Kazoos are not just for the casual amateurs!

  • A kazoo is a small apparatus that can produce music by a person humming, singing or speaking into the mouthpiece.
  • The shape of a kazoo is often compared to that of a submarine, and it features holes at both ends, with another in what is generally a raised cylinder on the top.
  • To produce a good sound, a user should hum into the kazoo or make the sounds ‘rrr’, ‘doo’, ‘who’ or ‘brrr’ and avoid blowing, and in doing so, a buzz-like sound is added to those made by the user.
  • Kazoos distort the sound entered by the user, due to the vibration of the membrane that is located at the bottom of the hole in the top of the instrument, and this is caused by the changing air pressure made by the sound.
  • It is thought that the earliest form of kazoo was used by traditional African tribes to manipulate one’s voice, made of a cows’ horn and spider egg casings.
Kazoo, Instrument, Musical, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Toy, Plastic
Image courtesy of Phil Parker/Flickr
  • There is a museum dedicated to the kazoo, located in South Carolina’s Beaufort in the United States, which opened in 2010.
  • By the late 1870s, patents for buzzing musical instruments with similar functionality to the modern kazoo surfaced, however it was not until 1902 that the modern style shape was patented, by George D Smith from New York, in the United States.
  • The name ‘kazoo’ is believed to have been given to the instrument in 1883 by inventor Warren Frost, and the word is possibly an onomatopoeia (a word that imitates a sound) of the noise that the instrument makes.
  • Quality kazoos are commonly made of metal, while other variants typically produced are made of plastic or wood; and not only have they been used as musical instruments, but also as toys.
  • Kazoos were first used in a professional music recording in 1921 by the Original Dixieland Jass (or Jazz) Band, in the song ‘Crazy Blues’.
History of the Kazoo Through Patents, 2013, Association of American Kazoologists, http://kazoologist.org/history.html
Kazoo, 2016, Historical Folk Toys, http://www.historicalfolktoys.com/catcont/5001.html
Kazoo, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazoo
The Kazoo – It’s “Physics”, History, and Importance for Modern Music, 2016, Kazoobie Kazoos, https://kazoos.com/pages/the-kazoo-its-physics-history-and-importance-for-modern-music


Whitney Houston

“Loneliness comes with life” – Whitney Houston

  • Whitney Houston was a very successful pop and gospel singer, actress, and model, and through her achievements, she became one of the primary contributors in opening up music industry opportunities to ‘black’ women.
  • On the 9 August, 1963, in New Jersey’s Newark, in the United States, Whitney Houston was born to African American parents, and was named Whitney Elizabeth Houston.
  • Whitney Houston is listed among the top-selling music artists in history, with 170 to 200 million records sold worldwide, and was recognised as the most awarded female artist by the Guinness World Records in 2009, and in her lifetime is said to have won up to 600 or more awards, including two Emmy Awards, six Grammys and 30 Billboards, and has continued to accumulate awards since her death.
  • Each of the ten albums, including six studio produced albums, recorded by Whitney Houston, has received a high level of recognition, some reaching the honours of diamond.
  • In her life, Whitney Houston had the honour of featuring the most number one singles on the Billboard in a row, with seven, while her 1985 self-titled debut album was the biggest selling debut album ever (at the time) for a female.
Whitney Houston, Singer, White, Traditional, Frizzy, Ten Random Facts, White,  Musician, Legend
Whitney Houston
Image courtesy of tm_10001/Flickr
  • Whitney Houston’s first performances were in her local Baptist church choir, while as a young teenager she sometimes accompanied her mother, famous gospel singer Emily ‘Cissy’ Houston, who sung at local night clubs, and in 1977 and 1978 she was backup singing.
  • During Whitney Houston’s later teenage years she was a successful model, and later signed to music company Arista Records, in 1983, after rejecting numerous offers due to school commitments.
  • Whitney Houston became addicted to drugs in the 1990s, which became noticeable in her appearance and performances, and negatively affected her career; and she died on 11 February, 2012, in a hotel bathroom in California’s Beverly Hills, in the US, most likely due to accidental drowning, possibly from excessive drug use.
  • Whitney Houston was married to singer and rapper Robert Barisford “Bobby” Brown from 1992 to 2007, and had a daughter named Bobbi Kristina Brown in 1993.
  • Whitney Houston had a significant acting career, featuring in several films including a leading role in her first film The Bodyguard in 1992, and The Preacher’s Wife in 1996.
Whitney Houston, 2015, Bio.com, http://www.biography.com/people/whitney-houston-9344818
Whitney Houston, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitney_Houston

                  Whitney Houston

Taylor Swift

“Just be yourself, there is no one better.” – Taylor Swift

  • American Taylor Swift, is among the most successful and youngest country and pop vocalists, and songwriters that has ever lived.
  • Taylor Swift was born on 13 December 1989 as ‘Taylor Alison Swift’, in Pennsylvania’s West Reading, in the United States, and was brought up on a farm of Christmas trees.
  • Sony’s RCA Records was the first company to work with Taylor Swift, in 2004 when she was 14 years of age, and was the youngest writer to do so; however, the artist was only there for around a year, leaving to pursue a self-constructed career, and later signed with Big Machine Records.
  • Taylor Swift released her first album, self-titled, in 2006, which took one to two years to write, record and produce.
  • Taylor Swift has written songs with themes of romance, fantasy, friends, alienation and her past teenage life, and she uses codes in some of her written lyrics to reveal extra messages.
Taylor Swift, White, Hat, RED, Performance, Tour, Celebrity, Ten Random Facts, Person, Artist, Singer
Taylor Swift
Image courtesy of Jana Zills/Flickr
  • Taylor Swift endeavours to present a good public image and be a good role model, and she also likes to engage with her most enthusiastic fans by having them selected from audiences to meet with backstage.
  • Taylor Swift is well known for her philanthropy, and her earnings have reached significant millions since 2009, while in 2014 she earned $64 million.
  • When Taylor Swift was young, writing poetry was among her hobbies, and as an adult, writing about life is one of her favourite things to do.
  • Taylor Swift has been the recipient of numerous different awards, and by the end of 2014 had received 7 Grammy Awards as well as 16 American Music Awards, and had sold 27.1 million album copies in the United States.
  • Five albums, that is one every two years, have been produced by Taylor Swift; Taylor Swift in 2006, Fearless in 2008, Speak Now in 2010, Red in 2012, and 1989 in 2014.
About, 2014, Taylor Swift, http://taylorswift.com/about
Taylor Swift, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Swift
Widdicombe, L, You Belong With Me, 2011, The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/10/10/you-belong-with-me

Taylor Swift

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a musician that helped shape the classical music era, and is commonly referred to as ‘Mozart’.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born as the youngest of seven children, on 27 January, 1756, in Austria’s Salzburg, in Europe, to Leopold Mozart, a violinist, and Anna Maria Pertl, although Mozart was only one of their two children to survive past their first year.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptised in the St. Rupert’s Cathedral, a Catholic church, as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, and was commonly called by various names throughout his life, and had a preference for the Latin word Amadeus, meaning ‘to love God’, as his middle name, rather than the Greek word ‘Theophilus’, that had the same meaning.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was originally educated only by his father, and was skilled on the piano and violin and composing at five years of age.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first performance was in Munich, Germany, in the Prince-elector Maximilian III’s court at age six.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Portrait, Red, Coat, White, Grey, Old, Ten Random Facts, Flickr, Joseph Hickel

Portrait of Mozart by Joseph Hickel
Image courtesy of WCFsymphony/Flickr
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was the official musician of the Salzburg Prince-Archbishop of the time, Hieronymus Colloredo, from 1773 to 1777, and later moved to Vienna, in Austria, in 1781.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart married Constanze Weber on 4 August, 1782, and had six children; although only two survived past the age of one year.
  • At 35 years old, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died on 5 December 1791 in Vienna, Austria, after a period of illness, with his death cause unconfirmed.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart significantly influenced the great classical musician Ludwig van Beethoven, although it is uncertain as to whether they met, and Mozart’s music has long been studied by musicians around the world, having influenced many.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is said to have learnt 15 languages as the result of much travelling, and produced more than 600 works of music, in every genre of the day.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 2014, Encyclopaedia Britannica, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/395455/Wolfgang-Amadeus-Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart
 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer, 2014, DSO Kids, http://www.dsokids.com/listen/by-composer/wolfgang-amadeus-mozart.aspx

                        Mozart’s Music

Elvis Presley

“Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.” – Elvis Presley.

  • Elvis Presley was a singer, actor and musician from America, who was very popular in the rock and roll genre.
  • ‘Elvis Presley’ was also known as ‘the King of Rock and Roll’ and ‘The King’, and had the full name of ‘Elvis Aaron Presley’ and his middle name was originally spelt ‘Aron’.
  • Elvis Presley was born on 8 January, 1935, in Mississippi’s Tupelo in the United States, as a twin, although his older identical brother was stillborn, making Elvis an only child.
  • Elvis Presley had been a good singer since childhood, despite some people not liking his style, although bullying and shyness contributed to stage fright and failed grades for music.
  • Elvis Presley first recorded himself in 1953, at Sun Records, trying to gain recognition, later forming a trio with Bill Black and Winfield ‘Scotty’ Moore brought together by Sun Record’s founder, Sam Phillips.

Elvis Presley, Cover, Elvis is Back, Music, C, RGA Victor, Ten Random Facts, Flickr

Elvis Presley
Image courtesy of Brett Jordan/Flickr
  • Elvis Presley started to become popular in 1955 and his popularity grew until 1958 when he joined the US Army, but his producers kept his music coming and he was able to quickly slot back into his music career two years later, with a number one hit in 1960.
  • Elvis Presley performed in genres of rock and roll, pop, rockabilly, R&B, gospel, country and blues, and was initially thought to be an African American by some who had only heard him, due to the style of his voice and music.
  • Elvis Presley married Priscilla Wagner on 1 May, 1967, and they had a daughter, Lisa Marie, but divorced in 1973, and it was only a few years later that he died on 16 August, 1977, aged 42, in Tennessee’s Memphis, in the United States, prior to just starting a tour, likely due to heart attack that was possibly caused by drugs.
  • Elvis Presley was entombed at Forest Hill Cemetery, Memphis, two days after his death, with 80,000 people lining the streets in the area, and he was later buried at his Graceland estate, also in Memphis, even though some believe Presley actually faked his death.
  • Elvis Presley had 70 albums, more than 100 singles, featured in 33 films, achieved 90 gold album awards, a total of 77 platinum and multi-platinum album awards, and is the ‘best selling solo albums artist’ in the United States ever, and won three Grammy awards in his lifetime.
Elvis Presley, 2013, Bio.com, http://www.biography.com/people/elvis-presley-9446466
Elvis Presley, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley

Elvis Presley’s Albums

Les Paul

Ever heard of Les Paul?

  • Les Paul was a guitarist that worked particularly in the areas of jazz, blues and country, and invented some music related items.
  • Les Paul’s full name is Lester William Polsfuss and was born on 9 June, 1915, in Waukesha in USA’s Wisconsin.
  • Les Paul invented one of the first solid body electric guitars in 1940, and later had one named after him.
  • Les Paul is featured in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and won two Grammy Awards in 2006.
  • Les Paul’s first instrument to learn was the harmonica, then the piano, followed by the guitar, and later he became a semi-professional guitarist, harmonica player and country singer by age thirteen.

Les Paul, Black, White, jazz, club, 2008, New York, Live, Ten Random Facts, Guitarist

Les Paul 2008
Image courtesy of Thomas Faivre-Duboz/Flickr
  • Les Paul originally had the stage names ‘Red Hot Red’ and ‘Rhubarb Red’, and was also known as ‘Wizard of Waukesha’.
  • At a young age, Les Paul invented a hands-free holder for a harmonica, that went around his neck that could be used while he was performing.
  • Les Paul met his second wife (he divorced his first wife Virginia Webb), Iris Summers, known as Mary Ford, in 1945, whom he married in 1949, but divorced in the early 1960s, just before Paul’s retirement.
  • Les Paul semi-retired in 1965, but still performed until his death, ending his life with 40 albums.
  • Les Paul nearly electrocuted himself in 1941, survived a major car accident in 1948, had significant heart surgery in 1987, suffered from arthritis, and eventually died on 12 August, 2009, age 94, due to pneumonia complications.
Bibliography: Les Paul, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Paul
Baker, Les Paul, So Much More Than A Guitar, 2014, The Les Paul Foundation, http://lespaulfoundation.org/about-les-paul.html


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