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20 Music Facts That Will Blow You Away

20 Music Facts That Will Blow You Away

Think you know it all when it comes to music? You may be close, but we bet there’s at least a few facts below that are news to you! Go ahead and click through the images below, and if you end up wanting to learn a bit more about each (you never know when you’ll need a good conversation star​ter), scroll down and discover some additional info.

Fact #1: Scientists were able to make a recording on a 1860 phonautograph playable – making the recording the earliest sound recording.

You might have thought Thomas Edison was the guy credited with recording the earliest sound, and while his recording was the first that was specifically intended to be replayed at a later date, scientists actually uncovered a 10-second recording in 2008 that predates Edison’s recording! Believed to be made on April 9, 1860, the recording of the song “Au Clair de la Lune” was made on a phonautogram 17 years before Edison received his patent for the phonograph. You can read more about the discovery in this New York Times article, and, if you’re so inclined, listen to Edison’s later recording below.


Fact #2: The first records were invented in 1887.

In 1887, Emile Berliner updated sound recording technology by creating records. By doing away with the previously used technology of recording sound on cylinders (like Edison did in his first recording), Berliner focused on recording sound onto flat disk – which would later become records. This new method of recording allowed for mass production based off of molds of master recordings which could, in turn, make hundreds of disks.


Fact #3: Robert Johnson is often thought of as the first member of “The 27 Club.”

Stories about his passing in 1938 range from his having made a pact with the devil to being poisoned from tampered whiskey. Whether you’re superstitious or more cynical, it’s not the best way to be remembered. Other notable “Club” members include

  • Jesse Belvin (1960)
  • Rudy Lewis (1964)
  • Brian Jones (1969)
  • Dickie Pride (1969) 
  • Janis Joplin (1970)
  • Jimi Hendrix (1970)
  • Alan Wilson (1970)
  • Jim Morrison (1971)
  • Linda Jones (1972)
  • Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (1973)
  • Peter Ham (1975)
  • Dave Alexander (1975)
  • Chris Bell (1978)
  • D. Boon (1985)
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (1988)
  • Pete de Freitas (1989)
  • Mia Zapata (1993)
  • Kristen Pfaff (1994)
  • Kurt Cobain (1994)
  • Richey Edwards (1995)
  • Sean McCabe (2000)
  • Jeremy Michael Ward (2003)
  • Amy Winehouse (2011)


Fact #4: Neil Young & Rick James were in a band together.

Yes, you read that right. Before he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Neil Young hooked up with the infamous “Super Freak” to play guitar in his 1966 band, The Mynah Birds.


Fact #5: A Bob Dylan song led to the naming of Judas Priest.

Bob Dylan’s song, “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” gave way to the band’s name. Give Dylan’s song a listen below – it’s a bit of a different vibe than “Breaking the Law.”


Fact #6: Kiss has never had a #1 single in the U.S.

But, Holland and Canada must have been lovin’ “I was Made for Lovin’ You” as the song hit #1 in both countries.


Fact #7: The first electric guitar was patented in 1937.

Guitar gods, rejoice! August 10, 1937 marks the day the first ever electric guitar was patented. Inventor G.D. Beauchamp was awarded Patent #2,089.171 for what was known as the Rickenbacker Frying Pan, which he developed while working at the Electro String Corporation.


Fact #8: Denon developed the world’s first high fidelity digital audio studio recorder.

In the 1970s, Denon pioneered the world’s first digital Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) recorder for studio use, which helped lead to the world’s first LP originating from a digital recording.


Fact #9: Jimi Hendrix was paid $18,000 to headline Woodstock.

Adjusted for inflation, that’d be about $116,634.60 today. Yeah, that’s just a little less than the roughly $1.2 million per night Taylor Swift allegedly pulled in during her 2012 tour. Sorry, Jimi.


Fact #10: None of the Beatles, nor Jimi Hendrix, could read or write music.

If it ain’t broke, why fix it? While none of these chaps had formal music training, their lasting legacies and the fact their tunes still get stuck in people’s heads are an indication that they knew what they were doing.

Fact #11: The first CD was released in 1982.

While it’s likely you’ve already ditched your CD collection, preferring a more portable method (like online streaming), 1982 was an exciting hear for the Compact Disc. Developed by Philips and Sony, the CD was based on laserdisc technology. At its height, how big was your CD collection?


Fact #12: Elvis didn’t write any of his songs.

But, he possibly gave away the idea for “All Shook Up” to a friend.


Fact #13: Your heartbeat is affected by the music you listen to.

Researchers found that music with a series of crescendos creates constriction of blood vessels and increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. So, the next time a song gives you chills, it may be more of a physical reaction than an emotional one.


Fact #14: Vinyl became the material of choice for record production in 1943.

With the first records being made of shellac or even glass, it was quickly learned that transporting music to troops during WWII would be difficult as long as such fragile materials were being used. To remedy the situation, polyvinyl aka “PVC” or “vinyl” hit the scene in 1943, and never really left.


Fact #15: Congress allowed for the copyrighting of songs in 1971.

In 1971, the U.S. Congress passed the Sound Recording Amendment to the 1909 Copyright Statute. This eventually led to concerns about album swapping, sales of blank cassette tapes, and other possible copyright infringement issues.


Fact #16: iTunes sold 70 million songs in its first year.

Oh, back in the good-ol’-days of 2003 when songs were just $0.99!


Fact #17: The intro to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” is all based on astrophysics.

Stomp, stomp, clap! Stomp, stomp, clap! As soon as you hear it, you want to join in, and that’s no accident. Brian May, Queen’s guitarist and astrophysicist (who knew?), took his knowledge about so​und waves to approximate the sound of thousands of people clapping at once to create this iconic intro.



Fact #18: The bands & songs you like in middle age are the ones you liked when you were 16-21.

A study out of Amsterdam shows your favorite songs will remain those you loved when you were between the ages of 16 and 21. So, what songs will you be playing on repeat?


Fact #19: Schools with music programs have an average 90.2% graduation rate vs. schools without music programs which have an average 72.9% graduation rate.

Attendance rates are also typically higher in schools with music programs. Makes you wonder what instrument you’ll make your children play, right?


Fact #20: You’ll probably have more success getting someone’s phone number after they’ve listened to romantic music.

Studies have shown people are more likely to share their number with a possible romantic interest after being exposed to romantic music. However, we do think carrying around your own soundtrack may be a little too much.


What facts surprised you? Tweet to tell us, or share the coolest music fact you’ve come across.


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