Category Archives: music

This week marks the anniversary of the death (?) of Elvis Presley, a transformative cultural figure of the twentieth or any other century. If you have memories of that afternoon in 1977, you perhaps recall what you were doing when news of … Continue reading

In early May 1953, my girlfriend Jean Armstrong suggested I apply in the coffee shop where she worked as a waitress at the Tulane Hotel in Nashville. The hotel was situated on the corner of Eighth Avenue North and Church … Continue reading

The following is an excerpt from Kyle Gann’s new book Charles Ives’s Concord: Essays after a Sonata. In January 1921 a prominent insurance executive in New York City sent copies of a piano sonata he had written to hundreds of … Continue reading

The 1927 Mississippi River flood disaster had a far-reaching social impact, inspired timeless music, influenced policy that includes what happened during Hurricane Katrina, and received its due in at least one very interesting book. It even roused the laissez-faire federal government … Continue reading

As the tumultuous late Sixties and early Seventies retreat into history, the zeitgeist is steadily sanding the many rough edges off John Lennon in order to enjoy his music without all the bummer stuff. But Lennon in his own time … Continue reading

On this day in 1947, the City of New Orleans made its first run between the Chicago and the Crescent City on the Illinois Central line. The City traveled the early 921-mile route in the daytime in those days. The Panama Limited was … Continue reading

Longing for that down home music? Looking for a shot of brilliance? Tryin’ to forget that you asked for water and your woman/man gave you gasoline? Then you must be celebrating the 100th birthday (or it might be the 102nd birthday) of McKinley Morganfield, … Continue reading

You can’t have Women’s History Month without musician-genius Clara Rockmore (left in the photo). The appropriately named Rockmore was a master of the theremin, that haunting/creepy sound-maker that entered our consciousness through 1950s science fiction films, “Good Vibrations,” twentieth-century electronica, and by inspiring the Moog synthesizer. The … Continue reading

Excerpted from Peggy Seeger: A Life of Music, Love, and Politics, by Jean Freedman Peggy had written some mildly feminist songs, such as “Darling Annie,” about an equal partnership between a man and a woman, and “Nightshift,” about a woman’s … Continue reading

The Chinatown opera house provided Chinese immigrants with an essential source of entertainment during the pre–World War II era. But its stories of loyalty, obligation, passion, and duty also attracted diverse patrons into Chinese American communities Drawing on a wealth … Continue reading