Hit Records

This weekend, I’ll be babysitting my nephews, Seán and Patrick. It promises to be two days of eating, drinking, watching movies, playing games and reading. One book we’ll be looking at is the latest edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, which Seán picked up recently. I remember being fascinated the first time I laid eyes on an earlier edition of the book and I look forward to checking it out again. I’m sure that Seán will be interested in the tallest people, animals and buildings in the world and other such facts. I remember being intrigued by these things myself at his age, but in recent years the likes of film, football and music have been more likely to grab my attention. So, I’ve put together five fabulous facts about the world of music that I’ve found at the Guinness World Records website. Perhaps some of these might even be in Seán’s book

Most Oscar nominations before winning

I’m sure that Seán and Patrick have no idea who Randy Newman is, but I’m positive they know some of his songs. Three of Randy’s uncles had composed scores for the cinema, so it was no surprise when he supplemented his career as a singer-songwriter to follow them into the family business. He was first nominated for an Oscar in 1982 for Ragtime and notched up another fourteen without success. He finally won in 2001 for If I Didn’t Have You from Monsters, Inc and won a second this year for We Belong Together from Toy Story 3. You’ve Got a Friend in Me was one of his unsuccessful attempts

Largest collection of versions of one song

I’ve never heard of Allan Chasanoff and Raymon Elozua before, but the two Americans hold the record for the largest collection of recordings of a particular song. That song is Amazing Grace and the duo had over 3,000 different versions of it at the end of 2004. I’m sure they have even more now. I was surprised to find that I’ve got over a dozen different interpretations of the hymn and, of these, Ted Hawkins’ wonderful rendition is my favourite

Most expensive music single sold at auction

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive 7″ sold at auction was not recorded by Elvis or The Beatles, but by an obscure Motown singer named Frank Wilson. The song is called Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) and it went to an anonymous bidder for just over £25,000 a couple of years ago. This particular rare version of the single went unreleased in 1965 and, apparently, only two copies remain. Of course, it has since been released in other formats

Most No.1 music videos

I didn’t even know that there was a chart for music videos and I don’t even know how long it’s been going, but Madonna has had the most number ones in this category. I quite liked her videos for Like a Prayer and Papa Don’t Preach, though the one for Borderline wasn’t so memorable. Fortunately, the version of it by The Chapin Sisters isn’t so easy to forget

First live music concert broadcast to space

I was sure that U2 would have been the first artist to broadcast live to space as it’s the only place that might be able to hold Bono’s ego. I was hoping it might even have been David Bowie, but the honour goes to Paul McCartney. It seems he sent a “wake up call” to the International Space Station from a concert in Anaheim in 2005. I presume he also sang them a few tunes. Macca also wrote and performed the first Bond theme to be nominated for Best Original Song Oscar. It was, of course, Live & Let Die that achieved the feat in 1973, though it lost out to The Way Were Were for the Academy Award. The Beatles accounted for one or two records in their day, with Paul’s Yesterday being their most-covered song. The George Harrison-penned Something is in second place, assisted by McCartney’s take on the Abbey Road favourite

You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Randy Newman & Lyle Lovett

Amazing Grace – Ted Hawkins

Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) – Frank Wilson

Borderline (Madonna cover) – The Chapin Sisters

Something (Beatles cover) – Paul McCartney