Donna Summer, 1976

The Year The Grammys Honored Disco

In 1980, The Grammys gave disco its own category, but the genre was already receding into invisibility.
The Rolling Stones perform on the set of the pop music television show Thank Your Lucky Stars in Birmingham, England on January 30th, 1965.

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.
Nadezhda von Meck

Tchaikovsky’s Patroness

Madame von Meck offered Tchaikovsky her generous patronage, but spoke to him only through letters.
Johnny Cash on stage with his band, in concert at San Quentin State Prison, California, February 24th 1969.

The Radicalism of Johnny Cash

The best-selling musical artist in the world in 1969, Johnny Cash sang of (and for) the "forgotten Americans": the imprisoned men of all races.
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!
Dolly Parton and a cougar

How Dolly Parton Is Literally Like a Cougar

The mountain cat’s cries, like Dolly Parton’s famous songs, carry the diverse voices of rural Appalachia.
Black Swan record label of Alberta Hunter recording, 1921.

The History of Black-Owned Record Labels

Decades before Motown ruled the radio, labels like Black Swan and Black Patti put out records that didn't stereotype African American music.
A dollar bill with a portrait of Bach

Can Bach Make You Buy More Stuff?

Classical music carries an air of sophistication. One scholar tries to figure out whether it also translates into more ka-ching.
Alex Steinweiss

Album Cover Artwork Was Super Boring before Alex Steinweiss

Inspired by the Bauhaus and WPA posters, the midcentury designer all but invented the modern record-album cover.