What is it about "Happy" by Pharrell Williams that makes you want to move? Why can't we sit still when we hear Ray Charles perform "I've Got a Woman"? Michael Jackson had it, and so did Stevie Wonder. "It," in this case, is syncopation, the gaps in the rhythm that your brain wants to fill in, as reported in the article Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music (full article online).
Ahmet Ertegun was profiled by George W. S. Trow in The New Yorker in a classic piece back in 1978. Ertegun was the son of the Turkish ambassador to the US and he remained behind in D.C. studying medieval philosophy at Georgetown. Instead of devoting himself to his studies he founded Atlantic Records with his friend Herb Abramson. Trow charted how Ertegun moved from tramping through muddy, Louisiana fields in search of hot new sounds to the whirl of Studio 54. Below the cut are links to the songs mentioned in the article, as best as I could find, in the order in which they appear. [more inside]
Hungary may be the gloomiest country on earth. Believed by its people to be suffering from a centuries long curse, it's most famous modern musical export is probably the "Hungarian Suicide Song" - Gloomy Sunday. Originally popularized by Billie Holiday in the US (with an upbeat ending tacked onto the original lyrics), it's been covered dozens of times since then. Links to a few of my favorites inside: [more inside]
Legendary record man and music producer Jerry Wexler died on August 15, at the age of 91. His keen insight, and his deep love and appreciation for the artists he worked with resulted in an extraordinary enriching of American music. [more inside]
"Window in the Sky" is a YouTube style video synch mash-up done on a professional budget with the magic of copyright clearances. "It's a triumph of postmodern reconstruction" says the Washington Post.