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10 Famous Musical Duos and How They First Met

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Getty Images/Hulton Archive

1. John Lennon and Paul McCartney

On July 6, 1957, The Quarrymen were playing an afternoon show in a field near St. Peter's Church in Woolton, Liverpool. It was there through a mutual friend that The Quarrymen's singer—some guy named John Lennon—would meet some guy named Paul McCartney. Little did they know all those years ago, as Paul taught John how to tune a guitar, that they'd someday be the world's foremost songwriting team and, you know, The Beatles. Remarkably, someone recorded The Quarrymen's set that day; the tape was sold at Sotheby's for £78,500—the highest price ever paid for a recording at the time.

2. Mick Jagger & Keith Richards

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Richards and Jagger were childhood friends and classmates in Dartford, Kent, in the early 1950s. Their families moved apart and the two lost touch... until a chance meeting in 1960, as both waited at the Dartford station for the trains back to their respective schools. Jagger had some Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters recordings with him, and the pair found themselves friends again with a mutual interest in music. By 1962, Richards and Jagger had a band, along with Dick Taylor, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart and Charlie Watts. What they didn't have was a name. During a call to Jazz News, Jones was asked what the group was called; he spotted a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor and chose a track on the fly. The Rolling Stones was as good a name as any.

3. Sonny & Cher

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In November of 1962, Salvatore Bono spotted Cherilyn Sarkisian in a Los Angeles coffee shop. He was 27; she was 16. Sonny was working for Phil Specter at the time, and since he and Cher hit it off pretty quickly, got her work as a session singer. By 1964 they were performing together as Caesar and Cleo, but soon dropped the gimmicky pseudonyms and released "I Got You Babe" as Sonny & Cher in 1965. Bono wrote their songs, and Cher did most of the heavy lifting vocally, a fact that the duo highlighted in their final studio album, Mama Was a Rock and Roll Singer Papa Used To Write All Her Songs.

4. The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers began publicly as a skit on Saturday Night Live, of course, but the seeds for the collaboration were planted in 1975, when John Belushi met Dan Aykroyd. At the time, Aykroyd was the host of a children's show and owner of a Chicago speakeasy called the 505 Club. That's where they met to talk about bringing Aykroyd into SNL; during their visit, he played a few blues songs and was surprised to discover that Belushi, despite being born and raised in Chicago, wasn't very familiar with the blues. Howard Shore also happened to be there, and the three kicked around the idea of starting a blues band. On January 17, 1976, the pair debuted The Blues Brothers with a performance of "King Bee" on SNL... while dressed as bees, of course.

5. Mick Jones & Joe Strummer

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Mick Jones and Joe Strummer were introduced to one another during a party—at a "dirty squat in Shepherd's Bush"—by none other than the "father of punk rock," Bernie Rhodes (self-declared). Immediately afterward, Strummer left the 101ers to form The Clash with Jones, whose London SS was already defunct, and the only band that matters had Paul Simonon, Keith Levene and Terry Chimes to round out the initial lineup. Their first gig was opening for the Sex Pistols, and 5 weeks later they would open again for the Pistols, sealing punk rock's status as an official movement. The band's songs were written primarily by Jones and Strummer, including all but three tracks on London Calling, their third album, which is widely considered one of the greatest rock albums ever recorded. In 2003, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

6. Prince & Sheila E

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Prince and Sheila Escovedo met in 1978 at a concert, where she was performing with her percussionist father, Pete Escovedo. After the show, Prince approached Sheila, saying that he and a bandmate were just "fighting over which one of [them] would be the first to be [her] husband." (Neither of them ever were, though she did have a brief relationship with Prince in the mid-80s, while he was seeing the twin sister of The Revolution's Wendy Melvoin.) In 1984, they joined forces for Purple Rain, which (among a slew of other impressive rankings) was labeled "the best soundtrack of all time" by Vanity Fair in 2007.

7. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

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Jeff Townes and Will Smith met by chance at a house party in 1985. Townes was performing a few doors down from Will's house, and it just happened that his hype man was late. So Smith filled in, and the two soon decided to team up. They enlisted Clarence Holmes (Ready Rock C) as their beatboxer, and by late 1985 (or early 86), Word Up Records had released the trio's first single, "Girls Ain't Nothin but Trouble." Shortly after, Russell Simmons took notice and the group signed with Jive Records and started touring with Run DMC. In 1989, they received the first ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance, for "Parents Just Don't Understand," and earned themselves a show you may have heard of called The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which ran from 1990-1996. Ready Rock C defected in 1990, then sued in 1999 for one-third of the group's profits. Who knows how it might have turned out, had he thought to file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations had expired.

8. Daft Punk

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Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk met in secondary school in 1987. Their early collaborations involved a guitar-based group called Darlin', which covered Beach Boys songs (notably, "Darlin'"). Somewhat remarkably, the group saw some success with this formula. They were invited to open for several groups in the UK, and their Beach Boy cover and one original track were released as part of a multi-artist EP by Stereolab. A negative review called Darlin' "a bunch of daft punk." And there you have it. Bangalter and Homem-Christo started experimenting with their sound and released Homework in 1997, followed up by the improbably even-more-successful Discovery in 2001.

9. André 3000 & Big Boi

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In 1992, when they were both just 16, André "3000" Lauren Benjamin and Antwan "Big Boi" André Patton met at Lenox Square mall in Atlanta. Benjamin and Patton both attended Tri-Cities High School, and eventually they teamed up in a duo they called "2 Shades Deep." The name was already taken, though, so they chose "The Misfits." Which, predictably, was also already taken. Resorting to the thesaurus, they chose a synonym for misfit and became OutKast. They signed to LaFace Records the same year, and appeared on TLC's "What About Your Friends." OutKast's first single, "Player's Ball," was released in 1993, and by 2011 about 25 million copies of their eight albums had been sold worldwide. An interesting trivia point: OutKast were sued by Rosa Parks in 1999; the case was based on a perceived misappropriation of Parks' name, and the song also contained a few obscenities that she didn't really appreciate. The case was dismissed, then appealed by Johnnie Cochran, then dismissed for appeal by the Supreme Court in 2003.

10. Jack & Meg White

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"The White Stripes? They're brother and sister," you say. Well, so do they. But not everyone is aware that Jack and Meg White are not siblings; they met in 1994, when Meg White was a bartender and Jack Gillis was a band-hopping musician-slash-upholsterer. He owned his own upholstery business, called Third Man Upholstery. The pair married in 1996, and Jack took Meg's surname. Meg had never played the drums before she picked up the sticks during one of Jack's rehearsals. She was a natural, and they started rehearsing together, eventually playing their first live show in 1997. They divorced in 2000, before reaching any national level of fame. By the time most people were aware of the White Stripes, the two were presenting themselves as siblings.

This post originally appeared in 2012.

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13 Great Facts About Bad Lieutenant
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Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Bad Lieutenant can be accused of many things, but one charge you can't level against it is false advertising. Harvey Keitel's title character, whose name is never given, is indeed a bad, bad lieutenant: corrupt, sleazy, drug-addled, irresponsible, and lascivious, all while he's on the job. (Imagine what his weekends must be like!)

Abel Ferrara's nightmarish character study was controversial when it was released 25 years ago today, and rated NC-17 for its graphic nudity (including a famous glimpse at Lil’ Harvey), unsettling sexual violence, and frank depiction of drug use. The film packs a wallop, no doubt. Here's some behind-the-scenes info to help you cope with it.

1. THE PLACID WOMAN WHO HELPS THE LIEUTENANT FREEBASE HEROIN WROTE THE MOVIE.

That's Zoë Tamerlis Lund, who starred in Abel Ferrara's revenge-exploitation thriller Ms. 45 (1981) more than a decade earlier, when she was 17 years old. She and Ferrara are credited together for writing Bad Lieutenant, though she always insisted that wasn't the case. "I wrote this alone," she said. "Abel is a wonderful director, but he's not a screenwriter. She said elsewhere that she "wrote every word of that screenplay," though everyone agrees the finished movie included a lot of improvisation. Lund was a fascinating, tragic character herself—a musical prodigy who became an enthusiastic and unapologetic user of heroin before switching to cocaine in the mid-1990s. She died of heart failure in 1999 at age 37.

2. CHRISTOPHER WALKEN WAS SUPPOSED TO STAR IN IT.

Christopher Walken had starred in Ferrara's previous film, King of New York (1990), and was set to play the lead in Bad Lieutenant before pulling out at almost the last minute. Ferrara was shocked. "[Walken] says, 'You know, I don't think I'm right for it.' Which is, you know, a fine thing to say, unless it's three weeks from when you're supposed to start shooting," Ferrara said. "It definitely caught me by surprise. It put me in terminal shock, actually." Harvey Keitel replaced him (though not without difficulty; see below), and the film's editor, Anthony Redman, thought Keitel was a better choice anyway. "Chris is too elegant for the part," he said. "Harvey is not elegant." 

3. HARVEY KEITEL'S INITIAL REACTION TO THE SCRIPT WAS NOT PROMISING.

"When we gave [Keitel] the script the first time, he read about five pages and threw it in the garbage," Ferrara said. Keitel's recollection was a little more diplomatic. As he told Roger Ebert, "I read a certain amount of pages and I put it down. I said, 'There's no way I'm gonna make this movie.' And then I asked myself, 'How often am I a lead in a movie? Read it, maybe I can salvage something from it …' When I read the part about the nun, I understood why Abel wanted to make it."

4. IT WAS ORIGINALLY SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY.


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"It was always, in my mind, a comedy," Ferrara said. He cited the scene where the Lieutenant pulls the teenage girls over as a specific example of how Christopher Walken would have played it, and how Harvey Keitel changed it. "The lieutenant was going to end up dancing in the streets with the girls as the sun came up. They'd be wearing his gun belt and hat, and they'd have the radio on, you know what I mean? But oh my God, Harvey, he turned it into this whole other thing." Boy, did he. 

5. THAT SCENE WITH THE TEENAGE GIRLS HAD A REAL-LIFE ELEMENT THAT MADE IT EVEN CREEPIER.

One of the young women was Keitel's nanny. Ferrara: "I said, 'You sure you want to do this with your babysitter?' He says, 'Yeah, I want to try something.'"

6. MUCH OF IT WAS FILMED GUERRILLA-STYLE.

Like many indie-minded directors of low-budget films, Ferrara didn't bother with permits most of the time. "We weren't permitted on any of this stuff," editor Anthony Redman admitted. "We just walked on and started shooting." For the scene where a strung-out Lieutenant walks through a bumpin' nightclub, they sent Keitel through an actual, functioning club during peak operating hours.

7. A GREAT DEAL OF THE DIALOGUE AND ACTION WERE MADE UP ON THE FLY.

The script was only about 65 pages at first, which would have made for about a 65-minute movie. "It left a lot of room for improvisation," producer Randy Sabusawa said, "but the ideas were pretty distilled. They were there."

Script supervisor Karen Kelsall said supervising the script was a challenge. "Abel didn't stick to a script," she said. "Abel used a script as a way to get the money to make a movie, and then the script was kind of—we called it the daily news. It changed every day. It changed in the middle of scenes." Ferrara was unapologetic about the script's brevity. "The idea of wanting 90 pages ... is ridiculous."

8. AND THERE WERE EVEN MORE IDEAS THAT THEY DIDN'T USE.

Ferrara said a scene that epitomized the movie for him—even though he never got around to filming it—was one where the Lieutenant robs an electronics store, leaves, then gets a call about a robbery at the electronics store. He responds in an official capacity (they don't recognize him), takes a statement, walks out, and throws the statement in the garbage. "And that to me is the Bad Lieutenant, you know?" Ferrara said. 

9. THE BASEBALL PLAYOFF SERIES IS FICTIONAL.

The Mets have battled the Dodgers for the National League championship once, in 1988. (The Dodgers beat 'em and went on to win the World Series.) For the narrative Ferrara wanted—the Mets coming back from a 3-0 deficit to win the pennant—he had to make it up. He used footage from real Mets-Dodgers games (including Darryl Strawberry's three-run homer from a game in July 1991) and added fictional play-by-play. But the statistics were accurate: no team had ever been down by three in a best-of-seven series and then come back to win. (It's happened once since then, when the 2004 Red Sox did it.)

10. THEY HAD HELP FROM THE COP WHO SOLVED A SIMILAR CASE.

The disgusting crime at the center of the film (we won't dwell on it) was inspired by a real-life incident from 1981, which mayor Ed Koch called "the most heinous crime in the history of New York City." The street cop who solved it, Bo Dietl, advised Ferrara on the film and had an on-screen role as one of the detectives in our Lieutenant's circle of friends.

11. THEY DESECRATED THE CHURCH AS RESPECTFULLY AS THEY COULD.

Production designer Charles Lagola had his team cover the church’s altar and other surfaces with plastic wrap, then painted the graffiti and other defacements on the plastic.

12. IT WAS RATED NC-17 IN THEATERS, WITH AN R-RATED VERSION FOR HOME VIDEO.

Blockbuster and some of the other retail chains wouldn't carry NC-17 or unrated films, so sometimes studios would produce edited versions. (See also: Requiem for a Dream.) The tamer version of Bad Lieutenant was five minutes and 19 seconds shorter, with parts of the rape scene, the drug-injecting scene, and much of the car interrogation scene excised.

13. THE "SEQUEL" HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, NOR DID FERRARA APPROVE OF IT.


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Movie buffs were baffled in 2009, when Werner Herzog directed Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage. It sounds like a sequel (or a remake), but in fact had no connection at all to the earlier film except that both were produced by Edward R. Pressman. Herzog said he'd never seen Ferrara's movie and wanted to change the title (Pressman wouldn't let him); Ferrara, outspoken as always, initially wished fiery death on everyone involved. Ferrara and Herzog finally met at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where Herzog initiated a conversation about the whole affair and Ferrara expressed his frustration cordially. 

Additional sources:
DVD interviews with Abel Ferrara, Anthony Redman, Randy Sabusawa, and Karen Kelsall.

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12 Pieces of 100-Year-Old Advice for Dealing With Your In-Laws
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The familial friction between in-laws has been a subject for family counselors, folklorists, comedians, and greeting card writers for generations—and getting along with in-laws isn't getting any easier. Here are some pieces of "old tyme" advice—some solid, some dubious, some just plain ridiculous—about making nice with your new family.

1. ALWAYS VOTE THE SAME WAY AS YOUR FATHER-IN-LAW (EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE).

It's never too soon to start sowing the seeds for harmony with potential in-laws. An 1896 issue of one Alabama newspaper offered some advice to men who were courting, and alongside tips like “Don’t tell her you’re wealthy. She may wonder why you are not more liberal,” it gave some advice for dealing with prospective in-laws: “Always vote the same ticket her father does,” the paper advised, and “Don’t give your prospective father-in-law any advice unless he asks for it.”

2. MAKE AN EFFORT TO BE ATTRACTIVE TO YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW.

According to an 1886 issue of Switchmen’s Journal, “A greybeard once remarked that it would save half the family squabbles of a generation if young wives would bestow a modicum of the pains they once took to please their lovers in trying to be attractive to their mothers-in-law.”

3. KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF.

In 1901, a Wisconsin newspaper published an article criticizing the 19th century trend of criticizing mothers-in-law (a "trend" which continues through to today):

“There has been a foolish fashion in vogue in the century just closed which shuts out all sympathy for mothers-in-law. The world is never weary of listening to the praises of mothers ... Can it be that a person who is capable of so much heroic unselfishness will do nothing worthy of gratitude for those who are dearest and nearest to her own children?”

Still, the piece closed with some advice for the women it was defending: “The wise mother-in-law gives advice sparingly and tries to help without seeming to help. She leaves the daughter to settle her own problems. She is the ever-blessed grandmother of the German fairy tales, ready to knit in the corner and tell folk stories to the grandchildren.”

4. IF RECEIVING ADVICE, JUST LISTEN AND SMILE. EVEN IF IT PAINS YOU.

Have an in-law who can't stop advising you on what to do? According to an 1859 issue of The American Freemason, you'll just have to grin and bear it: “If the daughter-in-law has any right feeling, she will always listen patiently, and be grateful and yielding to the utmost of her power.”

Advice columnist Dorothy Dix seemed to believe that it would be wise to heed an in-law's advice at least some of the time. Near the end of World War II, Dix received a letter from a mother-in-law asking what to do with her daughter-in-law, who had constantly shunned her advice and now wanted to move in with her. Dix wrote back, “Many a daughter-in-law who has ignored her husband’s mother is sending out an SOS call for help in these servantless days,” and advised the mother-in-law against agreeing to the arrangement.

5. STAY OUT OF THE KITCHEN. AND CLOSETS. AND CUPBOARDS.

An 1881 article titled "Concerning the Interference of the Father-in-Law and Mother-in-Law in Domestic Affairs," which appeared in the Rural New Yorker, had a great deal of advice for the father-in-law:

“He will please to keep out of the kitchen just as much as he possibly can. He will not poke his nose into closets or cupboards, parley with the domestics, investigate the condition of the swill barrel, the ash barrel, the coal bin, worry himself about the kerosene or gas bills, or make purchases of provisions for the family under the pretence that he can buy more cheaply than the mistress of the house; let him do none of these things unless especially commissioned so to do by the mistress of the house.”

The article further advises that if a father-in-law "thinks that the daughter-in-law or son-in-law is wasteful, improvident or a bad manager, the best thing for him to do, decidedly, is to keep his thought to himself, for in all probability things are better managed and better taken care of by the second generation than they were by the first. And even if they are not, it is far better to pass the matter over in silence than to comment upon the same, and thereby engender bad feelings.”

6. NEVER COHABITATE.

While there is frequent discussion about how to achieve happiness with the in-laws in advice columns and magazines, rarely does this advice come from a judge. In 1914, after a young couple was married, they quickly ran into issues. “The wife said she was driven from the house by her mother-in-law,” a newspaper reported, “and the husband said he was afraid to live with his wife’s people because of the threatening attitude of her father on the day of the wedding.” It got so bad that the husband was brought up on charges of desertion. But Judge Strauss gave the couple some advice:

“[Your parents] must exercise no influence over you now except a peaceful influence. You must establish a home of your own. Even two rooms will be a start and lay up a store of happiness for you.”

According to the paper, they agreed to go off and rent a few rooms.

Dix agreed that living with in-laws was asking for trouble. In 1919, she wrote that, “In all good truth there is no other danger to a home greater than having a mother-in-law in it.”

7. COURT YOUR MOTHER-IN-LAW.

The year 1914 wasn’t the first time a judge handed down advice regarding a mother-in-law from the bench. According to The New York Times, in 1899 Magistrate Olmsted suggested to a husband that “you should have courted your mother-in-law and then you would not have any trouble ... I courted my mother-in-law and my home life is very, very happy.”

8. THINK OF YOUR IN-LAWS AS YOUR "IN LOVES."

Don't think of your in-laws as in-laws; think of them as your family. In 1894, an article in The Ladies’ Home Journal proclaimed, “I will not call her your mother-in-law. I like to think that she is your mother in love. She is your husband’s mother, and therefore yours, for his people have become your people.”

Helen Marshall North, writing in The Home-Maker: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine four years earlier, agreed: “No man, young or old, who smartly and in public, jests about his mother-in-law, can lay the slightest claim to good breeding. In the first place, if he has proper affection for his wife, that affection includes, to some extent at least, the mother who gave her birth ... the man of fine thought and gentle breeding sees his own mother in the new mother, and treats her with the same deference, and, if necessary, with the same forbearance which he gladly yields his own.”

9. BE THANKFUL YOU HAVE A MOTHER-IN-LAW ... OR DON'T.

Historical advice columns had two very different views on this: A 1901 Raleigh newspaper proclaimed, “Adam’s [of Adam and Eve] troubles may have been due to the fact that he had no mother-in-law to give advice,” while an earlier Yuma paper declared, “Our own Washington had no mother-in-law, hence America is a free nation.”

10. DON'T BE PICKY WHEN IT COMES TO CHOOSING A WIFE; CHOOSE A MOTHER-IN-LAW INSTEAD.

By today's standards, the advice from an 1868 article in The Round Table is incredibly sexist and offensive. Claiming that "one wife is, after all, pretty much the same as another," and that "the majority of women are married at an age when their characters are still mobile and plastic, and can be shaped in the mould of their husband's will," the magazine advised, “Don’t waste any time in the selection of the particular victim who is to be shackled to you in your desolate march from the pleasant places of bachelorhood into the hopeless Siberia of matrimony ... In other words ... never mind about choosing a wife; the main thing is to choose a proper mother-in-law,” because "who ever dreamt of moulding a mother-in-law? That terrible, mysterious power behind the throne, the domestic Sphynx, the Gorgon of the household, the awful presence which every husband shudders when he names?"

11. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE.

As an 1894 Good Housekeeping article reminded readers:

“Young man! your wife’s mother, your redoubtable mother-in-law, is as good as your wife is and as good as your mother is; and who is your precious wife's mother-in-law? And you, venerable mother-in-law, may perhaps profitably bear in mind that the husband your daughter has chosen with your sanction is not a worse man naturally than your husband who used to dislike your mother as much as your daughter’s husband dislikes you, or as much as you once disliked your husband’s mother.”

12. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, MARRY AN ORPHAN.

If all else fails, The Round Table noted that “there is one rule which will be found in all cases absolutely certain and satisfactory, and that is to marry an orphan; though even then a grandmother-in-law might turn up sufficiently vigorous to make a formidable substitute.”

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