World’s Strangest

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Who Wrote “Happy Birthday to You” (and Who’s Collecting the Millions in Royalties)?

Getty Images “Happy Birthday to You” has been used in hundreds of movies, countless advertisements, an estimated 1,500,000+ singing telegrams, and been the basis for pieces by classical composers like Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland. It’s arguably the most recognized song in the English-speaking world, and it’s making some lucky people a whole lot of money. [...]

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 [...]

A Very Tiny Dollhouse with Very Big Treasures

I hate dolls. They just creep me out. But, as I’ve mentioned before on the _floss, I have a bizarre fascination with dollhouses. I’m in good company, though. Included amongst the millions of people interested in miniatures was Colleen Moore, a silent film star whose career fizzled a bit when the talkies came out. But [...]

The Quick 10: 10 Real-Life Glee Club Members

I’m a total Gleek, I admit it. I can’t sing to save my life, but it doesn’t stop me from singing show tunes at the top of my lungs on the way to work in the morning along with the Glee cast. Despite Glee’s depiction of the school songbirds as being total outcasts and losers, [...]

Bernstein or Bernstien?

When I used to work for Leonard Bernstein’s estate, one thing that came up often in was the mispronunciation of his surname. Lots of people pronounce it the way you pronounce Bruce Spingsteen’s name, when actually it’s pronounced the way you pronounce Albert Einstein’s name. Bernstein himself used to correct people by asking, “Well, you [...]