Why I Fell for Tina Turner
Empowerment, individual strength, and the many facets of love.
The Flood Behind Bessie Smith’s “Back-Water Blues”
The Mississippi River flood that Smith allegedly memorialized happened weeks after she'd written and released her song. Where was the real “Back Water”?
Loretta Lynn: More than a Great Songwriter
A spokeswoman for white, rural, working-class women, Loretta Lynn used music to articulate the fears, dreams, and anger of women living in a patriarchal society.
Albums: What a Concept!
Long-playing records ushered in the era of the soundtrack, but they also made room for something else—the concept album.
Creating the Musical Canon
When you look at the canon of popular music, who's on the list looks very much like those who made the list.
Thank You, Tweens, for Your Pop Music Icons
Olivia Rodrigo is only the latest star to emerge from the wonderful world of Disney.
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.
Way before MTV, Music Ruled the Living Room
I want my Ed Sullivan, Arthur Godfrey, and Lawrence Welk! To say nothing of Soul Train!
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.
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.