Marvin Gaye, Detroit Lions Wide Receiver?

John Minihan, Evening Standard/Getty Images
John Minihan, Evening Standard/Getty Images

We’ve seen plenty of athletes—probably too many—try to become musicians. But what happens when it goes the other way?

Soul singer Marvin Gaye actually considered dropping his musical career at one point to fulfill his dream of playing in the Super Bowl with his hometown Detroit Lions. In the midst of a depression after the death of his longtime singing partner Tammi Terrell, Gaye recorded the single “What’s Going On.”

Appearing as background singers on the track were two of Gaye’s friends, Lions cornerback Lem Barney and running back Mel Farr. Barney had once introduced himself to Gaye by knocking on the door of his Detroit home and the two became fast friends, eventually roping Farr into the friendship. Gaye brought them to the studio when he recorded "What's Going On" and invited them to sing on the track. However, when Motown producers refused to release the politically-charged single, Gaye again turned to his friends to pursue his longtime dream of playing in the Super Bowl with the Lions.

Barney and Farr helped Gaye bulk up and train to become a wide receiver. He approached coach Joe Schmidt and asked him for the chance to try out. When Schmidt asked him for game film, Gaye reportedly said he had never played, not even in high school, but that he always believed he would score a touchdown the first time he touched a football.

According to Schmidt, the first time he met with Gaye he said, “If I could sing like you, I certainly wouldn't want to play football.” The second time Gaye approached him for a tryout, Schmidt decided that he couldn’t put the singer in harm’s way and declined to let him on the field.

It probably all worked out for the best. A few months later, “What’s Going On” was released and Gaye was once again catapulted into the spotlight with what would become his most acclaimed album. And the Lions? Well, they're still waiting on that Super Bowl.

Elvis and Priscilla Presley's Mobile Home Is Hitting the Auction Block

Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Want to live like The King? It might not be exactly what you had in mind, but the two-bedroom mobile home once owned by Elvis and Priscilla Presley is an important piece of Presley history—and it could be yours.

The 60-foot Delta mobile home, which was once stationed on Elvis’s Circle G Ranch near Graceland, will go under the hammer at the “Legends: Iconic Film & Music Memorabilia” sale hosted by GWS Auctions on August 25.

The mobile home
GWS Auctions

Inside the mobile home
GWS Auctions

Elvis used the mobile home as a getaway in the 1960s, and after he and Priscilla got married in Las Vegas in 1967, the newlyweds spent part of their honeymoon shacked up inside the ranch-on-wheels. Elvis also bought eight additional house trailers and placed them on his property to accommodate his “Memphis Mafia" entourage, according to the auction house.

The mobile home was recently restored, but it remains true to the original condition it was in when the Presleys lived there. It comes with the original paperwork and bill of sale, which was signed by Elvis in 1967. Last year, GWS also auctioned off Presley’s childhood home in Mississippi.

Also up for grabs in the “Legends” auction is Elvis’s Gideon Bible, with passages that he personally underlined, as well as his beloved 1977 Cadillac Seville. Michael Jackson’s bejeweled glove, an invitation to the wedding of Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown, and a Munchkin coat made for The Wizard of Oz are among some of the many other pop culture treasures that could be yours.

Who Wrote The Beatles' 'In My Life'? According to Math, It Was John Lennon

Evening Standard/Getty Images
Evening Standard/Getty Images

One of the last remaining Beatles mysteries has finally been solved. For decades, no one knew for certain which Beatle wrote the 1965 song “In My Life”—Paul McCartney claimed to have written the music, but John Lennon said that McCartney only wrote part of it.

Now, academics have used a statistical method to get to the bottom of the song’s origin, and the numbers show that neither musician remembered it correctly, as NPR reports. According to a paper recently presented at a major statistics conference, Lennon wrote the entire song himself.

Lennon and McCartney shared a joint credit for all of the songs they wrote, regardless of the division of work. This reportedly stems back to an agreement they made as teenagers. Jason Brown, a mathematics professor at Canada's Dalhousie University, spent at least 10 years trying to crack the puzzle of who actually wrote “In My Life.”

Even though the two artists undoubtedly rubbed off on each other artistically during their years together, the two musicians still had their preferences, which can be charted and quantified. Brown and his co-authors—a mathematician and an engineering professor—analyzed individual notes, chords, and other components in dozens of Beatles songs to determine how often they appear in the Lennon-McCartney song catalog, identifying 149 distinct musical transitions in the Beatles oeuvre. Those stylistic choices are unique to the individual songwriter.

“When you do the math by counting the little bits that are unique to the people, the probability that McCartney wrote ["In My Life"] was .018—that's essentially zero,” Stanford mathematician Keith Devlin, who was not involved in the study, explained to NPR. “In other words, this is pretty well definitive. Lennon wrote the music.”

While some might be skeptical of reducing a creative process to numbers, Devlin said this method is “much more reliable than people’s recollections,” especially given the “incredibly altered mental state” that The Beatles found themselves in throughout much of the ’60s. And this isn't the first analysis of its kind. Another study in 2014 [PDF] determined that lyrics and algorithms could also be used to determine whether a song was written by McCartney or Lennon.

This wasn't Brown's first investigation into The Beatles' songwriting process, either. Back in 2008, he used sound-wave analysis to figure out how The Beatles created the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night,” hypothesizing that it was a combination of guitar, bass, and piano.

Lennon once said in an interview that he was inspired to write “In My Life” after a journalist suggested he model more songs after his own life experiences. Lennon later said that he considered the song to be his first major, meaningful piece of work, adding that, “Up until then, it had all been glib and throwaway.”

[h/t NPR]

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