A vintage reel tape recorder on a pirate flag

Land of the Free, Home of the Bootleggers

When technology made music mobile, the American South changed from one type of bootlegging industry to another: copying and selling records.
Photo of Bob MARLEY; performing live on stage,

From Jamaica to the World: Contextualizing Bob Marley

Bob Marley’s life and music intersected with Pan-Africanism, the Rastafari movement, and post-colonial politics around the globe.
Willie Mae Thornton

Willie Mae Thornton Deserves Your Full Attention

In a meditative new biography, DJ and scholar Lynnée Denise examines the mysteries and trials in the life of the legendary performer.
Swedish folk musicians, 1922

The Tricky Politics of Swedish Folk Music

In the early twentieth century, folk music in Sweden was connected with right-wing nationalists, leaving a complicated inheritance for today’s music fans.
Beethoven's Apotheose by Eduard Majsch

The Mystery of Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved”

More than 200 years have passed since Beethoven wrote a passionate letter to his "Immortal Beloved." We still don't know her name.
Glee Mandolin, 1900

The Nineteenth-Century Banjo

Derived from an instrument brought to America by enslaved Africans, the banjo experienced a surge of popularity during the New Woman movement of the late 1800s.
Musician Little Richard performs onstage with his band as his saxophone player Grady Gaines stands on the piano in circa 1957 in scene from the movie 'Mister Rock And Roll.'

It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me

Rock and R&B have been considered separate genres for decades. But why?
An undated Bay Area poster by a “punk with copymachine,” offering up free copies (BYO paper).

Xerox and Roll: The Corporate Machine and the Making of Punk

On the 85th anniversary of the first xerographic print, a collection of punk flyers from Cornell University provides an object lesson on (anti-)art in the age of mechanical reproduction.
English actress Jane Birkin and French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, at home in Paris.

Jane Birkin’s Famous Love (Sex) Song

How the songs of the 1960s and ’70s captured the sexual liberation of women.
A cartoon of Guru Maharaj Ji on the cover of the November 1973 issue of The Rag

The Concert That Promised a Thousand Years of Peace

Guru Maharaj Ji, the teenage leader of the Divine Light Mission, was poised to usher in a new era. His huge Houston gathering proved to do anything but.