Music News

Music News
3:02 am
Fri July 25, 2014

The Reign Of 'Purple Rain'

Prince makes his presence felt at the premiere of Purple Rain on July 26, 1984.
Ron Galella Getty

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 6:14 am

Prince's semi-autobiographical film, Purple Rain, hit theaters 30 years ago this weekend. Many people went to see it multiple times, often clad in ... purple. The movie and its soundtrack weren't just hits: They challenged long-held preconceptions of what constituted "white" and "black" music, and presented the world with a bold new example of what it was to be a pop artist.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:25 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Labor Conflict May Lock Out Met Opera Workers

Metropolitan Opera General Manager Peter Gelb has warned union workers of a lockout if a contract deal isn't settled by July 31.
Astrid Stawiarz Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 4:22 pm

The clock is ticking for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The world's largest opera company may be headed for a shutdown. Most of the union contracts for the Met expire in a week. Yesterday, Met General Manager Peter Gelb sent a letter to the unions, warning them to prepare for a lockout if they don't come to terms.

For months now, the company and its unions have been at an impasse. Management has proposed cutting 16 percent of union members' compensation. Otherwise, Gelb contends, the company could go bankrupt in two to three years.

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The Record
6:52 am
Thu July 24, 2014

First Watch: Maddie & Tae, 'Girl In A Country Song'

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye.
Republic Records

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 7:57 am

It's starting to seem like even the bros are tired of bro country. The truck-loving Florida Georgia Line has switched up its game with the chart- dominant "Dirt," a sensitive ballad about marriage and farming.

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The Record
3:42 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

A Rational Conversation: The Sound Of TDE's Success

Kendrick Lamar (right) onstage at the BET Hip Hop Awards 2013 in Atlanta with Ali, TDE's engineer and sometimes DJ.
Rick Diamond/BET Getty Images for BET

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Music
2:44 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Finding The Anthropology In Latin Dance Music

Jorge Drexler's new album, Bailar en la Cueva, ventures into new territory for him: dance rhythms.
Thomas Canet Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 8:36 pm

Jorge Drexler's songs have been called introspective and literate. He's been compared to Paul Simon. But a couple years ago, the Uruguayan musician began to wonder what it would take to write dance-oriented music. That's the assignment he gave himself on his latest album, Bailar en la Cueva, or "dancing in the cave."

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Music News
2:14 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Inside The Sun Records Sound, A Marvel Even Today

The 1954 Elvis Presley single "You're a Heartbreaker," recorded at one of the singer's early sessions at Sun Studio.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:17 pm

For more conversations with music makers, check out NPR's Music Interviews.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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Music News
2:42 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Teenage Songwriters Take On 'Bro-Country'

Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye, whose first single, "Girl In A Country Song," takes aim at one-dimensional representations of women in country music.
Kevin White Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 4:35 pm

No theme has dominated country radio playlists and charts more in the past couple of years than celebration of the sort of small-town good life that features trucks, beer and scantily clad women as the must-have accessories. The young country duo Maddie & Tae aren't fans of the third element in the "bro-country" trinity.

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Fri July 18, 2014

NPR Music Returns For 2014's Newport Folk Festival

Hurray For The Riff Raff performed at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival — and makes a return engagement this year.
Meagan Beauchemin NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 9:39 am

The Newport Folk Festival has been around for more than half a century now — this is its 55th year, to be exact — and the event now routinely sells out months before its lineup is even announced. And why shouldn't it?

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The Record
12:05 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

For The Love Of Black Music

Jesse Boykins III had a rough slot at Essence Fest 2014: opening the first night on the main stage.
Erika Goldring Getty Images

It still surprises me that a few of my colleagues who regularly attend music festivals like Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Budweiser Made in America still haven't heard of, or don't seem to know much about, the annual Essence Festival, held every July 4th weekend in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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The Two-Way
6:13 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Dies At 70

Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, seen here performing in Valencia in 2008, has died at age 70.
Diego Tuson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 9:08 am

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Code Switch
7:23 am
Mon July 14, 2014

How 'Ching Chong' Became The Go-To Slur For Mocking East Asians

An album cover for Lee S. Roberts and J. Will Callahan's 1917 song "Ching Chong."
The Library Of Congress

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 11:01 am

When Kwok-Ming Cheng went to a Whole Foods in New York City to pick up some pre-ordered sandwiches over the Fourth of July weekend, he wasn't expecting to get tapped with a new nickname.

"Are you Ching Chong?"

That's the question Cheng said he heard from a customer service representative at the grocery store.

It's a slur I and many other Asian-American folks have heard at some point in our lives. But every time I hear it, I can't help but wonder, "How is this thing still around? And where did it even come from?"

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Remembrances
9:04 am
Sun July 13, 2014

'Without Tommy, There's No Ramones'

Tommy Ramone, the original drummer for the Ramones, died Friday at the age of 65.
Ian Dickson Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:38 am

Punk rock music has lost one of its earliest pioneers.

Tommy Ramone died of cancer on Friday at his home in Queens, N.Y. He was the last surviving member of the original Ramones.

Tommy Ramone was Tamás Erdélyi before he became a "Ramone" and produced punk rock classics like "Rockaway Beach."

He was born in Budapest, where, as kid, he once had a memorable trip to see a movie about America.

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Sat July 12, 2014

Tommy Ramone, Last Original Member Of The Ramones, Dies At 65

Tommy Ramone addresses the media after a rehearsal of the musical "Gabba Gabba Hey!" in Berlin in May 2005. Drummer Ramone died on Friday at age 65.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 9:49 am

Drummer Tommy Ramone, born Tamás Erdélyi, the last of the founding members of the seminal 1970s punk band The Ramones, has died. He was 65.

An announcement on the band's Facebook page said Ramone died on Friday at his home in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Ramone had been in hospice care for bile duct cancer, NPR has confirmed with Peter Erdelyi, Tommy's brother.

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Remembrances
3:38 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Remembering Jazz Legend Charlie Haden, Who Crafted His Voice In Bass

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 7:39 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Fri July 11, 2014

A Voice Of Velvet And Bronze: Carlo Bergonzi At 90

Tenor Carlo Bergonzi as Radames in Verdi's Aida in 1956, the year of his Metropolitan Opera debut.
Metropolitan Opera Archives

Carlo Bergonzi endures. Not only is the Italian tenor approaching his 90th birthday (on July 13) but for decades he sang with tireless warmth and precision, representing a certain old school approach to carefully cultivating one's vocal resources.

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Music News
3:25 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Dublin Has Garth's Heart, But Not His Concerts Anymore

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 8:39 pm

Garth Brooks fans abound in Ireland, and now 400,000 of them won't get to the chance to see him perform. Brooks has cancelled five concerts after the Dublin City Council refused to grant him more than three. Melissa Block speaks to Rachel Flaherty of The Irish Times about the controversy.

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Music News
3:19 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Clash In Nashville: A Property Battle On Music Row Draws A Crowd

Inside RCA Studio A, whose sale has sparked a wave of backlash from the Nashville music community, Ben Folds (right, on staircase) addresses press and supporters.
Stephen Jerkins

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 9:27 am

News that a Nashville developer is paying $4.4 million for a half-century-old recording studio has sparked a battle in Music City. On one side is singer-songwriter Ben Folds, inspired by the musical history made in that studio. On the other, a trailblazing musician who made that history.

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Music Articles
1:36 am
Tue July 8, 2014

A Reluctant Star, Sia Deals With Fame On Her Own Terms

After becoming the kind of star she never wanted to be, Australian pop singer Sia is refusing to show her face.
PRETTYPUKE Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 7:51 am

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Music Articles
1:46 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Billy Eckstine: A Crooner Who Crossed Barriers

Mobbed by teenage girls wherever he went, Billy Eckstine at one time rivaled Frank Sinatra's popularity.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 5:56 pm

Billy Eckstine was smooth as silk. He was tall and handsome, sported a pencil-thin mustache and sang in a distinctive baritone.

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Music News
5:55 am
Sun July 6, 2014

The Kentucky Sisters And Old-Time Tunes As Doorways To History

The Kentucky Sisters.
Jason Rhein Elephant Quilty Productions

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 12:46 pm

Did you know that John F. Kennedy was a Republican? Neither did I. But that's what one of my college students guessed in a course on news writing. I asked another kid what period followed the Industrial Age and she said, "The Golden Age?" We moved on.

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Music News
3:16 am
Sun July 6, 2014

Even Broadway Has Its B-Sides: The Lost Songs Of Sheldon Harnick

Acclaimed songwriter Sheldon Harnick turned 90 in April.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 10:50 am

Sheldon Harnick has been a working lyricist for over 60 years. He shared a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the musical Fiorello! and a Tony Award for Fiddler On The Roof. But he says a career in the theater means writing some songs that, for whatever reason, don't make the show.

"Sometimes, the song was changed because a scene was changed and it no longer accommodated the song," Harnick says. "So, sometimes there had to be a new song."

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Music News
3:15 am
Sun July 6, 2014

To Sign Or Not To Sign: Artists Big And Small Face The Label Question

Philadelphia punk trio Cayetana (left to right: Allegra Anka, Kelly Olsen, Augusta Koch) will release its debut on the small indie label Tiny Engines later this year.
Mary Ferrigno Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 8:07 am

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Music News
12:00 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

STATE OF THE ARTS: The Hard Road Trio

The Hard Road Trio’s Steve Smith and Chris Sanders talk about their upcoming local performances and music projects.

Information:
www.hardroadtrio.com 

NPR Story
3:05 am
Fri July 4, 2014

20th Essence Music Festival Opens In New Orleans

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 5:52 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. I'm fine with that theme you just heard. It begins this segment every morning. But this morning, how about this?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL NIGHT LONG")

LIONEL RICHIE: (Singing) All night long, all night, all night long.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:53 am
Thu July 3, 2014

After 36 Years, A Trumpeter Sounds His Last Note In New York

New York Philharmonic principal trumpeter Philip Smith plays at New York's Park Avenue Armory in a performance in June 2012.
Chris Lee Courtesy of the New York Philharmonic

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The Record
6:33 am
Thu July 3, 2014

The Hits Of Yesterday And Today

Paramore's "Ain't It Fun" was originally released on Paramore in April 2013, but the single hit radio in February and hasn't left since.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 11:48 am

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All Songs Considered
9:43 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Guess Monday's Mystery Song Premiere

NPR

On Monday at noon we're premiering a brand-new song from an artist we love. Until then, we're leaving you this puzzle to ponder: Who is Monday's Mystery Musician?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
1:32 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Julius Rudel, Longtime Director Of New York City Opera, Dies At 93

Julius Rudel, photographed (ca. 1970) in rehearsal with the orchestra of the New York City Opera, spent more than three decades with the company.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:12 pm

Conductor Julius Rudel, a defining figure in 20th-century opera production, died early Thursday morning. He was 93, and died at his New York home of natural causes, according to his son Anthony Rudel, station manager of Boston classical music broadcaster WCRB. WCRB is part of WGBH and an NPR member station.

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The Record
9:57 am
Thu June 26, 2014

He'll Be There For You

You've Got A Friend: Ed Sheeran's second album, X, released this week, sets out to prove that the "friend zone" doesn't have to be toxic.
Ben Watts Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri June 27, 2014 7:36 am

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A Blog Supreme
6:03 am
Wed June 25, 2014

The Future Of Intense Art: A Free-Jazz Event Looks Forward

Charles Gayle was honored with a lifetime achievement award at this year's Vision Festival. On the event's opening night, Gayle performed as his alter ego, Streets the Clown.
John Rogers for NPR

"We had to do things ourselves until something else kicked in," bassist William Parker said at a panel earlier this month. He was explaining how he came to co-found the Vision Festival. "And nothing's ever really kicked in."

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