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Writer of 'Day-O' and a National Anthem Dies

Irving Burgie's songs, many recorded by Harry Belafonte, sold more than 100 million copies

(Newser) - Irving Burgie, who wrote the words for Harry Belafonte's hit "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)," as well as the Barbados national anthem, has died. He was 95 and died Friday in Brooklyn, where he was born, CNN reports. Recordings of his songs have sold more than 100... More »

Lizzo's 'Truth Hurts' Hit With Plagiarism Claim

Songwriting brothers say they're responsible for key line

(Newser) - There's a battle raging over Lizzo's anthem "Truth Hurts"—the second longest-running No. 1 hit tied to a female rapper, with six weeks atop the Billboard's Hot 100 chart, per Forbes . As the New York Times reports, two songwriting brothers lay claim to a signature... More »

Grateful Dead's 'Visionary' Lyricist Dead at 78

'There was nobody like Bob Hunter and there never will be'

(Newser) - Robert Hunter, the man behind the poetic and mystical words for many of the Grateful Dead's finest songs, has died at age 78. Hunter died Monday at his northern California home with his wife, Maureen, at his side, former Grateful Dead publicist Dennis McNally tells the AP . The family... More »

Singer Revered by Kurt Cobain Dead at 58

Daniel Johnston cranked out dozens of albums

(Newser) - His iconic "Jeremiah the Innocent" frog graces the corner of Guadalupe and 21st streets in Austin, his struggles with mental illness were well-documented, and his songs have been covered and revered by everyone from the Flaming Lips and Kurt Cobain to Tom Waits. Now, Texas and the entire musical... More »

Ryan Adams Dangled Offers of Success for Sex, Women Say

But he calls the 'Times' article a 'smear piece'

(Newser) - Ryan Adams, a soulful modern troubadour? Maybe so, but several women are painting a much darker picture. They say the acclaimed singer-songwriter abused his power by dangling career opportunities as he engaged in psychologically abusive behavior and pursued them for sex, the New York Times reports. One young bass player,... More »

Rapper Missy Elliott Makes History

The female rapper is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

(Newser) - Missy Elliott is making history as the first female rapper inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, whose 2019 class also includes legendary British singer Cat Stevens and country-folk icon John Prine, the AP reports. The organization announced the new group of inductees Saturday. Other inductees include Tom T. Hall,... More »

Cosby 'Ruined' 'Baby, It's Cold Outside': Songwriter's Daughter

Susan Loesser says father Frank Loesser would've been 'furious' at the hubbub over his song

(Newser) - A new person is weighing in on the controversy over a Christmas classic : the daughter of the man who wrote the song. Susan Loesser, 74, tells NBC News that songwriter Frank Loesser would've been "furious" at his tune being pulled from the radio, noting that it was a... More »

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 »

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