Sunday, July 27, 2014


It’s summertime...and the living is easy.  So is this quiz actually.  All you have to do is know whose birthday it is.  Why, that’s as easy as apple pie with a dollop of butter pecan ice cream on it along with caramel sauce.  All of the birthday performers in question had hits in the Top 10 during either the 1960’s ‘70’s, ‘80’s or ‘90’s and nearly all of them had multiple # 1’s.  So make a wish that you’ll be able to figure them all out...then blow out the candles.  By the way, if you’re celebrating a birthday this week, like I am, then mazel tov.   

1.  This megastar singer (born July 26, 1943) could have gone on to a distinguished career in finance if music hadn’t lured him away.  His band had the ‘satisfaction’ of having their first # 1 in 1965.  They’ve had seven chart toppers since then and continue to tour, having just passed their 50th anniversary.  Does the name of this birthday bad boy come easily to your lips?  Is so, who is he?                              
2.  Singer, songwriter, drummer are three words to describe our next birthday celebrity (born July 22, 1947).  He was once in Linda Ronstadt’s touring back-up band, then left to form his own group that later became superstars.  His band has sold over 120 million albums, won six Grammy Awards, had five # 1 singles and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.  After his band first broke up in 1980, he embarked on a successful solo career, racking up a half dozen Top Ten songs, including his most successful single, “Dirty Laundry” in 1983. Can you name this Texas troubadour?            
3.  This singer (born August 10, 1943) was a passenger on the same plane as The Beatles when they flew from England to America for the first time on February 7th, 1964.  By that time, her group had already charted several Top Forty hits, although their most successful single only climbed to # 9.  Later, The Beatles would sign her to a solo deal for their Apple label.  From 1968 until 1974, she was married to a world famous record producer, who also worked with The Beatles on the original “Let It Be” album in 1970.  That ex-husband is currently in a U.S. federal prison serving a life sentence for murder.  This singer also performed with Eddie Money on his 1986 Top Five hit, “Take Me Home Tonight”.  Who is this distinctive voiced singer?                   

4.  This musician (born August 1, 1942) became famous as a co-founding member of a counter culture band from San Francisco during the late 1960’s, along with Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service.  The band became very popular as a live act.  He was the bearded guitar player who Rolling Stone readers voted # 13 in their “100 Greatest guitarists Of All Time” list.  He struggled with drug addiction for many years along with diabetes and died at the age of 53.  Who is this “Truckin’” musician?                 
5.  This “Lonely Boy” Canadian singer/songwriter (born July 30, 1941) has had an incredible career.  He had # 1 hits in the 1950’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s and wrote many hits for other artists, including Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley.  He co-wrote two songs with the late Michael Jackson, including “This Is It” and “Love Never Felt So Good”, the latter included on Michael’s 2014 posthumous release “Xscape”.  Can you name this songpainter?                                                    


1.  That would be Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones, who attended the London School of Economics before embarking on a rock career.  “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” was The Stones first # 1 hit single in July 1965.  The Stones stood at the top of Billboards’ Hot 100 chart again in November of ’65 with “Get Off Of My Cloud”.  The other 6 Stones # 1’s are:  “Paint It, Black” (1966), “Ruby Tuesday” (1967), “Honky Tonk Women” (1969), “Brown Sugar” (1971), “Angie” (1973) and “Miss You” (1978).      

2.  Don Henley of The Eagles is 67 this year.  Born in Gilroy, Texas, Henley hightailed it to California where he became part of Linda Ronstadt’s backing band (along with Glenn Frey).  The Eagles formed in the early ‘70’s and hit the record charts almost immediately.  The Eagles five # 1 hits are: “Best Of My Love” (1975), “One Of These Nights” (1975), “New Kid In Town” (1977), “Hotel California” (1977) and “Heartache Tonight” (1979/80).  Of these, Henley sang lead on “Best Of My Love”, “One Of These Nights” and “Hotel California” along with other Top Ten hits such as “Witchy Woman”, “Desperado”, “Life In The Fast Lane” and “The Long Run”.  Besides “Dirty Laundry”, Henley’s solo hits include: “The Boys Of Summer”, “All She Want To Do Is Dance” and “The End Of The Innocence”.                                     
3.  Ronnie Spector is the correct answer.  As lead singer for The Ronettes, Ronnie Bennett shared the stage and the spotlight with her sister Estelle and their cousin Nedra Talley.  The group came to the attention of producer Phil Spector, who signed them to his Philles label and produced their biggest hits, including the 1963 # 2 song “Be My Baby” and 1964’s “Baby, I Love You”.  Ronnie was married to Phil Spector from 1968 until 1972.  Her solo career was not very successful, despite being signed to The Beatles Apple label, her only single from that era, “Try Some, Buy Some” only climbed to # 77 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart.  Ronnie Spector also sang on “Say Goodbye To Hollywood”, along with the E Street Band and Eddie Money’s 1986 # 4 hit “Take Me Home Tonight”.  The Ronettes won a Grammy Award in 1965 for “Walking In The Rain”.  “Be My Baby” was the song that saw them inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.  Other honours for The Ronettes include the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.      
4.  The Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia never saw his band hit # 1 on the singles chart, the highest the Dead ever got was # 9 with Touch of Grey” in 1987.    Their fans, aka ‘Deadheads’ were legion, many of them followed the band from gig to gig, city to city.  The Grateful Dead were inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.  His parent named him after legendary songwriter/composer Jerome Kern and although his full name was Jerome John Garcia, he became much better known as simply Jerry.  Garcia died on August 9, 1995 of a heart attack.                              

5.  Ottawa born Paul Anka has been a major force in the music business since “Diana”, first hit # 1 hit in 1957.  Paul continued having hits into the ‘60’s, ‘70’s and ‘80’s and racked up two additional # 1’s and over 50 charted hits.  Paul’s songs have been recorded successfully by many other performers, including Annette Funicello, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Donnie Osmond and Elvis Presley.      

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


This weekend is the annual Elvis Festival in Collingwood.  Hundreds of thousands of fans from around the world travel to the Georgian Bay town to celebrate ‘The King of Rock and Roll’.  And that’s what we’re doing with this quiz.  All Elvis – for all 5 questions.  So don’t go “Crying In The Chapel” or get “All Shook Up”, “Surrender” to the quiz for “One Night”, “I Beg Of You”.  If you need your “Good Luck Charm” for this quiz, “Don’t” be afraid to use it.  And if you get all 5 questions correct, “Kiss Me Quick” (OK, you don’t really have to). 

1.  What was Elvis’ FIRST # 1 hit in 1956?  Was it:  a. “Blue Suede Shoes”  b. “Heartbreak Hotel”  c.  “That’s Alright Mama”                   

2.  In 1969, Elvis charted 7 hot singles, but he had only ONE # 1.  Which Elvis song made it to the top of the charts in ’69?  Was it:  “a. “If I Can Dream”  b. In The Ghetto”                        c. “Suspicious Minds”            

3.  How many # 1 hits did Elvis have during his lifetime?  Was it:  a. 18  b. 19  c. 20.                    

4.  In 1956, Elvis charted five # 1 hits.  Two of them were # 1 for 11 weeks.  One of those was “Hound Dog”.  What was the title of the other Elvis hit that also stayed at the top of the singles chart for 11 weeks?  Was it:  a. “Heartbreak Hotel”  b. “Love Me Tender”  c. “Don’t Be Cruel”                   

5.  All true Elvis fans know that his 1956 # 1 hit “Love Me Tender” was adapted from an 1861 tune called “Aura Lee”.  The Paul Anka written hit “My Way” (which climbed to # 22 on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart more than 6 months after Elvis passed away) was an English adaptation of the French song “Comme d’Habitude”.  In 1960, Elvis had his 14th # 1 with “It’s Now Or Never”, which was based on the Italian classic “O Solo Mio” (every accordion player in the world has played this ditty at one time or another).  In 1961, another Italian song had English lyrics written to the original melody and Elvis took that to # 1 for two weeks.  What’s the name of this hit?  Is it:  a. “Can’t Help Falling In Love”  b. “Little Sister”  c. “Surrender”                                                      


1.  It was b. “Heartbreak Hotel” which stayed at # 1 for 8 weeks.  “Blue Suede Shoes” made it to # 20 in ‘56.  “That’s Alright Mama” did not chart on Billboards’ Hot 100 but certainly got played on the radio a lot.  It introduced the world to the new singing sensation from Memphis.       

2.  That would be c. “Suspicious Minds”, which was # 1 for the week of November 1st, 1969.  It was knocked off the next week by “Wedding Bell Blues” from The 5th Dimension.  “In The Ghetto” made it to # 5 and “If I Can Dream” climbed to # 12.                                             

3.  If you said b. 19, you are a certified Elvis superfan.  His first was “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956 and his last was “Suspicious Minds” in 1969, although he charted more than 40 songs after “Suspicious Minds”, including Elvis’ final Top Ten hit, “America The Beautiful” in 2001, which climbed to # 6 on Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart.    

4.  Any self respecting Elvis fan knows that c. “Don’t Be Cruel” was the other Elvis hit that stayed # 1 for 11 weeks.  “Love Me Tender” remained at the top of the charts for 5 weeks and “Heartbreak Hotel” was # 1 for 8 weeks.                             

5.  c. “Surrender” is the correct answer.  The English version was based on the Italian song “Tome A Surriento”.  “Can’t Help Falling In Love” used the melody to the French song “Plaisir d’amour” with original English lyrics from Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss.  “Little Sister” was an original song written for Elvis by New York based songwriters Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.        

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


For those youngsters out there who don’t recognize the name in the title, “What’s My Line” was a weekly TV program that aired from 1950 until 1967.  The premise was people with unusual or unique occupations were interviewed by four panelists and the panels’ questions could only be answered by a ‘yes’ or ‘no’.  If ‘no’, the contestant got a little more money and the next panelist got to ask a question and so on.  Since “What’s My Line” survived for 17 years, it was obviously a popular television show (as well as being fairly inexpensive to produce).
This weeks’ quiz is all about previous jobs or occupations of successful musicians and singers.  For example, before Jimi Hendrix became a ‘guitar superstar’, he played in bands for The Isley Brothers “Twist & Shout” and Joey Dee & The Starlighters (“Peppermind Twist”) and prior to those gigs, he worked for ‘Uncle Sam’ in the U.S Army.  Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”) was an actor who appeared on the U.S. daytime soap opera “General Hospital”.  You get the picture.  So take this job...and guess it.    

1.  This ‘70’s/80’s/90’s music star charted over 20 hits on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 singles chart, but his original occupation was the family business – the New York City Police Department.  His father, grandfather and brother were all NYC police officers.  Our mystery singer/songwriter (real name Edward Joseph Mahoney) was a NYPD cop for 2 years before moving to San Francisco and kick starting his music career.  His early Top Ten hits include “Two Tickets To Paradsie” and “Baby Hold On”.  Can you name this former NYC police officer?                                
2.  Singer Bonnie Tyler has often been called the female version of this singer.  His raspy vocal style took him to the top of the singles charts four times, his first came in 1971.  He was formerly in a band with a member of The Rolling Stones.  A myth about this singer is that he was once a gravedigger, but he had planned on becoming a soccer star, but music made him a star first.  Some guys have all the luck.  He’s sold over 200 million records during his career so far.  Who is this soccer loving musical superstar?          
3.  Long before “Every Breath You Take” and “Roxanne”, this former Police-man had a totally different occupation.  Sting, aka Gordon Sumner, took his vocation seriously while continuing to play in bands.  He made music his full time occupation after The police took off.  Can you guess Stings’ previous job?            

4.  This musician KISSed his way to fame and fortune with his music, his long tongue and his marketing expertise.  But before he co-created his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band, he briefly taught elementary school.  Who is this fire breathing rock and roller?         
5.  This singer has had great success on the record charts, but not a lot with her personal life.  Her first marriage (to a wild and crazy actor/comedian) lasted less than a year and she’s been dating (off and on) a notorious ‘Ladies Man’.  Her music career however has only grown bigger with every record.  She comes from a very religious family (her real last name is Hudson).  She even released an album of spiritual/religious songs before her pop career really ‘roared’.  Who is this singer?                                                 

1.  That would be Eddie Money, who was a New York City police officer making arrests before he was making gold records.  Eddie’s sold more than 28 million records.  His early Top Forty hits include “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets To Paradise”, but his only Top Ten  (according  to Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 chart) was 1986’s “Take Me Home Tonight” with Ronnie Spector (lead singer of The Ronettes).  That one made it to # 4 in November 1986.  Eddie still tours today and has no plans to rejoin the NYPD.  

2.  Rod Stewart was NEVER a gravedigger.  He did mark grave plots at Highgate Cemetery in England, plus he also worked in a North Finchley (England) funeral home.  Somehow the myth began that he dug graves as well, but that wasn’t the case.  Rod actively encouraged this erroneous fact.  Rod did work as a silk screener printer, he erected fences and was a sign painter, but football was his true calling (or so he thought).  He went to trials for the Brentford Football Club, but says he never got a call back.  One of Rod’s early successful bands was The Faces (aka Small Faces).  Another member of The Faces was future Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.  Rod left The Faces for a solo career, which included 4 # 1 hits, “Maggie May” (1971); “Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)” (1976); “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” (1979) and “All For Love” (1994), from the motion picture “The Three Musketeers”.  “All For Love” also featured Bryan Adams and Sting.  “Rod: The Autobiography” was released in 2012.  More recently, Stewart achieved platinum sales status with his “Great American Songbook” series of albums 1 through 4.                             
3.  Sting, aka Gordon Sumner, was a certified primary school teacher in England.  He also taught English at St. Paul’s First School, a secondary school near Newcastle, Sting’s home town.  One of Stings’ most successful songs, “Every Breath You Take” (it came to him in a dream), brings in approximately $2000.00 a day in royalties.  And that’s just one of his many hits.  It’s also one of the most requested songs at radio today.  As a member of The Police, Sting was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March of 2003.  The previous year, Sting had been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  His net worth has been estimated at slightly under 300 million dollars.  
4.  Before he became a fire breathing, marketing maven, Gene Simmons (real name Chaim Witz) was an elementary school teacher in New York City.  He was also briefly an assistant to an editor at Vogue Magazine.  The first national television appearance by KISS was on the daytime Mike Douglas Show, which was very popular with housewives, in June 1974.  The original members of KISS were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year (2014).                            

5.  While Katy Perry has been on top in the music business for quite a while, prior to her success with “I Kissed A Girl”, “California Gurls”, “Roar” and “Dark Horse”, she spent the better part of a decade as a singer of religious songs under her real name Katy Hudson.  Her parents, both pastors, did not allow young Katy to listen to secular music, but a slumber party at a friends’ house changed all that.  In March of 2001, Katy Hudson released a self titled album of religious songs, including “Faith Won’t Fail”, “Trust in Me” and “When There’s Nothing Left”.  Her first pop album, “One of The Boys” was released in January of 2008 and included her # 1 hit “I Kissed A Girl”.  Since then, the former Katy Hudson has never looked back, although her personal life has taken a few lumps.  Her marriage to British comedian and actor Russell Brand lasted less than a year and she was criticized for dating John Mayer, the ‘serial dater’ whose list of ladies he’s been linked with include singers Taylor Swift and Jessica Simpson to actresses Jennifer Love Hewitt, Minka Kelly and Jennifer Aniston.