popular music

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How Bowie Got His Most Unusual Feature

Was it heterochromia, or a fistfight?

(Newser) - David Bowie may be gone , but that cool gaze will be with us a long time. As any color close-up of him reveals, he had one blue eye and one brown—so how did they get that way? Rumor had it that the pop star was afflicted by a condition... More »

Scientific Study Determines Catchiest Hit Song Ever

UK study participants recognized Spice Girls' 'Wannabe' in just 2.29 seconds

(Newser) - What makes that earworm an earworm? Musicologists at the University of Amsterdam recently set out to find out, collecting data from 12,000 participants who listened to a random selection from 1,000 hit singles in the UK dating back to the 1940s. The results were unveiled at the Manchester... More »

Hitmaking Producer Phil Ramone Dead at 72

Streisand, Sinatra, Billy Joel among artists who worked with him

(Newser) - You may not know his name, but Phil Ramone—one of the most successful music producers of his era—died in a New York hospital this morning at age 72, Billboard reports. He had been admitted late last month with an aortic aneurysm. His incredible career included 14 Grammy awards,... More »

Legendary Songwriter Hal David Dead at 91

With Burt Bacharach, he wrote dozens of classics

(Newser) - Hal David, who along with partner Burt Bacharach penned dozens of timeless songs for movies, television, and a variety of recording artists in the 1960s and beyond, has died. He was 91. David reportedly died of complications from a stroke this morning in Los Angeles. Bacharach and David wrote many... More »

Pop Music Getting Sadder, More Complex

New songs tend toward minor scales and mixed emotions

(Newser) - Pop music is getting sadder, slower, and more sophisticated, according to a new study published in a psychology journal. Researchers analyzed Top 40 hits in Billboard from the mid-60's through 2010 and discovered that popular tunes have increasingly been written in "minor modes"—which associate with darker... More »

Meet Orrin Hatch, Hanukkah Songwriter

The Utah Mormon is also a writer of love songs

(Newser) - Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is a prolific author of love songs and Christian spirituals, but it took about 10 years for Jeffrey Goldberg to cajole the “philo-Semite” Mormon into writing a Hanukkah song. Goldberg first floated the idea for “Eight Days of Hanukkah” as an aside in an... More »

Beach Boy Wilson to Complete Gershwin Songs

Project a 'weird dream come true' for fans of 2 seminal American composers

(Newser) - Beach Boys songster Brian Wilson will put a gloss on unfinished tunes by revered Jazz Age composer George Gershwin. Gershwin’s estate tells the Los Angeles Times that dozens of fragments, from “a few bars to some almost finished songs and everything in between,” have been in limbo... More »

Stevie Finds Wonder Amid the 'Craziness'

Songsmith hits road for third time in 2 years

(Newser) - Stevie Wonder’s back on tour for the third time in less than 2 years, a treat for fans after a long drought. And while it’s been a big year for him—an inauguration performance, a Gershwin Prize—events like the Holocaust Museum shooting have him worried and writing.... More »

Site Taps Into Twitterers' Playlists

We Are Hunted's top 99 gives different view of what's popular now

(Newser) - Are the Billboard music charts just too yesterday’s-news for you? Do you need to know which songs people are listening to the most, right this red-hot minute? Luckily, the website We Are Hunted has figured out how to mine Twitter feeds to find out what’s playing the most,... More »

9 Stories