The Null Device

Musical pasts

The Independent lists the musical pasts of various public figures:

Silvio Berlusconi: Politician

The Italian media magnate and former prime minister paid his way through university by singing and playing the piano on cruise ships. He has been known throughout his colourful political career for his habit of breaking into song unexpectedly.

A C Grayling: Philosopher

Grayling, a professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the author of a biography of William Hazlitt and other books, was once part of the expat rock scene in Northern Rhodesia – now Zambia – where he was born in 1949.

He says: "From the ages of 14 to 16, I was in a group called the Rebels – three guitars and a drummer. I started as the bass guitarist but then it turned out that not only could I not sing well, I couldn't sing at all and play the bass guitar, so I graduated to the rhythm guitar. I wore a pair of black, plastic-sided, high-heeled 'Beatle' boots that were two sizes too small. I thought I was the bee's knees."

The article mentions a number of other famous people who had played music in their pasts (such as comedian Ricky Gervais, who was a new-romantic sensation (though only in the Philippines), Jamie Oliver's third-division Britpop career, and Tony Blair's infamous student rock-band past. One notable example not mentioned, though, is US Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan's former career as a calypso singer.

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