Music News

Jazz Night In America
1:30 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

'Everything Is Cyclical': Christian McBride Looks At 2015 In Jazz

Christian McBride is the host of NPR's Jazz Night In America.
Anna Webber Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 3:55 pm

Christian McBride likely doesn't need much of an introduction. He's a bassist who's worked with everyone from McCoy Tyner to Diana Krall to Paul McCartney.

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Music News
4:00 pm
Sun January 11, 2015

Country Quartet Little Big Town Finds Fun In Being A Foursome

The Nashville country quartet Little Big Town recently released its sixth studio album, Pain Killer.
Courtesy of Sandbox Entertainment

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 7:36 am

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Music News
5:49 am
Sun January 11, 2015

The More, The Better: Repetition Propels Songs Up The Charts

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 10:37 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

What makes a song a hit? Is it a catchy beat, an amazing voice? Let's use this song as an example.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKE IT OFF")

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Music News
2:36 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

You Know Exactly What These 6 Country Songs Have In Common

Screen grab.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 10:54 pm

Maybe you've noticed that many hit country songs sound the same. Nashville songwriter Greg Todd heard similar melodies, music beds and solos in six "bro country" songs — by Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Parmalee, Cole Swindell and Chase Rice — and mashed them up with some pitch- and tempo-shifting.

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The Record
2:36 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Andraé Crouch, Who Moved Gospel Into The 21st Century, Has Died

Andraé Crouch in an undated press photo, circa 1970.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 3:06 pm

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Music News
4:26 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Percussionist Bobbye Hall Is A Liner-Note Legend

A young Bobbye Hall in the studio.
Courtesy of Elizabeth Hall

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 5:09 pm

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Music News
12:03 am
Thu January 8, 2015

The Tabla Master Who Jammed With The Grateful Dead

Zakir Hussain learned from the best — his father, Allah Rakha, was a tabla legend. But Hussain's career really took off when he started working with the rock musicians he grew up admiring.
Jim McGuire Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 10:32 am

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the fourth installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a master of an ancient tradition who has played with some of the world's most famous musicians.


Zakir Hussain can pinpoint the beginning of his musical life. It began one day in India in 1951, when he was 2 days old.

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The Record
12:41 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Musicians You'll Tell Your Friends About In 2015

Austin-based Charlie Belle, led by 16-year-old Jendayi Bonds (center) along with her brother Gyasi Bonds (left) and Zoe Czarnecki, will release a debut EP on Jan. 13.
Barclay Ice & Coal Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
1:40 am
Wed January 7, 2015

Marian Anderson's Groundbreaking Met Opera Moment

Contralto Marian Anderson in the role of Ulrica from a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi's Un ballo en maschera in 1955. Anderson was the first African-American soloist to appear at the Met.
Sedge LeBlang Metropolitan Opera Archives

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 10:35 am

It was conductor Arturo Toscanini who said a voice like Marian Anderson's comes around only once in a century.

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Music News
12:03 am
Wed January 7, 2015

How Santería Seeped Into Latin Music

Percussionist and bandleader John Santos performs with Afro Cuban batá drums in California's Bay Area.
Tom Ehrlich John Santos

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 10:35 am

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. The third installment in "Beat Week" explores the beats used in Afro-Cuban Santería ceremonies. Our guide is Felix Contreras, co-host of NPR's Alt.Latino podcast and an Afro-Cuban drummer himself.

Note: This piece is better heard than read. For examples of the music and a drumming demonstration, listen at the audio link.

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The Record
1:59 am
Tue January 6, 2015

With Downloads In Decline, Can iTunes Adapt?

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs stands in front of a projection of iTunes at a presentation in 2004.
Ian Waldie Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 10:44 am

Apple's innovative iTunes music service is still the market leader in music downloads, but after more than a decade of growth, sales of music tracks on iTunes have been declining. Last year saw the largest drop in sales — 14 percent. The drop is attributed to the increasing popularity of streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and YouTube. These services give fans access to millions of tracks from any Internet-connected device for a monthly fee or in return for listening to commercials.

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Music News
12:03 am
Tue January 6, 2015

Mystic Rhythms: Rush's Neil Peart On The First Rock Drummer

Rush's Neil Peart performs at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2013.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 8:34 am

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Music News
1:31 am
Mon January 5, 2015

The Original Funky Drummers On Life With James Brown

John "Jabo" Starks (left) and Clyde Stubblefield laid the grooves on many of James Brown's biggest hits. Here, they clown around on the cover of their joint DVD, Soul of the Funky Drummers.
Rittor Music

Originally published on Mon January 5, 2015 3:05 pm

All this week, Morning Edition is talking about drums and drummers. For the first installment in "Beat Week," David Greene spoke with a duo who shared drumming duties for the hardest working man in show business.

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Music News
5:48 am
Sun January 4, 2015

A Light Goes Out In Memphis: Remembering John Fry

John Fry, founder of Ardent Studios, died in December after nurturing some of the best music to ever come out of Memphis.
Facebook / Ardent Studios

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:20 am

It's been a tough time for the music community of Memphis. For the past 50 years, much of the best music recorded or produced there wouldn't have happened without the vision of John Fry, the founder of Ardent Studios. He passed away on Dec. 18 at the age of 69. Music supervisor and producer Rick Clark offers this appreciation.

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Music News
3:19 am
Sat January 3, 2015

Weapon Of Choice: Why The Stratocaster Survives

Across six decades, the combination of innovative design and talented players has helped the Stratocaster not only persevere, but rule. John Mayer had the Fender Custom Shop design this one in 2009.
Fender Musical Instruments

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 10:06 am

Quick: Name an American product that's had a worldwide impact, is more popular than ever, yet still looks the same as it did when it was introduced more than a half-century ago? Here's a hint: It might be the only musical instrument whose fame rivals that of the people who've played it.

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Music News
4:05 pm
Fri January 2, 2015

Wilko Johnson Set Out To Make One Final Album, But It Didn't Work Out That Way

Wilko Johnson (left) and Roger Daltrey play a benefit for Pancreatic Cancer UK in London.
David M. Benett Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 4:23 pm

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Music News
4:45 am
Fri January 2, 2015

Encore: A Basic Training Workout Mix

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 5:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

If you are one of the many Americans who resolved to spend more time at the gym in 2015, we have a little extra inspiration to help you stick with your new workout plan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PHYSICAL")

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Music News
2:42 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Ahmad Jamal, 'A Musical Architect Of The Highest Order,' Keeps On Building

At 84, acclaimed jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal is still recording and touring
Karen Michel

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 4:48 pm

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The Record
5:03 am
Tue December 30, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Neal Brennan On What The Hell Happened This Year

Neal Brennan.
Courtesy of Neal Brennan

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Music News
3:25 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Remembering When Johnny Cash Stopped To Talk To A Young Reporter

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 5:52 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Music News
3:18 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Committed's 'Home For Christmas' Has Fun Songs And Some Classics

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 5:00 am

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As always, we have a lot of news to cover today. But on this holiday, we thought it was worth devoting a good bit of time to some Christmas music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS")

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NPR Story
2:52 am
Thu December 25, 2014

Barry Manilow: I Jump At The Chance To Do A Christmas Album

Originally published on Thu December 25, 2014 5:00 am

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

Holiday Music
12:03 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Couldn't Miss This One: Behind 'Christmas Wrapping'

The Waitresses' members were in the middle of a tour behind "I Know What Boys Like" when "Christmas Wrapping" took over the radio in 1981.
David Corio Redferns

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 6:02 am

Chris Butler founded The Waitresses, a smart-aleck New Wave band, in late-'70s Akron, Ohio. He recalls a long-ago summer when the owner of ZE Records asked him and his collaborators to come up with a Christmas song.

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Music News
3:05 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Moreno's 'El Burrito Sabanero', Welcomed Update To A Holiday Song

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 5:28 am

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

Music News
3:04 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

What A Failed Hip-Hop Experiment Can Teach Us About The Future Of U.S.-Cuba Relations

Los Aldeanos' Aldo Rodriguez (left) and El B.
Daniel Hdez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 9:55 am

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Remembrances
2:23 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Charismatic Singer Joe Cocker Dies At 70

Joe Cocker.
Ernesto Ruscio Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 3:54 pm

Joe Cocker died Monday at his home in Crawford, Colo., after what his publicist described as a hard-fought battle with small-cell lung cancer. He was 70.

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Singer Joe Cocker Dies At Age 70

Singer Joe Cocker, famous for his powerful and raspy voice, has died at age 70.
Ron Wolfson Landov

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 2:02 pm

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The Record
6:03 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Top 10 Top 40 For 2014

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Remembrances
6:20 am
Sun December 21, 2014

When The Beatles Gave Fans A 'Crimble' Present

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 11:01 am

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Christmas is the time of year for carols, presents, festive cheer, and if you were a member of The Beatles Fan Club back in the 1960s, it was the season for a special edition flexi-disc from John, Paul, George and Ringo.

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NPR Story
3:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

How Tchaikovsky's 'Nutcracker' Became A Holiday Tradition

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:31 am

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here is a holiday tradition that seems as old as Christmas trees and mistletoe.

(SOUNDBITE OF PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY SONG, "NUTCRACKER OVERTURE")

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