on-music
Article
5 Legendary Keyboards (and the Songs They Made Famous)
[This post was originally published on August 4th, 2008] These days, there's no distinguishing one keyboard from the next because all they really do is act as computer trigger devices. But in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even the early 90s, keyboards and their manufacturers were known for signature sounds. Here are five of my favorites: 1. The... READ ON
Article
Shazam, Shlemiel, Shlimazel
I've used Shazam on and off over the years to I.D. songs I either forgot the names of or just never knew. But the real test of any music recognition software is whether or not it can tell me what's playing on a classical music station. This is where you really need the app to come through because, let's face it, it could be 30 minutes or more before the piece ends and the radio announcer comes back on to tell you. Sadly, every time I've tried, the app has come up empty. I've even tested it with well-known... READ ON
List
School Band Arrangements: 10 Unusual Choices
As a hard-core band-geek -- Marching Band, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Pit Band -- pretty much whatever band they had going at high school, I know what unusual musical arrangements sound like. I even made a few of my own back in the day. These, however, take unusual to another level entirely. Some were chosen based on the juxtapostion of songs in a medley, others just by the choice of song. I've also included some that weren't necessarily the worst choices, but were played so poorly, they had to be published in... READ ON
Article
The Late Movies: The Day the Music Died
"A long, long time ago...I can still remember how that music used to make me smile." So begins Don McLean's "American Pie," a 1972 song about the death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, J.P. Richardson ("The Big Bopper"), and pilot Roger Peterson in a tragic plane crash. If you don't know the full story, check out Miss Cellania's excellent post about the day the music died. Below, check out McLean's song, and some performances by the artists who died fifty-one years ago today. "American Pie" - Don... READ ON
List
9 Things You Probably Don't Know About The Beatles
Today is 09/09/09, and you know what that... READ ON
Article
What is a Mondegreen?
Long before I ever knew what a mondegreen was, I used to think the lyrics of David Bowie's "Suffragette City" went like this: Hey man, oh leave me alone, you know Hey man, oh Henry, get off the phone, I gotta Hey man, I gotta straighten my face This malaprop chick's just put my spine out of place Of course, now I know the original malaprop chick is actually a "mellow-thighed chick," and my head hangs low in shame. But we all do it, right? We all make up lyrics (even... READ ON
List
6 Legendary Guitars/RIP Les Paul
[It is with sadness that we report Les Paul's death today, at the age of 94. I had the pleasure of meeting Les a couple times when I was playing guitar with Pat Martino. Pat and Les were good friends, and the three of us had drinks once when Les had his standing gig at a small, now defunct jazz club across the street from Lincoln Center. That night, I asked Les if he really loved the guitar named after him, and he said dryly, "It pays the rent."In honor of Les, I thought we'd rerun this post, which,... READ ON
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5 Cover tunes that rank with the originals
Some of you may recall my post last year about original recordings that were better than their covers. Well now it's time to honor some covers that, at least by my way of thinking, rank right up there with the originals. Unfortunately, the floss is no longer allowed to include soundbites, so you'll have to go check these out on iTunes, or hit the YouTube vids provided. Of course, these are just some of my favorites. I'm sure you all have your own, and we'd love to hear about them in the comments below. 1.... READ ON
Article
The Incredible Shrinking 4-Track
Four-tracks have been getting smaller every decade. When I was a kid, in the 80s, I had one. A Tascam 244 (pictured 2nd in list) to be exact, that recorded four tracks of audio to a standard cassette tape. It was the size of a suitcase, and about as rugged as one, too. Remember those Tourister commercials with the gorilla? Exactly. [caption id="attachment_28933" align="alignleft" width="490" caption="(from left: Teac reel-to-reel ca. '70s, Tascam cassette tape ca. '80s, Boss digital ca. 2000,... READ ON
List
3 Recycled Lyrics
There's something cool about musicians quoting themselves. While there are many more than three examples, these are just some of my favorites. How about you? Let's get a long list going so someone can write a book about the subject. Give us the lyric and the two songs. (Try not to include concept album lyrics, like The Wall, or something, where songs come back throughout the album in different permutations.) 1a. "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by the... READ ON
List
4 Stories about 4 musicians who married their cousins
We've written before about famous folk who married their cousins. But it's such a great subject, and there are more stories to tell, so we thought we'd dive back in with another post today, and keep the focus on famous musicians. 1. Igor... READ ON
List
3 Pairs of songs played back-to-back on the radio
Before I even get into the subject, let me just state up front: I know there are plenty of other songs that are usually played back-to-back on the radio. These are just some of my favorites. How about you all? Let's hear what some of your favorite pairs are in the comments below. 1 & 2) "Heartbreaker" and "Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)" "“ Led... READ ON
Article
Introducing: Nadia Sirota (and the chance to win a free album!)
Ed. note: If you missed our first post earlier this week on New Amsterdam Records, be sure to check it out here. Part 2 in the mini-series, on Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, can be found this-a-way. Today, we continue with Part 3 by introducing you to another of New Amsterdam's exciting, new artists, Nadia... READ ON
Article
Introducing: Darcy James Argue's Secret Society
Ed. note: If you missed our first post on New Amsterdam Records yesterday, be sure to check it out here. Today, we continue with Part 2 of our little series by introducing you to one of their exciting, new artists, Darcy James Argue. By the way, Darcy and his big band, Secret Society will be debuting their new album live at Galapagos as part of this Friday's Undiscovered Islands music festival in Brooklyn. Click here to learn... READ ON
Article
How to Start a Record Label, with New Amsterdam Records
Ed. note: We love New Amsterdam records, so we're thrilled to be teaming up with them. This Thursday night from 6-8 pm, mental_floss is co-hosting a party at the Galapagos Arts Space called Pollinate with a whole bunch of exciting arts groups. The Wassaic Project will feature stunning sculptures from new artists, Hotel St. George press will dazzle audiences with a few short readings, and New Amsterdam is going to be spinning fresh, new sounds the whole time. We'll be there handing out FREE magazines (and... READ ON
Article
The strange history of "Mahna Mahna"
Who doesn't love that great song "Mahna Mahna" from Sesame Street? As funny as it is earwormy, as adorable as it is cool, the song appeals to each generation anew and never gets tiring. But guess what? Neither Sesame Street nor The Muppet Show can take credit for discovering the song. Penned by the Italian film composer Piero Umiliani (if you haven't heard of him, it's okay, "Mahna Mahna" is all he's really known for), "Mah Nà Mah Nà" as it was originally called in... READ ON

The "Black Hills" of South Dakota are really mountains. Harney Peak, for instance, is taller than the tallest mountain in the Appalachians.

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