Everything in Prince's first album was made by himself. He sang all the parts and played all the 27 instruments, including the guitars, bass, synths, drums, windchimes, piano, clavinet, and even the bongos. smithsonianmag.com/smiths…
For the film 'Ray' (2004), Jamie Foxx had to wear eye prosthetics that would make him go blind for up to 12 hours a day. It barely left him any time to sleep because he would practice piano after shooting with the blindfold on. He went on to win the Oscar for best actor for his performance. sfgate.com/entertainment/…
H. Jon Benjamin (Archer, Bob's Burgers) released and performed on an experimental jazz album despite expressing a distaste for jazz and not knowing how to play any instruments. It's titled 'Well I Should Have... *learned to play the piano'. news.avclub.com/exclusive…
Richard Nixon composed a piano concerto, and played it live on the Tonight Show in the 60's youtube.com/watch?v=MCsGS…
In 1909, the first truly salacious hit song β€œI Love, I Love, I Love My Wifeβ€”But Oh! You Kid!” made the leap from vaudeville stage to the sheet music stands of a million parlor room pianos in America, inciting newspaper editorials, outraged sermons by preachers, and at least one fatal shooting. slate.com/articles/arts/c…
Billy Joel's signature song, "Piano Man" is based on Joel's real-life experiences as a lounge musician. John-the-bartender, Paul-the-real-estate-novelist, and the waitress are all real people. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pia…
On pianos dating from the 18th century when Mozart was alive, the colors of the keys was exactly reversed: the white keys were black and the black keys were white. yamaha.com/en/musical_ins…
Princess Alexandra of Bavaria believed she had swallowed a glass piano as a child. This delusion was not unheard of and was recorded in Europe and mainly suffered by royals, nobels and scholars (between C15 and C17). It was manifest as a fear that parts of their anatomy were made of glass. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pri…
As Beethoven's deafness began to affect his ability to compose properly, he sawed the legs off of his piano and used the floor as a "sounding board." He would lie on his wooden floor and hit different piano notes at various volumes to feel their vibrations to see if they fit into his composition hearinghealthmatters.org/…
When Flavor Flav was a child, he managed to both teach himself to play the piano at the age of 5 and set a house on fire while playing with a lighter. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fla…
Robert Smith (singer/guitarist of The Cure) played the piano as a child, but his younger sister Janet was a piano prodigy so he switched to the guitar because "she couldn't get her fingers around the neck." Janet later married Cure guitarist Porl Thompson and played on Cure side projects. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob…
That"Piano Man", Billy Joel's signature song, is in the National Recording Registry, along with Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. loc.gov/item/prn-16-056/
For the film 'Green Book', Kris Bowers had to step in to play piano for Mahershala Ali, since the original recordings were too low-quality to use. Bowers had never heard of Don Shirley before he was asked this, and had to teach Ali to play piano realistically for the part. npr.org/2019/02/21/696397…
The "piano" means "soft" in Italian. The instrument's name is actually short for "pianoforte" (soft-loud) which is short for β€œgravicembalo col piano e forte” (harpsichord with soft and loud). Calling it "piano" defeats the purpose of its original name that meant to depict its dynamic sound. kitsappianolessons.com/wh…
The namesake for the Marshall Tucker Band is alive and lives in South Carolina. Marshall Tucker, who is 95 & blind, is a retired piano tuner. wltx.com/article/news/loc…
Tom Hulce practiced piano four hours a day for his role in Amadeus, but the music ended up being dubbed in anyway. hollywoodreporter.com/lis…
The Steinway White House Piano in Miniature is not a toy piano, but a fully functional, artist-built, Steinway Grand Piano of over 12,000 parts, at 1:7 scale, and is considered an authentic Steinway piano by the company itself. mini.steinway.com/
On Prince's debut album, For You, he played every instrument on the album: 27 in all. Some notable mentions include, the electric guitar, clavinet, congas, waterdrums, electric piano, finger cymbals, hand claps and several other synthesizers. bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/articl…
According to Noel Gallagher, one of the two reasons "Don't Look Back In Anger" uses the piano riff from "Imagine" is to "wind people up". He also doesn't fully know what the song means, as he wrote it under the influence. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don…
On April 18, 1930 the BBC made an announcement at the beginning of its daily radio program that there was no news. For the rest of the 15-minute time slot, the station played only piano music and it became known in history as The Day Without News’ atlasobscura.com/articles…
Late piano virtuoso Glenn Gould spent only 10% of his time at the keyboard in the studio and the rest working on the recordings itself by editing, splicing and supervising the record to achieve the best, absolute and note-perfect version of his playing. music.org/index.php?optio…
There is an unusual instrument called the celeste/celesta which looks like a piano, but has metal plates like a xylophone, instead of strings, inside. This instrument is what gives the Nutcracker's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies, and the Harry Potter theme, their distinct sound. youtu.be/Aw7HAyq54rw
Dudley Moore was a child prodigy on the piano and organ. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dud…
Hey Jude, Bohemian Rhapsody, Tiny Dancer, Life on Mars? and more were recorded on the exact same C. Bechstein piano youtu.be/0tesy80wwR0
The Scatman from the popular song from the 90's had a really severe stutter and that he discovered scat/piano to cope with his impediment, causing him to be a pop star at the age of 53. youtube.com/watch?v=Vi22V…
Rita Coolidge claims to have written the piano coda in the rock classic 'Layla' recorded in 1971 by Eric Clapton's Derek and the Dominoes. Coolidge claims she and the band's drummer had collaborated on a song which was played to Clapton and later used in Layla. She was refused a credit. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rit…
Beethoven was deaf, and that he eventually had to use a pencil to feel the vibrations of the piano. During one of his symphony’s he had to be turned around to see the audience applaud since he couldn’t hear them. classicfm.com/composers/b…
Pink Floyd keyboardist Richard Wright was trained on trombone and saxophone, as well as being self-taught on guitar, piano and trumpet. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ric…
Hey Jude, Life on Mars, Tiny Dancer, and many other famous tunes/albums were all recorded on the same piano at Trident Studios. youtube.com/watch?v=0tesy…
Today I learned of the Berners Street hoax: In 1809, Theodore Hook bet his friend that he could make a random house the most famous house in London within a week. He did so by ordering chimney sweeps, piano deliveries, and priests to the address. The ensuing chaos brought London to a standstill. wikipedia.org/wiki/Berner…
Session musician Nicky Hopkins played the piano on the Beatles "Revolution" and the Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nic…
Today I learned about Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson, who taught himself to play piano at the age of two, played with Lionel Hampton when he was 5, was the first black entertainer at the White House Correspondents dinner when he was 8, recorded for Capitol Records (with two hits) from 9-12 then retired from music. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sug…
Hilda Woodward was one of the oldest female artists to feature in a song that became a Number One single in the United Kingdom. Woodward, who played piano for the band "Lieutenant Pigeon" alongside son and frontman Rob, was 58 when "Mouldy Old Dough" reached Number One. She died aged 85 in 1999. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie…
Today I learned of the mbira, a musical instrument of the Zimbabwean Shona people that's like a mini handheld piano/xylophone en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbi…
Today I learned of Derek Amato, who after a head injury, was diagnosed with Acquired Musical Savant Syndrome, and suddenly could play expert level piano. When asked during an interview to perform a simple song, β€œTwinkle Twinkle Little Star”. He attempted, struggled, and gave up. npr.org/2016/02/22/467680…
In The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the famous detuned β€œflashbulb” sound, which is actually a tuning fork scraping a piano string. lewtonbus.net/in-memoriam…
Sometimes Air Forces Ceremonially Set Pianos on Fire en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pia…
Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman no longer performs in the US, partly because one of his personal Steinway pianos was completely destroyed by JFK security staff in 2001, who also damaged another in 2006 by ripping off the keyboard. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kry…
Thomas Edison listened to the piano through his teeth. As he was completely deaf in one ear and could barely hear in the other he would chomp into the wood of the piano and absorb the sound waves into his skull. theatlantic.com/magazine/…
Today China is experiencing piano frenzy with an estimated 40m children now learning to play. The instrument is increasingly in vogue among China’s burgeoning middle classes, who have the money to splurge on steep lessons and expensive fixtures. For many, owning a Steinway is a status symbol bbc.com/culture/story/201…
The best-selling solo jazz album in history was performed on a piano in bad condition, w/broken pedals, requiring hours of adjustments to make playable. The artist Keith Jarret arrived at the venue sleep deprived & in back pain. He almost canceled but didn’t bc the recording equipment was set up en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Charlie Chaplain composed the music for almost all of his films and played the Piano, Violin and Cello, despite not knowing how to read sheet music en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha…
The orphica, a predecessor of the modern keytar, was a portable piano that could be worn with a shoulder strap and played in a position similar to guitar. It was invented in the late 1700s. Only about 30 orphicas still exist. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orp…
Tori Amos taught herself to play piano at the age of 2, and started composing at the age of 3. She was admitted into the Peabody Conservatory at the age of 5, but lost the scholarship six years later, reportedly due to her dislike for using sheet music and interest in rock and pop music. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor…
The piano played by Paul McCartney in "Hey Jude" is the same one Freddie Mercury used to record "Bohemian Rhapsody". nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/q…
The reason there are Yamaha motorcycles and Yamaha pianos is that post-WW2 Yamaha, a musical instrument manufacturer, repurposed their war-time machinery to build motorcycles. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yam…
Today I learned of BartholomΓ€us Traubeck, an artist and engineer who discovered how to make music from tree rings. β€œA record player that plays slices of wood, [in which] year ring data is translated into music." The trees year rings are analyzed and this data is used to generate piano music. canyouactually.com/when-y…
The piano Freddie Mercury used to record "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the same one Paul McCartney used on "Hey Jude" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boh…
Hugh Laurie, along with being an actor, is also a musician and plays piano very well youtube.com/user/HughLaur…
H. Jon Benjamin (the lead VA on Archer and Bob's Burgers) cannot play piano and does not care for jazz. This did not stop him from being the pianist on a jazz album. It is called "Well, I Should Have Learned How To Play Piano" en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wel…
"Hey Jude" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" were both recorded using the same piano en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boh…
Mister Rogers was bullied as a child. "I used to cry to myself when I was alone," he said. "And I would cry through my fingers and make up songs on the piano." As he grew up, he decided to always look past the surface of people to the "essential invisible" within them. mentalfloss.com/article/4…
Chuck Berry wrote "Roll Over Beethoven" in response to his sister Lucy always using the family piano to play classical music when Berry wanted to play popular music. The lyric "roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news" refers classical composers rolling over in their graves to rock en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rol…
Leon Russell played piano on β€˜Monster Mash’ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
On 18 April 1930, the BBC's news announced "There is no news," of the 20:45 news bulletin. Piano music was played for the rest of the 15-minute segment. Broadcasting then returned from the Queen's Hall in Langham Place, London, where the Wagner opera Parsifal was being performed. bbc.com/news/entertainmen…
Critics who had said that piano recordings by Matsuzawa were some of the worst ever, went on to say that those by Joyce Hatto were some of the best ever, even though they were in fact the very same tapes. bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b09…
Don Henley's "The End of the Innocence" was co-written by Bruce Hornsby, and Bruce Hornsby played the piano for the studio album; both artists perform this song at their concerts. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Renowned concert pianist Krystian Zimerman's personal Steinway grand piano was confiscated when he landed in New York City to give a recital at Carnegie Hall. US customs destroyed his piano, claiming the glue smelled like explosives. theguardian.com/music/200…
Tori Amos, at age 2, could reproduce pieces of music on piano she had only heard once. At 3 years old, she was composing her own songs on piano. She has described seeing music as structures of light since early childhood, an experience consistent with chromesthesia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor…
During World War II, Steinway & Sons airdropped pianos with large parachutes and complete tuning instructions into the battle for the American troops. Called the Victory Vertical or G.I. Steinways, the pianos were to provide a bit of relaxation. The pianos came in olive, blue, and gray drab. steinway.com/news/feature…
The Hindenburg had a grand piano on it; but because they can weigh up to 1000 pounds, the ship had a specially-made aluminum piano which only weighed 350 pounds. airships.net/blog/hindenb…
The International Chopin Piano Competition has been held every five years since 1955. It is one of the few competitions devoted entirely to the works of a single composer en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Int…
The "tires" on the Apollo lunar rovers were made of a woven mesh of zinc-coated piano wire with titanium treads to keep them from sinking into the lunar soil. The tracks they left are only 1/2" deep. airandspace.si.edu/collec…
In 1926 the famous pianist Fats Waller (then 21) was kidnapped by Al Capone's gang to play piano for his birthday. He basically went missing for 3 days and was returned unharmed but drunk. independent.co.uk/life-st…
Bone Conduction is when sound moves to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Ludwig van Beethoven used bone conduction after losing most of his hearing, by placing one end of a rod in his mouth and resting the other end on the rim of his piano. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bon…
The iconic Jeopardy! theme song was written in 90 seconds by Merv Griffin on a piano gifted to him by Marlon Brando. theladders.com/career-adv…
Beethoven overcame deafness by biting a metal rod attached to his piano to hear his work. It's called bone conduction, and can also be used to help divers talk and hear underwater, and is also used by elephants to communicate blog.medel.com/how-beetho…
Dr Seuss wrote a 1963 film β€œThe 5000 fingers of Dr T”, about piano teacher Dr. Terwilliker, who has a mad plan to force 500 young boys to practice at his magnificent piano 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. seuss.fandom.com/wiki/The…
A piano wire is inserted to 'disable' the spinal cords of a live fish so it does not 'jump' during preparation youtu.be/HoPTTVkL6s0
Today I learned of the powerful Medici family of Florence, that produced four popes, two queens & other royals, influenced the renaissance age, bankrolled the church and kings, patronized Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo & Galileo, invented concept of β€˜holding company’ and helped fund invention of the piano. ducksters.com/history/ren…
One April day in 1930, the BBC reported, "There is no news." Instead they played piano music. bbc.com/news/entertainmen…
When Bette Midler started her career in the early 1970s, she was the singer in a gay bathhouse in New York often accompanied by Barry Manilow on piano. Manilow produced her first album and that patrons of the bath house were her first hardcore fans. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bet…
Composer Earle Brown wrote a piece called β€œTwenty-Five Pages”, which consists of 25 un-numbered pages that can be played in any order, either side up, and each line read as treble or bass clef. It can be played by any number of pianos up to 25. earle-brown.org/works/vie…
Paul McCartney says he saw a tv show which claimed Penny Lane featured 9 simultaneous piano parts, while he remembered there being only 1. He was inspired by the show to overlay multiple instruments in his latest songs. sodajerker.com/episode-12…
There was a brief period in the 1970s when U.S. airlines installed piano bars, cocktail lounges and restaurants on their larger planes. The lounges were eventually replaced so the airlines could add more seats. vinepair.com/wine-blog/th…
When the Soviet Union was pushing towards Berlin, an SS soldier was forced to play a piano for his captors. They made it clear in sign language that he would be executed the moment he stopped. He played for 22 hours, after which he collapsed in tears. They congratulated him, then shot him. hoover.org/research/conte…
A tack piano has thumbtacks or nails placed on the felt-padded hammers of the instrument at the point where the hammers hit the strings, giving the instrument a tinny, more percussive sound. It is used to evoke the feeling of a honky-tonk piano. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tac…
Chinese pianist Lang Lang learned to love classical music from a β€œTom and Jerry” cartoon. He was just two-and-a-half years old, and was absorbed by the piece, Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody Number II, that both Tom and Jerry played on the piano cnbc.com/2013/12/10/how-t…
Once under heavy influence of drugs and alcohol, Ozzy Osbourne decided to shoot his 17 cats. His wife(at the time) found him under a piano in a white suit holding a shotgun and bloody knife. loudersound.com/features/…
Jazz legend Dave Brubeck was nearly expelled from college because he could not read music. The college was afraid it would cause a scandal, and agreed to let Brubeck graduate only after he had promised to never teach piano. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dav…
Freddie Mercury used a piano as the headboard of his bed and would often play tunes that he had heard in his dreams . This was Bohemian Rhapsody began bbc.com/news/magazine-137…
Even though the piano creates sound using strings, it is usually classified as a percussion instrument because the strings are hit by hammers to generate the sound, rather than plucked or bowed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pia…
Li Yundi is the youngest pianist to win the International FrΓ©dΓ©ric Chopin Piano Competition, in 2000, at the age of 18. He was the first participant to be awarded First Prize in 15 years and first Chinese in the competition's history en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li_…
Adrien Brody, in order to star as Wladyslaw Szpilman in The Pianist, "withdrew for months, gave up his apartment and his car, broke up with his then-girlfriend, learned how to play Chopin on the piano, and lost 29" pounds, which earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor at 29 years old. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adr…
Stagehands mistakenly installed a malfunctioning piano for an hour-long solo Jazz performance. The musician, Keith Jarrett, had to improvise around the instrument's limitations. A recording of this concert went on to become the best selling piano album of all time. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
Today I learned of 'Blind Tom' Wiggins, born into slavery in 1849 Georgia and now regarded as having been an autistic savant. He displayed extraordinary memory and talent at the piano from an early age. His owner and his promoter toured him around the US, earning up to $1.5 million per annum in current terms. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bli…
A man born premature with cerebral palsy, was unable to swallow on his own until the age of 1, is blind, was unable to speak or walk until the age of 16, began playing Tchaikovsky's Concerto No.1 on piano in the middle of the night at age 16. He now can play any song after hearing it only once. youtube.com/watch?v=ZWtZA…
In 1815 (aged 18), in the spare time from his teaching job in his father’s school, Franz Schubert found time to compose 2 masses, a pair of offertories, a cantata, 4 stage works, 9 solo works for piano, a string quartet, a symphony and a half, two dozen part songs, and 140 solo songs franzschubert.org.uk/docs…
In 1952, President Truman gave the first televised tour of the White House. He explained its history, stopped in front of paintings and furniture to tell stories, and even played the Steinway piano in the East Room whitehousehistory.org/pho…
Ryan Gosling had no double for his pianist role in the La La Land movie. He learned to play the piano and all the musical compositions from scratch, in the 3 months before the movie was shot. youtube.com/watch?v=7szil…
Queen Elizabeth has a rubber duck with an inflatable crown in her bath at Buckingham Palace and keeps a Big Mouth Billy Bass on her piano at the summer Balmoral retreat in Scotland. news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/h…
Billy Joel was one of the first rock acts to hit the Soviet Union. He funded the tour primarily with his own money and broke a piano in a fit of rage when his camera crew shined lights on the audience. The audience went wild nytimes.com/1987/07/28/ar…
H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Archer and Bob from Bob's Burgers) has an entire jazz album where he plays piano, despite not knowing how to actually play piano. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._…
Shock G had several alter egos that were believed to be actual people by music fans and industry insiders. Aliases included Humpty Hump, Piano Man, Rackadelic, MC Blowfish, Gregory Racker, Icey Mike, Michael Boston, E7L, Peanut Hakeem Anafu Washington, Shakeem Bocaj V, Dat Jit Got a Dolphin Nose en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sho…
The "double-decker concert grand piano designed by Luigi Borgato boasts an additional 37 pedals. Since its completion in 2000, numerous compositions have been completed specifically for this pedal piano." cbc.ca/music/here-are-10-…
Franz Liszt’s concerts created such a frenzy that it was called Lisztomania. People would throw their gloves and underwear at him and fight to get broken piano strings from his concerts to make them into jewellery. npr.org/2011/10/22/141617…
87 years ago, there was a day that the BBC had no news to report. So they just played piano music. bbc.co.uk/news/entertainm…
Film composer John Williams played the famous piano riff on the theme song to Peter Gunn (1959). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The…
"Sam" from Casablanca didn't play the piano in the movie! He was a singer and drummer with his own touring band. He was a well-known actor and borrowed from Paramount studio for the role of "Sam". The piano music was played off screen and dubbed in later. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo…
The fullname of a piano is a "piano forte" since it can be played quietly and loudly unlike the harpsichord. piano-keyboard-guide.com/…

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