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Lydia Hutchinson

Lydia founded Performing Songwriter magazine in 1993 and served as the publisher and editor until folding the print version in 2009. She now oversees Performing Songwriter Enterprises, the website, and produces creative workshops with hit songwriters.

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Lydia Hutchinson's Latest Posts

The Story Behind “Mardi Gras Mambo” and “Iko Iko”

The Story Behind “Mardi Gras Mambo” and “Iko Iko”

| February 13, 2018 | 1 Comment

Mardi Gras and music go together like red beans and rice and coffee and beignets. Here’s the story behind two songs that are Fat Tuesday favorites: “Iko Iko” and “Mardi Gras Mambo.”

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The Emotional Truth of Jonatha Brooke’s ‘My Mother Has 4 Noses’

The Emotional Truth of Jonatha Brooke’s ‘My Mother Has 4 Noses’

| February 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Jonatha Brooke’s vulnerable, emotionally powerful musical theater piece tells the story of serving as a care giver to her mother, who had dementia, during the final two years of her life. It’s a brilliant piece of art.

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Martin Luther King: Oh, You Beautiful Fool

Martin Luther King: Oh, You Beautiful Fool

| January 15, 2018 | 2 Comments

Performing Songwriter celebrates the memory of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. today with “Beautiful Fool,” a song of hope and dreams by Don Henry.

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Johnny Mercer

Johnny Mercer

| November 18, 2017 | 2 Comments

A Few Songs by Johnny Mercer Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive, Autumn Leaves, Blues In The Night (My Mama Done Tol’ Me), Come Rain Or Come Shine, Days Of Wine and Roses, Emily, Fools Rush In, Hooray For Hollywood, I Wanna Be Around, Jeepers Creepers, Laura, Moon River, My Shining Hour , One For My Baby (And One […]

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The Perseverance of Michael Johnson

The Perseverance of Michael Johnson

| August 8, 2017 | 20 Comments

A tribute to the brilliant singer, songwriter and artist Michael Johnson, who died on July 25, 2017, along with an essay he wrote for Performing Songwriter: “Thoughts on Perseverance.”

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Dylan Plugs In: July 25, 1965

Dylan Plugs In: July 25, 1965

| July 25, 2017 | 3 Comments

Bob Dylan stepped on stage July 25, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival with an electric band in tow, which many folk purists in the crowd considered a heresy.

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Bono’s Defining Moment at Live Aid, July 13, 1985

Bono’s Defining Moment at Live Aid, July 13, 1985

| July 13, 2017 | 3 Comments

The 1985 Live Aid event is the perfect example of how U2 frontman Bono masterfully understands the emotional heft that can be communicated by just the right gesture.

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Duke Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival

Duke Ellington at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival

| July 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

When he brought his orchestra to the Newport Jazz Festival on July 7, 1956, 57-year-old Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington revitalized his career with an inspired performance.

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Neil Young’s “Ohio”

Neil Young’s “Ohio”

| May 4, 2017 | 2 Comments

On May 4, 1970, a student demonstration at Kent State left four students dead, one paralyzed and eight others wounded.  The protest, meant to be a demonstration against the Vietnam War, ended when the Ohio National Guard opened fire into the crowd with over 60 rounds for a solid 13 seconds. When Neil Young saw […]

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The Lion Sleeps Tonight

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

| May 1, 2017 | 22 Comments

Wimoweh. For the last 50 years, that happy little word has been a universally recognized shorthand for the song known as “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” From Pete Seeger’s version in 1952 (titled “Wimoweh”) to the Tokens’ No. 1 single in 1961 to its featured role in the hugely popular Disney film and Broadway musical The […]

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