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Best Bond Trivia: Celebrating 50 Years of 007

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of James Bond, the cinema’s all-time action star. To celebrate the series we’re taking a closer look at all things Bond. Recently, we selected the five best James Bond movies and now we’re finishing our tribute with a collection of the most amazing Bond trivia we could find.


Nobody wanted him—neither the character’s creator nor film producers. But Scottish actor Sean Connery went on to leave an unforgettable impression as the first Agent 007. 

1. The Birth of “Bond…James Bond.” Created by English author Ian Fleming in 1953, Bond made his first appearance in the novel “Casino Royale.” Before his days as an author, Fleming served in Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division. One day he told a friend: “I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories.” Fleming eventually penned 14 James Bond books, all of which were written at Fleming’s Jamaican estate—named “GoldenEye.”

2. There are 24 “James Bond” Films. “Dr. No” (1962); “From Russia With Love” (1963); “Goldfinger” (1964); “Thunderball” (1965); “You Only Live Twice” (1967); “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969); “Diamonds Are Forever” (1971); “Live and Let Die” (1973); “The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974); “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977); “Moonraker” (1979); “For Your Eyes Only” (1981); “Octopussy” (1983); “Never Say Never Again” (1983); “A View to a Kill” (1985); “The Living Daylights” (1987); “License to Kill” (1989); “GoldenEye” (1995); “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997); “The World is Not Enough” (1999); “Die Another Day” (2002); “Casino Royale” (2006); “Quantum of Solace” (2008); and “Skyfall” (2012).

3. How he Got his Name. The name “James Bond” belonged to a real person—an American ornithologist and author named James Bond who was a published expert on the subject of birds found in the Caribbean. Fleming wanted a plain, simple name for the agent, who he envisioned as “an anonymous, blunt instrument wielded by a government department.” The character was based on different intelligence agents Fleming had known during WWII, when he himself was an intelligence agent.

4. The Longest and Shortest James Bond Film. The average length of a Bond movie is approximately 125 minutes, 25 seconds. The shortest film in the series: 2008’s “Quantum of Solace” (106 minutes). The longest James Bond movie: 2006’s “Casino Royale” (144 minutes).

5. The Very First James Bond. Sean Connery was not the first actor to play the secret agent. American actor Barry Nelson portrayed 007 in a television adaptation of “Casino Royale,” back in 1954. Connery was also not the first choice of Bond creator Ian Fleming – who originally envisioned dapper and witty English actor David Niven playing 007. (Fleming said that Bond might have looked like Hoagy Carmichael, a popular American singer.) Connery was not even the first choice of film producers, who originally wanted actor Peter Anthony. When Connery was allowed to meet with producers, he showed up looking unshaven and acting as if he couldn’t care less if he got the role. The attitude he displayed won him the part of a lifetime.

6. The Men Who Would be Bond, Pt. 1. Some of the actors originally considered for the part of James Bond included front-runner Cary Grant, James Mason, Patrick McGoohan and Rex Harrison.


Who’s this guy? Wearing a suit that would make Austin Powers proud, George Lazenby stunned film producers when he announced he would leave the Bond series after only one film…the movie he was still shooting (1969′s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”).

7. Most Successful Bond Film: 1965’s “Thunderball.” When adjusting its revenues for inflation, “Thunderball” has earned slightly more than a billion dollars ($1.04 billion), making it the series box-office champ.

8. Who Played 007? In the James Bond film series, the character has been played by: Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

9. The Theme. Written by English composer Monty Norman and arranged by film composer John Barry, the twangy “James Bond Theme” is one of the most universally known pieces of music ever recorded. The signature electric guitar part, laden with echo, was played by studio ace Vic Flick. (His instrument was a Clifford Essex Paragon Cello-Bodied electric guitar, fitted with a DeAmond volume pedal and played through a 15-watt Vox amplifier. That guitar is now on display in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.)

10. An Evil Monkey Could Have Been Bond’s Nemesis. An early draft of the “Dr. No” script was rejected because the title villain had been written as a monkey (presumably an evil monkey with a scheme to take over the world).

11. Bond Makes Bank. In today’s dollars, the Bond series of films has grossed more than $12 billion worldwide, which makes it the second-highest-grossing film series of all time, right behind the “Harry Potter” series. It has been estimated that a full quarter of the world’s population has seen at least one James Bond film.

12. Most Appearances as James Bond. Roger Moore stayed on the job longer than any other Bond actor—twelve years to be exact. Moore is also tied for the most performances as James Bond. Both he and Sean Connery have each appeared seven times as Agent 007.


The Aston Martin DB5 featured in “Goldfinger” became a celebrity itself. The Corgi miniature model of it became the best-selling toy of 1964.

13. Most Memorable Movie Line. Bond’s signature phrase, “Bond…James Bond” has been praised as one of the greatest catch phrases in all of movies. The American Film Institute named it the 22nd greatest quotation in film history and in 2001, British movie fans voted it the best-loved one-liner in cinema history.

14. Biggest Opening for Bond. When “Quantum of Solace” opened in the United Kingdom in 2008, it set the opening-weekend record. It also scored the highest-grossing opening weekend Bond film in the U.S., raking in $67.5 million for the weekend.

15. Rejected Title Song. Country music giant Johnny Cash submitted a potential “Thunderball” theme song to the film’s producers, but it was rejected by the film’s producers.

16. Bond’s Most Famous Ride. Bond’s most famous vehicle was a slate gray Aston Martin DB5 first introduced in “Goldfinger.” The car’s famous accessories included hidden machine guns, a metal plate for deflecting gunfire, revolving license plates (good in all countries), and the piece de resistance, a passenger ejector seat that fired undesirable henchmen out the top of the vehicle.

17. Age of the Actors. The youngest actor to portray James Bond was George Lazenby (age 30), who starred in only one Bond movie, 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” The oldest actor to star as Bond was Roger Moore, who was a ripe old 57 during shooting of 1985’s “A View to a Kill.”

18. Bond’s Favorite Casino Game is called Chemin de Fer, a French version of the card game Baccarat. Agent 007 plays the classy game in “Dr. No,” “Thunderball,” the 1967 version of “Casino Royale,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “For Your Eyes Only” and “GoldenEye.”


Suave Roger Moore kept the Bond role for a record twelve years. His Bond was as quick with witty banter as he was with a gun.

19. Fleming’s Thoughts on the Big Screen Bond. When Bond author Ian Fleming saw the preview screening for the first Bond film, “Dr. No,” his initial response was “Dreadful. Simply dreadful.”

20. Weapons of Choice. The Walther PPN is Bond’s current sidearm. For years, however, he carried the Walther PPK, although he used a Beretta 418 during the first five novels. When Fleming heard from a Bond fan and gun enthusiast, who called the Beretta “a lady’s gun” and that “Bond should instead use a Walther PPK 7.65mm.” At various times Bond has used other weapons, including rifles and other handguns. The most unique gun he ever carried may have been the tricked-out attaché case from “From Russia with Love,” which contained an assault rifle built right into the briefcase…which could also shoot daggers and emit teargas.

21. Casino Royale(s). The film with the greatest number of actors portraying James Bond was (undoubtedly) 1967’s “Casino Royale,” which differs significantly from the 2006 movie with Daniel Craig. The first “Casino Royale” was a broad spy spoof which featured six actors each portraying James Bond, including Woody Allen as “Jimmy Bond.”

22. Balding Bond. Connery was already starting to go bald when he won the part of James Bond. In each of his films as Agent 007, he sported a toupee.

23. The Only Actor Asked Back. British actor Timothy Dalton was originally approached to possibly play James Bond in 1969. Dalton tested for the role, but took himself out of the running, saying he felt he was too young to play the part. George Lazenby would step into the role instead, although Dalton would get his chance again years later in 1987 when he played Bond in “The Living Daylights.”

24. Biggest Bond Explosion. The ending of “Thunderball” shows villain Emilio Largo’s souped-up power yacht (named “The Disco Volante,” or flying saucer) running aground on a Bahamas island and exploding in a gi-normous fireball. To produce a sufficiently powerful explosion, the effects coordinator used an experimental rocket fuel. However, not knowing how much of the fuel to use, he doused the entire yacht with the stuff. The massive resulting explosion actually blew out windows in Nassau—more than 30 miles away.


Timothy Dalton (seen here in “License to Kill”) was first approached to play Bond in 1969. He turned down the role then, but didn’t make the same mistake in 1987.

25. Bond Breaks Character. There has only been one time during the entire history of the James Bond film franchise when the actor portraying the Bond character makes a reference to existing within a film series. This occurs during “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” when George Lazenby quips “This never happened to the other fellow,” making a reference to the freshly departed Sean Connery. The incident has not happened since.

26. Oscar Winning Bond. The first Bond film to win an Academy Award was 1964’s “Goldfinger,” it captured the Oscars for Best Effects and Sound Effects.

27. SPECTRE Defined. While the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War with Russia, Bond doggedly fought against the forces of evil organization SPECTRE. Here’s what SPECTRE stands for: SPecial Executive for Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

28. Before They Were Famous. The Russian-trained assassin Bond faces in 1963’s “From Russia With Love” was played by Robert Shaw—who played Quint, the salty fisherman in 1974’s mega-hit “Jaws.”

29. An English Record Holder. “Live and Let Die” drew the biggest British television audience for a film broadcast on TV. The 1973 adventure was seen by 23.5 million viewers, a record that still stands.

30. Best Bond Babe? The first “Bond girl” was Ursula Andress, who played Honey Rider in “Dr. No.” “Entertainment Weekly” ranked her tops among “Bond Babes.” Her iconic white bikini—which helped popularize the swimsuit—sold at a 2001 auction for $61,000. (Halle Berry’s outfit in “Die Another Day” was based on Ursula’s iconic outfit.)


Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond novels and created one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Like his most famous character, Fleming enjoyed the finer things while having a definite taste for danger.

31. AFI Hero. In 2005, the American Film Institute hailed James Bond as the third-greatest film hero of all time. “Premiere” magazine listed Bond as the fifth-greatest movie character.

32. First Bond Movie. The films’ producers wanted “Thunderball” to be the first film, but due to a legal wrangle involving the screenplay, “Dr. No” became the first James Bond movie.

33. The Bond Theme Song. The most successful songs from James Bond movies were also big hits on the pop charts. The most popular have been “Goldfinger” (sung by Shirley Bassey), “Live and Let Die” (Paul McCartney & Wings), “Nobody Does it Better” (Carly Simon), “Thunderball” (Tom Jones) and “For Your Eyes Only” (Sheena Easton).

34. The Last Movie President Kennedy Ever Saw. President John F. Kennedy was a big fan of the Bond spy novels, and the movies made from them. In a “Look” magazine interview he included “From Russia With Love” in his list of ten favorite books, and held a private White House screening of “Dr. No.” In fact, Kennedy showed “From Russia With Love” at the White House on November 20, 1963…just days before his assassination in Dallas—making it the last motion picture he ever saw.

35. Bond Sets Records. At one time, “The Guinness Book of World Records” listed “Goldfinger” as the fastest-grossing film of all time. To meet the insane demand for the film, New York City theaters started running the movie around the clock.

36. Saint Roger Moore. During casting for “Dr. No,” Roger Moore had been considered for the part but rejected, partly because he was in the process of signing to star in a new TV detective show. Roger Moore’s “The Saint,” which made him an international star, premiered exactly one day before “Dr. No” opened in theaters.


James Bond No. 5, smooth Pierce Brosnan, came to the role after playing the title role of TV detective “Remington Steele.”

37. Worst Bond Film? Perhaps the least successful film of the series was 1974’s “The Man With the Golden Gun,” a film that failed with audiences and critics alike.

38. Breathtaking Performance. Singer Tom Jones belted out the title song to “Thunderball” with such leather-lunged gusto that he literally fainted while singing the tune’s ending. “I closed my eyes,” Jones later recalled, “And I held the note for so long that when I opened my eyes the room was spinning.”

39. License to Fail. The Bond picture with the weakest box office performance was 1989’s “License to Kill.”

40. Never Say Never. Perhaps the oddest Bond flick is 1983’s “Never Say Never Again,” in which hard-charging Sean Connery returned to the role he made famous in the early sixties. It was strange enough that one year would produce both a Roger Moore Bond film (“Octopussy”) as well as a Sean Connery Bond film, as if the two were competing. There was also the fact that “Never” is almost an exact duplicate of “Thunderball.” The plot is the same and many of the other details are lifted exactly from the earlier classic. To see Connery eighteen years older hustling through the same plot is like a weird funhouse trick.

41. Bring in the Helicopters. Bond movies must have helicopters, as they have done since the second Bond flick, “From Russia With Love.” The only movie of the series that lacked a helicopter sequence was “The Man With the Golden Gun,” which fizzled at the box office.

42. Bond’s Connection to Willie Wonka and Austin Powers. “You Only Live Twice” featured a screenplay by noted writer Roald Dahl, who would be better known for writing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and creating the character of Willy Wonka. (In the film, villainous mastermind Ernst Blofeld wears the same type of Nehru jacket that Mike Meyers would sport as Dr. Evil in “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”)


Daniel Craig returns to movie screens as James Bond in “Skyfall.”

43. Evil Genius. Orson Welles (“Citizen Kane,” “Touch of Evil”) was considered for the title role of “Goldfinger,” but he reportedly wanted too much gold for his performance.

44. Bond Pays for Protection. During the 1972 shooting of “Live and Let Die,” portions of the story had to be filmed in New York’s notoriously dangerous Harlem area. Producers paid protection money to a local gang. As legend tells it, when the cash had been spent, the film crew was “encouraged” to leave the area immediately.

45. Bond Babies. The James Bond series spawned an endless number of imitators. For the coolest TV version, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” the show’s producers sought and received guidance from Ian Fleming himself. The Bond creator even named one of the show’s characters, dreaming up one of the all-time great spy names: Napoleon Solo.

46. James Bond’s Favorite Bond. Although somewhat ignored over the years, “From Russia With Love” is seeing its reputation grow among critics and fans. And this is reportedly the favorite Bond movie among Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig.

47. The Men Who Would Be Bond, Pt. 2. Actors later considered as candidates to play Bond included Burt Reynolds, Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The role was actually offered to Clint Eastwood, who respectfully declined, saying he thought the part should be played by a British actor.

48. Bond Almost Dies. Sean Connery narrowly avoided disaster during “Thunderball” when he agreed to enter a swimming pool filled with Golden Grotto sharks. Although he was given a clear plexiglass shield of sorts, the device malfunctioned, leaving Connery face to face with sharks. Connery, an expert swimmer beat a hasty retreat away from the sharks.

49. Big Bald Blofeld. The character of SPECTRE overlord Blofeld was first played by actor Donald Pleasance, who would later be identified with another successful film franchise, as the psychiatrist in the “Halloween” series of slasher movies. In “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Blofeld was played by Telly Savalas, better known as TV’s favorite bald detective, “Kojack.”

50. Coming Attractions. It has been confirmed that a 24th James Bond film will be made. There is some speculation that it could be helmed by “Dark Knight” and “Inception” director Christopher Nolan.

His Name Means Excitement
James Bond endures as a movie mainstay because he always delivers screen excitement. For anyone interested in learning movie making and special effects, Bond movies are text-book examples of how big action movies were meant to be made. Coming up later this summer: James Bond returns in “Skyfall.”

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posted by DMA Jordan in News Blog and have No Comments

How The Beatles Changed Music

The Beatles were many things simultaneously: they were the most famous celebrities of their day…the best songwriters of their age…and, ultimately, the most beloved band of all time. And one more thing: The Beatles were also the most creative single force to ever hit popular music. The band influenced generations, and the group still continues to have a profound impact. The Beatles not only changed the way music was being made, they forever changed music.


The fifth Beatle: Producer George Martin (center) worked on all but one of The Beatles’ albums.

Through ceaseless inventiveness, The Beatles set musical trends that are still being followed. They never rested on their achievements, constantly stretching the boundaries of pop music. There is a chartable creative progression that begins with the first Beatle album and ends with the last. It should also be noted that The Beatles were assisted greatly by studio wizard George Martin, who produced every Beatle album (except Let it Be) and helped the band with their various sonic experiments.

Trying to list The Beatles’ various creative achievements would take forever, but we can zero in on five songs that demonstrate the band’s technical mastery.

I Feel Fine (Beatles ’65, 1964)
How It Changed Music:  The first intentional use of feedback in a pop music recording. 


Filming the video to accompany “I Feel Fine,” Ringo plays exercise bike. On the record, he employs a rhythm that can be traced to Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.”

In 1964, the idea of musicians actually trying to get their instruments to produce distortion was radically new. And although The Beatles certainly didn’t invent feedback and weren’t the first to incorporate it into their live act (The Who or The Kinks probably have that distinction), The Beatles were the first to release a single that featured feedback.

How It Happened: It was all due to a happy accident in the studio, when John propped his Gibson acoustic/electric against a switched-on amplifier. The guitar erupted with feedback, which stopped Lennon and McCartney in their tracks. The uniqueness of the sound impressed Lennon so much, he instantly asked producer George Martin if they could somehow use feedback in the recording. The producer suggested tacking it onto the front of the song and the rest is Rock ‘n’ Roll history. On the final master, John plucks the A string on his guitar. The note at first stings, then buzzes and finally dissolves into an ear-piercing wail. A million bands may have incorporated feedback into their sound, but The Beatles were the first to put it on record.

Eleanor Rigby (Revolver, 1966)
How It Changed Music:  Rock songs don’t always need to have happy endings – or traditional drums and guitars – to become hits. 
eleanor-rigby-england-45

Each song on the album Revolver has a unique, fully formed sound, but none more distinctive than Paul McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby.” A grim song about alienation (“Ah…look at all the lonely people!”), “Eleanor Rigby” tells the story of a lonely woman (who eventually dies) and a lonely minister (who presides over her burial). The song was a shock to Beatle fans that were used to upbeat love songs from the Fab Four. This was a song with no happy endings. Nonetheless, despite the somber subject matter, the song spent four weeks topping the British pop charts. More than 60 pop artists have covered the song since then.

Revolver marks the point when The Beatles stopped being a live performing act and became a full-time studio band. Aside from the general exhaustion of touring, The Beatles were becoming more ambitious about their music and had already mastered conventional multi-track recording techniques. Individual songs were being crafted with more time and creative techniques. In recording “Eleanor Rigby,” McCartney’s genius was to suggest the use of an eight-piece string section. In fact, none of The Beatles actually play instruments on the recording. Instead, the song is driven by its churning cello, mournful violas and stabbing violins.

How It Happened: There was a real Eleanor Rigby, who worked as a scullery maid in a Liverpool hospital and died in 1939. As teenagers, Lennon and McCartney hung around near a cemetery bearing her tombstone. It’s been suggested that McCartney absorbed the name subconsciously and used it years later when penning the song. By the way, “Father MacKenzie” started out as “Father McCartney,” until Paul feared that people would think he was describing his own father.

Tomorrow Never Knows (Revolver, 1966)
How It Changed Music:  Experimentation is good: Part One.


Backward beats: The Beatles usher in their psychedelic period with “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

The Beatles were still a unified force in 1966, but Revolver demonstrated the individual gifts of each Beatle. Paul scored high marks with “Eleanor Rigby,” while George Harrison contributed one of his best songs (“Taxman”) and drummer Ringo Starr sang lead on the innocent anthem, “Yellow Submarine.” As for John Lennon, he added the album’s closing track – a stunning piece of early psychedelic music called “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The lyrics, inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead, were strange enough (“Listen to the color of your dreams”) but the song itself sounded like virtually nothing the band had recorded up to that point.

How It Happened: To give Lennon’s chanting vocal the desired “sound of a guru on a mountaintop,” producer Martin ran the vocal track through a Lesley spinning speaker, a type of speaker that produced an odd, wobbly sound. John’s vocals were also doubled by using an Automatic Double Tracking (ADT) system. Meanwhile, Ringo used a unique drum pattern for his rhythm tracks and his drums and cymbals were recorded and played in reverse, as was Harrison’s sitar. The Beatles also gave the song an added layer of weirdness by adding 16 six-second-long tape loops of various sounds (most of which were played in reverse), which producer Martin interspersed through the song. The resulting final track was an amazing, riveting piece of music that predicted the band’s next stage: psychedelia.

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)
How It Changed Music:  Experimentation is good: Part Two.


John Lennon points to the poster that inspired “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”

Things were getting pretty crazy in groovy 1967, and that influence colors the album that many critics regard as not only The Beatles’ best album, but the best Rock album of all time. Sgt. Pepper is loaded throughout with one innovation after another, but “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” capably demonstrates the band’s daring musical experimentation. The song’s lyrics, which tell of an upcoming old-style circus event, were inspired by an antique music-hall poster that Lennon had acquired.


Lennon used direct quotes from this 124-year-old circus poster.

How It Happened: Much of Lennon’s lyric was taken word-for-word from the original handbill. For one musical passage within the song’s middle eight bars, a collection of different pieces of audio was gathered. Each tape contained a different type of carnival music. Producer George Martin, unhappy with their attempts to find one signature carnival sound, had all of the tapes cut into small pieces, which were then thrown into the air and onto the studio floor. The studio engineer then randomly picked up the pieces of tape, which were re-assembled in precisely that order to create a flowing montage of circus sounds.

I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Abbey Road, 1969)
How It Changed Music:  Simplicity can be a lot deeper than you think.


Even though the foursome would soon part company, The Beatles were still in-step when recording the band’s final masterpiece, Abbey Road.

After the dense, multi-layered psychedelic rumble that The Beatles pioneered during the Pepper era, most of Abbey Road (which was the last Beatle album recorded, although Let it Be would be released after it) was marked by a simpler sound that didn’t seem to rely quite so much on audio “tricks.” But even at their simplest, The Beatles’ music contains multiple levels. And that was certainly the case for “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” which took a simple blues-type song and stretched it out to nearly eight minutes

How It Happened: Songwriter Lennon answered criticisms of the primitive lyric (“I want you…I want you so bad…I want you…I want you so bad it’s driving me mad”) by saying that it was an urgent love song that required a simple lyric. (Lennon used the example of a drowning man, who doesn’t scream, “Excuse me, but could you please possibly throw me that float and save me?” when “Help! I’m drowning!” is more to the point.) Then there are the song’s special effects, which were tacked onto the building instrumental that dominates the back half of the song. The bizarre sound of an increasing, howling wind (created by Lennon playing a Moog synthesizer) was grafted onto the song, with the white noise becoming louder as the song’s thundering chords repeat over and over.

The end of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” is also technically interesting, because there really is no ending, per Lennon’s idea. The instruments keep hitting the main theme over and over (with the wind SFX now up to hurricane force) and then the song just unexpectedly goes silent. No final chord or drumbeat: just pure silence. An amazing and unexpected finish to a song that was more complex than originally judged…and one of the very last Beatle songs to be mixed by the group itself.


Even The Simpsons have paid tribute to The Beatles with this Abbey Road parody.

Creativity on Tap
The Beatles’ music still shines decades later, thanks to the careful craft that went into every Beatle recording. Each member of the band quickly became a master of the audio studio arts. Their early music shows The Beatles’ progression as audio producers who were bent and determined to give the world a new kind of sound.

The Beatles’ legacy lives on. The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus can help teach you how to become a music producer. And thanks in large part to The Beatles, audio production continues to attract creative and musical people of all ages.

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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Music Production,News Blog and have No Comments