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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 Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover: Faces in the Crowd

The Sgt. Pepper’s Album Cover: Faces in the Crowd

| March 30, 2017 | 17 Comments

As the definitive snapshot of ‘60s pop culture, artist Peter Blake’s Sgt. Pepper cover was unlike anything the world had ever seen—and almost half a century later it’s still iconic Beatles.

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

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

| February 28, 2017 | 0 Comments

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 Story Behind “Strawberry Fields Forever” & “Penny Lane”

The Story Behind “Strawberry Fields Forever” & “Penny Lane”

| February 18, 2017 | 5 Comments

In Feb. 1967 the Beatles released a double-A side single of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” which opened the doors to the wonders of Sgt. Pepper. Here’s the story.

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Frank Sinatra: The Stories Behind His Songs

Frank Sinatra: The Stories Behind His Songs

| December 12, 2016 | 4 Comments

Frank Sinatra was the best friend a song ever had. We have the stories behind some of his greatest hits— like “Nice ‘n’ Easy,” “My Way,” “It Was a Very Good Year,” “All the Way,” and “The Best Is Yet to Come”—told by the songwriters.

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The Mysterious Death of Sam Cooke

The Mysterious Death of Sam Cooke

| December 11, 2016 | 101 Comments

Sam Cooke was shot to death on Dec. 10, 1964 outside an L.A. Motel under mysterious circumstances. With many questions left unanswered, Performing Songwriter takes a look at that fateful night.

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Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!

| December 9, 2016 | 1 Comment

On Dec. 9, 1965 ‘Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown’ became synonymous with the holiday when “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and its Vince Guaraldi soundtrack aired for the first time.

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Happy Birthday, Tom Waits!

Happy Birthday, Tom Waits!

| December 7, 2016 | 8 Comments

Quotes and quips from Tom Waits, who is as much of a character as any of the hundreds of freaks, carnies and salvation seekers populating his songs.

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The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song

| December 5, 2016 | 8 Comments

It was a sweltering hot July afternoon in 1945 when Mel Tormé showed up for a writing session at the Toluca Lake house of his lyric partner Bob Wells. Mel let himself in and called out for Bob. No answer. He walked over to the piano, and there, resting on the music board, was a […]

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

| December 2, 2016 | 10 Comments

The story behind Bob Mays’ beloved Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a story written to comfort his daughter and was turned into a best-selling Christmas song.

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Happy Birthday, Randy Newman

Happy Birthday, Randy Newman

| November 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

An Interview with Randy Newman on his approach to songwriting and the stories behind his songs Political Science, Redneck, Short People, God’s Song, and more.

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