World’s Strangest

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Music History #2: “Smoke on the Water”

Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of Bill DeMain’s new column, where he explores the real historical events that inspired various songs. “Music History” will appear twice a month. “Smoke on the Water” Written by Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice (1972) Originally performed by Deep Purple The Music It’s the riff that will not [...]

Great Moments In Kazoo History

Image courtesy of shibainu’s Flickr stream The kazoo is an under-appreciated instrument. To remedy that fact, fans from across America have united to celebrate National Kazoo Day (today!), a day when the lowly humming instrument can finally receive the credit it deserves. Here are a few fascinating points in the history of the great musical equalizer. The [...]

10 Modes of Transportation that Never Got Into Gear

1. The Monowheel In 1869, French craftsman Rousseau of Marseilles built the first in history’s line of unsuccessful monocycles. Sitting inside the monowheel, the rider steered the contraption by shifting his or her weight in the desired direction. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, the massive outer wheel remained directly in the driver’s line of sight [...]

Happy Birthday, Don Pardo!

If you’re a fan of Saturday Night Live then you’re already familiar with the work of Don Pardo, whose iconic voice has been belting out the names of cast members since the show premiered in 1975. But to celebrate his 93rd birthday (today), here are a few things you might not know about him. 1. He’s [...]

Tongue Depressors

Great Moments in Shutting Your Piehole QUIET BREW The Roman Catholic monks most renowned for their tight lips are the Trappists, a sect that grew out of the Cistercian Order in the 17th century. At the time, monks at the abbey of LaTrappe in Normandy felt that the Cistercians had become too lax in their pursuit of [...]

University Offers Class on Lady Gaga

Mathieu Deflem, a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina, is offering a class on Lady Gaga: The synopsis for the course reads: “The central objective is to unravel some of the sociologically relevant dimensions of the fame of Lady Gaga”. Prof Deflem, 48, who has met the singer, real name Stefani Germanotta, on a [...]

10 Awkward Speeches, Interviews and Rants

Pass the mic and prepare for the worst. Here we have 10 awkward speeches, broken interviews, and impromptu rants by celebrities and public officials. 1. In this 1992 Hangin’ With MTV interview with Faith No More, vocalist Mike Patton is too busy picking his nose to even listen to the questions. 2. A young Henry [...]

A Short History of Long-Haired Music: Part 1

There’s a wonderful scene in the classic mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap, where mockumentarian, Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner), is interviewing Spinal Tap songwriter, Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), seated at a piano. Nigel is explaining his fascination with the key of D-minor as he delicately fingers the keyboard, producing a few bars from a new musical [...]

The Late Movies: How Musicians Would Fix the Music Business

The music business is a baffling vending machine. Kick it and yell, but it’s not giving your dollar back. What’s that squeaking noise and red blinking light? Do you smell smoke? If musicians were in charge, could they get the danged thing fixed? Let’s ask them… Remember that cute little song called “Happy Together”? Vocal duo [...]

Letterheady: A Blog About Letterheads

(L) Walt Disney Productions – via COHASCO DPC (R) Frank Zappa – via Kill Ugly Radio Robot Salesmen Ltd. – via We Made This From Shaun Usher of (sadly now defunct) deputydog and the fantastic Letters of Note blog, here comes Letterheady, an online homage to letterheads: Link