16 Facts About The History Of Rock 'N' Roll
The new biopic Elvis comes out this weekend. That's been making us think a lot about Elvis, whose real life (and death) was very weird and included stuff you'll never see. We've also been looking at plenty of other artists from the era—The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys. And of course there are hidden sides to some famous events from music history like Woodstock, the day the music died, or the time a storm smashed a singer's spine.
Here's a look back at the facts we learned this week. The links all lead to full articles with much more info, so click every one that interests you, or we will force you to listen to Pat Boone.
1. Elvis' manager forbade him from touring internationally.
"Colonel" Tom Parker was in the U.S. illegally, so he feared the country wouldn't let him back in if he and Elvis ever traveled abroad.
2. CAT scans only exist because of The Beatles.
The initial funding for the research into the tech (which on to win a Nobel prize), came because record label EMI was so flush with Beatles money.
3. Rolling Stones fans were such trash, they made Prince flee.
He opened for the band in 1981, but the audience booed him offstage, yelling slurs and throwing garbage at him.
4. Decades after his '60s hits, one singer recorded a whole album lying down.
That's because Curtis Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down and found he was only able to sing while flat on his back, with gravity helping him exhale.
5. Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys lived with the Manson Family.
They took over his home, he hosted nude dinners with them, and he let the family grab most of his money.
6. The first Walkman marketed itself to couples wanting to listen to it together.
7. An Aretha Franklin impersonator fooled fans (then became a star).
A concert promoter held Vickie Jones against her will and booked shows, falsely claiming she was Aretha Franklin. When the truth came out, Jones went on touring, now under her own name.
8. Buddy Holly boarded that plane that killed him because he needed to do laundry.
He was supposed to travel by bus, but he ran out of clean clothes, so he chartered a flight to quicken things up.
9. An Icelandic museum displays a plaster cast of Jimi Hendrix's dong.
An artist calling herself Cynthia Plaster Caster took such casts of various other famous personalities too.
10. Elvis' estate hid footage of him doing karate.
He famously did some karate moves during concerts, but when a 2002 documentary planned to include unseen footage of him training, his estate quashed the idea.
11. The military ferried musicians to perform at Woodstock.
The roads were so packed, some musicians couldn’t get close and needed the military to take them via helicopter from a nearby base.
12. Mick Jagger repeatedly tried acting, never successfully.
13. Pat Boone has the record for most consecutive weeks on the pop charts.
Yeah, that title isn't held by The Beatles or Elvis or godfather of rock Justin Bieber. Pat Boone charted continuously for 220 weeks, a record still unbroken.
14. A 2020 David Bowie biopic didn’t have the rights to his music.
So the character instead sings Velvet Underground songs ... or, rather, songs that sound like Velvet Underground songs, because they didn't have the rights to Velvet Underground music either.
15. The Hard Rock Cafe is now wholly owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
They bought the business in 2006 for nearly a billion dollars.
16. Elvis had a rule: He'd never have sex with a woman who'd given birth.
That included his own wife Pricilla, after she gave birth to their child.