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When Japanese composer Mamoru Samuragochi went completely deaf at the age of 35, he continued to compose music, explaining that he was able to do so because of his "absolute pitch." Some of his most popular works were composed when he was deaf, such as his Hiroshima Symphony No 1. On account of this, people began calling him the "Japanese Beethoven."

But now he's admitted that when he started losing his hearing he relied on a "ghost composer" to help him create his works. Samuragochi would outline the basic concept of the work, and the other guy would produce the finished composition.

Samuragochi didn't say who the ghost composer was, but the Japanese media is pointing the finger at Takashi Niigaki.

This recalls the celebrated scandal from the 1930's involving the violinist Fritz Kreisler. The difference being that Kreisler said he was performing the works of other famous composers (although they were actually his own compositions), whereas Samuragochi said the works were his own, but they were really partially someone else's.

'Japanese Beethoven' admits he is a fraud
BBC News

A deaf composer who has been dubbed "Japan's Beethoven" has admitted hiring someone else to write his music for nearly two decades.
Mamoru Samuragochi shot to fame in the mid-1990s and is most famous for his Hiroshima Symphony No 1, dedicated to those killed in the 1945 atomic blast.
The 50-year-old has now confessed he has not composed his own music since 1996.

[Thanks to Bob Pagani for the link!]
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Thu Feb 06, 2014
Comments (0)
Mysterious ways of Dave Fanning hoax;
2fm DJ passes off song by obscure English band as the latest single from U2.

The Sunday Times (London)
January 26, 2014

DUE TO a long friendship with U2, his radio show is always the first to play any new songs from the Dublin group. Earlier this month, however, U2 fans didn't find what they were looking for when Dave Fanning, the 2fm DJ, promised to play their new single - but instead spun a track from an unknown British band...

What listeners actually heard was a song entitled Bad Machine by Dark Stares, a virtually unknown band from St Albans in London...

Last week, Fanning dismissed the transmission as a hoax and insisted the joke was on listeners and not him...

For some listeners "Fanning-gate", as it was labelled on one U2 forum, was not quite so funny. Taking the broadcast seriously, posts initially hailed the fake U2 song as "an ancestor to The Fly", and how "it makes sense" that U2 would permit Fanning the first play from their new album because of their tradition of doing so.

When it transpired the transmission was a hoax, emotions ranged from relief that it wasn't U2 because the song was "awful", to sympathy for Fanning who some presumed had been "duped".

Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Sun Jan 26, 2014
Comments (2)
In the 1970s did a gospel soul band called Milky Edwards & The Chamberlings record an album of cover versions of all the songs on David Bowie's Starman? Apparently not. However, on YouTube you can find three videos of someone playing songs from this non-existent album on a record player.






The videos were uploaded over a year and a half ago (and there's an accompanying, minimalist website — milkyedwards.com), but they've only started to attract attention recently. And now people are wondering who created these videos and why? Because whoever created them, did them very well. The recordings don't sound like the work of an amateur.

The Guardian reviews what people have uncovered so far about this mystery. First, the album cover that can be seen behind the record player is definitely not from the 1970s because it uses a modern font, Mojo Standard, that is "squished and pulled" (as graphic designer Brian Borrows puts it) in a way that can only be easily done on a computer.


Second, although the singer sounds like Tom Jones, it's not him, according to Jones's management.

Beyond that, nothing more is currently known. We'll just have to wait and see how this plays out.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Sun Sep 29, 2013
Comments (8)
Honestly, I don't know why people made an issue out of this. Do we really expect that singers should be able to belt out perfect vocals in freezing weather?

Beyonce says sang along to pre-recorded track at inauguration
reuters.com

Singer Beyonce said she sang along to a pre-recorded track at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, but delivered a stirring a cappella version of the U.S. national anthem at a Super Bowl news conference on Thursday... "It was a live television show and a very, very important emotional show for me and one of my proudest moments, and due to the weather, to the delay, due to no proper sound check, I did not feel comfortable taking the risk. It was about the president and the inauguration and I wanted to make him and my country proud, so I decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track, which is very common in the music industry, and I am very proud of my performance," she said.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Fri Feb 01, 2013
Comments (0)
(Besides the fact that they're all performed by the same guy)

Mozart, Sonata in D Major, Anh. 294d, mov. 3


Mendelssohn's Song Without Words, Op. posth., No. 3d.


Haydn, Piano Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob. LVII:1-12


Answer: They're all hoaxes. The pieces weren't composed by Mozart, Mendelssohn, or Haydn.

Last year someone going under the name 'The Mad Rhino' began uploading videos of himself playing pieces by famous composers. The videos caught the attention of classical-music fans because although the pieces all sounded pretty convincing, no one recognized them.

The Slipped Disc blog recently revealed the pieces to be hoaxes by a classically trained Chicago lawyer:

The man who has been perpetrating intelligent, mildly imperfect copies of great classics on Youtube has confirmed his identity. He is a Chicago lawyer, Dmitry Feofanov. Originally from Moscow, he trained as a pianist and conductor, developing a taste for such difficult esoterica as Alkan's solo piano concerto and a concerto by Stenhammar which he rediscovered...

As for the musical hoaxes on Youtube, Dmitry assures us that all of them were hallmarked with his initials to keep the business honest. 'Every fake opus number had a letter that came with it–either "d" or "f", and the Mozart key sequence of the movements was D-f#-D, and the Mozart fake opus number was the same as the "Adelaide" concerto, which was hoaxed by Casadesus.'

The hoax reminded me of the Lost Classics of Fritz Kreisler.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 16, 2012
Comments (1)
BlueBeat music is being sued for illegally selling Beatles songs. Their defense: the songs are not Beatles songs, but rather "psycho-acoustic simulations."

BlueBeat's lawyers claim that the Website is "entirely lawful and does not constitute piracy" and that the plaintiffs are not likely to succeed. Also, the plaintiffs are well aware that the defendants "developed a series of entirely new and original sounds that it allows the general public to purchase" and that "copyright protection does not extend to the independant fixation of sounds other than those contained in their copyrighted recordings."

Link: consumerist.com

(Thanks, Joe!)
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 05, 2009
Comments (0)
A story that was too good to be true: Roxanne Shante was an up-and-coming rap star in the 80s, but her career subsequently fizzed out, and her record company abandoned her. But, according to the New York Daily News, she managed to get her own back by noticing an obscure clause in her recording contract that obligated Warner Music to fund her education for life. Thanks to this, she was able to earn a Ph.D in psychology from Cornell.

As Ben Sheffner of slate.com notes, "The story was endlessly blogged and tweeted, heralded as an example of a heroic triumph by a girl from the projects over her evil record label." But when he investigated it more closely, he discovered "Virtually everything about the Daily News' heartwarming 'projects-to-Ph.D.' story appears to be false":

• According to Warner, neither it nor any of its subsidiary record labels ever had a contract with Shanté, and it was not obligated to pay for her education. Indeed, there's no evidence that it ever did.
• Shanté—real name Lolita Shanté Gooden—doesn't have a Ph.D. from Cornell or anywhere else. Indeed, she admitted it in an interview with Slate. And Cornell has no record of Gooden (or "Shanté") ever attending or receiving a degree.
• According to Marymount Manhattan College records, Shanté enrolled there but dropped out less than four months later without ever earning a degree.
• New York state records indicate that no one named Lolita Gooden or Roxanne Shanté is licensed to practice psychology or any related field.
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 03, 2009
Comments (3)
Magazines have begun to note the 40th anniversary of the Paul is Dead rumor (although they're two months early... the rumor began to circulate widely in September 1969).

Contact Music managed to get a quotation from McCartney about the rumor. He claims to still be laughing it off. But interestingly, he also get the details wrong about how the rumor started:

MCCartney's barefoot appearance in the photo [on the cover of Abbey Road] sparked wild rumours the rocker had died in a car crash - and the 67 year old admits he still has to reassure some fans he's not an impostor.
He explains, "The idea was to walk across the crossing, and I showed up that day with sandals, flip-flops. It was so hot that I kicked them off and walked across barefooted, and this started some rumour that because he's barefooted, he's dead. I couldn't see the connection.

McCartney barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road was one of the major clues that fueled the rumor, but it didn't spark the rumor. The event that really launched the rumor was when Detroit DJ Russ Gibb played the song "Revolution Number Nine" backwards on his show and claimed to hear the words "Turn me on, dead man."

There's been several books and a number of scholarly articles written about the Paul is Dead rumor. I wonder if McCartney has ever read them.
Categories: Death, Music, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Fri Jul 17, 2009
Comments (10)
Punk rock is supposed to celebrate anti-commercialism and anarchy. Which makes a case of forgery in the market for punk-rock memorabilia somewhat ironic.

A flyer for a 1978 Sex Pistols show at Randy's Rodeo in Texas, which was being auctioned by Christie's, has been found to be fake. Sex Pistols fans noticed that the letters forming "land" in "England" were written with Microsoft Comic Sans font, which only became available in 1995 with the release of Windows 95. The fans notified Christie's who pulled the item from the auction. Emvergeoning.com



Thanks, Joe!
Categories: Music
Posted by Alex on Mon Jun 22, 2009
Comments (0)
Blogger Susie Of Arabia reports that after buying a copy of Katy Perry's album One of the Boys in Saudi Arabia, she realized that all the pictures of Katy Perry had been heavily doctored by Saudi censors. Below (left) is the original album cover, and on the right is the Saudi version.

This is standard practice in Saudi Arabia. A few years ago I posted about Mariah Carey album covers that were similarly doctored by the Saudis.



Susie suggests that the Katy Perry albums were individually doctored by hand, by censors armed with magic markers. She writes: "the Saudi government is actually paying religious police members of the Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CVPVP) to remove the plastic wrap from these CDs, open up the CD cases, remove the front and back inserts, and carefully and painstakingly color in with a marker any photos baring exposed female flesh that is deemed objectionable."

I really doubt that. It would take far too long. Instead, I'm almost certain that a more modest version of the cover would have been printed specifically for the Saudi market.

Of course, America has its own history of moral censorship of photos. However, in America the censors typically don't try to reclothe people who are wearing too few clothes. Instead, they remove offending details such as exposed nipples or belly buttons, creating anatomical mutants.
Categories: Celebrities, Music, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Fri Apr 17, 2009
Comments (15)
Pete Waterman wrote the song Never Gonna Give You Up, which is the focal point of the massively popular Rickrolling prank. But he's now complaining that, despite the millions of times that video has been viewed online, he's earned only £11 from Google for all those views. He earns more from his local radio station playing the song than he does from YouTube. Welcome to the internet economy, Mr. Waterman! [Telegraph]
Categories: Music, Pranks
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 14, 2009
Comments (6)
Someone circulated a bogus press release claiming that rap star Lil' Kim was running for mayor of Hoboken. Local media in New York duly reported it as fact. But in a world where Ronald Reagan became president and Arnold Schwarzenegger is Governor of California, I can understand why they took it seriously. [NY Daily News]
Categories: Celebrities, Music, Politics
Posted by Alex on Mon Apr 13, 2009
Comments (0)
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