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The Mysterious Death of Sam Cooke

The Mysterious Death of Sam Cooke

| December 11, 2015 | 83 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, 2015 | 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, 2015 | 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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Happy Birthday, Randy Newman

Happy Birthday, Randy Newman

| November 28, 2015 | 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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Beatles’ White Album Turns 46

Beatles’ White Album Turns 46

| November 22, 2015 | 2 Comments

On Nov. 22, 1968 the Beatles released their 9th official album, the 2-record, 30-song masterpiece known as the White Album.

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Behind the Songs of John Prine

Behind the Songs of John Prine

| October 10, 2015 | 51 Comments

Legendary songwriter John Prine tells the stories behind such classics as “Sam Stone,” Hello In There,” “Paradise,” “Dear Abby,” and more.

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Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee”

| September 25, 2015 | 61 Comments

Inspired by a Fellini film, Kris Kristofferson wrote a classic road story that became a chart-topper for Janis Joplin, who recorded it days before her death.

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Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

| September 25, 2015 | 2 Comments

Performing Songwriter looks back at the creative life of Shel Silverstein, a beloved poet, author, artist and songwriter.

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Elton John’s American Debut: August 25, 1970

Elton John’s American Debut: August 25, 1970

| August 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

On August 25, 1970, Elton John made his U.S. debut in a legendary six-night sold-out run at West Hollywood’s Troubadour. John’s eponymous first album—which was released in the states on July 22—had landed on the Troubadour owner Doug Weston’s desk with a request for the undiscovered pianist to play a date as his club. Weston, […]

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Alan Freed and the Radio Payola Scandal

Alan Freed and the Radio Payola Scandal

| August 20, 2015 | 5 Comments

On Nov. 20, 1959, DJ Alan Freed was fired from WABC radio when the pay-for-play scandal erupted. Here’s the story behind that era of pay-for-play, when the ’50s music scene was the convergence of a number of seismic factors.

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