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.     

Monday, June 30, 2014


Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the Loonie, the Calgary Stampede, Canada Geese, the invention of Insulin, Marshall McLuhan, “Corner Gas”, William Shatner, Stanley Park, the AVRO Arrow, Donald Sutherland, Keifer Sutherland, Paul Anka, John Candy, SCTV, Alanis Morissette, Hockey Night In Canada, Celine Dion and Don Cherry.  They’re all Canadian.       
Happy Canada Day to Canucks everywhere...and on Canada Day, EVERYONE’s Canadian, Who’s up for a double double and a maple covered doughnut?  This year, July 1st falls on a Tuesday and our quiz is all about Canada.  Sorry Americans, Brits, Australians, Scots, Russians, Irish, Europeans, Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, Italians, Greeks, Japanese and penguins from Antartica – you’re all out of luck this week, unless you know your Canadian pop culture trivia. 
So let’s get started, eh? 

1.  What legendary Canadian country singer/songwriter sang about Canadian cities and provinces such as Tillsonburg, Sudbury and Prince Edward Island?  Was it:  a. Hank Snow  b. Wilf Carter  c.  Stompin’ Tom Connors?                       
2.  Regina may be the capital city of Saskatchewan, but it’s Saskatoon that’s the provinces largest city.  Joni Mitchell and The Northern Pikes (“She Ain’t Pretty”) both are from Saskatoon.  Which group had a Top Ten Canadian hit in 1972 with the song “Running Back To Saskatoon”?  Was it:  a. The Guess Who  b. Bachman Turner Overdrive  c. Chilliwack   
3.  Hollywood has long looked to Canada to provide the scenery (and production expertise) for some of its biggest hits.  The “Twilight” series, starring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart was filmed in beautiful British Columbia.  The Oscar winning film “Unforgiven”, direct by and starring Clint Eastwood was shot in and around Drumheller, Alberta’s Dinosaur Valley.  Which other Academy Award winning film was shot in Alberta?  Was it:  a. “Dances With Wolves”  b. Tombstone  c. Brokeback Mountain          

4.  Which recent U.S. television sitcom regularly poked fun at Canadian icons such as Mounties, Tim Horton’s, our hockey obsession and saying ‘eh’?  Was it:  eh. The Simpson’s  b. Castle  c. How I Met Your Mother 
5.  There have been a great many Canadians who’ve made it big in television in the past few decades.  Paul Shafer, David Letterman’s bandleader/sidekick is one.  Paul originally hails from Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Former Vancouver natives Michael J. Fox and Jason Priestly became stars of “Family Ties” and “Beverly Hills 90210” respectively in the 1980’s.  Another British Columbia native, Cobie Smulders co-starred in the recently ended series “How I Met Your Mother”.  Cobie also appeared in the 2014 movie, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.  But there is one Canadian who’s been on a continuous U.S. television program longer than any other host.  Can you guess his or her name?  Is it:  a. William Shatner  b. Alec Trebek  c. Marilyn Denis                                          


1.  That would be c. Stompin’ Tom Connors.  Tom was a true blue, 100% dyed-in-the-wool, fiercely proud Canuck.  “Sudbury Saturday Night”, “The Hockey Song”, “Bud The Spud” are but three of Tom’s classic songs.  Tom was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and was later adopted by a family from Skinners Pond, Prince Edward Island.  His musical career took him to every corner of Canada, including Cornerbrook, Newfoundland (that’s a joke son.  Laugh, I say laugh when you get a chance).  Tom received many honours over the years, including the Order of Canada in 1997.  The legendary Canadian troubadour passed away on March 6, 2013.          

2.  a. The Guess Who is correct.  “Running Back To Saskatoon” was written by Burton Cummings and Kurt Winter and was recorded live in May of 1972.  Although it made the Top Ten in Canada, it languished at the bottom of Billboards’ Hot 100 chart, only climbing as high as # 96.  Pearl Jam covered the song during concerts in Saskatoon in 2005 and 2011.                   
3.  c. Brokeback Mountain, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger is the correct answer.  Filmed in Calgary, Fort MacLeod and Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, this 2005 Ang Lee directed movie, won 3 Academy Awards, including “Original Score For A Motion Picture”, “Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay” and Ang Lee became the first Asian to win for “Best Director”.  1993’s “Tombstone”, starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, was filmed in Arizona and 1990’s “Dances With Wolves”, starring and directed by Kevin Costner, was shot in South Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska.
4.  While The Simpson’s has made many Canadian references throughout their decades on television as well as visited the Great White North a couple of times, and Castle stars Canadian born actors Nathan Fillion (Edmonton, Alberta) and Stana Katic (Hamilton, Ontario), it’s c. How I Met Your Mother that saluted Canada in an off handed humourous way.  On the now completed TV series, the character of Robin Sherbatsky, played by Cobie Smulders is from Canada (as is Cobie in real life).  Her character was once a teen idol called Robin Sparkles who sang in malls, a la Debbie Gibson.  Actor/writer/producer Allan Thicke made several cameo appearances on the show and Robin’s TV fiancĂ© and eventual TV husband Neil Patrick Harris, even made a hilarious trek to Canada to track down an old boyfriend of Robin’s and spent a lot of time in various Tim Horton’s.                        

5.  Alec Trebek is the name we were looking for. This June 13th, Alec bested Bob Barker’s record and went into the Guinness Book of Records for “the most game show episodes hosted by the same presenter”.  Since 1984, Alec has hosted 6,829 episodes of “Jeopardy”.  Alec began his broadcasting career at the CBC as a newscaster and sportscaster.  CBC programs Alec hosted include “Music Hop” (1963-64) and “Reach For The Top” (1966-1973).  The Sudbury native’s done very well for himself, considering he has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa.  He’s won 5 Emmy Awards and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Alex was the second of three game show hosts to be honoured with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2006 (the first was “Let’s Make A Deal” host Monty Hall and the third was Howie Mandel for “Deal Or No Deal”).