Tag Archives: music

Slash and Axl

I’m not really what you would call a huge fan of Guns N’ Roses. Nothing against them, just not my music and I doubt I could name more than one of their songs (even then, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard “Sweet Child O’ Mine”).

Pretty much the main thing I know about the group is that two of its members are Slash and Axl.

The other thing I know is this:

If you do a Google search for Slash, you’ll be presented with a large number of pages about the guitarist. (As an aside, his interview on Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me was quite a bit more entertaining than one might expect from the rocker stereotype; a good lesson in not judging a book by its cover band.)

On the other hand, if you do a Google search for Axl, you’ll be presented with a similarly large number of pages for a B-movie about a boy and his robotic dog. (Definitely a “popcorn” movie; I enjoyed it, but I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it in the theater.)

Why are They Called Grandfather Clocks?

Mom often refers to the newspaper’s comics page as “The educational section.” And while she means it in jest (I think), I’ve learned something new because of a web comic.

Monday’s Questionable Content has one of the characters concluding a discussion by saying, “…and that’s why they’re called grandfather clocks.”

It really had nothing to do with anything (aside from the character, Brun, being fascinated by clocks), but it did leave me wondering,… “Why are they called grandfather clocks?”

So, I asked Google (because that’s how things work these days) and learned the story of how the American songwriter Henry Clay Work was inspired to write the song “My Grandfather’s Clock.

There’s a really nice write up from 2012 at Today I found Out, but the gist of it is that in 1875, Work was staying at the George Hotel in Yorkshire and was intrigued by the longcase clock (what we now call a “grandfather clock”) in the lobby.

The story goes that the clock had belonged to the hotel’s previous owners, the Jenkins brothers, and kept perfect time throughout their lives. But when the first of the two brothers died, the clock suddenly became less accurate. And at the moment the second brother died, the clock stopped working altogether.

Inspired by the story, Work wrote the song, “My Grandfather’s Clock” which became a huge hit, selling more than one million copies (a nearly unprecedented achievement at the time). As a result of the song’s success, the public began referring to longcase clocks as “Grandfather clocks.”

Johnny Cash recorded a version in 1959.

Boyz II Men recorded a version in 2004

Wikipedia lists a number of other recordings and stories using it for inspiration.

Cover image, public domain via Wikipedia