So apparently this last Rock’n’Roll Trivia challenge was a little harder than the first, judging by the amount of crickets heard chirping in response. Here are the answers*:
- The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” was written about whom? Actress Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence Farrow.
- What Beatles’ song did John Lennon record by himself – no Paul, George or Ringo? “Julia” on The White Album, written for John’s mother who died young – 44 years of age – in a car accident.
- Where did the title line for “Eight Days a Week” come from? Paul heard it from a chauffeur who was driving him to John’s house while he was banned from driving.
- What was the inspiration for Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4”? According to composer Robert Lamm, the song is about trying to write a song in the middle of the night. The song’s title is the time at which the song is set: 25 or 26 minutes before 4 AM.
- How did The Band get their name? Originally known as The Hawks, they became known as “the band” to various front men and the locals in Woodstock. Founding member Levon Helm said the name “The Band” worked well when the group came into its own.
- Joan Baez’ “Diamonds and Rust” was written about whom? Former boyfriend Bob Dylan.
- Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” was written about whom? Stephen Stills’ soon-to-be former girlfriend, singer Judy Collins.
- What were Simon & Garfunkel known as before they were simply Simon & Garfunkel? Tom & Jerry.
- Who is the first non-British act signed to Apple Records? James Taylor.
- The Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” was written about whom? Guitarist Dickey Betts’ named it after his daughter, Jessica, who was an infant when it was released. She had bounced along to the song’s rhythm, and Betts attempted to capture her attitude with its melody.
- Who are the “holy host of others standing around me” James Taylor refers to in “Carolina in My Mind”? John, Paul, George and Ringo.
- What was Earth, Wind & Fire known as before they were Earth, Wind & Fire?The Salty Peppers.
- In Paul McCartney’s “Let ‘Em In,” who are Phil and Don? The Everly Brothers.
- Where did the name Earth, Wind & Fire come from? Founding member and lead singer Maurice White’s astrological sign Sagittarius had a primary elemental quality of Fire and seasonal qualities of Earth and Air (hence the omission of Water, the fourth classical element). He changed the band’s name to “Earth, Wind & Fire.”
- Who turned down the song “After the Love Has Gone” before Earth, Wind & Fire recorded it? David Foster previously offered the song to Hall and Oates, but they rejected it, saying they weren’t interested in singing songs written by anyone other than themselves. Losers.
- What was Steely Dan known as before they were Steely Dan? Variously, the Don Fagen Jazz Trio, the Bad Rock Group, and later the Leather Canary … which included on drums a future comedian named Chevy Chase.
- What was Styx known as before they were Styx? The Tradewinds. In 1965, the Tradewinds name was changed to TW4 (There Were 4) after another band, the Trade Winds, achieved fame nationally. In 1972 the band members decided to choose a new name … and according to Dennis DeYoung, the name Styx was chosen because it was “the only one that none of us hated.”
- What was Boston known as before they were Boston? Founder and musical genius Thom Scholz’s previous band, which contained the nucleus of what would become Boston, was called Mother’s Milk.
- Who coined the term “Parrotheads” for Jimmy Buffett’s die-hard fans? Timothy B. Schmit of The Eagles.
- Where did the name REO Speedwagon come from? From the REO Speed Wagon, a 1915 truck that was designed by Ransom Eli Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile.
- Who did ten-year-old Tom Petty meet that inspired him to be a rocker? Elvis. Petty, a Gainesville native, had an uncle was working on the set of Presley’s film Follow That Dream in nearby Ocala. He invited Petty to watch the shoot, and that’s all young Tom needed to decide he wanted to play rock’n’roll too. Later, seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show sealed the deal.
- What is The Edge’s real name? Dave Evans.
- Who did John Lennon say was his favorite band just before his death in 1980? The B-52s. In the spring of 1980, John Lennon, whose post-Beatles music career had been on hiatus for nearly five years while he helped raise his son Sean, was prompted to record again after hearing “Rock Lobster.” According to Lennon, “It sounds just like Ono’s music, so I said to meself [sic], ‘It’s time to get out the old axe and wake the wife up!'” His return to the studio led to the release of Double Fantasy. At a 2002 B-52’s concert in New York, Yoko Ono joined the band on stage for the performance of this song.
- What is the inspiration for Toto’s “Africa”? The initial idea and lyrics for the song came from keyboardist David Paich. Paich said: “At the beginning of the ’80s I watched a late night documentary on TV about all the terrible death and suffering of the people in Africa. It both moved and appalled me, and the pictures just wouldn’t leave my head. I tried to imagine how I’d feel about if I was there and what I’d do.” In 2015, Paich explained that the song is about a man’s love of a continent, Africa, rather than just a personal romance. In 2018, Paich explained the song is about a person flying in to meet a lonely missionary. As a child, Paich attended a Catholic school. Several of the teachers had done missionary work in Africa, and this became the inspiration behind the line: “I bless the rains down in Africa.”
- How did the Traveling Willburys get their name? The term “Wilbury” originated during George Harrison’s Cloud Nine sessions. Referring to recording errors created by faulty equipment, Harrison jokingly remarked to Jeff Lynne, “We’ll bury ’em in the mix.” From this came the name the Traveling Willburys.
- Who is Declan MacManus? You probably know him as Elvis Costello.
- How did Mr. Mister get their name? The band’s name came from an inside joke about a Weather Report album called Mr. Gone where they referred to each other as “Mister This” or “Mister That,” and eventually selected “Mr. Mister.”
- What was the inspiration for Tears for Fears’ “Shout”? Probably not what you think. Co-founder (along with Curt Smith) Roland Orzabal said, “A lot of people think that ‘Shout’ is just another song about primal scream theory, continuing the themes of the first album. It is actually more concerned with political protest. It came out in 1984 when a lot of people were still worried about the aftermath of The Cold War and it was basically an encouragement to protest.”
- Who is Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner? You definitely know him as Sting.
- And in honor of the popularity of the recent Oscar-winning movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” what is Freddy Mercury’s real name? Farrokh Bulsara, born to parents of Persian descent on the island of Zanzibar.
There you go, fellow rock’n’roll fans. I hope you enjoyed that excursion into these further evidences of my misspent youth.
Now if I could just find a way to make money off this kind of stuff ….
*Compiled from numerous sources.