Trivia / Ben Folds

  • Black Sheep Hit
    • Despite being their most popular song, the sombre ballad "Brick" is a far cry from Ben Folds Five's trademark punk sound and features Robert Sledge on a bowed double-bass instead of a distorted bass guitar. Several fans accused them of selling out as a result.
    • "Rockin' The Suburbs" is Ben's highest-charting solo single to date. It's also the complete opposite of a typical Ben Folds song in every way, not only for the presence of guitars but for it's compressed mixing and multi-tracking, made to sound like exactly the kind of corporate sell-out modern rock it's making fun of.
  • Creator Backlash: At least for a time, Ben sought to retire his cover of "Bitches Ain't Shit" so people would stop calling him "...the 'Bitches' guy!" in front of his kids. He's only played it sporadically since.
  • Doing It for the Art: Played with in "One Down," written about being contractually obligated to write 4.6 songs for a music publishing company he used to work for. When asked why he doesn't just turn in any piece of junk, he replies "I don't wanna waste my time on music that won't make me proud." However, he acknowledges in the last verse that, at the end of the day, being an artist is still a job, and he could be doing a LOT worse.
  • Executive Meddling: A minor one with Songs For Silverman. It was the very first and, so far, only time the label asked that Ben write a song that could be released as a single. After well over fifty songs were rejected, Ben simply asked "Which Elton John song do you want?" They responded "Tiny Dancer." The result was "Landed." However, when he rejected the version of the song recorded with strings, which the label had paid a large sum of money for, in favor of the straightforward "band" version for the album, they learned never to ask him for a single again.
  • I Am the Band: Averted with Ben Folds Five, but played straight with most of his solo albums.
  • Old Shame: The 4.6 songs he had to write for a music publishing company, discussed in "One Down," were so awful that he's made no effort to even remember how the go.
  • One-Hit Wonder: Ben Folds Five only cracked the Top 40 with "Brick," and even then it had to be released as a single on four separate occasions to chart. Understandably, the band didn't bother to try and have a hit afterwards. As a solo act, Ben's highest-charting hit was "Rockin' The Suburbs." As mentioned above, neither of these songs are indicative of either act's typical sound.
  • Promoted Fanboy: After hearing a university choir perform one of his songs, Ben Folds produced an album of university acapellas and put the school's cover on the album.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Brick" is about a girlfriend he had when he was younger whom he had to get an abortion with.
    • "Not the Same". Ben Folds was at a friend's party, some guy did a lot of acid, climbed up a tree, and when he came down in the morning he was a born-again Christian. The only major difference is that the party took place at Darren Jesse's place, not Robert Sledge's. Ben said that the reason for this change was because he thought "at Robert Sledge's party" simply sounded better than "at Darren Jesse's party".
    • The final verse of "The Luckiest" was about his neighbors, an elderly couple who really did die a week apart from one another. He felt it was the most realistic depiction of romance he could think of.
  • Throw It In: While Ben Folds Five were recording a take of "Steven's Last Night In Town", a phone rang right at the end of the last repetition of the chorus - it happened to do so on rhythm, so it was left in. If you listen carefully, you can also hear Darren Jesse Corpsing in response.
  • What Could Have Been: "The Luckiest" was originally written for the finale of Loser and was even composed to match the beats of the scene. When the scene was cut, the producers offered to use it in another scene, but he politely declined.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The "leaked" versions of the songs from "Way To Normal" were written and recorded in a span of about twelve hours.
  • Write What You Know: "Too Late," his tribute to the late Elliott Smith, is a case of "what little you know." Ben didn't know him all that well personally, so it doesn't go into much more detail about him other than Ben's love of his music and Smith's love of basketball.
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