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How 2 Great American Musicians Simply Vanished

Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley emerge from history's shadows

(Newser) - Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley aren't exactly household names, but they recorded a batch of old country-blues songs that scholars consider masterpieces. What's vexing is that Thomas and Wiley totally fell off the map, gone from history despite decades of research. Enter John Sullivan, who, writing for the... More »

Stradivarius No Match for New Violins, Test Finds

Soloists assess renowned instruments with surprising results

(Newser) - Musicians have long been captivated by the instruments of the Stradivari family; centuries after they were built, they've become the stuff of legend. Yet new blind tests seem to shatter the notion that a Stradivarius is actually superior to today's violins. In fact, the tests found expert violinists... More »

House Music's 'Godfather' Dies at 59

Frankie Knuckles was top DJ at pioneering club

(Newser) - He's been called the "Godfather of House Music," and Rolling Stone says he "laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture—all of it." Frankie Knuckles, who died yesterday at 59, was the top DJ at the Warehouse in Chicago, where house music was effectively... More »

Radio Station Plays 'Hot in Herre'—for Entire Day

San Francisco station first put it on yesterday afternoon

(Newser) - If you've listened to San Francisco's KVVF 105.7 in the past 24 hours or so, you've been treated to exactly one song: Nelly's "Hot in Herre." It's been playing on loop since 3 pm yesterday, Rolling Stone reports. At first, no one... More »

Why Some People Just Don't Get Music

Study finds that they receive zero enjoyment from listening

(Newser) - Music lovers, or even music likers, will find it difficult to relate: A new study finds that some people get zero pleasure from music. The Barcelona researchers even came up with a name for the condition: "specific musical anhedonia." It's "specific" because these people derive enjoyment... More »

'Japan's Beethoven': I Can Hear 'a Little'

Mamoru Samuragochi apologizes for 'life of lies'

(Newser) - Word recently got out that "Japan's Beethoven"—famed classical composer Mamoru Samuragochi—hadn't been writing his own music and might not actually be deaf . Now, Samuragochi is lending some credence to the claims of music professor Takashi Niigaki, the real composer behind his works. "The... More »

Band Bills Military $666K for Using Its Song at Gitmo

Skinny Puppy says its music was used as a 'weapon'

(Newser) - Some bands are "proud" when their music is used to interrogate Guantanamo Bay detainees; other bands, not so much . You can count Skinny Puppy among the latter group. The Canadian industrial rock band says it has invoiced the US military for $666,000 after finding out its music was... More »

'Japan's Beethoven' Admits 18-Year Fraud

Mamoru Samuragochi lost hearing at age 35

(Newser) - The success of 50-year-old composer Mamoru Samuragochi, who is deaf, has prompted the nickname "Japan's Beethoven." Trouble is, it turns out he hasn't written his own music in decades. "I started hiring (a) person to compose music for me around 1996, when I was asked... More »

Boy Born Without Arms Starts Playing the Trumpet

Jahmir Wallace says his sister inspired him to play

(Newser) - How's this for inspiring: A 10-year-old student born with no arms has taken up the trumpet and even played it at his school's annual winter concert, Gawker reports. Jahmir Wallace says he was inspired by his sister, who plays the piano. "So I decided maybe I should... More »

Phil Everly of Everly Brothers Dead at 74

They had a huge influence on early rock

(Newser) - Phil Everly is dead at age 74 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and the obituaries are paying homage to just how much he and brother Don influenced the early days of rock and roll as the Everly Brothers. Songs such as "Wake Up Little Susie," "All I... More »

Reporter Finds Santana's Old Bandmate—Homeless

An unlikely TV segment brought them together after 40 years

(Newser) - It's probably not often that California's KRON's "People Behaving Badly" news segment ends with heartwarming news. But that has been the case this month, following Stanley Roberts' piece on illegal dumpsites in Oakland. In the course of his reporting, Roberts interviewed Marcus Malone , who was searching... More »

R. Kelly 'Was a Monster:' Reporter

Village Voice offers 'stomach-churning' look at allegations against R&B star

(Newser) - R. Kelly was acquitted over a sex tape that allegedly involved an underage girl—but he was never actually tried for rape, a crime he committed "in the dozen," says reporter Jim DeRogatis, who has been at the forefront of the story since it emerged. In the Village ... More »

Coming to iTunes: 59 Beatles Rarities

Studio outtakes, live performances in 'new' batch

(Newser) - It took years for the Beatles to arrive on iTunes—but a treat for Fab Four fans could help make up for the wait. Fifty-nine rare tracks will arrive today, a mix of live BBC performances, demos, and studio outtakes. Previously, the recordings were only available as bootlegs, the Guardian... More »

No, Music Doesn't Make You Smarter

Samuel Mehr crashes the 'Mozart effect' myth in two new studies

(Newser) - Sorry to burst your bubble, parents, but all those piano lessons aren't helping to make your child the smartest kid on the block. Learning to play a musical instrument comes with a lot of good: It can bolster creativity, focus, discipline, and even self-esteem. But there's just no... More »

Inside Llewyn Davis Among Coens' Best

Critics rave about musical tale

(Newser) - The Coen brothers' latest film tells the dark tale of a folk musician in Greenwich Village in 1961. Though you might not want to befriend Llewyn, his story is well worth a watch—in fact, some critics are calling Inside Llewyn Davis a candidate for the Coens' best. A sampling... More »

'Nazi Shazam' App Combats Far-Right Music

Germany clamps down on banned songs

(Newser) - Want to stop neo-Nazis using music to spread hate? There's now an app for that. Police in Germany have developed a app dubbed "Nazi Shazam" which can detect banned far-right songs within seconds, Der Spiegel reports. The country's authorities have identified more than a thousand songs with... More »

Teen With Cancer Finds YouTube Fame Before Death

Olivia Wise's Katy Perry cover gets Perry's attention

(Newser) - A 16-year-old with terminal brain cancer died Monday—but not before her YouTube cover of Katy Perry's "Roar" moved countless viewers, including Perry herself. After learning that she had exhausted her treatment options, Olivia Wise recorded the song in a Toronto studio in September. The video , which shows... More »

Teen: Concussions Gave Me Musical Gift

Lachlan Connors says lacrosse injuries 'rewired' his brain with musical talent

(Newser) - A Denver teen doesn't credit his parents or music teacher for his musical genius, he thanks ... lacrosse. Specifically, concussions he sustained while playing the sport, injuries that he says brought on his musical gift. Bummed about not being able to play contact sports after the injuries, which brought on... More »

YouTube Preps Spotify Rival

Free and paid versions of subscription music service planned

(Newser) - Spotify will soon have a new rival in the subscription-music game—and the competition has video. YouTube is readying a subscription service of its own, insiders tell Billboard . It's set to include both free and paid versions. The free one will probably offer unlimited listening, even on mobile devices,... More »

Sandy Hook Victim's Dad Turns Her Life Into Music

Saxophonist Jimmy Greene says he grieves for his daughter every day

(Newser) - Jazz musician Jimmy Greene said he couldn't touch his saxophone for a month—after his 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, was murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre , the New York Times reports. "I don’t know if we’ll ever feel whole again," said Green, who also... More »

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