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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is...

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis. "It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kanye West sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says on Twitter. Now, one of his tweets may get used against him in court. Back in February, he tweeted that his new album, The Life Of Pablo , would only be available on Tidal, the streaming music service in which he owns a stake, and "never never never" on Apple. Well, "never never never" lasted about six weeks: You can now listen to The Life of Pablo on both Apple Music and Spotify. And this week, a lawsuit was filed in federal...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbVlN9TkzrI Pop music is having its moment on Broadway. The hip-hop musical Hamilton has been a smash hit, and two new shows with original scores by pop stars are opening this week: American Psycho, whose score was written by Duncan Sheik , and Waitress , whose score was written by Sara Bareilles . Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star of Hamilton , points out that a few generations ago, people listened to covers of Broadway tunes on the radio. "Musical...

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound . The jury described the piece as a "highly original work, in which notated music and improvisation mesh in a sonic tapestry that seems the very expression of modern American life." The recording was released as a 2-CD collection on Pi Recordings in 2015, and was listed among the Top 10...

Chicago's Jazz Record Mart attracts visitors from all over the world. At least, it used to: Last month, owner Bob Koester sold the store, saying he was just too old to run it any more. Koester began selling used records when he was a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. After moving to Chicago, he opened his own store, as well as his own jazz and blues label, Delmark. But after more than 60 years in business, he decided this spring that it was time to pack it in. "One reason I'm selling is that my...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56y8DPVTX14 On a recent March evening, the Welsh songwriter Cate Le Bon performed at the Masonic Lodge located within Los Angeles' Hollywood Forever Cemetery, the final resting place of Tinseltown's golden sons and daughters from yesteryear, from Cecil B. DeMille to Jayne Mansfield, musicians including Johnny and Dee Dee Ramone, the gangster "Bugsy" Siegel and Terry, the beloved Cairn terrier who played Toto in The Wizard of Oz . Le Bon, who once noted that she...

One of the most iconic songs of the civil rights movement is now the subject of a lawsuit. The same law firm that recently succeeded in releasing "Happy Birthday" from copyright rules is now hoping to do the same for "We Shall Overcome." Filed Tuesday in New York federal court, the suit claims the song belongs in the public domain, and seeks a return of "unlawful licensing fees" from the publishers. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the We Shall Overcome Foundation , a non-profit lead by...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGMnDcwoXns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt7A5vW_LEg http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HveVIhfO8Rs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJbqnztjkbs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CQBe2mNW60 Tony Conrad's violin was a suture on the soul. Using those droning strings, he conjured bracing and beautiful hues between colors, between notes, between worlds. The experimental musician, composer and filmmaker who was a key component of the '60s Lower Manhattan art scene — and...

A jury trial is now set for a lawsuit that says members of Led Zeppelin plagiarized a key element of the best-selling song "Stairway to Heaven." The estate of Randy Wolfe, the late guitarist of the band Spirit, initially filed the federal lawsuit two years ago. On Friday, U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that there's enough evidence to move ahead with a trial to decide whether Led Zeppelin and guitarist Jimmy Page unfairly appropriated the guitar line from the Spirit song "Taurus,"...

If there was a Mount Rushmore of the benchmark greats of American music, Merle Haggard would have to be on it. He was among the greatest of his or any generation of country performers. A true triple-threat, his prowess as a guitarist and fiddler could only be eclipsed by his greatness as a vocalist and songwriter. He was also a true entertainer with charisma and seemingly effortless stage presence. A master bandleader, he always had incredible backing musicians and his show managed a rare...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loT_pYzi3Vw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDDyyDjWM_0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_Dqo--Ly3g Merle Haggard was known by his fans as "Hag." With songs that reflected the working-class values and experiences of his own early life, Haggard found an audience in folks that saw the same. The country musician died Wednesday morning in California. It was his 79th birthday. Haggard's music was drawn from a life that started in 1937 in a converted train boxcar, the...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epT1_SbZgsE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xM9B-z53BBk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AE6aO1VrTo A Feb. 8, 1994 New York Times headline reads: " The Met Drops Kathleen Battle, Citing 'Unprofessional Actions' ." A Times headline from Monday reads: " You're Unfired: Kathleen Battle Is Returning to the Met After 22 years ." The Metropolitan Opera announced yesterday that on Nov. 13, Battle will sing a program of spirituals called Kathleen Battle: Underground...

Gay Glam Comes To HBO

Apr 4, 2016

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Lp_e4wUnz4 HBO's Vinyl offers plenty of incentive for pleasurable hate watching, from its macho take on gender relations to its sub- Sopranos murder subplot. For music mavens, the glee and groans are prompted by the show's haphazard treatment of the history of rock and roll — and hip hop and disco and Donny Osmond. The fake cameos from the likes of Alice Cooper and Gram Parsons are one source of fun; then there are the show's amalgamated "original" characters,...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auMcWKuB7sA In 2014, Sergei Roldugin told the New York Times , "I don't have millions." But if the document trail of the Panama Papers proves correct, this Russian cellist and conductor — and a close friend of Vladimir Putin since the 1970s — may actually possess much more than that. According to reporting from the consortium of 370 international journalists from over 100 news organizations working on the data leak of more than 11 million documents in what's...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TkrUBgURtA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o23VG5Qthh4 Jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri , known for his ever-present black fedora, was 83 when he died Saturday. Best known for the soundtrack to the controversial 1972 movie Last Tango In Paris , starring Marlon Brando, Barbieri won a Grammy for his efforts. He was born Leandro Barbieri, but earned the nickname "Gato" — the "cat" — in his native Argentina as he came up in the Buenos Aires jazz scene. Barbieri was...

This week in Dallas, a singular work of music is being performed in memory of Tyler Clementi: the 18-year-old college freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010, after his roommate at Rutgers secretly filmed him being intimate with another man and posted about it online. Tyler's Suite is a touring, nine-part choral movement written by team of contemporary composers, including Broadway legend Stephen Schwartz. The songs are based on hundreds of hours of interviews with the...

Editor's note on April 4, 2016: You may have figured this out already — this story was an April Fools' joke. It's not real. We hope you enjoyed it. Listen to Sergei Rachmaninoff 's sweeping, luxuriantly Romantic music — his Second Symphony , his Second Piano Concerto — and it's hard to imagine that this towering figure of 20th century music ever had a crisis of confidence. But he did, a well-documented three-year fallow period after the dismal premiere of his First Symphony, during which he...

You often don't think of opera at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem. Tonight that changes: Charlie Parker's Yardbird gets its New York premiere there. It's an opera about the jazz saxophonist on the very stage where Parker played in his lifetime. The opera's Swiss-born composer Daniel Schnyder is a jazz saxophone player himself, who is also classically trained. He wants to combine his two favorite kinds of music. "These two things are far apart from each other," Schnyder says, "and a lot of...

Just before he died in 2009, Joe Castro sat down with his son James to listen to some tapes. The reel-to-reels were full of Castro's own decades-old recordings, in which the jazz pianist jammed with his contemporaries. "It was kind of like a shock," James says, "because right when we put the first tape on, it sounded like it was recorded yesterday." Father and son went through more than 40 hours of tape. James says he was used to hearing his dad back up other musicians. "He was being reserved...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEN8pbFDMcE In 1955, jazz pianist Erroll Garner played a concert in Carmel, Calif. When his manager spotted a tape recorder rolling backstage, she grabbed the reels and decided to release them. The sound was lousy, yet Concert by the Sea went on to become a huge hit. Pianist Geri Allen says that's because the playing is so exuberant. "And so after that, what we're really getting, without any barriers, is a sense of the way this man viewed the world," Allen says....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5l9XawyVNQ Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite. Think back to 2007, when Apple essentially launched Canadian indie star Feist into the pop stratosphere . Or even to last year, when it was hard to know whether online TV service Hulu or the singer BØRNS got a bigger lift from the single "...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3pyCGnZzYA Malik I. Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg who was a founding member of the seminal group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45. His family said in a statement that Phife died as a result of complications from diabetes. NPR's Andrew Limbong tells our Newscast unit that Phife, who was one of two main vocalists for A Tribe Called Quest, brought a lot of humor to the group. "There was a self-deprecating charm to Phife's lyrics — he...

SXSW 2016 In 10 GIFs

Mar 23, 2016

If the SXSW music festival feels unwieldy, we've got you covered with our favorite discoveries , videos from our opening night showcase , and late-night lullabies sung in hotel rooms and by a creek . If you're looking for something more bite-size, photographer Adam Kissick captured moments in the ever-satisfying GIF form, including an epic jump from Diet Cig's Alex Luciano, pop alchemist D∆WN's killer moves and thrash metal band Black Fast's shredding. (Note: If you have photosensitive...

SXSW 2016: Photos Of The Week

Mar 21, 2016

Amid the mess of heat, rain and tacos, there was a rich gallery of motion and color at the SXSW music festival . Here are the most stunning images of the week from photographer Adam Kissick and our own Bob Boilen. Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

"Y'all still read books, right?" Prince asked from the balcony of Manhattan's Avenue Club on Friday night, knowing what the jubilant response would be from the crowd of publishing folks, journalists and VIPs gathered below. The evening's occasion was the announcement that Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House publishing, had purchased the rights to the enigmatic 57-year-old music legend's memoir, which is expected sometime in 2017. In short, improvised remarks, Prince said, "the working...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUjbZ0KO4SE At a 42nd Street rehearsal studio, 14 dancers are working on a big production number, guided by dreadlocked choreographer Savion Glover. He and the stars of the show — including Audra McDonald , Brian Stokes Mitchell and Billy Porter — are part of a team that built a new musical around an older musical. Or, more precisely, what was in 1921 essentially a revue: just a string of songs. That show was called Shuffle Along. The new musical is Shuffle...

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