1.In this already legendary scene from Stranger Things 4 (2022), Max escaped villain Vecna through the power of her favorite song: "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush. Because of this scene's instant popularity and deep connection with its younger fans, the 1985 song sky-rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Global 200 charts in mid-June.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Kate Bush described the impact her 1985 song "Running Up That Hill" has had on a younger generation in 2022. "[Stranger Things] is such a great series. I thought that the track would get some attention, but I just never imagined that it would be anything like this," she said. "The thought of all these really young people hearing the song for the first time and discovering it is very special. I thought: 'What a lovely way for the song to be used in such a positive way.' I think it's very touching." And since Stranger Things 4 hit Netflix, Bush has earned $2.3 million in royalties!!!
You can watch the "Max's Song" scene from Stranger Things 4 here:
And you can listen to Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" here:
2.Before they made it big as members of Fleetwood Mac in 1975, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham formed a rock band in the late-'60s called Fritz. In their early twenties, they played every gig they could land — and one of their most notable gigs? Opening for legendary rock 'n' roll singer Janis Joplin in Cleveland in 1970.
Janis Joplin yelled Stevie Nicks, Lindsey Buckingham, and the rest of Fritz off the stage because their set went over their allotted time. "Being yelled off the stage by Janis Joplin was one of the greatest honors of my life," Nicks said. "On walks this girl in silky bell-bottoms, a beautiful top, lots of gorgeous jewelry, feathers in her crazy, big natural hair. Lots of attitude, arrogance, the crowd in the palm of her hand. She was not a beautiful woman, but very attractive. I was very taken with her."
3.In 2018, Lauryn Hill was the most sampled artist of the year. Cardi B sampled her 1998 hit "Ex-Factor" for her song "Be Careful," and Drake sampled the same song for his hit "Nice for What."
About a month after Drake's "Nice for What" became a major hit all thanks to sampling Lauryn Hill, Hill gave a hat-tip to Drizzy in one of her concerts. She remixed her own version of "Nice for What" at the Apollo Theater (where she was once booed as a teenager in 1987), and rapped these lyrics: "See, this is 'Ex-Factor', he took the sample. My shit is classic, here's an example."
Listen to Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor" here:
Listen to Cardi B's "Be Careful" here:
And listen to Drake's "Nice for What" here:
4.In 1970 when political activist Angela Davis was arrested in New York City for a crime she was wrongfully accused of — and even threatened with the death penalty — many famous musicians came forward to show their support. Big names like Aretha Franklin offered $100,000 to $250,000 to post bail for Davis. "Angela Davis must go free. Black people will be free. I've been locked up, and I know you got to disturb the peace when you can't get no peace," Franklin told Jet Magazine in 1970. "I have the money — I got it from Black people. They've made me financially able to have it, and I want to use it in ways that will help our people."
Nina Simone also showed her support by visiting Angela Davis in jail, and gave her a balloon to lift her spirits up. In the 2012 documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, Davis recalled: "Nina Simone came and visited me for a long time. She came in with a balloon, which the jailers did not want me to have, but I fought for that balloon because I love Nina Simone!"
5.Barbra Streisand has been known for having long nails ever since she came onto the scene as a singer in 1963. For her 1976 film, A Star Is Born, she set out to learn the guitar and wrote the classic "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)," which won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1977. Because she had long nails, she had to cut the nails on her left hand to make learning the guitar easier, and feel more in-tune (pun intended) with the song she was composing.
They ended up cutting a scene from A Star Is Born that showed Barbra Streisand playing the guitar for costar Kris Kristofferson. She released the deleted scene in 2018 where you could see her long nails on her right hand plucking "Evergreen" on the guitar. Streisand revealed in an Instagram video that, "When I had to learn the guitar for A Star Is Born, I only had to cut [my nails] on one hand."
6.There are many famous musicians out there who've paid subtle tributes to great artists who came before them. Seeing these famous musicians honor them never fails to move me, especially when it comes to famous women.
At the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards, Lizzo paid tribute to Prince by having her dancers wear similar outfits to the one he wore in his "Raspberry Beret" video. In the same year, Alicia Keys honored iconic pianist Hazel Scott at the Grammys when she played two pianos at the same time. Brittany Howard, a big admirer of one of the first rock 'n' rollers Sister Rosetta Tharpe, has consistently paid tribute by playing the same electric guitar as Tharpe.
7.The classic '90s rock anthem "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes (you know, the one you probably sing at karaoke all the time) almost sounded completely different than the version you know and love. When 4 Non Blondes first went into the studio to record it, producer David Tickle had created an arrangement that sounded very different than front-woman Linda Perry's original demo. In an episode of VH1's Behind the Music, Perry recalled: "[I was] just gonna do what [I was told]. I shut up when I heard the marching drum, I shut up when David was trying to get me to rewrite the lyrics, I shut up when the solo showed up over the marching drum. I shut up through the whole fucking thing."
Jimmy Iovine, their label's founder, gave 4 Non Blondes his blessing to rerecord the song because "he liked the demo version better than David's." So, the band re-recorded "What's Up?" in one day, making Perry feel relieved. "Everything went right back to the original way I wrote it, and then we mixed it that night and it got on [Bigger, Better, Faster, More!]," she said. "That's the one that sold seven million records, that's the one that was all over the radio, that's the one that got successful — that version."
Listen to 4 Non Blondes' "What's Up?" here:
8.Before he made it big with his 1970 album, Sweet Baby James, James Taylor was signed to the Beatles' Apple Records in 1968 at just 20 years years old. It was then he recorded his debut album, James Taylor, which didn't sound like Taylor's style at all. Among the 18 songs, he recorded "Something in the Way She Moves" (a song that would later become a major hit for him in the '70s).
While James Taylor was recording his debut album in 1968, Paul McCartney and George Harrison met him and sat in on his sessions. It was around this time that the Beatles were recording their album Abbey Road, in which Harrison penned one of their biggest hits: "Something."
The opening line in the Beatles' "Something" was taken directly from James Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves." George Harrison's opening lyric was: "Something in the way she moves, attracts me like no other lover." This is one of the most legendary lyrics in music history, but its origins owe a debt to Taylor. In Taylor's song, his opening lyric was: "There's something in the way she moves, or looks my way or calls my name."
Listen to James Taylor's "Something in the Way She Moves" here:
And listen to the Beatles' "Something" here:
9.Prince was a deep admirer of Joni Mitchell growing up, and even claimed her 1975 album, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, was one of his favorite pieces of music of all time. Because he was such a big fan, as a teenager he wrote her letters expressing his admiration for her lyrics and musical style. Mitchell revealed in a 2005 interview with New York Magazine that "Prince used to write me fan mail with all of the U's and hearts — that way that he writes. [My] office took it as mail from the lunatic fringe, and just tossed [his letters!]."
Joni Mitchell remembered spotting Prince in the audience at one of her concerts in the '70s when he was only 15 years old. "Prince attended one of my concerts in Minnesota — I remember seeing him sitting in the front row when he was very young. He must have been about 15. He was in an aisle seat and he had unusually big eyes," she said. "He watched the whole show with his collar up, looking side to side — you couldn't miss him. He was a little Prince-ling."
Listen to Prince's cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You" here:
10."Oops (Oh My)" by Tweet is NOT about masturbation — it's actually about being confident in your body and your mind.
The song's cowriter, Missy Elliott, revealed the true meaning behind the song on Twitter in 2021. Elliott tweeted: "#FunFact this song was never 'bout masturbation — it was always about [Tweet] appreciating her dark skin (self-love) when she looked in the mirror. It was the listeners who thought it was about sex and just ran with it. We just let the consumers' minds create what they wanted."
Listen to Tweet's "Oops (Oh My)" here:
11.In 1990, Madonna's music video for "Justify My Love" was banned from airing on MTV because it celebrated bisexuality and voyeurism. After the video's release, Madonna received backlash among music fans and the media, and did an interview on Nightline to set the record straight. When questioned why she submitted the video to MTV knowing it had nudity, she responded: "When I did my 'Vogue' video, there's a shot of me where I'm wearing a see-through dress, and you can clearly see my breasts. They told me that they wanted me to take that out, but I said I wouldn't, and they played it anyway."
Madonna went on to say she thought she could "bend the rules a little bit" with her "Justify My Love" music video, but she still received judgment from her interviewer on Nightline. In the end, Madonna paved the way for future female artists to express themselves with their sexuality, even though they also paid the price. In the mid-'00s, MTV limited how often the videos for "Toxic" by Britney Spears and "Dirrty" by Christina Aguilera were played during the day because they were considered overly sexual (an action taken shortly after Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl performance).
Watch Madonna's "Justify My Love" music video here:
12.And Queen's "We Will Rock You" was written specifically for their fans. One night after a concert was over in England, Queen fans stayed and serenaded the band with a song.
Brian May, Queen's lead guitarist, said: "We did an encore and then went off, and instead of just clapping, they sang 'You'll Never Walk Alone' to us, and we were just completely knocked out and taken aback. It was quite an emotional experience, really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected to that...I went to bed thinking: 'What could you ask them to do?'"
"They're all squeezed in there, but they can clap their hands, they can stamp their feet, and they can sing," said Brian May. "In the morning, I woke up and had the idea in my head for 'We Will Rock You.'"
Listen to Queen's "We Will Rock You" here:
What's a random music fact that most people don't know? Tell us in the comments below!