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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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10 Biting Facts About Snapping Turtles
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Here in the Americas, lake monster legends are a dime a dozen. More than a few of them were probably inspired by these ancient-looking creatures. In honor of World Turtle Day, here are 10 things you might not have known about snapping turtles.

1. THE COMMON SNAPPING TURTLE IS NEW YORK'S OFFICIAL STATE REPTILE.

Elementary school students voted to appoint Chelydra serpentina in a 2006 statewide election. Weighing as much as 75 pounds in the wild (and 86 in captivity), this hefty omnivore’s natural range stretches from Saskatchewan to Florida.

2. ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLES CAN BE LARGE. (VERY LARGE.)

An alligator snapping turtle
NorbertNagel, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Utterly dwarfing their more abundant cousin, alligator snappers (genus: Macrochelys) are the western hemisphere’s biggest freshwater turtles. The largest one on record, a longtime occupant of Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, weighed 249 pounds.  

A monstrous 403-pounder was reported in Kansas during the Great Depression, though this claim was never confirmed.  

3. COMMON SNAPPERS HAVE LONGER NECKS AND SPIKIER TAILS.

Alligator snappers also display proportionately bigger heads and noses plus a trio of tall ridges atop their shells. Geographically, alligator snapping turtles are somewhat restricted compared to their common relatives, and are limited mainly to the southeast and Great Plains.

4. BOTH VARIETIES AVOID CONTACT WITH PEOPLE.

If given the choice between fight and flight, snapping turtles almost always distance themselves from humans. The animals spend the bulk of their lives underwater, steering clear of nearby Homo sapiens. However, problems can arise on dry land, where the reptiles are especially vulnerable. Females haul themselves ashore during nesting season (late spring to early summer). In these delicate months, people tend to prod and handle them, making bites inevitable.

5. YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO GET BITTEN BY ONE. 

Snapping turtle jaw strength—while nothing to sneeze at—is somewhat overrated. Common snapping turtles can clamp down with up to 656.81 newtons (N) of force, though typical bites register an average of 209 N. Their alligator-like cousins usually exert 158 N. You, on the other hand, can apply 1300 N between your second molars.

Still, power isn’t everything, and neither type of snapper could latch onto something with the crushing force of a crocodile’s mighty jaws. Yet their sharp beaks are well-designed for major-league shearing. An alligator snapping turtle’s beak is capable of slicing fingers clean off and (as the above video proves) obliterating pineapples.

Not impressed yet? Consider the following. It’s often said that an adult Macrochelys can bite a wooden broom handle in half. Intrigued by this claim, biologist Peter Pritchard decided to play MythBuster. In 1989, he prodded a 165-pound individual with a brand new broomstick. Chomp number one went deep, but didn’t quite break through the wood. The second bite, though, finished the job.

6. SCIENTISTS RECENTLY DISCOVERED THAT THERE ARE THREE SPECIES OF ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLES.

A 2014 study trisected the Macrochelys genus. For over a century, naturalists thought that there was just a single species, Macrochelys temminckii. Closer analysis proved otherwise, as strong physical and genetic differences exist between various populations. The newly-christened M. suwanniensis and M. apalachicolae are named after their respective homes—namely, the Suwannee and Apalachicola rivers. Further west, good old M. temminckii swims through the Mobile and the Mississippi.

7. THANKS TO A 19TH CENTURY POLITICAL CARTOON, COMMON SNAPPING TURTLES ARE ALSO KNOWN AS "OGRABMES." 

Snapping turtle cartoon
Urban~commonswiki via Wiki Commons // CC BY PD-US

Drawn by Alexander Anderson, this piece skewers Thomas Jefferson’s signing of the unpopular Embargo Act. At the president’s command, we see a snapping turtle bite some poor merchant’s hind end. Agitated, the victim calls his attacker “ograbme”—“embargo” spelled backwards.

8. ALLIGATOR SNAPPERS ATTRACT FISH WITH AN ORAL LURE …

You can’t beat live bait. Anchored to the Macrochelys tongue is a pinkish, worm-like appendage that fish find irresistible. Preferring to let food come to them, alligator snappers open their mouths and lie in wait at the bottoms of rivers and lakes. Cue the lure. When this protrusion wriggles, hungry fish swim right into the gaping maw and themselves become meals.

9.  … AND THEY FREQUENTLY EAT OTHER TURTLES. 


Complex01, WikimediaCommons

Alligator snappers are anything but picky. Between fishy meals, aquatic plants also factor into their diet, as do frogs, snakes, snails, crayfish, and even relatively large mammals like raccoons and armadillos. Other shelled reptiles are fair game, too: In one Louisiana study, 79.82% of surveyed alligator snappers had turtle remains in their stomachs.

10. YOU SHOULD NEVER PICK A SNAPPER UP BY THE TAIL.

Ideally, you should leave the handling of these guys to trained professionals. But what if you see a big one crossing a busy road and feel like helping it out? Before doing anything else, take a few moments to identify the turtle. If it’s an alligator snapper, you’ll want to grasp the lip of the upper shell (or “carapace”) in two places: right behind the head and right above the tail.

Common snappers demand a bit more finesse (we wouldn’t want one to reach back and nip you with that long, serpentine neck). Slide both hands under the hind end of the shell, letting your turtle’s tail dangle between them. Afterwards, clamp down on the carapace with both thumbs.

Please note that lifting any turtle by the tail can permanently dislocate its vertebrae. Additionally, remember to move the reptile in the same direction that it’s already facing. Otherwise, your rescue will probably turn right back around and try to cross the road again later. 

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10 Things You Might Not Know About Tina Fey
Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Jenny Anderson, Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

Tina Fey has transformed modern comedy more than just about anyone else. From the main stage of Second City to the writer’s room of SNL to extremely fetch comedy blockbusters, Elizabeth Stamatina Fey has built a national stage with a dry, eye-popping sarcasm and political satire where no one is safe. She has a slew of Emmys, Golden Globes, SAG, PGA, and WGA awards to prove it—plus a recent Tony nomination (her first). But, more importantly, she’s the closest thing we have to a national comic laureate.

Here are 10 facts about a fantastically blorft American icon.

1. SHE DID A BOOK REPORT ON COMEDY WHEN SHE WAS 11.

Fey got a very early start in comedy, watching a lot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart, and Norman Lear shows as a kid. Her father and mother sneaked her in to see Young Frankenstein and would let her stay up late to watch The Honeymooners. So it’s no surprise that she chose comedy as the subject of a middle school project. The only book she could get her hands on was Joe Franklin’s Encyclopedia of Comedians, but at least she made a friend. "I remember me and one other girl in my 8th grade class got to do an independent study because we finished the regular material early, and she chose to do hers on communism, and I chose to do mine on comedy," Fey told The A.V. Club. "We kept bumping into each other at the card catalog."

2. THE SCAR ON HER FACE CAME FROM A BIZARRE ATTACK THAT OCCURRED WHEN SHE WAS A CHILD.

Fey’s facial scar had been recognizable but unexplained for years until a profile in Vanity Fair revealed that the mark on her left cheek came from being slashed by a strange man when she was five years old. “She just thought somebody marked her with a pen,” her husband Jeff Richmond said. Fey wrote in Bossypants that it happened in an alleyway behind her Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, home when she was in kindergarten.

3. HER FIRST TV APPEARANCE WAS IN A BANK COMMERCIAL.

Saturday Night Live hired Fey as a writer in 1997. In 1995 she had the slightly more glamorous job of pitching Mutual Savings Bank with a radical floral applique vest and a handful of puns on the word “Hi.” In a bit of life imitating art, just as Liz Lemon’s 1-900-OKFACE commercial was unearthed and mocked on 30 Rock, the internet discovered Fey’s stint awkwardly cheering on high interest rates a few years ago and had a lot to say about her '90s hair.

4. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO BE NAMED HEAD WRITER OF SNL.

Four years after that commercial and two after she joined Saturday Night Live’s writing staff, Fey earned a promotion to head writer. Up until that point, the head writers were named Michael, Herb, Bob, Jim, Steve. You get the picture. She acted as head writer for six seasons until moving on to write and executive produce 30 Rock. Since her departure, two more women (Paula Pell and Sara Schneider) have been head writers for the iconic show.

5. SHE’S THE YOUNGEST MARK TWAIN PRIZE WINNER.

Established in 1998, the Kennedy Center’s hilarious honor has mostly been awarded to funny people in the twilight of their careers. Richard Pryor was the first recipient, and comedians who made their marks decades prior like Lily Tomlin, Whoopi Goldberg, and George Carlin followed. Fey earned the award in 2010 when she was 40 years old, and the age of her successors (Carol Burnett, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, David Letterman ...) signals that she may hold the title of youngest recipient for some time.

6. SHE WROTE SATIRE FOR HER HIGH SCHOOL NEWSPAPER.

Fey was an outstanding student who was involved in choir, drama, and tennis, and co-edited the school’s newspaper, The Acorn. She also wrote a satirical column addressing “school policy and teachers” under the pun-tastic pseudonym “The Colonel.” Fey also recalled getting in trouble because she tried to make a pun on the phrase “annals of history.” Cheeky.

7. SHE MADE HER RAP DEBUT WITH CHILDISH GAMBINO ON "REAL ESTATE."

Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino) first gained notice as a member of Derrick Comedy in college, and Fey hired him at the age of 23 to write for 30 Rock. Before jumping from that show to Community, Glover put out his first mixtape under his stage name. After releasing his debut album, Camp, in 2011, Gambino dropped a sixth mixtape called Royalty that featured Fey rapping on a song called “Real Estate.” “My president is black, and my Prius is blue!"

8. SHE VOICED PRINCESSES IN A BELOVED PINBALL GAME.

Between the bank commercial and Saturday Night Live, Fey has an intriguing credit on her resume: the arcade pinball machine “Medieval Madness.” Most of the game’s Arthurian dialogue was written by Second City members Scott Adsit (Pete Hornberger on 30 Rock) and Kevin Dorff, who pulled in fellow Second City castmate Fey to voice for an “Opera Singer” princess, Cockney-speaking princesses, and a character with a southern drawl. (You can hear some of the outtakes here.)

9. SHE USED MEAN GIRLS TO PUSH BACK AGAINST STEREOTYPES OF WOMEN IN MATH.

Tina Fey and Lindsay Lohan in 'Mean Girls' (2004)
Paramount Home Entertainment

There’s a ton of interesting trivia about Mean Girls, Fey’s first foray into feature film screenwriting. She bid on the rights to Rosalind Wiseman’s book that inspired the movie without realizing it didn’t have a plot. She initially wrote a large part for herself but kept whittling it down to focus on the teenagers, and her first draft was “for sure R-rated.” Fey also chose to play a math teacher to fight prejudice. “It was an attempt on my part to counteract the stereotype that girls can’t do math. Even though I did not understand a word I was saying.” Fey used a friend’s calculus teacher boyfriend’s lesson plans in the script.

10. SHE SET UP A SCHOLARSHIP IN HER FATHER’S NAME TO HELP VETERANS.

Fey’s father Donald was a Korean War veteran who also studied journalism at Temple University. When he died in 2015, Fey and her brother Peter founded a memorial scholarship in his name that seeks to aid veterans who want to study journalism at Temple.

"He was really inspiring," Fey said. "A lot of kids grow up with dreams of doing those things and their parents are fearful and want them to get a law degree and have things to fall back on, but he and our mom always encouraged us to pursue whatever truly interested us." Fey also supports Autism Speaks, Mercy Corps, Love Our Children USA, and other charities.

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