Are you someone who loves to sing in front of your family and friends? Do you turn up your radio to sing along when your favorite song is played? Then you won’t want to miss Saaz-o-Awaz, the fantastic karaoke service from Afghan Wireless. One of AWCC’s many value-added Lifestyle Content features, Saaz-o-Awaz lets you enjoy as much karaoke as you can handle in daily, weekly, or monthly bundles, starting at rates of just 5 AFN for 20 minutes.
To celebrate this great service, and to inspire you to start warming up your voice, read on for a round-up of our favorite karaoke facts.
The karaoke machine was “officially” invented in 1971.
Daisuke Inoue, a Japanese musician and businessman, is widely credited with having invented the first karaoke machine in 1971. As he tells the story, in the late 1960s he was earning a living playing the keyboard in various small bars and clubs when he was approached by a company president with a special request: to record some keyboard music that he could sing along to during an evening entertaining clients.
Inoue recorded a number of the executive’s favorite songs using an open-reel tape recorder; they proved highly successful and Inoue was promptly asked to record more. At that moment, the idea for the karaoke machine was born. Inoue worked with friends to create the first version of the machine—a Juke 8 featuring a microphone, an amplifier, a coin box, and an eight-track car stereo—which hit the market in 1971.
The karaoke machine’s inventor didn’t get a patent, but did get an Ig Nobel Prize.
Inoue had little idea that his karaoke machine would develop into such a massive global phenomenon, so he didn’t take out a patent on his invention. This means that Inoue never became fantastically rich on the karaoke machine’s incredible success. He has, however, received recognition in the form of an Ig Nobel Prize: an eccentric awards program established at Harvard in the early 1990s that celebrates research and innovations “that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”
Inoue was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2004 for “providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.” As part of his acceptance speech, Inoue honored the audience with a karaoke rendition of the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing,” which was followed by the ceremony’s longest-ever standing ovation.
Inoue is not responsible for inventing the term “karaoke”.
Daisuke Inoue may have invented the karaoke machine, but he didn’t actually invent the term “karaoke,” which is a contraction of the Japanese words meaning “empty orchestra.” The story of how the term was coined involves a Japanese entertaining group, who had to use a karaoke machine to play their orchestral accompaniment after the real orchestra’s musicians went on strike. The term karaoke clicked into place after someone remarked that music was still playing even though the orchestra pit was empty. “Kara okesutura” means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.
Singing as a form of expression may be older than we think.
The stereotypical image of early humans may be of cave-dwellers communicating only in grunts, but archaeological evidence suggests that the reality was quite different. Analysis of Neanderthal skeletons reveals that the larynx was located in a high position, indicating that they likely had high-pitched voices that were used for singing. In fact, some scholars believe that these early homo sapiens used dance and song to communicate complex emotions long before the development of word-based language, and that they may even have had a more sophisticated sense of rhythm and melody than modern humans do. Perhaps these were the first karaoke singers of all?
The Guinness World Record for the longest-ever individual karaoke session is held by Leonardo Polverelli of Italy. In September 2011, Polverelli sang an incredible total of 1,295 songs over a period of 101 hours, 59 minutes, and 15 seconds (or just over four days). Polverelli launched his marathon session to raise funds in support of Telethon. The Guinness World Record for the karaoke session with the largest number of participants was set in August 2009 at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, when 160,000 people joined in a rendition of the Garth Brooks song “Friends in Low Places” just before the NASCAR Sharpie 500 race.
Not everyone loves karaoke.
Karaoke certainly has legions of fans all around the world, but it has its fair share of enemies as well. In 2009, a poll of 2,500 adults conducted by the UK government ranked the karaoke machine as the most unpopular gadget ever invented. Responding to the poll’s findings, a member of the British Inventors Society expressed the view that while karaoke may be entertaining for the person singing, it can be a painful and unpleasant experience for people in the audience, depending on the talent level of the singer.