Here at Hack’s Back Pages,” I’m continually providing bits of what I hope you find interesting music trivia, and now and then, I like to share these facts in the form of a quiz to test my readers’ knowledge.
Go ahead, give Rock Music Trivia Quiz #4 a shot! You might know more than you think you do.
1. Who was the first of these female artists to have a #1 single in the U.S.?
2. Which David Bowie album features Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar work on most tracks?
“Scary Monsters” (1980)
“Let’s Dance” (1983)
3. Which of these four songwriters did NOT have one of their songs turned into a Three Dog Night hit single?
4. Who was Neil Young singing about in his hit “Old Man”?
The caretaker of his ranch
His high school music teacher
5. Which major songwriter wrote this iconic line of lyric: “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now”?
6. Which of these fine guitarists did NOT made a guest appearance on a Steely Dan record?
7. Who had the most Top Ten singles on U.S. charts during the disco era (1974-1980)?
The Bee Gees
K.C. & The Sunshine Band
Kool and The Gang
8. What album from 1973 is the only solo Beatles album to feature all four Beatles on it?
“Mind Games,” John Lennon
“Ringo,” Ringo Starr
“Band on the Run,” Paul McCartney
“Living in the Material World,” George Harrison
9. In the 1980s, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was far and away the most popular album, holding on to the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top Albums an incredible 37 weeks in 1983-84. What album ranked second behind “Thriller” for most weeks at #1 in the 1980s?
“Synchronicity,” The Police
“Hi Infidelity,” REO Speedwagon
“Purple Rain,” Prince
“Whitney Houston,” Whitney Houston
10. Which hit single by Creedence Clearwater Revival was NOT written by singer John Fogerty?
“Lookin’ Out My Back Door”
Extra credit question!
There are several examples of different Top Ten songs that share the same title. Which song title below has been used on more Top Ten hits than the others?
1 Lesley Gore
Gore was only 17 when “It’s My Party” rocketed to #1 in June 1963. Petula Clark’s #1 hit “Downtown” didn’t come until January 1965. Dionne Warwick’s early hits failed to reach #1, and she didn’t reach the top spot until 1974 with “Then Came You.” Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” was #1 in England in 1966 but peaked at #4 in the U.S.; she never had a #1 hit here.
2 “Let’s Dance”
In 1982 at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Bowie first heard Austin, Texas-based blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, then mostly unknown, and when the time came to record “Let’s Dance,” Bowie tracked Vaughan down and enlisted him to overdub lead guitar solos on six of the album’s eight tracks, most notably on “Criminal World,” “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” and the title track. It was the only time Vaughan appeared on a Bowie album.
3 Carole King
King, usually with her then-husband Gerry Goffin, wrote many hits for other artists (“I’m Into Something good” for Herman’s Hermits, “Don’t Bring Me Down” for The Animals and “Pleasant Valley Sunday” for The Monkees, among others). But Three Dog Night never recorded one of her tunes. The vocal trio did record Randy Newman’s “Mama Told Me Not To Come,” Laura Nyro’s “Eli’s Comin'” and Harry Nilsson’s “One.”
4 “Old Man” was written about the caretaker on Neil Young’s ranch
In 2006, Young explained the origin of “Old Man”: “Being a rich hippie for the first time, I had purchased a ranch, and there was a couple living on it who were the caretakers, an old gentleman named Louis Avila and his wife Clara. Louis took me for a ride in his blue Jeep, and he gets me up there on the top side of the place, and there’s this lake up there that fed all the pastures, and he says, ‘Well, tell me, how does a young man like yourself have enough money to buy a place like this?’ And I said, ‘Well, just lucky, Louis, just real lucky.’ And he said, ‘Well, that’s the darnedest thing I ever heard.’ And I wrote this song for him.”
5 Bob Dylan wrote “I was so much older then; I’m younger than that now” in “My Back Pages”
By the time of his fourth album, appropriately titled “Another Side of Bob Dylan,” he had begun to veer away from what he called “finger-pointing songs” that took issue with political leaders. Music critic Tim Riley said the new material “constituted a decisive act of non-commitment… in which he renounced his over-serious messianic perch and disowned false insights.” Dylan would occasionally return to so-called protest songs in his career, but at that point, he was eager to show a sense of humor and idealism, as shown in the song “My Back Pages.”
6 Eric Clapton
Rick Derringer played on three Steely Dan songs — “Show Biz Kids,” “Chain Lightning” and “My Rival.” Mark Knopfler guested on the single “Time Out of Mind.” Larry Carlton was almost a regular member, playing on “Daddy Don’t Live in New York City No More,” “Kid Charlemagne,” “Don’t Take Me Alive,” “Everything You Did,” “The Royal Scam,” “Third World Man” and five out of seven tunes on the “Aja” album. Eric Clapton was either never asked or declined to participate in any Steely Dan session.
7 Donna Summer
“The Queen of Disco” compiled 10 Top Ten disco hits between 1974-1980: “Love to Love You Baby,” “I Feel Love,” “Last Dance,” “MacArthur Park,” “Heaven Knows,” “Hot Stuff,” “Bad Girls,” “No More Tears,” “On the Radio,” “The Wanderer.” KC & The Sunshine Band accumulated seven hits in the Top Ten in those years; and The Bee Gees and Kool and The Gang both had five Top Ten disco hits (they had more hits before and after the era in question, of course).
As the album’s back cover indicates, the “Ringo” album includes songs written by each of Starr’s former bandmates. Lennon wrote, played piano and sang on “I’m the Greatest”; McCartney wrote, played keyboards and sang on “Six O’Clock”; and Harrison wrote or co-wrote, played guitar and sang on “Photograph,” “Sunshine Life For Me” and “You and Me Babe,” although the four of them never played together on the same track. Ringo played drums on George’s “Living in the Material World” LP, but no other ex-Beatle played on John’s “Mind Games” nor Paul’s “Band on the Run.”
9 “Purple Rain,” Prince and the Revolution
A few months after “Thriller” completed its amazing reign at #1, Prince’s soundtrack album to his “Purple Rain” feature film began its own remarkable run as the #1 album, lasting 24 weeks. REO Speedwagon’s “Hi Infidelity” cornered the market as the #1 album for 21 weeks in 1981; The Police’s final album “Synchronicity” held the top spot for 17 weeks in 1983; and Whitney Houston’s debut album was #1 for 14 weeks in 1985.
Virtually every song Creedence Clearwater Revival ever recorded was written by their singer/guitarist, John Fogerty. There were exceptions — they did some fine cover versions of songs like “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “The Night Time is the Right Time,” “Before You Accuse Me” and even an 11-minute jam on “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” but these were all deep album tracks. The only bonafide hit single Creedence had that Fogerty didn’t write was “Suzie-Q,” written by Dale Hawkins in 1957, which reached #11 in 1968 as the band’s first chart appearance.
Extra credit: “Lady”
There have been four different hit songs entitled “Lady” — Styx in 1975 (#6); Little River Band in 1979 (#10); Kenny Rogers in 1980 (#1); and The Commodores in 1981 (#8).
Three hit songs use the title “Magic” — Pilot in 1975 (#5); Olivia Newton-John in 1980 (#1); and The Cars in 1984 (#12).
Three hit tunes have the title “Fire” — Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1968 (#2); Ohio Players in 1975 (#1); and The Pointer Sisters in 1979 (#2). (Jimi Hendrix had a ferocious rocker called “Fire,” but it wasn’t a single.)
As for the title “Venus,” it was a #1 hit for Frankie Avalon in 1959, and then a different “Venus” was a #1 hit for Shocking Blue in 1970, and a cover of Shocking Blue’s tune by Banamarama also reached #1 in 1986.