Previous: 30 Facts about Bob Ross - mental_floss List Show Ep. 412
Next: Where did emojis come from? - Big Questions - (Ep. 219)



View count:254,018
Last sync:2024-07-10 13:30
Rock and roll music is the subject of this episode of The List Show, as John Green shares facts about rock bands like The Who, Queen, and The Ramones. You'll learn rock facts about The Rolling Stones' hairdressers and Green Day's stolen music.

The List Show is weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John discusses rock bands! Not Rock Band. Rock and roll music and bands!

Subscribe for new episodes of mental_floss every Wednesday!

Hi, I'm John Green. Welcome to my salon. This is Mental Floss video, and did you know that in the 1990s, Joey Ramone, of the Ramones, was infatuated with then CNBC talk show host Maria Bartiromo? They eventually became pen pals, and she gave him investment advice over email. He even wrote her a song, and asked her to come to CBGB's to hear it. She couldn't make it, but she did send a camera crew. She later (very generously) called it a "tremendous tribute".

And that is the first of many facts about rock bands I'm going to share with you today, in this video brought to you by our friends at Geico.

To promote Radiohead's debut album, Pablo Honey,  to US record label Capital made the weird choice to align them with Beavus and Butt-head. One print ad read "Radiohead, better than Butt-head!" That's just terrible. it's so cringey.

3) Before they were astonishingly old and somehow still alive, the Rolling Stones were cool for their long hair, which frustrated British hairdressers in he 1960s. Hairdressers even wrote into newspapers to complain about the popular style; in December 1964, the band took out an ad in the music magazine NME that said "Happy Christmas to the starving hairdressers and their families."

4) The guitarist for Rage against the machine, Tom Morello, loves Star Trek.  He even appeared in Star Trek: Insurrection and an episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

5) Other nerdy rockers?  Led Zeppelin.  They loved the Lord of the Rings as you might know from the Mordor and Gollum references in Ramble On, but it's a myth that there's a picture of a Lord of the Rings character inside Led Zeppelin 4.  That's actually a figure borrowed from tarot cards.

6) Another rock myth: that Jimmy Page played the guitar solo for The Kinks in "You Really Got Me".  It's a myth that makes sense in a way because The Kinks couldn't play their instruments very well and that is a proper good rock solo, but no, it was not Jimmy Page, although he did help out with a couple other Kinks songs.

7) The band Garbage got its name because an early listener told them that their music sounded like garbage.

8) But getting negative reviews puts Garbage in good company, like in 1976, Rolling Stone Magazine reviewed AC/DC's first album and the piece read, "Hard rock has unquestionably hit its all-time low."  32 years later, still rocking hard, AC/DC appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone.   By the way, hard rock actually hit its all-time low with the band All-Time Low.  I'm just kidding, All-Time Low fans and All-Time Low members who watch mental_floss.

9) Another poorly reviewed rock band was The Sex Pistols.  Also in 1976, NME wrote up Anarchy in the UK and claimed, "Johnny Rotten sings flat, the song is laughably naive, and the overall feeling is of a third-rate Who imitation."

10) Speaking of The Who, there's a legend that they were banned from all Holiday Inn hotels after a 1967 incident in which they backed a Lincoln Continental into a pool in Michigan.  No one knows for sure what happened, least of all the members of The Who, but lead singer Roger Daltrey has claimed that they were billed $50,000 for whatever went down that night.

11) Another rock band that's a nightmare for hotels?  The Black Keys.  They like to stay at the Columbia Hotel in London and according to singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach, "Once, when the guy wouldn't serve us anymore, we took a tablecloth and wrapped it around the beer tap and the beer flowed all night." 

12) Beginning in 1960, the Beatles had a 56 night residency at  a club called The Kaiserkeller Club in Germany.  They worked every day of the week and played from 7:30 to 9:00pm, then 9:30 to 11pm, then 11:30 to 1am, and then 1:30am to 2am, and they alternated sets with the band called Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, whose drummer at the time was none other than Ringo Starr.  Oh, Ringo Starr.  Truly the luckiest man ever to walk into the Kaiserkeller Club.

13) Speaking of the Beatles, they recorded Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band at Abbey Road, the same place and time that Pink Floyd recorded their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  

14) Okay, let's jump forward to the 90s.  The dancing janitor in the music video for Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit was a reference to the fact that Kurt Cobain worked as a janitor in a high school very soon after dropping out of that very same high school.

15) Aerosmith's biggest hit, "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" wasn't on any of their albums.  Its only album release in the US was on the soundtrack for the 1998 film Armageddon.

16) Speaking of big hits Joe Elliott of Def Leppard has admitted that he has quote "not a clue about what Pour Some Sugar on Me means."

17) And, Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie was kind of a fluke. Bowie just happened to be in the studio with the band helping out with the song Cool Cat. And then they sat down and wrote a new song, and then later Vanilla Ice turned it into Ice Ice Baby ruining under pressure for me forever.
18) While touring in the eighties, U2 performed as their own opening act, a couple of times. They'd put on wigs, called themselves the Dalton brothers, and sing country songs.

19) Michael Stipe of REM once said about the band's hit Shiny Happy People, quote, "I hate that song." Recently he's toned down his criticism a bit and just says that it has "quite limited appeal" for him.

20) in 2003, Green Day was about to finish an album titled, Cigarettes and Valentine's, but twenty song recordings got stolen, so they had to scrap the album. And they started on a new one, American Idiot.

21) the Talking Heads album Speaking in Tongues, is called that because it initially contained gibberish, David and once explained, "I originally sang nonsense, and I made words to fit that that worked out."

22) All right, Pearl Jam has a lot of stories about how they got their name. Like early on, they said it was named for the great-grandmother of Eddie Vedder Pearl, who laced her jam with peyote. Of course, that sounds like nonsense and probably was. Later, they said they just liked the word pearl and added the "jam" when they went to a Neil Young concert, in which, he did some versions of his songs Jam style.

23) it's a myth that kiss stands for Knights in Satan's service. According to gene Simmons, they just liked the name, and in his autobiography, he wrote, "at one point we were stopped at a red light, and Paul said, how about Kiss?" Peter and I nodded, and that was it. It made sense.

24) The Foo Fighters had a 52-page tour writer in 2011 but not because they're super high maintenance; it was actually a fun activity book with coloring book pages and word searches.

25) On the most recent and allegedly final Motley Crue tour, Tommy Lee had a 55-foot drum roller coaster. According to him, drumming upside down that high in the air is twice as difficult.
26) Originally, Eddie Van Halen played the drums, and Alex played guitar, but Alex eventually got better than Eddie at the drums, so he switched to guitar.

27) Similarly, Paul Simonon, who played bass for The Clash, originally tried to learn the guitar; but switched because, according to him, the bass is easier and has only four strings.

28) Cherie Currie called into a radio station while Joan Jett was being interviewed, years after their band The Runaways had broken up. Curry had heard her being interviewed, so she dialed in to let Jett know that she was proud of her in 2007.

29) Arnel Pineda became the lead singer of Journey.Before that, he was actually the lead singer of a cover band called The Zoo. And yes, he performed Journey covers. The band discovered him on YouTube. Which reminds me: Guns N' Roses, if you can't get Axl Rose to come out of retirement. Wow, it's actually me singing Welcome to The Jungle but in a copyright-acceptable way

30) Two members of Metallica, James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich, voiced dragons in an episode of the animated Disney series Dave the Barbarian in 2010.

31) Florida officials pardoned Jim Morrison for a 1969 incident at a doors concert in which he supposedly unzipped his pants onstage and flashed the audience, it only took four decades, and he was dead, you know but still

32) To return to Guns N' Roses briefly. Guns N' Roses reportedly paid 1.5 million dollars to make the November rain music video. Allegedly, the custom-made coffin in the video alone cost 8 thousand dollars in the late 1990s.

33) It was estimated that Jerry Garcia's estate was paid four hundred thousand dollars a year by Ben & Jerry's to use the name, Jerry Garcia.

34) The instruments used in the Beach Boys' brilliant album Pet Sounds included: coke cans, bicycle horns, water jugs, and finger cymbals.

35) And finally, I returned to my salon to tell you about my all-time favorite fact from rock and roll history. Which is that Michael Bolton may have auditioned as the vocalist in Black Sabbath after Ozzy Osbourne left. Bolton has denied this in interviews because, of course he has, but guitarist Tommy Iommi insists that it was Bolton on the audition tapes

Thanks for watching Mental Floss video, which is made with the help of all of these nice people, and made possible by our friends at Geico. In the comments, let me know the first concert you ever went to. Mine was the Cure. And as we say in my hometown, Don't Forget to be Awesome.