During World War II, Steinway & Sons airdropped pianos with large parachutes and complete tuning instructions into the battle for the American troops. Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were to provide a bit of relaxation. The pianos came in olive, blue, and gray drab.
Music icon Elton John’s biopic, Rocketman, is in theaters and 72-year-old singer/songwriter/showman extraordinaire is also in the middle of a three-year-long farewell tour. Safe to say, he’s got a lot going on!
In celebration of his final bow from the stage and the new film based on his life, here are 5 facts about the man, the myth, the legend: Elton John.
1. He’s had the same songwriting partner for over 50 years
John and his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin have been a team since 1967. Together, the duo is responsible for over 50 Top 40 hits and over 225 million records sold.
2. He released four albums in one year
Between October 1970 and November 1971 John was extremely prolific, releasing four albums – an unheard of number in today’s musical era. He released Tumbleweed Connection, Friends, the live album 17-11-70, and Madman Across the Water during this period, the latter of which featured his enduring hit, Tiny Dancer.
3. That’s not his real name
John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on March 25, 1947, in England. He grew up being called “Reg” or “Reggie” but he legally changed his name in 1972 and didn’t want any association with his birth name after that. John said, “Reg is the unhappy part of my life. If my mother can call me Elton, then everybody else can.”
4. He shared the stage with John Lennon in Lennon’s last ever performance
On November 28, 1974, Elton John convinced John Lennon to join him onstage during a concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden for three songs, including Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and I Saw Her Standing There. It was Lennon’s last public performance.
5. He was a bonafide hit-making machine
During the 1970s, Elton John was on a serious roll. He recorded 15 hit singles between 1973-1976, including fan favorites Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, Rocket Man, Crocodile Rock, and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.
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Back in the 1970s, Karen Carpenter and her husband, Richard, were a musical force to be reckoned with, selling over 100 million records before Karen’s longstanding battle with anorexia forced her to retire from the stage and eventually ending in her untimely death at the age of 32.
While a CBS documentary called The Karen Carpenter Story (you can rent it on Amazon) makes no mention of the potential reasons for Karen’s struggle with her body image, author Randy Schmidt blames her struggle on her mother, Agnes.
During the making of the documentary Agnes said there was no reason to cast an ugly light on the family, refusing to put any discussion of potential familial negativity – but Schmidt believes the real reason she was uninterested in delving into the past was that Karen’s anorexia stemmed directly from her mother’s “inability to love.” He claims that Agnes withheld affection from her daughter starting at a young age and continuing through high school.
Schmidt’s book, Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter, details Karen’s eating disorder, which began shortly after the “chubby teenager” graduated from high school. Her health took a nosedive after she began performing since she didn’t like the way she looked onstage, and she regularly chose to hide in fluffy blouses or jumpers when she wasn’t in front of an audience.
She was so thin that fans thought she might have cancer, and since anorexia was (and often remains) a taboo topic, no one talked about what was really wrong with her.
Karen herself denied that anything was wrong or that she was ill, and, despite attempts by friends to convince her to see a therapist, her parents’ attitude that psychiatrists were for “crazy people” dissuaded her.
Despite eventual treatment, she continued to harm herself with laxatives and unprescribed thyroid medication, a trend that doctors were unable to reverse when she was finally admitted to a hospital.
She died at just 32 years old, most of her dreams and career aspirations unrealized.
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You’d think this is a headline ripped straight off a satire site like The Onion. It’s not. That’s right, this is 100% real (side note: I don’t wanna live on this planet anymore).
According to TMZ, there was an outbreak of people treated for herpes in the communities around the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, California, recently.
Coachella Music Festival Coincides with Herpes Spike https://t.co/zKnUdgwyn7
— TMZ (@TMZ) April 25, 2019
It seems 1,105 cases of herpes were reported in towns around Indio and in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties in Southern California.
The information comes from Herpalert, a service that launched in 2017 to help people who think they’ve been stricken with herpes. It allows potential sufferers to send photos in to doctors so they can get a quick assessment (like, within a few hours).
A typical day sees about a dozen inquiries to the service in Southern California, but in the first two days of Coachella, 250 cases were reported.
Coincidence? It sure doesn’t seem like it. The previous high the service saw was around the 2018 Oscars when Herpalert saw around 60 cases each day.
What happens at Coachella…apparently doesn’t stay at Coachella. Be careful out there, friends!
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BTS, a seven-member South Korean boy band, brings in more than $3.6 billion to South Korea’s economy each year, and were the reason one in every 13 foreign tourists visited the country in 2018.
“Losing my religion” is an old phrase from the Southern USA meaning someone’s about to lose their temper or reach the end of their rope.
This is a classic, classic move and if you’ve pulled it off before, I salute you.
Here’s a fun game: if you ever meet a celebrity or are in their presence, act like you have absolutely no idea who they are. It’s really fun!
That’s what these AskReddit users did. Bravo!
1. That’s nice
“This happened yesterday! My wife took my son to the zoo, and he wanted to read every little plaque in the reptile area. My wife was distracted for a moment, so he asked the nearest stranger to read the plaque for him. My wife turned around to see Scarlett Johansson happily reading the info to him.”
2. On with your day
“My dad met Robin Williams in an elevator. He got in and they rode a few floors in silence. They stopped on a floor and s bunch of fans ran in and started getting pics with Robin. My dad said he was gracious and took pics with everyone.
The doors closed and they rode a few more floors and my dad turned and said “does that ever get old?” and Robin smiled and said “Nope. Never.” Then my dad got off on his floor and they nodded to one another and my dad went on with his day.”
“My mom is a big sports fan. One time she was shopping at and saw a really large, fit looking man who she didn’t immediately recognize but seemed familiar.
She thought it must of been a professional football player or something, so she went up to the only other person in the shop, who was this smaller wierd-looking guy, and asked him if he knew who the athletic looking man was. The short guy looked at my mom and said “That’s my bodyguard, I’m Elton John.”
4. Shaq Attaq
“I (almost literally) ran into Shaq at a small restaurant in LA. He was standing in the doorway. You know how some people are so tall you don’t “see” them? So I’m exiting the doorway, and say “excuse me man” and he stepped aside so I could leave. He is one large human being.”
5. No cuts
“My mom yelled at Pierce Brosnan. She and my dad were at a ski resort getting lunch. My mother gets quite hangry (an unfortunate trait I inherited) and was waiting in line to order. Right as she’s about to order a guy tried to cut in front of her and interrupt her.
She snapped and told him to go to the back of the line like everyone else. She got her food and went back to my dad sitting there mouth wide open in shock.
“Do you know who that was?”
“That was Pierce Brosnan. You just yelled at James bond”
“Well he shouldn’t have tried to cut me”
6. That’s who that was…
“I was 10 years old in 2002 when my mom took me to the Bronx Zoo for the first time. It was a rainy day so we practically had the whole place to ourselves except for 3 British kids running around, chaperoned by a woman. My mom quickly befriended the woman while I made like a kid and joined the hoard, looking at spiders and scorpians and sharing in the awe and excitement of the animals.
After about an hour when we said our goodbyes, my mother told me that the kid, Daniel, who I had been hanging out with had played Harry Potter in the movie that came out last year.
I had thought he looked familiar.”
7. You don’t know Jack
“My cousin rode a ski lift with Jack Black in Vail. Just the two of them. Her husband and I were in the lift behind them, freaking out. When we got off the lift they’d gone their separate ways. We made our way to her she was like “wow, that guy on my lift was so nice.” We were like NO SHIT THAT WAS JACK BLACK. She was like “THE SCHOOL OF ROCK GUY?!?!”
She was so embarrassed. She said she rambled on about living in Iowa for most of their conversation. We laughed our asses off.”
8. I know you…
“I worked at a movie theater in Albuquerque at the time they we’re filming the first avengers film. Captain America was about to come out, I remember because we had the huge standee of him in the lobby. I was reading in the box office when three people came up. Guy asked for 3 tickets to Bridesmaids.
It was dark out and he had a green baseball cap and sunglasses. He paid with a credit card. Christopher Evans. I stared at the card after I swiped it. Handed it back. “I need you to sign the receipt” he did. And then he walked in.”
9. Oh, Mom
“My friend’s mom (over 70yrs old) owns a small asian grocery store. Post Malone came walking in with his girlfriend and his mom had no idea who he was. A few cute things happened:
She was nervous because of his tattoos, but happy/not worried once he bought a lot of food. She had no idea he was a celebrity.
She gave him a free snack for buying so much food and told him to come back for lunchtime for cheap and tasty gyoza (he did come back the next day!)
She was worried he would get mugged going to his car because of 3 big men outside so she followed him outside (they were his bodyguards)
She really liked his “cool car” (it was a lamborghini)
She told my friend about the encounter that evening and he pulled up a youtube video based on the description – it was him. When Post Malone came back the next day for Gyoza she got a selfie with him (it’s on my friends phone so I don’t have the picture available right now). Whole thing is adorable with how innocent his mom is.”
10. Curb your enthusiasm
“I was a student athlete in college and was required to “volunteer” a certain number of hours per year. One of the options was to help freshmen move in, which I obviously chose so I could scope out the new talent.
I just finished helping move a kid’s stuff and head back to the loading area, and a black SUV pulls up. Out hops Larry David, his ex-wife, and their daughter who was starting school. I immediately recognized him but played it cool, he wasn’t getting a ton of recognition since I’m guessing not many college students are fans of Curb/Seinfeld.
I introduced myself to them all and he introduced himself and said “Hi, I’m Larry,” and mentioned they were from LA. I replied and said “I used to live in LA, and you look really familiar. Did we meet?” To which he replied “No, I’m just one of those faces,” and gave me a huge wink.
He was cracking jokes the entire move and introducing himself to everyone just as Larry. Just as funny in person as he is on TV. After finishing the move he was nice enough to take a pic with me. Great guy, and the only major celebrity I’ve ever met.”
11. Nice tip
“I used to be a server at a Mexican restaurant right outside LA in the late 90s. One day Leonardo DiCaprio came in with who I assume was his mom to have lunch. This would’ve been post Titanic so really at the peak of his breakthrough mega celeb status.
He was wearing a ball cap, sunglasses and unshaven but I recognized him anyway. I didn’t let anyone know and I wrote something like “your movies are awesome, I hope you liked our food” on his receipt when I dropped it off at the table.
After he left, I swung by and picked up his payment and he had left me a note back that said “thank you so much for not blowing my cover” with a $100 tip. Shit was awesome I was only like 19, I went and got some Playstation games with it after my shift ended.”
12. Chris Rock
“In the Mid 90’s I was a cab driver. Our service was like a cross between a limo and a taxi, and we serviced some fancy resorts. As I dropped off my passenger at a resort, another guy asks if I’m a taxi, and I say yes, so he tells his friend their cab is here.
His friend got in the car and said “this ain’t no cab, smells too good to be a cab” in that unmistakable Chris Rock voice.
He and his friend just bullshitted with each other for the ~15 minute drive to a local night club. There was a white kid trying to talk to a yellow-cab driver ahead of us in the parking lot and Chris Rock started imitating the kid, like “I need a ride, yeah, I’m drunk, but I need a ride”, and I was trying really hard not to laugh out loud.
He wasn’t nearly as famous yet at the time, but I had seen his stand up routines on Comedy Central and knew exactly who he was, but didn’t go fan-boy on him.
10/10 would drive Chris Rock again.”
13. What should I say?
“I was at IKEA in Vancouver and noticed this lady in a low hanging hat had dropped something. I helped her pick it up and noticed it was Sarah McLachlan. Didn’t let on that I knew who she was because I couldn’t think of anything to say.”
“I met Justin Timberlake and had no idea it was him until someone told me afterwards. Went to a basketball game with my dad and we stopped by the bar area in the arena first. The game had just started so it was pretty empty except for the bar itself.
My dad goes to the restroom and I walk up to the bar to order a beer. There’s only one seat at the bar next to a guy in a baseball cap and sunglasses. I politely ask if the seat is taken and he just says “nope, it’s all you, man.” We shoot the shit for a couple minutes.
He’s sitting on my right and eventually he says he and his wife are going to go to their seats. He extends his hand and asks my name. I tell him and ask his name. He says, “Justin. Nice to meet you dude, have a good night.”
He and his wife leave and the bartender comes up to me and says, “You know that was Justin Timberlake, right?”
I immediately did a double take and couldn’t believe I didn’t recognize him even with the hat and sunglasses. I told my girlfriend at the time who was a huge Justin Timberlake fan and she couldn’t believe I met him without knowing it was him. She wouldn’t let it go for like a month.
EDIT: To answer some questions, this was a Memphis Grizzlies game and no the bartender wasn’t messing with me because during one of the timeouts, they showed him on camera and had him come on to the court to wave at fans and hype the crowd up etc. I don’t think he expected them to do that and didn’t like it because he left at halftime. Probably just wanted to go to a game without being hounded by fans or something.
EDIT 2: I never got a good look at Jessica Biel. She was wearing sunglasses as well but she didn’t say anything at all during our conversation and since I didn’t even realize I was talking to Justin Timberlake, I wasn’t about to gawk at this random beautiful woman while talking to her husband.
EDIT 3: I’m aware JT is a part owner of the Grizzlies. I’m not sure if I’m right about why he left at halftime in my first edit above. That’s just a complete guess given that 1) he left, 2) I’m assuming he didn’t want to be recognized with the hat and sunglasses and 3) he obviously goes to plenty of Grizzlies games and usually he isn’t trying to hide his face, assuming that’s what he was trying to do this time around. But who knows. He could’ve left the game early for any number of reasons.”
15. We’re from California
“I helped Steven Spielberg move his daughter’s bags into her college dorm.
I was working a shift helping first-years move in and I see a guy in a hat and sunglasses who is unmistakably Spielberg. I strike up a conversation, ask if he needs help with the bags, etc. First names only — “We’re from CA. My wife, Kate, and I sent all our kids to East Coast schools though.” Stuff like that.
Later, when his daughter opened the door for the first time, he whipped out a camcorder and, wearing the biggest Dad grin, recorded the whole thing before turning the camera on my friend and me to ask us about the city.
So, I have a supporting (the luggage), speaking role in a limited release (home movie) film shot by Steven Spielberg.”
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How familiar are you with all the stringed instruments out there? Sure, you probably know violins, guitars, cellos, and basses. But I’m betting few of you are familiar with the granddaddy of them all – the octobasse, which genuinely sounds more like a legendary monster than a string instrument.
The octobasse is a string instrument that can create sounds so low, humans can’t hear them. What is the point of that, you ask? Maybe to feel the vibrations? Unclear, but it’s pretty metal.
Though this totally sounds like the invention of a bored millennial, the octobasse was built in 1850 by the French instrument maker Jean-Baptise Vuillaume. The octobasse is quite a lot larger than a human and not very practical to transport; also, there are rumored to only be seven in existence. But there is a playable replica at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The octobass is in use by exactly one (1) orchestra in the world: the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Playing an octobass is different than playing other stringed instruments, because it’s too big for musicians to use their hands on the strings. Instead, there’s a system of levers and pedals that create each note.
Watch some musicians experimenting with the octobasse in Phoenix:
Is it amazing or is it terrifying? Maybe a little of both.
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James Jamerson, regarded as the greatest electronic bass player ever, recorded Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, while being flat on his back as he was too intoxicated to stand upright. He was the uncredited bassist on most of the Motown Records hits in the 1960s and early 1970s.
In 2008 and at the age of 45, Flea, bass player of the multiplatinum rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, enrolled as a freshman at University of Southern California’s music program to learn the academic side of music.