Music History Quiz: Do You Know Who Inspired These Famous Songs?
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Behind every great song is a story, and some of the juiciest stories are inspired by other musical artists. Love, envy, contempt and admiration have all played a behind-the-scenes role in songwriter/artist relationships.
Can you name which famous figure inspired each of these 12 recognizable tunes? Enter your email address at the end of this quiz for a chance to win a Musicnotes $50 e-gift card! One winner will be chosen at random & notified via email on April 10, 2017.
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We hope you had fun guessing who inspired the stories behind these diverse titles. In fact, you can learn to play them all with our “12 Songs Written About Other Artists” collection.
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1. Don McLean’s 1971 hit single “American Pie” repeatedly mentions “the day the music died.” Which artist below DID NOT perish in the 1959 Mason City, IA plan crash that inspired McLean’s song?
2. “You’re So Vain” was written in 1972, and Carly Simon has said the song’s subject is a composite of 3 famous figures. Which of the names below has she explicitly said is NOT one of the 3?
3. Stephen Stills wrote Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” as a response to his ill-fated relationship with which singer/songwriter?
4. Who is rumored to be Sheryl Crow’s favorite mistake in “My Favorite Mistake“?
6. Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant wrote “Going to California” in 1971, when he was 22 years old. In it, he sings “to find a queen without a king, they say she plays guitar and cries and sings,” in reference to this “I Had a King” writer.
7. Which long-locked hard-rock front man inspired Steven Tyler to pen Aerosmith’s 1987 “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)“?
8. Although Joan Baez wrote “Diamonds and Rust” in 1974, the phone call recalled in the song’s lyrics took place a decade earlier. What “unwashed phenomenon, original vagabond” was the subject of Baez’s recollection?
9. Featuring Ringo Starr on drums and Paul McCartney on backing vocals, George Harrison’s 1981 single “All Those Years Ago” was written as a tribute to whom?
10. Gwen Stefani reportedly wrote “Hollaback Girl” in response to an interview this rocker did with Seventeen Magazine, in which her adversary referred to Stefani as a “cheerleader.”
11. Not suitable for children or those with certain modesties, Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel # 2,” from his 1974 ‘New Skin for the Old Ceremony’ album recalls an encounter with this songstress.
12. U2’s Bono and The Edge where inspired by this Lady Day when writing “Angel of Harlem” for 1988’s ‘Rattle and Hum’ album.