Category: Pop

Curtis Mayfield (1996)

Curtis Mayfield (1996)

“It isn’t every day a 54-year-old quadriplegic records a record….”   There are comeback stories. And then there’s Curtis Mayfield’s comeback story. In mid-August, 1990, he was about to perform at an outdoor concert...

Mose Allison (1994)

Mose Allison (1994)

“One of my first public appearances was at a talent contest. I sang and played Fats Waller’s ‘fododo-de-yacka-saki want some seafood mama.’ I could just see the teacher saying, “This boy is going straight...

Nina Simone (1992)

Nina Simone (1992)

  “I don’t think I’m difficult. Not at all.”     The prospect of interviewing Nina Simone was thrilling. And slightly terrifying.

B.B. King (1980)

B.B. King (1980)

  “A guy comes out of the gumbo, he likes to walk on concrete awhile.”   October 14, 1980 Lippman House, Harvard University, Cambridge    When B.B. King came to Harvard University, it was...

Ben E. King (1987)

Ben E. King (1987)

“I’ve come to accept that ‘Stand By Me’ is my secret key to survival…” In early 1987 Ben E. King – who died April 30 at 76 – was enjoying an entirely unexpected return...

Burt Bacharach (and Elvis Costello, Part 2)

Burt Bacharach (and Elvis Costello, Part 2)

  “No one has to push me to be complex.”     If there has been a musical menage à trois more sublime and more successful than that of composer Burt Bacharach, lyricist Hal...

Elvis Costello (and Burt Bacharach, Part 1)

Elvis Costello (and Burt Bacharach, Part 1)

“I think there’s as much self revelation in “What Is This Thing Called Love” by Cole Porter as there is in any song by Kurt Cobain.”   Elvis Costello is nobody’s idea of Dionne...

Bob Dylan speaks: the MusiCares speech

Bob Dylan speaks: the MusiCares speech

  “A lot of people don’t know this, but the blues, which is an American music, is not what you think it is. It’s a combination of Arabic violins and Strauss waltzes working it...

Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore

“I didn’t get rich, but it was better than picking cotton…”     We can debate who invented rock and roll, but there is no question that it was Elvis Presley who turned it...

Oscar Brown Jr.

Oscar Brown Jr.

“Liberating the slaves is not popular.”                   It’s a mystery: What killed Oscar Brown Jr.’s career? Rule out drugs, booze, out of control ego or any...