Sunday, March 1, 2015


Rock and roll has been around since the 1950’s and eventually achieved legitimacy to the point that The Beatles success inspired an entire generation of kids to pick up a guitar, but that never stopped critics from trying to tear it down...or for that matter, for rock stars to become too full of themselves.  Our quiz this time is to see if you can tell who made a specific statement about music, or life, or rock and roll. 
Well ‘it’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, now go cat go...”


1.  Who said this:  “Rock and roll is sung, and written for the most part, by cretinous goons, and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd – in plain fact, dirty – lyrics, it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent”?
Was it a. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen  b. Richard Nixon  c. Frank Sinatra     

2.  What early Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee made the following statement: “I never considered myself part of rock’n’roll.  I didn’t believe that I was among the forerunners of the music and I’ve never given myself a lick of credit for either inventing it or having anything to do with its birth.”? Was it:  Chuck Berry  b. Ray Charles  c. Bill Haley        

3.  Which musical superstar who first hit the charts in the 1970’s as the lead singer of a British group, before successfully going solo a few years later said this: “When you’re as rich as I am, you don’t have to be political.”?  Was it: a. Sting (The Police)  b. Freddie Mercury (Queen) c. Rod Stewart (The Faces)   

4.  The following statement was made by a member of one of the most successful musical groups in history: “People have come to us and said, ‘Do you realize how much power you have now?  You could change the world with some of the things you say’.  And I say to them, ‘Leave me alone’.  Power is fleeting.  So is ego.  Politicians have no idea how to save the world, so why should pop stars?”  Is it: a. Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones  b. Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees  c. Glenn Frey of The Eagles    

5.  Which Canadian born singer/songwriter made this statement: “If some people had their way, they’d just want me to weep and suffer for them for the rest of my life, because people live vicariously through their artists.”  Is it:  a. Sarah Mclachlan               b.  Diana Krall  c. Joni Mitchell      

1.  That would be c. Frank Sinatra who, on July 2nd, 1966, knocked The Beatles “Paperback Writer” from the # 1 spot on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart with his song “Strangers In The Night”.  Frank’s # 1 ride only lasted one week as The Beatles got their revenge and returned to the top of the singles charts the following week (July 9th).  In April of 1967, Frank and daughter Nancy’s duet “Something Stupid” replaced The Turtles “Happy Together” at # 1.  That song hung onto the top spot for 4 consecutive weeks and was finally knocked off the week of May 13, 1967 by The Supremes “The Happening”.  So, start spreading the news, that was Frank’s last # 1.
2.  If you picked b. Ray Charles, you would be correct.  Throughout his career, Ray sang everything, rock’n’roll, blues, R&B and country.  He charted 77 songs on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart and just as many of their R&B chart.  Ray had three # 1 hits, “Georgia On My Mind” in 1960, ‘61’s “Hit The Road Jack” and 1962’s “I Can’t Stop Loving You”.  Ray Charles was one of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in its inaugural year, 1986.  In April of 1979, Ray’s version of “Georgia On My Mind” was proclaimed the official state song by the Georgia legislature.  Ray Charles passed away on June 10, 2004 at the age of 73.     

3.  a. Sting said it.  Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, was the lead singer of The Police, with Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland.  The Police first hit the North American singles chart in 1979 with “Roxanne”.  Their only # 1 was 1983’s “Every Breath You Take”.  Stings’ first solo hit came in 1985 with “If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free” which climbed to # 3.  Stings’ only solo # 1 was “All For Love” (from the motion picture “The Three Musketeers”) in 1994, which was a collaboration with Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams.    
4.  The correct answer is b. Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees.  The brothers Gibb have sold more than 200 million albums during their career and had three straight # 1 albums in a row starting with the soundtrack to “Saturday Night Fever” in 1978, which was the # 1 album for 24 weeks.  That was followed by “Spirits Having Flown” in ’79, then in 1980 with “Bee Gees Greatest”.  They also charted nine # 1 hit singles, starting with “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” in 1971 and ending with “Love You Inside And Out” in ’79.  The Bee Gees entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.  Barry Gibb is the last remaining Gibb brother.  Andy died in March 1988 (he was only 30), Maurice died in January 2003 at the age of 53 and Robin passed away at age 62 in May 2012.            

5.  It was c. Joni Mitchell who made that statement.  Mitchell was born in Alberta and raised in Saskatchewan.  She was writing poetry in school and started out as a folk singer, playing clubs in Western Canada and then Toronto before moving to Los Angeles where she was signed by Reprise Records (the same label as Neil Young, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin).  At Reprise, Joni recorded such influential albums as “Clouds”, “Ladies of the Canyon” and “Blue”.  “Joni later moved over to Asylum Records where her success grew with albums such as “Court And Spark”, “Miles of Aisles” and “The Hissing of Summer Lawns”.  Joni was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and although she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, she did not attend the ceremony.  Joni received a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Grammy Awards in 2002 for being “one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era.”          

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Throughout Hollywood’s rich history, only slightly more than a handful of Canadians have won Academy Awards.  The National Film Board has won a bunch of times for their marvellous documentaries, but our quiz this time is about Canadians (most of whom no longer live in the Great White North) who’ve taken home an Oscar statue.
Mary Pickford (who’s real name is Gladys Louise Smith and whose home stood on what is now the Hospital For Sick Children on University Avenue in Toronto) won the Academy Award in 1928/19 for her work in the motion picture “Coquette”.  The award ceremony was held in April of 1930.  That same year, in November, Montreal born Norma Shearer, won the ‘Best Actress In A Leading Role’ Oscar for her work in the film “The Divorcee”.  The Oscars and Canada have a long tradition.  It’s not just a very large tradition.
So wrap yourself up in the Canadian flag (which incidentally is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) and have a great time with this quiz, eh?


1.  This Hollywood character actor was born in Toronto on April 5, 1883 (which would mean that he’s definitely passed on).  He made his Broadway debut in 1924 and in 1929 moved to Hollywood where he worked on movies such as “The Virginian” with Gary Cooper (1929), the title role in “Abraham Lincoln” (1930), “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (1941) and “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with Jimmy Cagney.  The motion picture that won Walter his Oscar in 1948, co-starred Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt and was about the adventures of three men searching for gold in the hills of Mexico.  This movie was directed by Walter’s son John.  His last name is the same as a major Texas city (although it’s spelled slightly differently).  Who is he?   

2.  His role of Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music” may be this Oscar winning actor’s most famous role in a motion picture, although many fans still remember him as Klingon General Chang in 1991’s “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”.  He won the Oscar in 2011 for a movie that also starred Ewan McGregor.  He was born in Toronto, but spent a lot of time in England, which may account for his slight British accent.  He’s equally at home on the big screen or as a guest star on a television series.  His daughter, Amanda is also an actress.  His last name is the same as the professional craftsman that you’d call if your sink or toilet didn’t work.  Can you name this Academy Award winning actor?         

3.  The director of the biggest movie of 1996 was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario in 1954 and moved to Hollywood in 1971.  He’s a writer/producer/director and inventor.  Some of the movies he’s directed are: “Aliens”, “The Terminator”, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, “The Abyss” and “Avatar”.  He’s won three Academy Awards, all for the same movie about a ship on its maiden voyage in 1912 that hits an iceberg and sinks.  What’s this famous Canadian’s name?                     

4.  This politically aware Quebec born director has been nominated for an Academy award three times.  He won the ‘Best Foreign Film’ Oscar in 2004 for “The Barbarian Invasions”.  Who is he?  Is it: a. Denis Villeneuve  b. Denys Arcand  c. Philippe Falardeau   

5.  This Canadian born actress, who moved to New Zealand at an early age, was the youngest ever (age 11) Academy Award winner in 1994.  The movie she won for was “The Prize”.  It was her first film.  She co-starred in the “X-Men” movie series as well as the TV series “True Blood”.  Who is this delightful actress?     

1.  It was Walter Huston, writer/director John Huston’s father and Anjelica Huston’s granddad who won the ‘Best Actor In A Supporting Role’ Academy Award in 1948 for “The Treasure of The Sierra Madre” with Humphrey Bogart.  Walter had been nominated in the same category in 1943 for “Yankee Doodle Dandy” with Jimmy Cagney.  He also won a Golden Globe in ‘48 for “The Treasure of The Sierra Madre”, which was directed by his son John Huston, who won two Oscar’s that year for ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Writer, Screenplay’, thus making Walter and John the first father/son combination to win Academy Awards in the same year.  Walter’s granddaughter Anjelica, won her Academy Award in 1986 for the film “Prizzi’s Honor“, which was also directed by her father John.  Walter Huston’s final film was “The Furies” with Wendell Corey and Barbara Stanwyck in 1950.  He died on April 7th that year.
2.  Christopher Plummer won the 2011 Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for the movie “Beginners”.  I’m not sure this is a distinction, but Mr. Plummer was the oldest actor to ever win an Academy Award (at least to date, we’re all getting up there after all).  He’s the great grandson of Canadian Prime Minister John Abbott, who served from 1891 to 1892.  Christopher has three movies scheduled for release in 2015, “Danny Collins”, “Pixies” (voice only) and “Remember”.   

3.  James Cameron, was born in Kapuskasing, Ontario in 1954.  He’s created an amazing body of work in Hollywood with such films as “Aliens”, “Avatar” and “The Terminator”, but it was as Director of “Titanic” that he won the Oscar in 1998.  In total that March night “Titanic” won 11 Oscar statues.  Cameron is currently working on “Avatar 2, 3 and 4” due out in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.  Two untitled “Terminator” movies were recently announced.  The first is scheduled for 2017.  Not sure if James is writing, producing or directing or all three.  Will Arnold be back?  Stay tuned! 
4.  The correct answer is b. Denys Arcand.  Denys studied history at the Universite de Montreal.  He worked for the National Film Board (NFB) for many years.  A feature length NFB documentary on the textile industry was so controversial that it was withdrawn from circulation by the NFB.  His films had been nominated for Academy Awards twice before, once in 1987 for “The Decline of The American Empire” (which also won the prestigious Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival) and again in 1990 for “Jesus of Montreal”, which won 10 Genie Awards in Canada as well as the Jury prize at Cannes.  Denys is a Companion of the Order of Canada as well as a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame.    

5.  In 1994, Anna Pacquin took home the Oscar Statue as ‘Best Supporting Actress’ for the 1993 movie “The Piano”.  Anna was born in Winnipeg on July 24th (my birthday as well) 1982.  Her father is Canadian born and raised, her mother was originally from New Zealand, which is where the family moved when Anna was 4 years old.  Anna is famous around the world for playing mutant superheroine Rogue in the “X-Men” series of films.  In 2008, she was cast as waitress Sookie Stackhouse in the TV series “True Blood” (although she shot the pilot in 2007).  On the set, Anna met (and later married) her “True Blood” co-star (and now husband), Stephen Moyer.  The couple has two children    

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Well, it’s February and one Canadian groundhog didn’t see his shadow, which is good for a short winter.  Two others saw their shadows...which is bad for a long winter.  Which groundhog will be correct?  We shall see.  Of course February also means that it’s time for the annual Grammy Awards.  So, just for fun and because we have to have 5 new questions anyway, it’s Grammy quiz time. 
Anyone remember what won the 2014 ‘Song of the Year’ Grammy?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  How about ‘Album of the Year’?  Hmmm?   I didn’t either actually until I looked it up.  The 2014 ‘Song of the Year’ Grammy (it’s a songwriters award) went to “Royals”, written by Lorde and Joel Little.  The Grammy for “Album of the Year” was won by Pharrell Williams for “Random Access Memories”.  If you knew either or both of those questions. then let’s see how you do with this quiz, smartypants.  Seriously, good luck – these questions are kind of tough.  But no more so than usual.  No hints this time around though.  Alright, maybe one or two, but that’s it!


1.  The 53rd annual Grammy Awards were held on February 11th, 2011.  Two Canadians were nominated in the ‘Best New Artist’ category along with Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine and the winner, Esperanza Spalding.  Although neither won this particular Grammy, both Canadians HAVE won JUNO Awards before.  In fact, one of them won the ‘Fan Choice Award’ for the past 4 years in a row, yet is not even nominated in that category this year.  Can you name this Canadian entertainer who constantly seems to be getting himself into trouble?                   

2.  At the 40th annual Grammy Awards ceremony in New York on February 25, 1998,     one performer won the Grammy for ‘Best Dance Recording’ as well as ‘Best Pop Album’.  From 1984 until the end of 2000, she scored 12 # 1 hits on the U.S. record charts.  She’s a successful singer, songwriter, author, actress and business woman who goes by only one name, even though she has several.  She is one of the richest and most powerful women in the entertainment industry.  Can you name her?        

3.  The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles was the setting for the 25th annual Grammy Awards on February 23, 1983.  The group that won ‘Record of the Year’ also won ‘Album of the Year’.  The ‘Record of the Year’ was a girls’ first name.  She had dated one of the members of this group.  She comes from an acting family, but that’s enough about “Rosanna”, what’s the name of the group that won ‘Record’ and ‘Album of the Year’ and has absolutely no connection to “The Wizard of Oz” except for borrowing the name of Dorothy’s little dog.                

4.  The artist who won the Grammy Award for ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male’ at the 34th annual Grammy Award on February 8th, 1991 in Los Angeles, had re-recorded a # 1 hit from 1966 for Percy Sledge.  The new version also went to # 1.  It was this performer’s second and final # 1 (at least so far).  Although he was an successful songwriter, several of his hits came by re-recording previous hits, including Otis Reddings’ “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” in 1988; the 1960 Ray Charles # 1 “Georgia On My Mind” in ‘90 and The Bee Gees 1967 Top Twenty hit, “To Love Somebody” in ‘92.  For many years, he had huge hair, but later cut it.  Who is this superstar hitmaker?   

5.  We’re going back to 1969 for this Grammy Award winner.  This highly successful composer, conductor and arranger has been nominated for an amazing 72 Grammy Awards.  He’s won 20, plus a Golden Globe and 4 Academy Awards.  His fame came mainly from writing songs for, and scoring motion pictures.  He wrote the theme from “The Pink Panther” (Ba dum ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, ba dum, baaaa daaaaa, ba da da da dum), which on the record charts in 1964, climbed only as high as # 31.  This hit went all the way to # 1 and was the love theme from the 1968 motion picture, “Romeo & Juliet”.  I gave you the title of the song.  Can you give me the name of the man who had the # 1 instrumental hit with it in ‘69?           


1.  Yes of course, it’s the Biebs, Justin Bieber.  As any true Belieber knows, Justin was discovered in 2007 via You Tube videos.  The man who discovered him, Scotter Braun, teamed him with Usher and the rest is on a police blotter.  OK, to be fair, Justin has seen more than his share of trouble in the past few years, but his latest video says he’s trying to clean up his act.  Time will tell.  Meantime, the kid from Stratford, Ontario has sold in the millions and debuted 4 albums at # 1.  In 2011 and 2012, Forbes Magazine ranked the Biebs as # 3 of “the top ten most powerful celebrities in the world”.  By 2013, he’d dropped down to 9th place.  By the way, Drake was the other Canadian performer nominated for a ‘Best New Artist’ Grammy Award.                               
2.  Madonna Louise Ciccone is the correct answer, but if you just said Madonna, that’s cool too.  Madge’s ‘Best Dance Recording’ and ‘Best Pop Album’ Grammies were for “Ray of Light”.  ‘Ray of Light’ also won a Grammy that year for ‘Best Short Form Music Video’.  Thus far, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records and The Guinness Book of World Records organization recognized her as ‘best selling female recording artist of all time’.  If it’s good enough for the Guinness folks, then it’s certainly good enough for me.  

3.  Toto IV” is the name of the album, therefore the name of the group has to be Toto.  Members of Toto include or have included David Paich, Steve, Mike and Jeff Porcaro, Steve Lukather, Joseph Williams, Keith Carlock, Bobby Kimball, David Hungate, Simon Phillips, Fergie Frederiksen, Jean-Michel Byron and Greg Phillinganes.  Toto’s biggest hits are “Hold The Line”, “Africa” and “Rsoanna”, written about actress Rosanna Arquette, whom co-starred in the movie “Desperately Seeking Susan” with Madonna.  Several of the members of Toto were studio musicians, playing on albums by Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Sony & Cher and Seals & Crofts among others.  They finally decided to form their own group and the rest, as ‘they’ say (whoever ‘they’ are) is history.   
4.  Michael Bolton is the man with the big hair.  “When A Man Loves A Woman” is the big hit song.  Born in New Haven, Connecticut, his real name is Michael Bolotin, but he dropped the middle ‘o’ and became a huge international success.  Mike (he hates when I call him Mike) started out in hard rock bands for a while, was the lead singer for the band Blackjack, but he eventually turned to ballads and made a fortune.  He’s sold over 75 million records and recorded eight Top Ten albums.  His two # 1 hits on Billboards’ Hot 100 chart, 1990’s “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” and 1991’s “When A Man Loves A Woman” both won Michael the Grammy for ‘Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male’.          

5.  In 1969, Henry Mancini took home the ‘Best Instrumental Arrangement’ Grammy statue for “Love Theme From Romeo and Juliet”.  It was his only # 1 hit single in a career that spanned five decades.  Henry Mancini passed away in June of 1994 at the age of 70.  A year after his death, he was posthumously honoured with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.  His first charted hit single came in 1960 with “Mr. Lucky’, the theme from the TV series.  It made it to # 21.  Henry did better in 1961 with “Moon River”, a song from the film, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” that went to # 11 on the Hot 100 pop singles chart, # 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and won a Grammy Award for ‘Song of the Year’ the following year.