We like to think of great music as coming from a tortured musician laboring for hours over an instrument, writing and rewriting until they've met their own standard of perfection. In reality, art isn't like that, and some of the most iconic musical moments of all time have just been farted out on accident. Like ...
6Rock Guitar Sound From "Satisfaction" Invented by Blown Fuse
The Sound You Know:
Much of the distinctive sound of rock music as you know it comes from guitar "distortion" -- usually done with the help of a gadget that turns the clean sound of a plucked guitar string into a badass growl, like in the opening notes of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction":
The Insane Origin Story:
The song that invented the sound, Marty Robbins' "Don't Worry," is a forgettable bit of weepy '50s country. All that matters is the solo, which accidentally fathered every single heavy guitar effect you've ever heard.
For the first 90 seconds, the song is typical gentle crooning about a lonely hearted cowboy being lonely. Feel free to listen to the whole thing if you require a sleep aid. If not, just skip ahead to the 90-second mark, when the lead guitar comes in and just rocks the hell out with a level of rawness unprecedented for the time:
That's pretty much the old-time country-western equivalent of Cannibal Corpse crashing a One Direction concert and taking over mid-song. And it was completely unintentional. That sudden burst of Satanism arose because guitarist Grady Martin (one of the least metal names ever) wanted to switch to bass for the song's solo. Audio engineer Glen Snoddy (the absolute least metal name ever) couldn't reinforce the recording console in time, and the rumbly bass ended up busting a key fuse. The result was the rock 'n' roll rumble you hear above.
The godfather of badass rock: a man so lame he needed his guitar to remind him who the fuck he was.
Despite his guitar all but suffering a stroke, Martin dug the sound and kept playing while the tape kept recording. Twenty seconds later, the amp completely died and the sound vanished, never to be heard again. Robbins, not a fan of the new sound, wanted to re-record the solo, this time clean as a boring, boring sheet. Luckily, bigger balls prevailed and the solo survived intact.
There was the little matter of re-creating it for stage, though -- something Robbins was adamant about. After endless tinkering with this machine and that, Snoddy invented perhaps the first effects pedal in history: the Maestro Fuzztone. With a simple flick of the switch, a guitarist could now produce fuzzy, distorted sounds without having to destroy expensive equipment in the process. Unless, of course, they wanted to.
"Uh, we still have 45 minutes left ..."
"Hope they like armpit fart solos."
Since nobody anyone had ever heard of was peddling the pedal, it sold like crap at first. Then, a piddling bar band who called themselves The Rolling Stones used it for some filler track called "Satisfaction" and changed rock music forever.
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60 years later, they're still struggling for a follow-up hit.
5"Kiss Him Goodbye" (the Na-Na-Hey-Hey Song) Was Intentionally Terrible
The Song You Know:
If we ask you if you've heard Steam's "Kiss Him Goodbye," you'd probably say no, and you'd be wrong. At the very least, we guarantee you've heard the "na na na na / na na na na / hey hey hey / goodbye" refrain chanted ad nauseam at sporting events whenever an opposing player gets ejected, or at a bar when an obnoxious drunk gets tossed out on his ass. It's probably the most singable kiss-off in human history:
The Insane Origin Story:
This song wasn't meant to do anything but fill space and be terrible. See, back in the days when people bought singles on records (and later, cassettes) you didn't just get the single -- each record had two sides, so typically an artist would feature the hit on the A-side and toss random bullshit on the B-side. Usually, nobody gave a shit what the B-side contained -- it might be a random cover, or an instrumental version of the single, whatever. They knew the drummer could fart into the microphone for five minutes and the record would still sell.
This is exactly what singer Gary DeCarlo had in mind back in 1969 (minus the farting, probably). He had a few surefire hits in the can but needed some mindless filler for the B-sides. So he reunited with Paul Leka and Dale Frashuer from his old band The Chateaus, simply to bang out an old song of theirs as hastily and crappily as possible. They took a failed two-minute ditty called "Kiss Him Goodbye" and butchered it to the best of their abilities. They played a keyboard over a drum track blatantly ripped off from another song. DeCarlo added percussion by banging on a goddamn block of wood. Their backing vocals were purposely off-key. Finally, they padded out the track with two-plus minutes of dummy lyrics ("na na" was what DeCarlo typically sang before he actually sat down to write words), extending the song past the four-minute mark and making it far too long and awful for any radio station of the time.
"Long and awful" was also DeCarlo's approach to his sex tape.
The song sucked so bad that, naturally, everybody loved it. DeCarlo's boss in particular was convinced the song was a hit in the making, and forced him to release it as a stand-alone single. The Not-Chateaus still hated the song, though, and if it was going to be a single, they didn't want their name attached to it. So they released it under a new moniker, Steam (so named because they saw steam come out of a manhole cover once). If you've ever chanted this song anywhere, they probably hate you for it.
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The cold, dead stare of a man who wants the entire front section drawn and quartered.