October 20, 2000 The a cappella group The Persuasions decided to do an album of Grateful Dead songs. As "The Dead" have been icons of sub-culture since the mid 60's, and have inspired more than one generation of devotees (Deadheads), they knew that covering the harmonies would not suffice. They would have to rediscover AND reinvent the music - both for themselves, and the audience.
October 20, 2000 There were toes tapping and heads nodding in Louisville, Kentucky, last night when the city played host to the Bluegrass music awards. The Del McCoury Band and Dolly Parton both took home top awards. The event isn't televised, but is broadcast live in more than 3,000 U.S. radio markets.
October 4, 2000 NPR's Michele Kelemen reports from Moscow that an overwhelming majority of CDs purchased in Russia are illegal copies, sold openly and cheaply at stores and open-air markets. Pirating has taken a heavy toll on Russian musicians. Deprived of income from their recordings, they're almost always on the road, forced to keep to a grueling live performance schedules.
October 3, 2000 From Athens, Georgia Steve Lickteig reports on the city's struggle to preserve an unusual monument — the railroad trestle pictured on the cover of native rock band REM's break-out album Murmur.
September 26, 2000 NPR's Julie McCarthy reports from Prague on the opening of The World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings. To counter the expected protests, the World Bank is trying emphasize that they are listening to pleas for social justice...and they're doing that with Bono...the lead singer of the Irish rock band, U2.
September 14, 2000 Guests: DONNIE MCCLURKIN Gospel singer his two albums are titled Donnie McClurkin and Live in London and More Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album Author of the forthcoming book Eternal Victim, Eternal Victor (Fall, 2000) HORACE CLARENCE BOYER Professor Emeritus, Music Theory and African-American Music, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Author, How Sweet the Sound: The Golden Age of Gospel (Univ. of Illinois, 2000) Its roots are in work songs and spirituals, but Gospel music has changed greatly in the last few decades. Early artists like Mahalia Jackson first brought gospel to a larger audience. Today, Contemporary Gospel incorporates elements from jazz, pop and even hip-hop. Join Juan Williams for a conversation with an award-winning Gospel singer about Gospel and its place in American music.
September 13, 2000 NPR's Rick Karr reports that the first Latin Grammy will be held tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is hosting the event.
August 6, 2000 Leonard and Phil Chess were two Polish immigrants who started a record company and gave us the sounds of post war urban America - from Muddy Waters' blues, to Chuck Berry's rock & roll, to the jazz sounds of Gene Ammons and Ramsey Lewis. Biographer Nadine Cohodas tells Liane the story of Chess Records. Her book is called Spinning Blues into Gold (St. Martins Press) (17:00).
July 15, 2000 Scott on Mojo magazine's poll, which selected the Beatles' "In My Life" as the greatest pop song of the century.
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July 4, 2000 GUESTS: CLARK TERRY * Jazz musician and bandleader, plays trumpet and flugelhorn DAN MORGENSTERN *Director of the Institute for Jazz Studies, Rutgers University LAURENCE BERGREEN *Author,Louis Armstrong: An Extravagant Life (Broadway Books, 1997) Louis Armstrong has been called the greatest musician of the century. While some may disagree, one thing is certain: after Louis, no one played or sang popular music the same way. Miles Davis once said that you can't play anything on the trumpet that Louis hadn't played-- even modern music. And while Armstrong may not have been gifted with a classically beautiful singing voice, the way he made a melody his own has inspired popular singers ever since; Frank Sinatra said that Louis Armstrong turned popular song into art. July 4th is the day when Armstrong's birthday is traditionally celebrated, so across the country this Independence Day, Americans will also be celebrating a hundred years of Pops. Join Juan Williams and guests for a look at the life and influence of Louis Armstrong, on the next Talk of the Nation, from NPR News.
June 29, 2000 Senior vice president and editorial director of VH1, Bill Flanagan. He's the author of "A&R" (Random House) a satirical novel about the music industry. Prior to this, Flanagan wrote extensively about the business for "Vanity Fair," "Rolling Stone," "Esquire," and "Spy." He's also the author of "Written in My Soul" a collection of conversations with songwriters.
June 29, 2000 In the first installment of an occasional series called Paying the Piper, NPR's Rick Karr reports on how the internet is changing the way musicians get paid for their music. Currently, there are four different ways for musicians to profit off the internet: when listeners pay to download songs; subscription-only sites that charge a monthly fee; advertising revenue from running banner ads on the site; and cashing in on the musician's identity by selling tee-shirts or fan club memberships from the site. (8:15) For a list and links of some of the sites mentioned, click here.
June 23, 2000 Babi Yar is the name of a ravine in Kiev where tens of thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazis in 1941. Twenty years later, after visiting the site, Evgeni Yevtushenko wrote a poem about the tragedy and about Russian anti-Semitism. His poem, in turn, inspired Dmitri Shostakovich to write a choral symphony - Number 13 - also titled Babi Yar. Now the poet is reading Babi Yar before a performance of the symphony by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Alex Van Oss reports.
June 22, 2000 NPR's Alex Chadwick talks to journalists Tom and Phil Kuntz, about the voluminous files the FBI kept on Frank Sinatra. After Sinatra's death two years ago, the Kuntz brothers obtained the files, under the Freedom of Information Act. In this interview, they discuss the surveillance the FBI carried out simultaneously into Sinatra's relationship with John Fitzgerald Kennedy and with Chicago crime boss, Sam Giancana.
June 13, 2000 NPR's Melissa Block reports on the controversy over Bruce Springsteen's new song that alludes to the police shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo. The song is called American Skin. New York City's police union leaders are irked over the song's lyrics — quote — "You can get killed just for living in your American skin."
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