Wow – thanks to all of you for all of your responses. I’ve written hundreds of blogs over the years, and the three I’ve written on Rock’n’Roll trivia have generated the most comments or are right there at the top of all of them. Good to know what my audience’s interests are.
With that brief introduction, here are the breathlessly anticipated answers:
1. What were the Beatles before they were known as the Beatles?
The Quarrymen, the Silver Beatles, and a couple of other names.
2. Who was their original drummer?
3. What is Ringo Starr’s given name?
4. What was the working title of “Yesterday,” originally included on Help!?
“Scrambled Eggs.” His next line was, “Oh my baby how I love your legs ….” I think he probably made the better choice going with “Yesterday.”
5. What kind of hammer did Maxwell Edison have?
Silver: “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” on Abbey Road.
6. Which Beatles song includes French lyrics?
“Michelle,” on Rubber Soul. It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1967 and has since become one of the best known and often recorded of all Beatles songs.
7. How long is the book in “Paperback Writer”?
It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few.
8. What was the first Beatles album to include the complete lyrics?
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first major pop/rock LP to include its complete lyrics, which appeared on the back cover.
9. Who plays the lead guitar solo in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”?
Eric Clapton, on The White Album.
10. Which Beatles song has inspired the most cover versions?
Composed by McCartney, “Yesterday” would inspire the most recorded cover versions of any song ever written.
11. What was the Beatles’ first film?
A Hard Day’s Night, 1964.
12. Who was the Beatles’ original bass guitarist?
13. How many holes were there in Blackburn, Lancashire?
Referenced in “A Day in the Life” on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 4000. According to a 1967 item in the Daily Mail: “There are 4,000 holes in the road in Blackburn, Lancashire, or one twenty-sixth of a hole per person, according to a council survey.” And – they really did have to count them all.
14. The film Help! was a spoof of what series?
Released in July 1965, the Beatles’ second film was described as “mainly a relentless spoof of Bond.“
15. Where did Rocky Raccoon live?
Now somewhere in the black mining hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon (“Rocky Raccoon,” on The White Album).
16. What is Paul’s middle name?
Paul’s full name is James Paul McCartney. He was named after his dad Jim. Continuing the tradition, Paul’s son is also named James.
17. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is widely considered the greatest Rock’n’Roll album of all time. What album by another artist more than any other helped inspire it?
The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds … which, in turn, was inspired in part by Rubber Soul. Personal opinion: Brian Wilson does not get anywhere near the amount of popular credit he deserves for the musical genius he is. A very twisted, tormented genius … but a genius nonetheless.
18. What is Lovely Rita’s job?
Lovely Rita, meter maid
Nothing can come between us
When it gets dark I tow your heart away (“Lovely Rita,” on Sgt. Pepper’s.)
19. Who zapped Bungalow Bill right between the eyes?
Captain Marvel. (“The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,” on The White Album.)
20. Who was “Julia” written for?
“Julia,” on The White Album, was written for John’s mother, Julia Lennon (1914-1958), who was killed by a car driven by a drunk off-duty police officer when John was 17 years old.
21. Who is the only musician other than John, Paul, George and Ringo ever to receive label billing on an official Beatles release?
Keyboardist Billy Preston received that acknowledgment on the “Get Back” single.
22. Which song features Ringo’s only drum solo in the entire Beatles’ catalogue?
“The End,” part of the “Medley” on Abbey Road.
23. Which song features the first use of a sitar by any Western pop/rock musical act?
“Norwegian Wood” on Rubber Soul. The sitar was played, of course, by George, who was enamored of Eastern philosophy and Eastern music.
24. What song did John Lennon call “Son of ‘Day Tripper'”?
25. 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 (Paul) was banned from driving.
26. On which song did the Beatles not play any instruments?
“Eleanor Rigby,” on Revolver. Think about it – it’s a string quartet playing behind the vocals.
27. How did George become part of the band?
According to Beatles lore, George auditioned for Paul and John’s pre-Beatles group, the Quarrymen, on the top deck of a Liverpool bus.
28. What was the working title for the film Help!?
Eight Arms To Hold You.
29. What are the last words spoken in “Strawberry Fields Forever”?
Nope. John does not say “I buried Paul” at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever” on the Magical Mystery Tour album. He actually says “Cranberry sauce,” not once, but twice.
30. Which song features Paul, George, and John (in that order) playing “dueling lead guitar solos”?
“The End,” part of the “Medley” on Abbey Road. And they’re all great.
31. “Dear Prudence” was written about whom?
“Dear Prudence,” on The White Album, was written about actress Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence Farrow. Just about her only claim to fame, but – if you can only have one, having a Beatles song written about you is not bad, you know?
32. As great as Sgt. Pepper’s is, the Beatles had to leave out two other songs because of contractual obligations with Capitol Records. What are they?
“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields.” Imagine Sgt. Pepper’s with those two songs on it as well ….
33. Where did Paul get the title (and some of the lyrics) for “Helter Skelter”?
“Helter Skelter,” on The White Album, was written about a carnival ride the boys were all familiar with.
34. Who is Desmond in “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” on The White Album?
The character of Desmond in the lyrics, from the opening line “Desmond has a barrow in the market-place” was a reference to reggae singer Desmond Dekker, who had recently toured the UK.
35. Who is the “Mary” Paul refers to in “Let It Be”?
His mother Mary. McCartney said he had the idea of “Let It Be” after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for “The White Album” in 1968. Mary Patricia McCartney died of cancer in 1956, when Paul was fourteen. McCartney later said: “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.” In a later interview he said about the dream that his mother had told him, “It will be all right, just let it be.” When asked if the phrase “Mother Mary” in the song referred to the mother of Jesus, McCartney has typically replied that listeners can interpret the song however they like.
36. What Beatles song did John Lennon record by himself – no Paul, George or Ringo?
“Julia.” Makes sense, now that you know who Julia was, right?
37. What was the working title of “With a Little Help from My Friends”?
“Bad Finger Boogie,” because John had been forced to rely on his middle finger when playing the song’s piano part, having injured his forefinger.
38. What song did John think was his best Beatles song?
Lennon viewed “Strawberry Fields Forever” on Magical Mystery Tour as his finest work with the Beatles.
39. Which Beatle is shown crossing Abbey Road first?
40. What Beatles song was voted “worst song of all time” in one 2004 poll?
“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was voted the worst song of all time in a 2004 online poll organized by Mars, Inc. CNN journalist Todd Leopold reported in 2006 that Lennon “loathed” the song. Personally, I think they’re all full of … beans. It’s a great romp, a great song. This is just Evidentiary Item #587 as to why no one’s ever built a statue to a critic. I have spoken.
There you have it, friends: further evidence of my misspent youth. I do hope you’ve enjoyed this half as much as I have.
And once again: If you’ve got any Beatles trivia for me, please post it in the comments.
Thanks again for playing.
Compiled from numerous sources.