Top 40 Trivia Vol 2 features the inspirations and the fascinating facts behind 500 pop hits from 1955-2005.
ROCK AND ROLL (I Gave You The Best Years Of My Life) (Kevin Johnson) (1973)
Johnson wrote the song on a trip from Sydney to his home where he had lived on the northern beaches. He says the first third of the song was totally true but the rest is changed to suit the occasions in the song. (At that stage he hadn’t even left Australia). Mac Davis was his first choice to record the song but he wasn’t that impressed by the Nashville-produced version. In Mac’s version he changed the words to include his wife – who apparently left him a week after he recorded it. Johnson’s version only made No 73 in America. It fared better in the UK where it made No 23.
ROCK AND ROLL GIRLS (John Fogerty) (1985)
The song was inspired by his daughter Laurie who at the time was 14 years of age. This hit was featured on his solo album Centerfield which also contained the hit single Old Man Down The Road.
ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK (Bill Haley & The Comets) (1955)
It’s original working title was Dance Around The Clock. Originally recorded by Sonny Dae in 1954, it wasn’t a major hit for Haley and the Comets until their version was included in the soundtrack to the film The Blackboard Jungle. (Just three weeks after recording this song in 1954, Comets’ guitarist Danny Cedrone died of a heart attack after falling down some steps.)
ROCKET MAN (Elton John) (1972)
Bernie Taupin says the song’s beginning came when he thought of the words: – “She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour is 9am.” He recalls jumping out of his car and running into his parent’s house shouting: “Please don’t anyone talk to me until I’ve written this down.” He admits to stealing the song title from US singer Tom Rapp.
ROCKIN’ ALL OVER THE WORLD (Status Quo) (1976)
This was a cover version of the song written and previously recorded by John Fogerty, ex-Creedence Clearwater Revival. Fogerty had issued his original recording as a single in September 1975. It never charted in Australia and was a minor hit in the US. When Quo member Rick Parfitt first heard Fogerty’s version on his car radio he suggested to the rest of the band that they should record a ‘Quo’ version. Although the other band members were initially reluctant, the song was eventually recorded and has subsequently become a Quo anthem.
RUBY BABY (Dion) (1963)
Songwriters Mike Stoller and Jerry Leiber originally penned the song for The Drifters in 1955. Dion had the biggest hit version in 1963 and describes the recording as “probably the happiest couple of minutes I’ve ever done.
RUNNING SCARED (Roy Orbison) (1961)
The song title came from a news headline that Orbison read in a newspaper during a plane trip. It was his first No 1 hit in the US. The flipside was Love Hurts – which became a hit for Jim Capaldi as well as the band Nazareth in 1976.
Each book can be purchased from Newmedia for $A40
NOTE: Two volumes available. Each book features 500 fascinating facts and interesting trivia regarding various Top 40 pop music hits from 1955 -2005.
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