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Behind The Song

Neil Young’s “Ohio”

Neil Young’s “Ohio”

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

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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Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”

In memory of Marvin Gaye who died on April 1, 1984—and whose 75th birthday would be April 2—here’s the story behind the enduring classic “What’s Going On.”

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Legends of Songwriting

Johnny Mercer

Johnny Mercer

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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Harold Arlen

Harold Arlen

The story of Harold Arlen, the great American songwriter who gave the world such classics at “That Old Black Magic,” “One For My Baby,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and his crowning masterpiece “Over the Rainbow.”

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Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

Behind the legendary songwriting duo of such classics as “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love,” “All I Have to Do Is Dream,” “Love Hurts” and “Rocky Top.”

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Recent News and Features

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 | 3 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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The Perseverance of Michael Johnson

The Perseverance of Michael Johnson

| August 8, 2017 | 21 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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