Think you know about Robert Burns?
1. After Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus, Robert Burns has more statues dedicated to him around the world than any other non-religious figure.
2. J.D. Salinger’s famous 1951 novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’ based its title from a poem by Robert Burns ‘Comin' Thro' the Rye’.
3. The Soviet Union was the first country in the world to honour Burns with a commemorative stamp, marking the 160th anniversary of his death in 1956.
4. A translation of ‘My Hearts in the Highlands’ was adopted as the marching song of the Chinese resistance fighters in the Second World War.
5. American music legend Bob Dylan selected Burns' 1794 song 'A Red, Red Rose' when asked for the source of his greatest creative inspiration.
6. A statue of Burns in Camperdown, Australia, is thought to be the oldest existing statue of the poet anywhere in the world. The sculpture, carved by John Greenshields in 1826, was shipped to Australia in the 1850s.
7. John Steinbeck took the title of his 1937 novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ from a line contained in Burns' poem ‘To a Mouse’: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley’.
8. Burns’ song of equality and universal brotherhood ‘Is there for Honest Poverty’ (also known as 'A Man's A Man for a' That') was chosen as the anthem to open the new Scottish Parliament in 1999.
9. A miniature book of Robert Burns' poetry was carried into orbit by astronaut Nick Patrick on a two week space mission in 2010, completing a 5.7 million mile trip and 217 orbits of the Earth.
10. ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as being one of the top three most popular songs in the English language. The other two are ‘Happy Birthday’ and ‘For he’s a jolly good fellow’.
11. The city of Atlanta, Georgia, has a life-size replica of the Alloway cottage that Burns was born in. It was built by the Burns Club of Atlanta in 1911.
12. Robert Burns was the first ever person to appear on a commemorative bottle of Coca-Cola, in 2009.
13. The Mitchell Library in Glasgow is thought to house the world’s largest Burns collection, including translations of the poet’s works in more than 30 languages.
14. American president Abraham Lincoln had a lifelong admiration for the work of Robert Burns, with some claiming that the poet’s verse played a key role in helping Lincoln win the American civil war and abolish slavery.
15. The work of Burns has appeared in hundreds of films and television programmes, including ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946), ‘When Harry met Sally’ (1989) and the 2008 film version of ‘Sex in the City’.
16. US fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger claims direct descent from Robert Burns.
17. Burns body was exhumed in 1815 to be placed in a new mausoleum in Dumfries. Whilst his body was above ground, a plaster cast of his skull was taken for study. The skull was measured and discovered to be bigger than the average man's.
18. The town of Mosgiel, near Dunedin, New Zealand was named after Robert Burns' farm in Ayrshire.
19. Burns fathered at least 12 children with four different women during his short 37 year lifetime. His youngest child, Maxwell, was born on the day of his funeral.
20. Pop singer Michael Jackson is said to have been a big fan of Robert Burns and is reputed to have worked on an as yet unreleased album setting the Bard's poems to music.
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Last updated 23 Apr 2015