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John Prine’s Last Song Was Also His First to Go No. 1: Watch Him Perform “I Remember Everything”

It feels cosmically ironic that Great American Songwriter John Prine died of COVID-19 in early April, just before the U.S. response to the virus was developing into what may well be the Greatest Political Folly most Americans have ever witnessed in their lifetimes. Mass death for profit and power, colossal stupidity and bullying ignorance—these were just the kinds of things that got Prine’s wheels turning. His thoughts became folk poetry with teeth. Prine’s targets included the conservat...
Tags: Google, Music, College, America, Bill Murray, Leonard Cohen, Facebook Twitter, John Prine, NPR Music, Dave Cobb, Tom Petty, Josh Jones, Prine, Durham NC Follow, Zaleski, Annie Zaleski


How Ornette Coleman Shaped the Jazz World: An Introduction to His Irreverent Sound

Ornette Coleman “arrived in New York in 1959,” writes Philip Clark, “with a white plastic saxophone and a set of ideas about improvisation that would shake jazz to its big apple core.” Every big name in jazz was doing something similar at the time, inventing new styles and languages. Coleman went further out there than anyone, infuriating and frustrating other jazz pioneers like Miles Davis. He called his theory “Harmolodics,” a Buckminster Fuller-like melding of “harmony,” “movement,” a...
Tags: Google, Music, New York, College, Ornette Coleman, Coleman, Facebook Twitter, Clark, Josh Jones, Beefheart, Jacques Derrida, Miles Davis He, Durham NC Follow, Philosopher Jacques Derrida Interviews Jazz, Philip Clark, Lou Reed Which Lou Called


When the Beatles Refused to Play Before Segregated Audiences on Their First U.S. Tour (1964)

When American rock and roll made its way to the UK in the 1950s and 60s, along with a burgeoning folk and blues revival, many young British fans hadn’t been conditioned to think of music in the same way as their U.S. counterparts. “Unlike racially segregated Americans,” for example, “the Beatles didn’t see—or hear—the difference between Elvis and Chuck Berry,” writes Joseph Tirella, “between the Everly Brothers and the Marvelettes.” They also couldn’t see playing to segregated audien...
Tags: Google, Music, Florida, UK, College, John Lennon, US, Paul Mccartney, Elvis, Beatles, Mccartney, Ron Howard, Jacksonville, South, Facebook Twitter, Little Rock


The Beastie Boys & Rick Rubin Reunite and Revisit Their Formative Time Together in 1980s NYC

The Beastie Boys’ record-shattering Licensed to Ill is thirty-four years old. This fact might mean nothing to you, or it might mean that you are thirty-four years older than the moment the album came out in November of 1986, and suburban parents around the country, maybe even your parents, freaked out in unison. The album was a stroke of genius from producer Rick Rubin, delivering hip-hop safe for white kids while also giving them permission to be as obnoxious as possible. Ostensibly a r...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Brooklyn, Slayer, Ill, Spike Jonze, Nme, Nyu, Kerry King, PAUL, Zeppelin, Facebook Twitter, Perry, Rick Rubin, Josh Jones


Nile Rodgers Tells the Story of How He Turned David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” from Folk to New Wave Funk

When David Bowie invited Chic guitarist and all-around funk/disco guitar genius Nile Rodgers to make an album of “hits” in Switzerland, Rogers remembers thinking, “okay, ‘hits’ with David Bowie, that’s an awesome project.” The way he deadpans might make us think he wasn’t super stoked about it, but the fact is, it’s hard to impress Nile Rodgers. He has produced, written, and played guitar—the very Stratocaster he’s holding in the video above—on “hundreds, maybe thousands” of records, he ...
Tags: Google, Music, Texas, College, David, David Bowie, Switzerland, Npr, Nile Rodgers, Rogers, Bowie, Facebook Twitter, Rodgers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Josh Jones, Durham NC Follow


In 1968, a Teenager Convinced Thelonious Monk to Play a Gig at His High School to Promote Racial Unity; Now the Concert Recording Is Getting Released

In 1964, Thelonious Monk appeared on the cover of TIME. He had been chosen for an extensive profile, his biographer Robin D.G. Kelley tells Terry Gross, because the magazine thought Miles Davis or Ray Charles might be “too controversial.” Monk, it was thought “had no complaints… he wasn't so political.” This is not exactly so, Kelley writes in Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original. The eccentric genius played benefit concerts throughout the 60s. But he was also begi...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Palo Alto, Jazz, Miles Davis, Npr, Ray Charles, Facebook Twitter, Monk, East Palo Alto, Josh Jones, Kelley, Terry Gross, Palo Alto High School, Durham NC Follow


Miles Davis is Attacked, Beaten & Arrested by the NYPD Outside Birdland, Eight Days After the Release of Kind of Blue (1959)

It is hard, on the other hand, to blame the policeman, blank, good-natured, thoughtless, and insuperably innocent, for being such a perfect representative of the people he serves. He, too, believes in good intentions and is astounded and offended when they are not taken for the deed.  —James Baldwin James Baldwin’s 1960 essay “Fifth Avenue, Uptown” is rich with heartrending ironies and razor-sharp refutations of the usual apologies for racist violence in America. It does not matter, Bald...
Tags: Google, Music, New York, College, New York City, America, History, Chicago, Missouri, New York Times, Davis, Miles Davis, St Louis, Judy, Facebook Twitter, Baldwin


The Grateful Dead’s “Ripple” Played By Musicians Around the World (with Cameos by David Crosby, Jimmy Buffett & Bill Kreutzmann)

Poet and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter penned some of the band’s best-known songs. Even if you’re only casually familiar with the Dead’s vast catalogue and even vaster labyrinth of live recordings, you can probably sing along to classics like “Casey Jones” or “Box of Rain.” Both came about during the most prolific phase of Hunter and Jerry Garcia’s collaboration on the country-folk masterpieces Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty, released one after the other in 1970. Among thes...
Tags: Google, Music, London, College, Canada, Ringo Starr, Grateful Dead, Los Lobos, Hunter, Facebook Twitter, Jerry, William Butler Yeats, Josh Jones, Bill Withers, Jerry Garcia, Dodd


Tom Jones Performs “Long Time Gone” with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young–and Blows the Band & Audience Away (1969)

Welsh crooner Tom Jones made an unlikely comeback in the late 80s, covering Prince’s “Kiss” with Art of Noise. Then in the mid-90s, he showed up on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to sing mid-60s hit “It’s Not Unusual” for superfan Carlton Banks. This was a time of 60s comebacks all around, but Jones’ resurgence was a little odd (though perfectly in character for Carlton Banks). Tom Jones had been a big star in the mid to late 60s, with his own TV show and a string of international hits. But...
Tags: Google, Music, Television, College, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young, Prince, Tom Jones, Young, Jones, Woodstock, Facebook Twitter, Roberts, Upstate New York, Neil, Josh Jones


When Punk & Reggae Fans Launched the “Rock Against Racism” Movement and Pushed Back Against Britain’s Racist Right (1976)

The UK of the late-70s was, in many unfortunate respects, like the UK (and US) of today, with far-right attacks against West Indian and Asian immigrants becoming routine, along with increased aggression from the police. Enoch Powell’s inflammatory 1968 “Rivers of Blood” speech (denounced in the papers as a naked “appeal to racial hatred) energized the far-right National Front. Nazi punks and skinheads began violent campaigns in the mid-70s. A very hot summer in 1976 saw a riot at the Not...
Tags: Google, Music, Politics, UK, London, College, US, RAR, Britain, Elvis Costello, Birmingham, Public Enemy, Leeds, Enoch Powell, Eric Clapton, Nme


Hear Enchanting Mixes of Japanese Pop, Jazz, Funk, Disco, Soul, and R&B from the 70s and 80s

Franz Kafka’s unfinished first novel, published by his literary executor Max Brod as Amerika, tells the story of a young European exiled in New York City. He has a series of madcap adventures, winds up in Oklahoma as a “technical worker,” and adopts the name “Negro.” Amerika is a novel written by an artist who had never been to America or met an American. His impression of the country came entirely from his reading. And yet, Kafka leaves readers with an authentically vivid, lasting impre...
Tags: Google, Music, Japan, College, New York City, America, Oklahoma, Kafka, Marshall, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Sergio Leone, Franz Kafka, Colin Marshall, Durham NC Follow, Amerika


Tom Morello Responds to Angry Fans Who Suddenly Realize That Rage Against the Machine’s Music Is Political: “What Music of Mine DIDN’T Contain Political BS?”

“I, Dancing Bear,” a song by an obscure folk artist who goes by the name Birdengine, begins thus: There are some things that I just do not care to know It’s a lovely little tune, if maudlin and macabre are your thing, a song one might almost call anti-political. It is the art of solipsism, denial, an inwardness that dances over the abyss of pure self, navel gazing for its own sake. It is Kafka-esque, pathetic, and hysterical. I love it. My appreciation for this weird, outsider New Romanticism d...
Tags: Google, Music, Politics, Hollywood, College, Current Affairs, Paul ryan, Pentagon, Cia, Kafka, Agency, James Baldwin, Rage Against The Machine, Facebook Twitter, Paris Review, Emerson


Is This the Most Accurate Fan Cover of the Beatles Ever? Hear a Faithful Recreation of the Abbey Road Medley

I once thought I might be from the last generation to have spent a good part of their youth in front of a pair of speakers, playing their parents’ Beatles records until they memorized every note. Abbey Road was a special favorite in our house. I must have heard the outro medley a hundred thousand times or more. Now that reissue vinyl is everywhere, or something resembling the original records, there are loads of people who can say the same thing—and loads more who have streamed Abbey...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Paul Mccartney, Memphis, Elvis, Mccartney, Lennon, Andy, PAUL, Facebook Twitter, Buddy Holly, Josh Jones, Abbey Road, Durham NC Follow, Abbey Road Medley


How Jazz Helped Fuel the 1960s Civil Rights Movement

Oh, Lord, don’t let ‘em shoot us! Oh, Lord, don’t let ‘em stab us! Oh, Lord, don’t let ‘em tar and feather us! Oh, Lord, no more swastikas! Oh, Lord, no more Ku Klux Klan! —Charles Mingus, “Fables of Faubus” In 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus decided that integration—mandated three years earlier by Brown v. Board of Ed.—constituted such a state of emergency that he mobilized the National Guard to prevent nine black students from going to school. An outraged Charles Mingus responded ...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Washington, Alabama, History, United States, Arkansas, Village Voice, Jazz, John Coltrane, Birmingham, Naacp, Civil rights movement, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong


When Afrobeat Legend Fela Kuti Collaborated with Cream Drummer Ginger Baker

At the end of the 60s, superstar drummer and angriest man in rock Ginger Baker was on the verge of collapse. Strung out on heroin, deeply grieving Jimi Hendrix’s death, and alienated from his former Cream and Blind Faith bandmates, he needed a new direction. He found it in Nigeria, where he decamped after driving a Range Rover from Algeria across the Sahara Desert. (A madcap adventure captured in the 1971 documentary Ginger Baker in Africa). Once in Lagos, Baker started jamming with Afro...
Tags: Google, Music, UK, England, London, College, Nigeria, Africa, US, Jimi Hendrix, Algeria, Rolling Stone, Baker, Sahara Desert, Facebook Twitter, Trinity College


What Makes a Cover Song Great?: Our Favorites & Yours

Many years ago I tried to persuade friends I played with in a local indie band to debut a country-punk version of Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” live. No one went for it, and looking back, I’m pretty sure it would have been a musical disaster. That 90s hip-hop classic deserves better than our Weird Al-meets-Ween-meets-Wilco approach, which is not to say that such a cover couldn’t work at all, but that Neil Young was more our speed. Great cover songs come in all styles, and the world’s best ...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Wilco, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Bradley, Neil Young, Roger Ebert, Wu Tang Clan, Trent Reznor, Facebook Twitter, Johnny Cash, Ozzy, Dylan, Gus Van Sant, Otis Redding


50 Songs from a Single Year, Mixed Together Into One 3-Minute Song (1979-89)

The concept of generations, as we currently use the term, would have made no sense to people living throughout most of human history. “Before the 19th century,” writes Sarah Leskow at The Atlantic, “generations were thought of as (generally male) biological relationships within families—grandfathers, sons, grandchildren and so forth.” The word did not describe common traits shared by, “as one lexicographer put it in 1863, ‘all men living more or less at the same time.’” The theory was th...
Tags: Google, Music, Hollywood, Washington Post, College, Chicago, Atlantic, Kraftwerk, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Philip Bump, Durham NC Follow, David Toop, Sarah Leskow


The Expansive Vocal Range of Joni Mitchell: From the Early to Later Years

It’s quite a testament to Joni Mitchell’s musicianship that her “voice is arguably the most underrated aspect of her music.” So writes a contributor to The Range Place, an online project that analyzes the vocal ranges of popular singers. This is not to say that Mitchell’s voice is underrated—far from it—but her adventurous, deeply personal lyricism and experimental songwriting are how she is most often distinguished from the cohort of 60s singer-songwriters who emerged from the folk scen...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Joni Mitchell, Mitchell, Facebook Twitter, Judy Collins, Paul Taylor, Josh Jones, Durham NC Follow, Bob Dylan Roger McGuinn Gordon Lightfoot, Jaime Babbitt


Clare Torry’s Rare Live Performances of “Great Gig in the Sky” with Pink Floyd

When Clare Torry went into the studio to record her now-legendary vocals for Pink Floyd’s “Great Gig in the Sky,” the centerpiece of 1972’s Dark Side of the Moon, neither the singer nor the band were particularly impressed with each other. David Gilmour remembered the moment in an interview on the album’s 30th anniversary: Clare Torry didn't really look the part. She was Alan Parsons' idea. We wanted to put a girl on there, screaming orgasmically. Alan had worked with her previously, so ...
Tags: Google, Music, London, College, Pink Floyd, Wembley Stadium, Moon, Alan, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Gilmour, Torry, Knebworth, Alan Parsons


How “Strawberry Fields Forever” Contains “the Craziest Edit” in Beatles History

The story of “Strawberry Fields Forever” is more or less the story in miniature of the Beatles' reinvention after they swore off touring in 1966 and disappeared into the studio to make their most innovative albums. It was not, as some Beatles fans might remember, an easy transition right away. Some of their fans, it turned out, were fickle, easily swayed by gossip as the latest TV trends. “While unsubstantiated break-up rumors swirled, some music fans became disenchanted with the group,”...
Tags: Google, Music, College, John Lennon, US, Spain, Paul Mccartney, Mccartney, Lennon, Martin, Fleming, Facebook Twitter, Colin Fleming, Josh Jones, George Martin, Durham NC Follow


Watch Joni Mitchell Sing an Immaculate Version of Her Song “Coyote,” with Bob Dylan, Roger McGuinn & Gordon Lightfoot (1975)

Joni Mitchell doesn’t like to do interviews, but once she starts to open up, she really opens up, not only about her own struggles but about her feelings towards her fellow artists. These are often decidedly negative. Maybe she took a cue from her personal hero, Miles Davis (who, it turned out secretly owned all her albums). Mitchell matched his level of caustic commentary in 2010 when she told the L.A. Times that Bob Dylan “is not authentic at all. He’s a plagiarist, and his name and vo...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Court, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Bob, Times, Joni Mitchell, Mitchell, Jaco Pastorius, Martin Scorsese, Facebook Twitter, Dylan, Shepard, Josh Jones


A Soul Train-Style Detroit Dance Show Gets Down to Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” in the Late 80s

Imagine Kraftwerk’s Ralf Hütter in his robot voice, saying, as he once said to his friend Boris Venzen, “Our music is good if blacks and whites can dance to it at the same time.” This statement is the essence of Kraftwerk. Despite their early 70s avant-garde phase and their famously satiric Teutonic look, the robotic German techno pioneers settled early on their “practice of fusing European electronic music with black American rhythms, forging an aesthetic that reached critical mass with...
Tags: Google, Music, College, James Brown, Atkins, Kraftwerk, Detroit, Roland, Korg, Morrison, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Gary Numan, Bo Diddley, John Morrison, Trans Europe Express


Robert Fripp & King Crimson Perform a Stirring Cover of “Heroes,” Shortly after David Bowie’s Death (2016)

In 2016, King Crimson performed "Heroes" at the Admiralspalast in Berlin, just after David Bowie’s death, and nearly forty years after the song was written and recorded next to the Berlin Wall. It was "a celebration, a remembrancing and an homage," gentleman guitarist Robert Fripp wrote in a statement. The following year, they released the live version on an EP called Heroes, in honor of the classic Bowie album's 40th anniversary. King Crimson sounds absolutely amazing in the concert rec...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Berlin, David Bowie, Brian Eno, David Byrne, Bowie, Tony Visconti, Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Facebook Twitter, King Crimson, Visconti, Josh Jones, Gibson Les Paul, Robert Fripp


Haruki Murakami Will Host a Radio Show & Help Listeners “Blow Away Some of the Corona-Related Blues”

Image by Ilana Simon Characters in Haruki Murakami’s books see emotions in colors and hear them in sounds—the sounds, specifically, of The Beatles, Shostakovich, Sarah Vaughan, and thousands more folk, pop, rock, classical, and jazz artists in the novelist’s immense record collection. We must occasionally suspend some disbelief as readers, not only in the fantastic elements in Murakami’s work, but in characters who seem to know almost as much as the author does about music, who are always ready...
Tags: Google, Music, Japan, College, Literature, Tokyo, Haruki Murakami, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Murakami, Durham NC Follow, Jazz Playlist Jazz Essay Jazz Bar, Murakami Radio, Dre Dimura, DiMura, Ilana Simon Characters


John Mayer Teaches Guitarists How to Play the Blues in a 45-Minute Masterclass

Playing the blues is easy, many a budding guitarist thinks—their starry eyes fixed on the mathiest, proggiest, djent-iest (or whatever) guitar pyrotechnics of their favorite 7- or 8-string slinger. Learn a minor pentatonic blues scale, a few barre chords, some sexy bends, a 12-bar progression and you’re off, right? Why spend time trying to play like Albert King (Jimi Hendrix’s idol) or Buddy Guy when you’re reaching for the ultimate sweep-picking technique, or whatever, in the competitiv...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Pete Seeger, James Taylor, Johnson, John Mayer, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Facebook Twitter, Robert Johnson, Carolina, Josh Jones, Mayer, Durham NC Follow, Albert King Jimi Hendrix


Nina Simone Song “Color Is a Beautiful Thing” Animated in a Gorgeous Video

Four years (or what seems like a lifetime) ago, controversy erupted over the casting of actress Zoe Saldana, with darkened skin, as iconic pianist and singer Nina Simone in the biopic Nina. Accusations of racism and colorism met the film, historical attitudes hundreds of years in the making that Simone herself fought throughout her career, especially after she joined the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and actively made her personal struggles with racism central to her political state...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Jay Z, Village Voice, Vox, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill, Zoe Saldana, Facebook Twitter, Josh Jones, Simone, Nina, Lorraine Hansberry, Durham NC Follow, Simone Kelly


Little Richard Burst Into the “Then-Macho World of Rock” and “Changed it Forever”

If Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the Godmother of Rock and Roll, then Little Richard, who passed away Saturday at the age of 87 from bone cancer, deserves to be its Godfather. This is no empty honorific, despite the fact that Tharpe was already touring the country as a teenage gospel prodigy in 1932 when Richard Penniman was born in Macon Georgia, and "other musicians,” including Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, and Elvis Presley, “had already been mining a similar vein by the time [Lit...
Tags: Google, Music, England, College, France, US, America, New York Times, Rosetta, Elvis Presley, Richard, Keith Richards, Penthouse, Facebook Twitter, Macon Georgia, Rosetta Tharpe


Watch Florian Schneider (RIP) in Classic Early Kraftwerk Performances

The seventies, am I right….? Not that I can claim to have experienced it firsthand. But if I could have been a witness to any period in pop history it would have been the decade in which experimental fusion movements invaded rock and roll. There was Miles Davis and his protegees, of course. But there was much more besides: The Wailers’ fusion of rock, reggae, and soul; Fela Kuti’s fusion of Ghanaian high life, James Brown funk, and Nigerian jazz; Ryuchi Sakamoto’s fusion of indigenous, c...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Pink Floyd, James Brown, Dusseldorf, David Bowie, Miles Davis, Kraftwerk, Rolling Stone, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Bowie, Jagger, Facebook Twitter, Schneider, Nagoya Japan


Patti Smith’s Self Portraits: Another Side of the Prolific Artist

Young artists can understandably feel hesitant about trying new things. It’s hard enough to compete as a musician, for example. Why try to publish poetry or make visual art, too? Older, more established artists who branch out often have trouble being taken seriously in other fields. Patti Smith—poet, singer, memoirist, photographer, visual artist—has never seemed to suffer in either regard. “Her artwork has been exhibited everywhere from New York to Munich,” notes Dangerous Minds, “and in 2008 ...
Tags: Google, Art, Music, New York, College, Munich, Paris, Patti Smith, Rembrandt, Smith, Richard, Willem De Kooning, Robert, Robert Rauschenberg, Facebook Twitter, Robert Mapplethorpe


Juilliard Students & the New York Philharmonic Perform Ravel’s Bolero While Social Distancing in Quarantine

Like everyone else in COVID-19 isolation, Juilliard students are itching to get out and play. For them, the desire is a little more of an imperative. Without meeting and rehearsing together, these dedicated artists at the beginning of their careers can’t hone their skills. “In normal times,” writes Benjamin Sosland at the Juilliard Journal, “Juilliard’s halls are buzzing with collaborations: string quartets, jazz ensembles, and singers rehearsing in practice rooms on the fourth floor; da...
Tags: Google, Music, College, Metallica, Bolero, Facebook Twitter, Juilliard, New York Philharmonic, Josh Jones, Ravel, Kottke, Itzhak Perlman, Maurice Ravel, Benjamin Sosland, Damian Woetzel, Durham NC Follow



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