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Piano Jokes

"Doesn't Everyone Prefer Live Music?"

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Probably the most extensive list of clean piano and pianist jokes to be found anywhere.

The most wasted of all days is that in which we have not laughed.  -- Sébastien R. N. Chamfort, 'Maximes et pensées'

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Piano and Pianist Jokes

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The Piano Tuner

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Pianist Limericks

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Musician Jokes

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Miscellaneous Music Jokes

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Damon's Own

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Quotable Quotes

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    Victor Borge Quotes

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Famous Musician Anecdotes

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Where did "Play it again Sam" come from?

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Piano and Pianist Jokes

What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
A flat minor.
 

 
What do you get when you drop a piano on an army base?
A flat major.
 

 
What did a piano player say to a tightrope walker?
        You better C sharp or you'll B flat!
 

 
Why is an 11-foot concert grand better than a studio upright?
Because it makes a much bigger kaboom when pushed off a cliff.
 

 
Why was the piano invented?
So the musician would have a place to put his beer.
 

 
Why was the piano player arrested?
Because he got into treble.
 

What do you get if you enroll in a liberal arts program and the only subject you do well in is music?
        A natural major.

 
What do you use to tie saplings to a piano so the saplings won't blow away?
        Root position cords.
 

 
Little Noah came into the house with a new harmonica. "Grandpa, do you mind if I play this in here?"

"Of course not, Noah. I love music. In fact, when your grandma and I were young, music saved my life."

"What happened?"

"Well, it was during the famous Johnstown flood. The dam broke and when the water hit our house it knocked it right off the foundation. Grandma got on the dining room table and floated out safely."

"How about you?"

"Me? I accompanied her on the piano!"
 

 
The audience at a piano recital was appalled when a telephone rang just off stage. Without missing a note the soloist glanced toward the wings and called, "If that's my agent, tell him I'm working!"
 

Why are pianists fingers like lightning?
            They rarely strike the same place twice.

The piano player went into a bar but kept fidgeting so much that he could not enjoy his drink. Finally the bartender asked him what was wrong. The piano player replied, "My keys, my keys! I can't seem to find my keys!"

Did you hear about the stupid pianist who kept banging his head against the keys?
He was playing by ear.

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?

My Dad bought my Mom a piano for her birthday.  A few weeks later, I asked how she was doing with it.

"Oh," said My Dad, "I persuaded her to switch to a clarinet."

"How come?" I asked.

"Well," he answered, "because with a clarinet, she can't sing...."

A pianist and singer are rehearsing "Autumn Leaves" for a concert and the pianist says:
"OK. We will start in G minor and then on the third bar, modulate to B major and go into 5/4. When you get to the bridge, modulate back down to F# minor and alternate a 4/4 bar with a 7/4 bar. On the last A section go into double time and slowly modulate back to G minor."
The singer says: "Wow, I don't think I can remember all of that."
The pianist says: "Well, that's what you did last time."

A pianist is playing in a seedy, Mafia-owned tavern in South Jersey...it's 11:55 PM, and he's 5 minutes away from the end of his gig. The owner's assistant comes up to the pianist and says:

"Da boss wants you should play Strangers In Da Nite."
The pianist says: "Okay, no problem."

The henchman continues: "Da boss wants you should play it in F#"...
The pianist says "I usually play it in F, but no problem!"

The henchman goes on: "Da boss wants you should play it in 5/4 time."
The pianist says "But the song is in 4/4 time...How am I supposed to do that?"
Henchman asks him: "Look, you want paid or not?"

So the pianist improvises an introduction, and as he gets to the opening notes of the song, he hears, in a really ugly, raspy voice behind him:

"Strangers in-da-friggin' night....exchanging glances; Strangers in-da-friggin' night ..."

At a posh wedding reception in Beverly Hills the pianist falls into the swimming pool. The pianist flails furiously while calling for help, yelling "help me! I can't swim!"  One of the other guests who happens to be at the poolside says "So? I can't play the piano and you don't hear me complaining."

"Haven't I seen your face before?" a judge demanded, looking down at the defendant.

 "You have, Your Honor," the man answered hopefully. "I gave your son piano lessons last winter."

 "Ah, yes," recalled the judge. "Twenty years!"

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The Piano Tuner

Mrs. Smith needed to have her piano tuned so she asked a friend for a recommendation.  She then made an appointment with the piano tuner, Mr. Oppernockity.  He arrived 2 days later, tuned the piano satisfactorily, and left.  Several days later Mrs. Smith noticed that the piano was terribly out of tune again.  She called the tuner to complain about the tuning and to ask for a return visit to solve the problem.  However, the tuner replied, "I'm sorry ma'am, but Oppernockity only tunes once!"

Q: What's the difference between a piano and a Harley-Davidson?

A: One of us might be able to tune a Harley.

Q: What's the difference between a piano and a fish?

A: You can't tuna fish.

Definition of a piano tuner: A person employed to come into the home, rearrange the furniture, and annoy the cat. The tuner's chief purpose is to ascertain the breaking point of the piano's strings.

 

Piano Tuner: I've come to tune the piano.
Music Teacher: But we didn't send for you.
Piano Tuner: No, but the people who live across the street did.

 

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Pianist Limericks

 

There was a pianist named Dougherty
    who played on a piano-forte.
    He played on and on,
    made the audience yawn,
and died when he was about forty.

There once was a pianist named Damon
wrote a limerick he thought was a great one.
    But his friends and associates
    thought it quite atrocious,
so they bade him go back to his playin'.

There once was a pirate named Ford
who chopped up a piano with his sword.
    But the kindling he sought
    would better have been bought,
for he found all he got was a chord.

A tutor who tooted a flute,
tried to teach two tooters to toot.
    Said the two to the tutor,
    "Is it harder to toot, or
to tutor two tutors to toot?"

A man who had played the bassoon
was heard whistling a hillbilly tune.
    And although it's not fair
    He was moved from first chair,
and forbidden to play Claire de Lune.

An upright bass player named Hippen Said, "Frankly, for long-distance shippin',
    I'd prefer a French horn:
    It's more easily borne,
And it's nice to put crackers and dip in."

There was a musician named Schickele
Who could blow Finicula-Finiculi
    On a tube of toothpaste,
    Which was not in good taste,
Though rather amazing technically.

A guitarist named Pat Donohue
Said, "Guitar is ideal, in my view.
    I find it attracts
    more girls than a sax,
And the neighbors are fond of it, too."

There was a young man of Nevada
Who played tunes on a jug or a pot, a
    Musician whose repertoir
    Went from Sgt. Pepper t' Our
Gang to the Moonlight Sonata.

There was an old crooner named Geoff
Who gradually became deaf
    Til he couldn't distinguish
    Italian from English
Or the treble from the bass clef.

 

bulletMusician Jokes

What do you call a musician who just broke up with his girlfriend?
            Homeless.
 

 
What's the first thing a musician says at work?
"Would you like fries with that?"
 

What do you call a musician without a significant other?
Homeless.
 

 
Why do musicians have to be awake by six o'clock?
Because most shops close by six thirty.
 

 
What would a musician do if he won a million dollars?
Continue to play gigs until the money ran out.
 

 
What's the difference between a musician and a fourteen-inch pizza?
        A fourteen-inch pizza can feed a family of four.
 

 
The stages of a musician's life:
  1. Who is name?
  2. Get me name.
  3. Get me someone who sounds like name.
  4. Get me a young name.
  5. Who is name?
 

There were two people walking down the street. One was a musician. The other didn't have any money either.

Q: How do you make a musician's car more aerodynamic?
    A: Take the pizza delivery sign off the roof

Saint Peter is checking ID's at the Pearly Gates, and first comes a Texan. "Tell me, what have you done in life?" says St. Peter.

The Texan says, "Well, I struck oil, so I became rich, but I didn't sit on my laurels--I divided all my money among my entire family in my will, so our descendants are all set for about three generations."

St. Peter says, "That's quite something. Come on in. Next!"

The second guy in line has been listening, so he says, "I struck it big in the stock market, but I didn't selfishly just provide for my own like that Texan guy. I donated five million to Save the Children."

"Wonderful!" says Saint Peter. "Come in. Who's next?"

The third guy has been listening, and says timidly with a downcast look, "Well, I only made five thousand dollars in my entire lifetime."

"Goodness!" says St. Peter. "What instrument did you play?"

St. Peter's still checking ID's. He asks a man, "What did you do on Earth?"

The man says, "I was a doctor."

St. Peter says, "Ok, go right through those pearly gates. Next! What did you do on Earth?"

"I was a school teacher."

"Go right through those pearly gates. Next! And what did you do on Earth?"

"I was a musician."

"Go around the side, up the freight elevator, through the kitchen ..."

[Ever wonder what it really takes to enter those pearly gates?  See the Bible, Romans chapter 10.]

A guy walks into the doctor's office and says, "Doc, I haven't had a bowel movement in a week!" The doctor gives him a prescription for a mild laxative and tells him, "If it doesn't work, let me know."

A week later the guy is back: "Doc, still no movement!"

The doctor says, "Hmm, guess you need something stronger," and prescribes a powerful laxative.

Still another week later the poor guy is back: "Doc, STILL nothing!"

The doctor, worried, says, "We'd better get some more information about you to try to figure out what's going on. What do you do for a living?"

"I'm a musician."

The doctor looks up and says, "Well, that's it! Here's $10.00. Go get something to eat!"

Three guys are in a bar and begin discussing annual incomes. The first guy brags and says that he made $136,000 last year with salary and bonuses. The second guy inquires, "What do you sell?" The second guy then tops the first by bragging that his total annual income was $410,000 due to stock options and investments. The first guy is impressed and asks, "Who is your broker?" The first and second guy look at the third and ask, "How much money did you make last year?". The third guy replies rather embarrassed, "$52,000" The second guy replies, "We had no idea you were a musician. What instrument do you play?"

 

bulletMiscellaneous Music Jokes

Why did Mozart kill his chickens?
        Because they always ran around going "Bach! Bach! Bach!"

These jokes are so bad I can't Handel them.
They make me Lizstless.
They can be too Mendlesohm.
You'd better go out Bach and stay in Haydn.

A little boy was complaining to his friend, "My mom won't let me watch public television anymore!"
"Why not?" his friend asked incredulously.
"Because it has too much sax and violins!!"

Recently seen on a T-shirt:
"Please don't tell my Mom I'm a piano teacher.
She thinks I play piano in a whorehouse."

Q: What does new age music sound like played backwards?
      A: New age music.

Q: What happens when you play "the blues" backwards?
      A: Your wife comes back to you, your dog returns to life and you get out of prison.

Q: What happens when you play country western music backwards?
      A: You get your pickup truck back, your dog returns to life, and you get back your job at the car wash.

Q: What happens when you play Beethoven backwards?
      A: He decomposes.

An old man was on his death bed and called his whole family together so that he could bid them farewell and make his peace with the world. After he said what he wanted to each in turn and he knew he was coming very close to death he called for all to gather together.

"I have one thing I would like to confess before I go," he said. They all drew closer. "It was me," cough, wheeze, "I was the one," he said as they leaned down as close as they could to hear what he could barely get out in a whisper.

Gasp, cough, "I was the one," cough, wheeze, "in the kitchen with Dinah..." 

 

bulletDamon's Own

I believe that Beethoven's last movement was actually at a restroom in Vienna.

This actually happened to me.

When I was asked by the mother of the bride to play for the wedding, the bride asked her mother "yes, but can he play Catholic?"

Ever wonder why so few wind instrument players also play piano?

Damon's theory: It's too hard to lift the piano on end to drain out the spit.

One of the hazards of the pianist: people dropping money in my drinks.

 

bulletQuotable Quotes

"There are no wrong notes." -- Thelonious Monk

"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." -- Elvis Presley

"When a piece gets difficult, make faces." -- Arthur Schnabel (to Vladimir Horowitz)

"Go get a real estate license." -- Frank Zappa

"All the good music has already been written by people with wigs and stuff." -- Frank Zappa

"I wrote a song about dental floss but did anyone's teeth get cleaner?" -- Frank Zappa (in response to Tipper Gore's allegations that music incites people or influences their behavior in general)

"There is two kinds of music, the good and bad. I play the good kind." -- Louis Armstrong

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962

"If you have to ask, you'll never know." --Miles Davis' answer to the question, "What is Jazz?"

"An ambitious and aggressive mother conned pianist Arthur Rubinstein into listening to her 10-year-old son murder a nocturne by Chopin. At the conclusion of the massacre, Rubinstein announced, 'Madam, that is undoubtedly the worst piano playing I ever heard.' Whereupon the mother nodded happily and told her son, 'You see, stupid? Now will you give up those expensive piano lessons and try out for the Little League baseball team?'" -- Art Buchwald

"The piano has been drinking, not me." -- Tom Waits

"Hope you don't think this is Billy Joel unplugged. I'm a piano player. I'm already unplugged." -- Billy Joel

"A rock band used to be four guys and a drummer. Now it's five guys sitting around reading manuals!" --Bill Bruford

"I'm told that Wagner's music is not as bad as it sounds." -- Mark Twain

"I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down'."  -- Bob Newhart

"Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune."  -- Kin Hubbard

"Music is higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy."  -- Ludwig Van Beethoven

"Beethoven can write music, thank God, but he can do nothing else on earth."  -- Ludwig Van Beethoven

"If music be the food of love, play on."  -- William Shakespeare

"If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together."  -- Richard M. Nixon

"Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is 8 or 9 he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes."  -- Bill Cosby

"Music hath the charm to sooth the savage beast (sic), but I'd try a revolver first."  -- Josh Billings

"The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven't seen the joke yet."  -- Oliver Herford

"...I don't want you to play me a riff that's going to impress Joe Satriani; give me a riff that makes a kid want to go out and buy a guitar and learn to play."  -- Ozzy Osbourne

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line."  -- Oscar Levant

"Music is spiritual. The music business is not." -- Van Morrison

"Music is everybody's possession. Only publishers think that people own it." -- John Lennon

"Composers shouldn't think too much--it interferes with their plagiarism."  -- Howard Dietz

"My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a producer." -- Cole Porter

"Get up from that piano. You hurtin' its feelings." -- Jelly Roll Morton

"I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us." -- Martin Luther

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." -- Albert Schweitzer 

"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major." --Sergei Prokofiev

"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve." -- Xavier Cugat

"My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference." -- Harry S Truman

"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." -- Artur Schnabel, Australian pianist, asked the secret of piano playing.

"I love Beethoven, especially the poems." -- Ringo Starr

"You don't need any brains to listen to music." -- Luciano Pavarotti

"You know, it's funny... when you're making money, people don't think you're playing jazz. Now when you're not making money, people think that you're a good jazz musician." -- Pete Fountain

"It's really hard to make a living as a musician. It's almost impossible." -- Billy Joel

"I knew nothing of the real life of a musician, but I seemed to see myself standing in front of great crowds of people, playing my accordion." -- Lawrence Welk

"When I auditioned for my high school band the band director was excited because my father was known to be a great musician. When he heard me, he said 'Are you sure you're Ellis's son?'" -- Wynton Marsalis

"I'm a musician at heart, I know I'm not really a singer. I couldn't compete with real singers. But I sing because the public buys it." -- Nat King Cole

"I think one of the great moments of my life was when I could write musician on my passport." -- Jon Anderson

"Aunt Marion was right... Never marry a musician, and never answer the door." -- Charles M. Schulz

"I grew up wanting to be a musician, but my parents were sure I would starve to death. So, they put me in physics and chemistry. That eventually blew up, and I got into radio." -- John Tesh

"Give me a laundry list and I'll set it to music." -- Gioacchini Antonio Rossini

"An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger." --Dan Rather

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end." -- Igor Stravinsky

"A good composer does not imitate; he steals." -- Igor Stravinsky

"Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes." -- Bill Cosby

"Nothing soothes me more after a long and maddening course of pianoforte recitals than to sit and have my teeth drilled." -- George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and music critic.

"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living." -- Kirke Mecham, on his life as a composer

"Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!" -- Gioacchino Rossini

"In opera, there is always too much singing." -- Claude Debussy

"Country music is three chords and the truth." -- Harlan Howard

"Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already." -- Gustav Mahler, to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in rural Austria.

"As a musician I tell you that if you were to suppress adultery, fanaticism, crime, evil, the supernatural, there would no longer be the means for writing one note. " -- Georges Bizet

"There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself." -- Johann Sebastian Bach

"Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung." --Voltaire (1694-1778)

"Use the talents you possess, for the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best." -- Henry Van Dyke

"Piano: A cumbersome piece of furniture found in many homes, where playing it ensures the early departure of unwanted guests."
-- David W. Barber, The Musician's Dictionary.

"Piano. n. A parlor utensil for subduing the impenitent visitor. It is operated by depressing the keys of the machine and the spirits of the audience." -- Ambrose Bierce, American journalist, The Devil's Dictionary.

It is not always possible to predict the response of a doting Jewish mother. Witness the occasion on which the late piano virtuoso Oscar Levant telephoned his mother with some important news. He had proposed to his beloved and been accepted. Replied Mother Levant: “Good, Oscar, I’m happy to hear it. But did you practice today?”

"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

"You're talking to someone who really understands rock music." -- Tipper Gore

"Down South where I come from, you don't go round hittin' too many white keys." -- Eubie Blake, African-American pianist and composer, when asked why he wrote so many of his compositions in difficult keys, with many flats or many sharps.

Victor Borge quotes

"I only know two pieces; one is 'Clair de Lune' and the other one isn't."

"I do not have a single white note on my piano; my elephant smoked too much."

"I wish to thank my parents for making it all possible...and I wish to thank my children for making it all necessary."

"In my youth, I wanted to be a great pantomimist -- but I found I had nothing to say."

"Did you know that Mozart had no arms and no legs? I've seen statues of him on people's pianos."

"Ah Mozart! He was happily married -- but his wife wasn't."

"Beethoven wrote in three flats a lot. That's because he moved twice."

When asked the difference between a violin and a viola, Victor replied, "a viola burns longer."

Borge's mischievous sense of humor was manifest from an early age. Asked as a child to play for his parents' friends he would announce "a piece by the 85-year-old Mozart" and improvise something himself.

Someone requested of Victor Borge that he play something by Bach, to which Victor replied, "Which one, Johann Sebastian or Offen?"

"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."
-- Victor Borge on playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan.

Borge came to America to escape the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War II. Starting to re-build his career, he was excited to get a booking at a large club in Florida, for which he was to be paid one dollar for each member of the audience. Three hundred guests saw his show, which was a tremendous success. When it came time to be paid, Borge pointed out to the management that the club's 40 waiters had also greatly enjoyed his performance. He got $340.

bulletFamous Musician Anecdotes

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), American conductor, composer and pianist. On one occasion, Bernstein's father was criticized for not having given his talented son more encouragement when he was a child. The father protested, "But how was I to know that he would grow up to be Leonard Bernstein?" 

Alexander Borodin (1833-1887), Russian professor of chemistry and medicine, who also composed music in his spare time. There was a suit in which two young composers sued each other, each accusing the other of plagiarism. Borodin was called as an expert witness. Both compositions were played and the court asked Borodin who was the injured party. He answered, "My friend Mussorgsky."

Aaron Copland (1900-1990), US composer. One day Copland was in a bookshop when he noticed that a woman was buying two books--a volume of Shakespeare, and Copland's What to Listen For in Music. As the customer turned to leave, he stopped her and asked, "Would you like me to autograph your book?" The woman looked blankly at the proud composer and asked, "Which one?"

Vernon Duke (1903-1969), US composer, born Vladimir Dukelsky in Russia; among his famous songs is April in Paris. Inspired by Duke's famous song, a friend of his decided to spend three weeks in Paris one April. The weather was appalling, and when he returned he told Duke so. "Whatever possessed you to go to Paris in April" asked the composer. "The weather in Paris is always horrible in April."  The astonished friend said, "But, I went there because of your song!" "Oh," said the composer apologetically. We really meant May, but the rhythm required two syllables.

Albert Einstein  (1879-1955), German born physicist; he lived in the US after 1933 in Princeton, New Jersey, Einstein played violin in a string quartet. He thoroughly enjoyed it, but the other musicians were less enthusiastic. One of the other players confided, "He can't count."

Will Rogers (1879-1935), US comedian, vaudeville performer, film actor and radio personality. Will Rogers received may requests for testimonials for products of all sorts. He refused to endorse any product that he personally could not put to the test. When a piano manufacturer asked him to endorse their products, he wrote, "Dear sirs: I guess your pianos are the best I ever leaned against. Yours truly, Will Rogers."

Pablo de Sarasate (1844-1908), Spanish violinist and composer. A wealthy hostess invited Sarasate to a dinner, in the hope that her guests might be treated to a free recital by the great player afterward. During the meal, she broached the subject, asking Sarasate whether he had brought his violin with him. "No, madame," he replied, "my violin does not dine." In the latter part of his career, Sarasate received a visit by a famous music critic, who proclaimed him a genius. Sarasate commented later, "For thirty-seven years I've practiced fourteen hours a day, and now they call me a genius!"

Erik Satie (1866-1925), French composer of songs and piano pieces. Satie attended the premiere of Debussy's La Mer, the first part of which is titled From Dawn to Noon on the Sea. After the performance, Debussy asked Satie what the thought about the new work. Satie replied, "I liked the bit about quarter to eleven."

George Shearing (1919- ) Jazz pianist, born in Britain. Came to the USA in 1947. He was blind from birth. Asked by an admirer whether he had been blind all his life, Shearing replied, "Not yet." One afternoon at rush hour, Shearing was waiting at a busy intersection for someone to assist him in crossing the street. Another blind man tapped him on the shoulder an asked if Shearing would mind helping him to get across. "What could I do?" said Shearing later. "I took him across, and it was the biggest thrill of my life!"

Sir Arthur S. Sullivan (1842-1900), British composer and conductor Sullivan returned home one night after a lively party at which the wine had flowed freely. His house was one in a row of identical terraced houses on his street, and he realized that in his inebriated state he couldn't tell which house was which. His solution to the problem? He walked along the street, and in front of each house he kicked the metal shoe scraper that was installed there. One rang a familiar note. "E-flat, that's it," he said quietly to himself, and walked confidently into his own house.

Where did "Play It Again Sam" come from?

The actual quotation: Play it Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”

Attribution: Julius J. Epstein, screenwriter, Philip Epstein, screenwriter, Howard Koch, screenwriter, and Michael Curtiz. Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), in Casablanca (film), Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) making a request to Sam (Dooley Wilson) the piano player. (1942).

Later in the film, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) repeats the request: “You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can. Play it!” (usually misquoted “Play it again Sam”, the title of Woody Allen’s 1972 movie).

Thought for the day:

Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's watching.

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