Elvis Presley recorded “Blue Christmas” for his Christmas album in 1957 and made the song something of a holiday classic. In the years to come, “Blue Christmas” would be covered by Johnny Mathis, Johnny Cash, The Misfits, Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Bon Jovi and eventually Lou Reed too.[...]
For some time now, people like poet Robert Graves and countercultural guru Timothy Leary have assumed that ancient religion and mysticism were the products of mind-altering drugs.[...]
Back in 2011, we featured John Cage’s 1960 television performance of his piece Water Walk. Its video quality may have left something to be desired, but now, thanks to the YouTube channel of Bard College’s Richard B.[...]
Lennon & McCartney — the two musicians came together and composed the most important songbook of the last 50 years. Early on, John and Paul wrote many of their songs together — songs like “She Loves You” and “Eight Days a Week.[...]
In 2010, Patti Smith won a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids, making her, by my count, the only Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member to land that prize. Of course, she’s also the only person I can think of who has appeared in both a movie by Jean-Luc Godard (Film Socialisme) and an episode of Law and Order.[...]
Johnny Cash, outlaw country singer and defiant man in black, comes carefully packaged for many people through the merchandising of his life and image.[...]
David Lynch gets sound like few other directors. There’s an unforgettable scene in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me where Laura Palmer leads her best friend Donna Hayward into what looks like a den of iniquity for lumberjacks. It’s filled with burly men and cheap women grinding to music blaring from the speakers.[...]
On November 23rd, Bob Dylan played a live concert for one awed fan. As Rolling Stone described it, “Fredrik Wikingsson walked into Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, took a seat in the [sixth] row and prepared to watch his hero play a concert just for him.” “At this point,” Wikingsson said, “I still thought I was about to get Punk’d.[...]
In 1966, Jimi Hendrix released his first single, “Hey Joe,” a cover song, and, in a certain sense, reclaimed American rock ‘n’ roll from the British invasion. Eight years later in ‘74, it may have seemed like rock ‘n’ roll was dead and gone.[...]
It’s clear that amateur saxophonist and Johns Hopkins surgeon Charles Limb has an abiding interest in the neuroscience of creativity.
He’s also an unabashed fanboy. I’ll bet the spirit of scientific inquiry is not the only motivating factor behind this jazz fan’s experiments on jazz improvisers.