Listen to some famous musical couples
The working lives of musicians and songwriters make it hard to build successful intimate relationships and enduring marriages. What are the odds when both partners are big music stars?
It's surprising how many musician couples choose to make music together. The McCartneys, Don Bryant and Ann Peebles, June Carter and Johnny Cash. Debby Harry and Chris Stein, the Captain and Tennille.
There's a long list, and while their personal relationships didn't always last, these couples made some great music.
Listen to the Glenn Wheatley story
Like many kids, the sight of Elvis Presley on his parents' black and white TV electrified a young Glenn Wheatley, pointing the way from his childhood home in Brisbane to the bright lights of the music business.
Many dream of a life in music, but few live that dream as completely as Glenn did. He was a musician, playing guitar in Bay City Union, then bass for the Masters Apprentices, one of the most popular bands of the time.
One night, at the Brisbane Festival Hall, a crowd bigger than the Beatles had drawn to that venue went crazy - the band had to be smuggled out in the back of an ambulance. The band was paid just $200 for the night, sparking an epiphany for Glenn. He took over managing the Masters Apprentices, got them a better share of the money, and went on to manage Australian and overseas acts. He shaped the Australian music industry in many ways, including his passionate advocacy for FM radio. He launched Australia's first commercial FM station - EON FM - in 1980.
Glenn Wheatley died in February - he was 74.
Listen to the history of gold records
Gold records have been around since the early 1940s, when record companies gave them to their artists to mark memorable sales milestones. Great publicity stunts. Glenn Miller's Chatanooga Choo Choo was the first "gold" record, although the actual disc presented to Miller was just an ordinary record painted gold.
Eventually, independent music industry associations took over the awarding of gold and platinum records for achieving specific sales figures. Elvis has the most US gold records, but The Beatles have the most US gold and platinum records.
Here in Australia, making it big in the US was always a goal for local acts, and getting a US gold record was a good measure of that success. So who was the first Australian to get a US gold record? Sister Janet Mead, who had an unexpected global hit in 1973 with her rocked up version of The Lord's Prayer.
Sister Janet died in January - she was 84.
Listen to the story of this famous instrument
On December 4, 1956, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley gathered round the piano at Sun Studios in Memphis. This impromptu jam was recorded, and released some years later as the Million Dollar Quartet.
Studio owner Sam Phillips had bought the piano six years earlier, when he set up Sun Records, an enterprise central to the birth of rock music. It was a 1949 Wurlitzer spinet piano, and it's been played by many great musicians on thousands of recording sessions.
Late in 2021, the piano was listed for sale by auction - with an expected price of about one million dollars. This instrument, and the store it was purchased from, are right at the heart of the rock and roll story.
Listen to songs with incredibly long titles
Song titles are usually short, memorable, something of the song’s essence in a short phrase. But not always. Some song titles go on and on and on. Some bulk up their titles by adding phrases in brackets.
Hoagy Carmichael may hold the record with a 30 word song title, The Faces have one with 28 words. Honourable mentions to Panic at the Disco, Brian Hyland, Pink Floyd, Lana Del Ray. The longest title I could find is by Christine Lavin, with 97 words.
It’s a small but significant, and really entertaining, musical sub-genre.
Richard is a writer, podcaster, radio and TV broadcaster, an editor, and a lover of music. He tells the stories of how great songs are made, and of the people who make them.