In their different ways, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Bernstein’s West Side Story are the sound of 20th century New York.
The playwright Alan Plater drew on jazz to inspire and improve his own writing. Some notes on his book Doggin’ Around.
Writing and playing punk songs about normal teenage dreams in the heart of the city under military occupation was a radical act.
David Bowie became a star in eighteen months. He spent the rest of his career trying to refuse the narratives of stardom.
The American songwriter Jackson C. Frank’s only record was produced by Paul Simon and had Al Stewart on second guitar. His life was tragic, but his song Blues Run The Game is now a folk standard.
Woody Guthrie’s New Year’s resolutions are a long and detailed list.
‘Silk Stockings’ is one of the last musicals from MGM producer Arthur Freed. It can be read as a commentary on the whole genre, as it’s made obsolete by rock ‘n’ roll.
On his current tour the folk singer Martin Simpson is singing ‘Palaces of Gold’ to remember the Grenfell Fire victims, both dead and alive. The song was written by Leon Rosselson after the Aberfan disaster.
“You never see the music; you only feel it. In American films there is music all the time to tell you how to feel.”
Bowie’s “good at stealing,” says a former bandmate. But he always repaid it handsomely.