Music

On February 28, 1967, The Beatles were in Abbey Road Studios in London working on a new song, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Today we're premiering "take one," the first attempt The Beatles made at recording it.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Chris Cornell, the unmistakable voice and frontman of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died overnight in Detroit at the age of 52. He was discovered just past midnight at the MGM Grand Detroit, according to police.

The office of the Wayne County Medical Examiner on Thursday determined the cause of his death to be suicide by hanging, noting that a full autopsy has yet to be completed.

This week, Philadelphia's WXPN and World Cafe Live play host to the NON-COMMvention, an annual gathering of noncommercial music radio station staffers and industry pros. The highlight: three evenings full of performances by some of public radio's favorite artists. This year's featured performers include Ani DiFranco, Blondie, Chicano Batman, Pixies, Laura Marling, Benjamin Booker, Real Estate, Hurray For The Riff Raff and more.

Styles Of The Times

May 16, 2017

Before last week, the Brooklyn-based punk band PWR BTTM was widely regarded as a promising, emerging rock act. Its two members, Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, both of whom identify as gender non-binary, had made a name with catchy songs that, in part, celebrate those identities, bolstered by actions such as requesting gender-neutral bathrooms be provided by venues where the band was booked to play. Last Wednesday, May 10, accusations of sexual assault against Hopkins began to circulate on social media.

A video of Russian President Vladimir Putin taking a turn at the ivories in Beijing is currently making the Internet rounds.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

The performance by Salvador Sobral, this year's winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, was different than the others.

Most of the performances are noted for a lot of glitz and being pretty cheesy.

Twenty-five competitors carried on that tradition this year — performing on a wide stage backed by flashing lights, bursts of flames and other effects.

Sobral took a different take in his performance on Saturday — singing from a small elevated circle in the middle of the crowd.

Jay Z may be one step closer to becoming hip-hop's first billionaire. The day after appearing on an annual shortlist of hip-hop's wealthiest artists. With an estimated net worth of $810 million, the rapper and entrepreneur has announced a new deal with Live Nation that could put him over the top, Variety reports.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Protests have been steadily building in Caracas, Venezuela — the capital of the once-prosperous, oil-rich nation that's now in economic and political turmoil. Earlier this week, amid the ongoing chaos, a young man named Wuilly Arteaga started playing his violin.

"The death of the MP3 was announced in a conference room in Erlangen, Germany, in the spring of 1995."

The nominations are in for the 16th annual Americana Awards, to be held Sept. 13 in Nashville as the signature event of AmericanaFest — and in at least one category, they tell a tale of how this progressive yet traditionalist community is rising to the political challenges of a complicated historical moment. Four of the five releases in the Album of the Year category have protest at their core, demonstrating how the genre is stretching itself even as it builds on long-established artistic family ties.

On Monday, the Internet radio pioneer Pandora, one of the oldest music tech companies still humming, announced its first-quarter financial results. Like most of its brethren, the company both makes and loses a lot of money — it reported $132 million in net losses this quarter alone, but also announced a new $150 million round of financing and a shakeup of its board. Oh, and that financing requires the company explore all feasible avenues to sell itself off before receiving the cash.

If you've ever attended a gigantic music festival, you've seen them: row upon row of portable toilets collecting untold oceans of human waste. They help create a piquant bouquet that also includes steaming asphalt, deep-fried corn-dog batter, a slurry of mud and torn-up grass, and the sundry odors that can only emanate from a broad cross-section of humanity assembled in one place.

What you probably haven't done — although who's to say, really? — is pondered the collection of 50,000 liters (minimum) of human urine and thought, "What a waste."

There's a musical asterisk on French president-elect Emmanuel Macron's bio: He is an avid amateur pianist. It's a facet of his life occasionally noted in passing, as in this piece from the French radio network Europe 1 titled "The Things You Don't Yet Know About Emmanuel Macron." Along with mentioning his abiding fondness for karaoke, Europe 1 reported that he studied piano for 10 years at the music conservatory in Amiens, where he won third prize.

We've known for a few months now that the Recording Academy was probably planning a return to New York for next year's Grammy Awards. Now we know for sure.

Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" hit the top of Billboard's singles chart in early March 1979, displacing Rod Stewart's disco spoof "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." After a decade dominated by disco, Gaynor's song (released the previous October on the album Love Tracks) provided a capstone and also served as one of the final mile markers in a cultural phenomenon that was dominant for much of the preceding decade.

Twenty-five years ago Tuesday, a career-defining single was born — and with it, endless sitcom jokes and rap homages. It was referenced in Sing, the 2016 animated children's movie, and in Shrek years before that. But when it debuted in 1992, there were those who took it to heart as an anthem of body positivity.

Another day, another study undercutting the myth surrounding the 18th-century Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari.

Since the early 20th century, musicians and instrument experts have been trying to figure out what, if anything, makes the violins he made sound better.

Hundred Waters' music tugs like a loose thread, every shifting emotion illuminated by synths and beats that tug just a little harder. The electronic trio has always been on curiosity on OWSLA, the label founded by Skrillex, but a tempering presence.

Following a wildfire in the Great Smoky Mountains region of her native Tennessee late last year which left hundreds homeless, country legend Dolly Parton immediately launched the My People Fund, promising to give displaced families a $1,000-per-month stipend sourced from outside donations and Parton's own foundation.

Pages