Sixto Rodriguez, a US-based ’70s musician, became a construction worker after commercial failure in the US. However, unbeknown to him, he achieved cult-like status in South Africa, where both his albums went platinum. His daughter found out after discovering a website dedicated to him, in 1997.
Bill Withers, the singer song writer of “Aint no Sunshine” was a factory worker making airplane toilets when he wrote the hit song at age 31. After the song hit gold, the record company presented him with a gold toilet marking the start of his new career.
When Guns ‘N Roses broke down on their way to a gig in Seattle in 1985, they ate raw onions from a field at the side of the road, managed to hitch a ride to the club and, when afterwards the owner refused to pay them, they tried and failed to burn the club down.
In 1982, two ex-members of the band Yes started a new band, Cinema. The actual band Yes still existed at that point, but broke up shortly afterward. Two of Yes’s ex-members then joined Cinema. At that point Cinema just decided to become the band Yes.
After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Lithuanian basketball team couldn’t afford to participate in the 1992 Olympics, so the Grateful Dead funded the team’s expenses, and the team wore tie-dye uniforms.
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.
Gwen Stefani’s brother Eric was originally the keyboardist for No Doubt but left to become an animator for The Simpsons. He was able to put No Doubt into the background of the Lollapalloza episode when they were still pretty much an unknown band.
James Jamerson, regarded as the greatest electronic bass player ever, recorded Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, while being flat on his back as he was too intoxicated to stand upright. He was the uncredited bassist on most of the Motown Records hits in the 1960s and early 1970s.
In 2008 and at the age of 45, Flea, bass player of the multiplatinum rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers, enrolled as a freshman at University of Southern California’s music program to learn the academic side of music.
In 1973 the members of Led Zeppelin gave drummer John Bonham a Harley Davidson for his 25th birthday, which he promptly rode up and down the hallways of his hotel, causing thousands of dollars in damage. The next day, he wrote a check for the damages and said “Oh, and keep the bike.”