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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June 8, 2000 Nadine Cohodas is the author of "Spinning Blues into Gold: the Chess Brothers and the Legendary Chess Records" (St. Martin's Press).It's the story of brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, Jewish immigrants from Poland, who knew little about music, but somehow created the influential blues label, Chess Records. Muddy Waters helped them see the potential in the music and they went on to record Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon,Chuck Berry, and others. Chess Records was located in Chicago.
June 1, 2000 NPR's Reena Advani reports on the popularity of Bhangra music in clubs and on college campuses around the country. The music originally became popular in an electronically-modified form in Britain's dance clubs during the 1980's... It is now influencing American music and gaining popularity in the U.S.
June 1, 2000 Latin bandleader Tito Puente died today at the age of 77 in a hospital in New York. Puente was hospitalized recently for heart problems and canceled all his concerts in May. He recorded over 100 albums in his long music career. He won five Grammys — the most recent this year for best traditional tropical Latin performance for "Mambo Birdland."
May 31, 2000 Tex Beneke died yesterday. He was a saxophonist and singer with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. His voice became familiar on such hits as "Chattanooga Choo Choo," "I Got a Girl in Kalamazoo" and "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree." We remember him and hear a brief selection of his work.
May 31, 2000 NPR's Tony Sarabia reports on a travelling exhibit that is now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C titled This Land is Your Land: The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie. Guthrie's music is finding a new life among listeners. Younger musicians acknowledge their debt to him, with new and re-issued recordings in his honor.
May 23, 2000 Fusion jazz — a genre popularized in the 1970's, but more recently derided — is enjoying a revival. The four-CD reissue of Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" has sold 70,000 copies so far. That's prompted Sony Music to unleash a slew of other stuff from its fusion catalogue. Fusion seems to have found a new audience among jam band fans. Re-issues include CD's from the bands Weather Report, and Return to Forever, as well as the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Tom Vitale has the story. (7:30)NOTE: STATION BREAKS BEFORE AND AFTER THE VITALE PIECE WERE TAKEN FROM THE CD "HEAVY WEATHER" BY WEATHER REPORT. THE FIRST SELECTION WAS "TEEN TOWN", THEN "HAVONA". THE CD IS #CK 65108 ON COLUMBIA RECORDS, REISSUED IN 1997.
April 22, 2000 From San Francisco, David Wright reports on the Church of St. John Coltrane where worshippers have gathered together to celebrate the work of the late jazz musician for the past three decades. But now, soaring rents are forcing the church to vacate its historic location in the Haight.
March 14, 2000 It's a sound that came to define American popular music, but the electric guitar's impact extends far beyond rock 'n' roll, to jazz, blues, country, and avant-garde compositions. Distortion, feedback, and various electronic effects that were once considered noise are now popular music thanks to this instrument. Join Juan Williams and guests to trace the musical and cultural journey of the electric guitar.
February 28, 2000 Thursday, March 2nd, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Kurt Weill. A century after his birth and half a century after his death, Weill remains as controversial a composer as he was in the 1920s when he abandoned a promising career in "serious music;" fled the Nazis; and landed on Broadway, where he wrote such standards as, September Song, and Speak Low. This week, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is staging a long-lost Weill opera. NPR's Rick Karr reports.
February 23, 2000 Composer George Frederic Handel was born on this day in 1685. We take note of Handel's reputation among his classical music peers, and some of his principle achievements.
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