Mental Floss

The Quick Seven: Seven Musical Hoaxes

Stacy Conradt

It was 19 years ago this week (can you believe it's been that long?) that the Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal came to a head "“ the duo were stripped of their Grammies after it was revealed that they didn't sing a single note on the Girl You Know It's True album. But they were hardly the first to pull one over on the music-minded: hoaxes and trickery have been going on since

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3. Grunge speak. In 1992, The New York Times ran a piece about the proliferation of grunge music, and asked a Sub Pop Records sales rep if there was some grunge slang that they should know about. Irritated by the question and the attitude toward grunge (kind of like the Times was checking up on a remote tribe that the world didn't know about), the sales rep made up a string of words off the top of her head, including "big bag of bloatation," "cob nobbler," "lamestain," "swingin' on the flippity-flop" and "wack slacks." She said they meant, respectively, drunk, loser, uncool person, hanging out and ripped jeans. You can read the whole list (and the whole article) here (The Times got her record label wrong).

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5. Adélaïde Concerto. No doubt if an undiscovered piece by Mozart suddenly turned up "“ especially a 10-year-old Mozart "“ it would cause great excitement in the musical world. And it did. Too bad the piece was actually written by Marius Casadesus. He even forged a title page that showed "Mozart" had dedicated the piece to Madame Adélaïde de France, King Louis XV's daughter. It was suspected that Casadesus was behind the work for many years (he had claimed that he merely "˜edited' it) but it wasn't confirmed until he admitted it himself in 1977.

6. The Handel Concert and the J.C. Bach Concerto. Um, no wonder Marius Casadesus forged the Mozart piece "“ it ran in the family! His brother, Henri Casadesus, wrote these pieces and claimed they were by Handel and Bach (and there's a third unconfirmed piece as well).

7. Leck mir den Arsch fein recht schön sauber. If someone told you that Mozart wrote a little ditty whose title translates to something like, "Lick (or Kiss) me in the ass fine well and clean," I bet you would think they were putting you on. But it's true. Mozart had a bawdy sense of humor. But it's still part hoax "“ or part misunderstanding, perhaps. Although Mozart likely wrote the lyrics, scholars have uncovered that the tune itself was probably written by Wenzel Trnka.

I considered some of the more recent lip-synching incidents of late "“ Britney, of course, and Ashlee Simpson on SNL. But those girls didn't hire someone else to do the singing for them entirely, so I decided they didn't count. If you can remember another scandal of Milli Vanilli-like proportions, be sure to remind us of them in the comments!