Category Archives: music

“Blackbird”—Sarah McLachlan

After Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature the other day, a few grad school buddies and I had an animated discussion over whether he deserved it (most said “yes”). But I also argued that had Lennon and McCartney both been alive, they would have equally deserved the prize for literature. When someone sardonically […]

Bob Dylan gets Nobel Prize for literature!!!!

Well knock me over with a feather: this is something that NOBODY expected, and of course no reader guessed in the contest. My CNN Newsfeed reports this: Bob Dylan is awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the Swedish Academy says. The Wall Street Journal adds this: The 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to musician […]

A spontaneous rendition of “Over the Rainbow” on an Aussie train

The video below shows a bunch of passengers on a commuter train in Perth, Australia being incited to sing “Over the Rainbow”—the wonderful ukelele version by Israel (“Iz”) Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole. And many of the passengers joined in. Now this is not an attempt to ask for money, which would have been my first thought had I been […]

First pop songs composed (semi)-entirely by a computer

From Fact Magazine comes the first pop songs composed entirely by computer using artificial intelligence (AI) programs. Now of course the machine had to be programmed; otherwise it would just emit random combinations of sounds and noises. And, as Turing predicted, it couldn’t write comprehensible lyrics, either; those came from a human. As the site notes: […]


No braining today, as I have to direct my brains elsewhere. So let’s have some music. Grania came across this song, “Suis-moi” (“Follow Me”) performed by the YouTube artists Nataly Dawn and Cyrille Aimée, and I found it delightfully addictive. It’s from last year’s animated French film The Little Prince, with music by Hans Zimmer and Richard […]

Two by Te Kanawa

Kiri Te Kanawa is now 72, and her glorious voice isn’t what it was, but the New Zealand singer was one of the best of our time (or so I think, not being a classical music expert). Here are two of my favorite pieces by Dame Kiri. The first is on a CD I have, […]

Captain Many Hands

Stephen Stills, one of the few people I’d have traded lives with, was known by his bandmates as “Captain Many Hands.” That’s because of his versatility on instruments, for he could play—and play well—virtually any instrument in a rock and roll band. Bass guitar, lead guitar, piano, drums, percussion, piano (plain and electric), banjo—you name it. […]

Famous Pakistani Sufi singer assassinated in Karachi

The Sunnis and Shias aren’t just killing each other; they’re killing the Sufis, a mystical branch of the faith which can be seen as a contemplative strain of Sunni Islam—but one that sees itself as above political machinations. It’s not surprising then, that Sufis have been persecuted within the faith, and just today one of […]

“I’ve found a new baby”

If any song shouts “swing,” it’s this classic by the Benny Goodman Sextet, featuring Goodman’s inimitable jazz clarinet and a wonderful solo by Charlie Christian, who, though he died of tuberculosis at only 25, was a big influence on later jazz guitar as well as rock. This version was recorded on January 15, 1941. The members […]

Winner: song contest

We had 61 comments on the song contest from yesterday, with readers asked to guess the name and artists of songs containing the words in bold below. Next to each word I’ve put the song I had in mind, all of which were at least minor rock and roll hits. The links go to the song so you […]