rihanna’s song 'Diamonds' were written by Sia in 14 minutes. By May 2013, it had sold over 7.5 million copies worldwide and became one of the best-selling singles of all-time.

25. Beyonce's hit song "Run the World (Girls)" is a heavily sampled version of a song by 3 men, and was co-written by 2 other men. The only female writer or producer involved in the song was Beyonce herself.

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