Music

Today our colleague Robert Siegel is retiring after four decades at NPR. He's covered everything from peace movements in East and West Germany to the Republican revolution of the 104th Congress, the mentally ill homeless and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan Province, China.

Over his 30-year tenure as host of All Things Considered, Robert has also chased one of his lifelong passions — classical music. He's interviewed dozens of today's most compelling musicians.

On Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, initially wiping out electricity and cellular reception on the entire island and causing billions of dollars in structural damage.

Justin Timberlake is officially ending his five-year album hiatus with news that his latest LP, Man Of The Woods, is releasing next month. Now, fans have their first clue about what this new project will sound like as the pop star drops his first bass-thumping single, "Filthy."

Last month, Kendrick Lamar snuck a blink-and-you'll-miss-it breadcrumb in the music video for the song "LOVE." In it, a clapperboard held in front of the camera reads: "B. Panther soundtrack coming soon."

"Triple A" radio has come a long way since its birth in 1990s. The programming format, short for "adult album alternative," was created as to be just that: a different listening option for boomers tired of hit-obsessed commercial radio.

When it comes to reporting on Spotify and the company's strained relationship with songwriters and publishers, it's beginning to sound like a broken ... system. But a possible fix is in.

Just two days before New Year's Eve, the music publishing company Wixen, which manages the compositions of a wide cross section of artists from Neil Young to Rage Against The Machine, filed a lawsuit against Spotify over its failure to properly license those works before making them available to stream.

Robert Mann, a violinist and one of the founders of the Juilliard String Quartet, died on Monday at home in Manhattan. He was 97 years old.

When he was a youngster in Portland, Oregon, Mann dreamed of being a forest ranger. But destiny apparently had other plans for him: instead, he became a legendary musician.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Muscle Shoals, Ala., is a small town a couple hours east of Memphis and south of Nashville. Starting in the 1960s, it drew some of the best musicians in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TELL MAMA")

In the 1970s, William Eggleston shocked the New York art world when the Museum of Modern Art exhibited his color photographs (Until then, most
serious photography had been black and white). Eggleston's pictures of the everyday established color photography and turned him into an art star. At the age of 78, the Memphis native surprised people yet again by releasing his first body of original music last October, an album titled Musik.

The official lineup for this year's Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, taking place April 13-15 and 20-22, has arrived.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And I'm Rachel Martin with some historic music firsts on this first day of the new year.

(SOUNDBITE OF ATOS TRIO'S PERFORMANCE OF BEETHOVEN'S "PIANO TRIO IN E FLAT MAJOR, OP. 1, NO. 1")

In Memoriam 2017: The Musicians We Lost

Dec 29, 2017

Bright voices from every corner of the music world left us this year — from virtuoso players to visionary composers, from charismatic bandleaders to golden-eared producers, from influential inventors to critics and commentators who interrogated and elevated the art they covered. Explore their legacies here.


Nat Hentoff

June 10, 1925 Jan. 7, 2017

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Today we're remembering a man who transformed American pop music. Jim Burns was not a well-known musician himself. He created the program "MTV Unplugged," and he was the show's executive producer during its original run through the '90s.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Tom Petty wrote a lot of hits during his more than 40 years making music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMERICAN GIRL")

TOM PETTY: (Singing) Well, she was an American girl.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "REFUGEE")

Actress Heather Menzies-Urich, best known for portraying Louisa von Trapp in the 1965 film The Sound of Music, died Sunday night. She was 68.

Variety magazine reports:

"Menzies-Urich, the widow of actor Robert Urich, had been recently diagnosed with cancer, according to her son Ryan Urich.

"Urich said his mother died on Christmas Eve, surrounded by her children and family members.

In 1946, Nat King Cole became the first recording artist to wrap his lush vocals around what would become a standard of the holiday season, "The Christmas Song." But that song was written by a different crooner: Mel Tormé.

NPR's Noel King spoke with Mel Tormé's youngest son, James — an accomplished jazz singer himself — to get the story behind the creation of this Christmas classic.

Ben Shirley's story is one of redemption. He'd been playing bass in bars, clubs and arenas in the Los Angeles area since he was 15 when he fell down a path of drugs and alcohol. Four bottles of vodka and $360 worth of heroin a day brought him down hard on Skid Row.

It was at the non-profit The Midnight Mission where Shirley turned his life around in 2011. Now, at 53, he's an undergrad in The San Francisco Conservatory of Music's program of Technology and Applied Composition. He debuted an original piece, "We Need Darkness to See the Stars," earlier this month.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now the best album of 2017.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DNA.")

KENDRICK LAMAR: (Rapping) I got, I got, I got, I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA.

All 58 of the people killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 died of gunshot wounds, the Clark County County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner has determined.

Nearly all of the fatalities were caused by a single gunshot wound, though six victims died from multiple wounds. Most had been shot in the head, chest or back. The deaths were all ruled homicides.

Cardi B is determined to finish her breakout year with a bang. The Bronx rapper has teamed up with 21 Savage for the new single "Bartier Cardi."

Updated, Dec. 21, 10:45 p.m. ET and Dec. 22, 12:09 p.m.: The responses of various orchestras to the allegations were added to this article.

The Associated Press has reported allegations of sexual assault against the famed conductor Charles Dutoit made by four women, in incidents that span from 1985 to 2010 and that took place in five different U.S. cities.

Rolling Stone's parent company, Wenner Media, has a new corporate boss. Nearly three months to the day since it began accepting bids for the coveted, if diminished, independent media company, Penske Media has been announced as having made a significant "strategic investment" in Jann Wenner's company.

On Monday, BBC news program The Victoria Derbyshire Programme asked four women in music about the pernicious sexist culture and pervasive sexual assault they'd experienced.

Goran Bregović is one of the Balkans' most beloved musicians and composers. He grew up in the Bosnian town of Sarajevo and witnessed the atrocities of war in the 1990s. But he channeled his home region's pain, as well as its endless humor, into his music, and got his big break composing for films like Emir Kusturica's Time of the Gypsies.

Reggie Ossé, better known to the hip-hop world as podcast host Combat Jack, has passed away from colon cancer. Chris Morrow, Ossé's friend and his co-founder of Loud Speaker Networks, confirmed his death, telling NPR that he died this morning at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York. Ossé was 53 years old.

Curtis Harding joins us for a session of soul music. He is from Atlanta, where his career has been developing. Harding released his first album Soul Power in 2014, which helped earn him a fan base in Europe; it was heard by the producer Danger Mouse, who signed on to produce Curtis' new one, Face Your Fear.

Pages