20 Stories

City Removes 'Racist' Statue of 'Oh! Susanna' Songwriter

It featured a slave at Stephen Foster's feet

(Newser) - A 118-year-old statue of "Oh! Susanna" songwriter Stephen Foster was removed from a Pittsburgh park Thursday after criticism that the work is demeaning because it includes a slave sitting at his feet, plucking a banjo. In October, the Pittsburgh Art Commission voted to take the sculpture out of Schenley... More »

Thank Trump for First Joan Baez Song in 25 Years

She was spurred by the 2016 presidential race to write 'Nasty Man'

(Newser) - Donald Trump: businessman, president … Joan Baez muse? "Here's a little song / About a man gone wrong" begins Baez's "Nasty Man," the first song she's written in 25 years, and it's a protest anthem apparently inspired by Trump himself. Among other topics,... More »

Songwriters Hall of Fame Has Inducted Its First Rapper

Jay Z has most No. 1 albums by a solo artist

(Newser) - The man who famously said "H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A; that's the anthem, get your damn hands up" is now the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Billboard reports. Jay Z was included on the list of 2017 inductees announced... More »

And the Nobel for Literature Goes to: Bob Dylan

For his 'poetic expressions'

(Newser) - Sometimes the Nobel winner in literature is an obscure writer little known to mainstream audiences. And then there's this year's winner: Bob Dylan. The Nobel panel chose the 75-year-old "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," it announced in a press... More »

Paul Says Beatles Forgot 'Dozens' of Songs They Wrote

Lack of recording devices meant they sometimes forgot tunes by morning

(Newser) - Maybe the reason the Beatles advised their fans "You know my name, look up the number" is because they couldn't remember the number. Or "dozens" of Beatles songs that apparently never saw the light of day, according to an interview Paul McCartney recently gave to the London ... More »

'Natural Woman' Songwriter Gerry Goffin Dies

He penned dozens of hits with Carole King

(Newser) - The man who put the Bomp (in the Bomp, Bomp, Bomp) and penned dozens of other '60s hits, mainly in partnership with then-wife Carole King, has died at the age of 75. The duo, who married in 1959, scored their first hit with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow,... More »

'After Midnight' Songwriter Dead at 74

JJ Cale penned tunes made famous by Eric Clapton, pioneered Tulsa Sound

(Newser) - JJ Cale, the singer-songwriter who first penned Eric Clapton's hits "After Midnight" and "Cocaine" passed away yesterday due to a heart attack, reports the LA Times . He was 74. Born John Weldon Cale (he changed his name to avoid confusion with the Velvet Underground's John Cale,... More »

Carole King First Woman to Get US Song Honor

Library of Congress salutes her lifetime of work with Gershwin prize

(Newser) - Carole King makes a little history next spring when she collects the 2013 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the US Library of Congress. King is the first woman to win the honor, which salutes a body of songwriting, reports the LA Times . King, 70, made her name with the... More »

Taylor Swift: Songs Are Like 'Messages in a Bottle'

'Maybe the person ... will hear about it'

(Newser) - With songs like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift's new album expresses her "girl-power angst" and proves "she's ready to grow up," writes Ramin Setoodeh at the Daily Beast . An unabashed fan of the record—called Red—he talked to... 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 »

'It's a Small World' Songwriter Dead at 86

Robert Sherman also co-wrote 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'

(Newser) - Songwriter Robert Sherman is dead at 86, and the AP notes that his life's work might be summed up in the word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." He and brother Richard wrote that song along with the ubiquitous "It's a Small World (After All)" for Disney. They also wrote... More »

America Mourns Two Legendary Songwriters

Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford died yesterday

(Newser) - Yesterday saw the loss of two great American songwriters, who between them wrote such classics as “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” Jerry Leiber, 78, died unexpectedly in Los Angeles of cardiopulmonary failure. Nick Ashford, 70, died in a... More »

Billy Joel: Daughter on the Mend After OD

Alexa Ray Joel took a homeopathic drug, source says

(Newser) - Alexa Ray Joel is out of the hospital and "is going to be fine," her father, Billy Joel, said last night. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter, reportedly distraught over a recent breakup, was treated at a New York hospital after overdosing on a substance a source identifies as a homeopathic... More »

'Lost' Beatles Song Finally Finished

Forgotten George Harrison lyrics turned into tune

(Newser) - Forty years after the Beatles split and eight after George Harrison died, a new Beatles song has been completed. Harrison gave the first ten lines of Silence (Is Its Own Reply) to a biographer in 1969, but they were put aside and forgotten until recently, the Telegraph reports. A BBC... More »

Rock Legend Chuck Berry, Top-Notch Short Story Writer

"Memphis, Tennessee" shows Berry's sociological side: Klinkenborg

(Newser) - The original Chuck Berry version of “Memphis, Tennessee” isn't as well known as some others—by Johnny Rivers, say, or Buck Owens. But the real star is the tune, first released in 1959, which Verlyn Klinkenborg suspects is the “best short story in the form of a song... More »

Addams Family Songwriter Dies

Vic Mizzy wrote TV theme tunes, pop hits of the '40s and '50s

(Newser) - Songwriter Vic Mizzy, best-known for the Addams Family and Green Acres theme tunes, has died at his Bel-Air home aged 93. Mizzy wrote songs for stars Dean Martin and Doris Day before moving into film and TV composing. The WWII vet wrote the Addams Family theme on harpsichord, singing and... 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 »

Clarkson, Beyoncé Songs Nearly Identical

Clarkson explains fiasco, didn't mean to copy Knowles

(Newser) - Kelly Clarkson is battling her record label again, this time for releasing a song that appears to copy the Beyoncé single “Halo,” the New York Post reports. When Clarkson realized that the backing track songwriter Ryan Tedder had given her for “Already Gone” was the same as... More »

Oscar-Winning Songwriter Indicted in 6 Sex Attacks

Brooks penned 'You Light Up My Life'

(Newser) - Oscar-winning songwriter Joseph Brooks turned himself in to New York police today on suspicion of rape, the Post reports. Six women have accused Brooks of casting-couch sexual assault under the pretense of auditioning for movie roles. Brooks won Best Original Song in 1977 for You Light Up My Life, from... More »

What Charges? Brown Focused On 'Masterpiece'

(Newser) - A Chris Brown collaborator says the disgraced singer is focused on music despite facing felony assault charges, People reports. “He's predicting this will be his biggest album,” said songwriter Robert Allen of Brown’s upcoming effort, Graffiti. “He wants this to be his masterpiece.” More »

20 Stories