Olivia Rodrigo performs onstage during the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards at Barclays Center on September 12, 2021

Thank You, Tweens, for Your Pop Music Icons

Olivia Rodrigo is only the latest star to emerge from the wonderful world of Disney.
Eileen Southern

The Work of Pioneering Musicologist Eileen Southern

The scholarship of Black music was transformed by Southern's work, and is now being honored by a new initiative.
Nat "King" Cole performs a song on piano on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on April 13, 1958 in New York City

Way before MTV, Music Ruled the Living Room

I want my Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, and Lawrence Welk! To say nothing of Soul Train!
Photograph: A choir at the  Billy Graham evangelist crusade at London's Earls Court sing to 20,000 crowd under the  slogan ' I am the way'.  

Source: Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images

The Conservative Christian War on Rock and Roll

Tracing an early front in the culture wars to a trio of evangelical opponents of rock music in the 1950s and '60s.
Johnny Cash poses for a portrait for a publicity shot for his movie debut in "Door-to-Door Maniac" aka "Five Minutes To Live" on Auust 3, 1960 in Los Angeles, California.

The Complications of “Outlaw Country”

Johnny Cash grappled with the many facets of the outlaw archetype in his feature acting debut, Five Minutes to Live.
Parental Advisory label

Parental Advisory: The Story of a Warning Label

Songs weren't always labeled for explicit lyrics. The history of how it all came about includes some unlikely bedfellows.
Taylor Swift at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards

The Linguistic Evolution of Taylor Swift

If Taylor Swift shifts her accent in her transition from country to pop, does she lose the personal authenticity important to country music?
Miles Davis

Why Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” Is So Beloved

A music scholar suggests that Miles Davis combined the blues with the musical avant garde in a manner reflecting the integrationist spirit of the era.
Two teenagers dancing the jitterbug, 1942

Germany’s Real-Life “Swing Kids” 

Rebellious teenagers thumbed their noses at Hitler with jazz music, wild dancing, and the greeting “Swing Heil.” But how serious was their resistance?
Janet Jackson in concert

The Lasting Power of Janet Jackson’s “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”

Twenty years ago, Janet Jackson released her single "Got ‘Til it’s Gone." Today, we celebrate the layered artistry that led to the video's timeless appeal.