You might say Steven Greenberg is the mayor of Funkytown. Back in 1979, Greenberg was just another young musician and producer in Minneapolis. Then his group Lipps, Inc. recorded a song that would come to dominate the dance floors and airwaves in the summer of 1980, and for a long time afterward.
Last week, Sony Corporation announced a new line of high-end audio components that promise to deliver a better online audio experience. The announcement comes amid growing evidence that music fans are tired of the crappy sound they hear on their portable music players. Case in point is the success of Cookie Marenco's business of selling super high-definition music downloads.
There are a lot of operas that end with heroines on their deathbeds, singing one glorious aria before they die. That's what happens at the end of Anna Nicole, the controversial new work that New York City Opera is presenting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in September. But the company's artistic director and general manager, George Steel, says it could also be City Opera's last gasp.
Finally, this hour, words of love that became a chart-topping song.
FRED STOBAUGH: That's how it all began. I was just lonely one evening and just sat down and wrote it.
SIEGEL: That's Fred Stobaugh. Earlier this summer, the 96-year-old submitted lyrics to a local songwriting contest at Green Shoe Studio in Peoria, Illinois. The song was in memory of his late wife, Lorraine.
STOBAUGH: She was just one of the beautiful-est girls in the world. She could stand up to anybody, movie stars or anybody.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 11:23 am
This weekend was the first chance critics have had to see musician and actor Andre Benjamin play Jimi Hendrix, in a role that fans have complained has kept him from recording new music with his longtime partner in OutKast, Big Boi. NPR's film critic, Bob Mondello, screened All Is By My Side at the Toronto International Film Festival and sent this missive.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 8:17 am
Way back in the 1980s, were you the one playing "When Doves Cry" over and over? Well, don't be surprised if your kids wind up doing the same thing.
Young adults have strong positive memories of the music their parents loved when they were the same age, a study finds. That flies in the face of the cultural stereotype that children reject their parents' taste in music.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 11:04 am
Rapper Kanye West got paid a reported $3 million to perform at the wedding of the grandson of Kazakhstan's autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Video of last Saturday's performance was posted on Instagram — and resulted in a flood of criticism.
Every time you turn around it seems like there's a new streaming music service. Pandora was among the first a decade ago. Rdio launched in 2010. Spotify came to the U.S. in the summer of 2011. Apple and Google plan to join the fray this year. Music producer Jimmy Iovine is launching a service tied to his headphone brand Beats by Dr. Dre.
What's odd is they are all jumping into a business that, so far, doesn't seem to be turning a profit.
The British classical magazine Gramophone announced today the latest round of winners of its annual awards, now in their 90th year. With an expansive roll call of noteworthy albums ranging from early music to opera, the Gramophone Award honorees represent a tantalizing range of musical achievement — but it's a smaller array than in years past.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, 15 members of the Renaissance Street Singers gathered under a bridge in New York's Central Park. With little fanfare, they launched into a free, two-hour concert of music by Palestrina, des Prez and other composers who lived more than 500 years ago.
Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 10:05 am
In Minneapolis right now, even small matters have the potential to escalate — fast. Take the latest flashpoint in the Minnesota Orchestra's ongoing tribulations, which in about 24 hours has flared up a lot of ire in the classical community.
About a week ago, a semi-professional musician, blogger and longtime fan of the Minnesota Orchestra named Emily Hogstad was talking with some fellow Minnesota fans about the possibility of organizing a dedicated group of music lovers who want to see an end to the longstanding labor disputes at the Minneapolis-based ensemble.
Iowa City librarian Jason Paulios pulls out his smartphone, enters his library-card number and begins downloading an album by local metal band Blizzard at Sea.
"So it's extracting now," he says, eyes on the screen. "It's at about 90 percent."
The download takes about five minutes to complete. Paulios says it's a great way to check out local music: You could be waiting for a concert to start, download an album by the band you're about to see and then listen to it on the way home.
Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
Chia-Jung Tsay was something of a piano prodigy. By age 12, she was performing Mendelssohn in concert. At 16, she made her debut at Carnegie Hall. Soon, she was on her way to some of the best music schools in the country — Juilliard and the Peabody Conservatory. And she was throwing her hat in the ring for different competitions.
Albert Murray, the influential writer and critic who helped found Jazz at Lincoln Center, died Sunday at home in Harlem. He was 97 years old. Duke Ellington once described him as the "unsquarest person I know."
For Murray, jazz and blues were more than just musical forms. They were a survival technique — an improvisatory response to hardship and uncertainty, as he told NPR in 1997: "You don't know how many bars you have, but however many of them you can make swing, the better off you are. That's about it."
William Tyler takes the stage at the Trumpet Blossom Café, a vegan restaurant and bar in Iowa City. Surrounded by effects pedals for his guitar, he wears jeans and black cowboy boots, and his fingernails are about an inch long.