Gustav Mahler was superstitious and strongly believed in the Curse of the Ninth, where composers can only compose nine symphonies before they die. He tried to beat superstition by calling his 9th symphonic work a “song cycle,” then began work on his 10th symphony and died.
When musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole passed in 1997, he was the first and only citizen to receive the honor of having the Hawaii state flag flown at half-staff. His coffin was allowed to “lay in state” in the capitol building. Since then, in 2003 a bronze bust of Brother Iz was erected on O’ahu.
When Herman Poole Blount, aka Sun Ra, played a gig at a mental hospital, it prompted a patient to talk for the first time in years. The patient walked directly to his piano, and said ‘Do you call that music?’
When a then-unknown Prince opened up for the Rolling Stones on the first of two nights in LA in 1981, the crowd threw beer cans at him and booed him off the stage within the first 20 minutes of his set. He came on the stage wearing nothing but bikini briefs and a trench coat.
At 52, Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman married 18-year-old Mandy Smith but divorced after a year. Bill’s 30-year-old son then Stephen married Mandy’s mother, age 46. If Bill and Mandy had remained married, Stephen would have been his father’s father-in-law and his own grandpa.
Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack are widely credited with helping end segregation in Las Vegas, by refusing to perform in venues that wouldn’t allow blacks.
Both members of the electronic dance duo, LMFAO, are indirectly related to President Jimmy Carter through his mother’s side.
Ten days before Freddie Mercury died, Jim Beach, Queen’s manager, met with him to discuss what could be done with his legacy. Freddie said, “You can do whatever you like with my image, my music, remix it, re-release it, whatever… just never make me boring.”
When Queen wanted to release “Bohemian Rhapsody”, various executives told them that a song with a length of 5 minutes and 55 seconds was too long and would never be a hit. They even played it to other musicians who claimed that the song had “no hope” of being played on the radio.
In 1974, a then-unknown Queen performed at an Australian festival to a mean-spirited, drunken crowd. Before finishing, Freddie Mercury told them that Queen would be “one of the biggest bands in the world” the next time they visited. When they came back, they were at the top of the charts.