What's the Buzz? Tell me what's happening! Today in 1971 Jesus Christ Superstar made its debut on the Broadway stage. Today's "A Day in the Life" introduces the music for this well-known narrative, with just a touch of musicological inquiry into Andrew Lloyd Webber's time signature choices.
Today in 1835 Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris. A mere two and a half years later he began his musical exploration of the piano. Known as a piano virtuoso in his day, he is best known in the present for his orchestral masterworks. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Peter Gene Hernandez was born on this day in 1985. He would get his start as a performer as "Little Elvis" but would become known to the world as Bruno Mars. His skyrocket to fame is the focus of today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1849 American poet and Edgar Allan Poe died under mysterious circumstances. Destined for Philadelphia, he never arrived—found in Baltimore instead. Was the cause of death suicide, murder, cholera, rabies, syphilis, or influenza? And what does his cat have to do with all of this? Find out on today’s “A Day in the Life.”
Today in 1871, the Fisk Jubilee Singers began their first tour of the United States, bringing black spiritual music to a broad audience. Why did the group form and how did their performances influence the course of American music? Find out today on "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1938 Sir Henry Wood conducted the world premiere of the Serenade to Music by Ralph Vaughn Williams--a piece of music almost to gorgeous for words. How does this connect to the world-famous BBC Proms? Find out on this episode of "A Day in the Life."
This day in 1951 witnessed the birth of Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, also known as Sting. Today "A Day in the Life" celebrates the early career of Sting and his first album with The Police titled Outlandos d'Amour (1978), which features the perennial favorite, "Roxanne."
Today in 1982 EPCOT center opened in Florida as the first-ever expansion of Walt Disney World. Today on "A Day in the Life": Hear the theme park's original futuristic soundtrack and the ways the music affected guest's experience across a wide range of EPCOT attractions.
Today in 1863 composer Georges Bizet's opera The Pearl Fishers had its debut at the Lyric Theatre in Paris. This precursor to Carmen shows off Bizet's early ability to author memorable music and to depict exotic subjects. How did this opera secure its position in the canon of classical music? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1980, rapper Kurtis Blow released his self-titled debut album on the Mercury label--the first rapper to sign a major-label record deal. Today we breakdown his early career, his rise to stardom, and the impact of his music on the trajectory of hip-hip history.
Today in 1964 Arthur "Harpo" Marx passed away at the age of 75. Today's "A Day in the Life" explores how this otherwise silent Marx Brother communicated through music, particularly the harp--an instrument that he played completely by ear.
Today in 1683 Jean-Philippe Rameau was born in Dijon, France. Known primarily for his treatise on music harmony he was also a composer of French opera, sparking a heated cultural debate about contemporary approaches to genre. Find out more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today is the birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald, born in 1896. In addition to authoring such classic tales as The Great Gatsby, he coined the phrase "The Jazz Age." Find out more about his life and times and music on today's "A Day in the Life."
Tonight in 1962 The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opened. That first concert featured music by Copland and Mahler--but this was just the start. Learn about the long-history of artistic creativity and innovation on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 2004 the television series Lost made its debut. Composer Michael Giacchino created more than thirty minutes of original music for each weekly episode over the course of the show's six-year run, sustained by a series of musical themes. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Earth, Wind, and Fire released the song "September" in 1978, which begins with the following question: "Do you remember, the 21st of September?" What are the origins of this song and why did they choose that date in particular? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Construction on the oldest known surviving harpsichord began on this day in 1515, an instrument constructed for the Pope. What are the origins and uses of this keyboard instrument and its uses from the Baroque to the present? Find out on today’s “A Day in the Life.”
Today in 1721 Georg Philipp Telemann became music director of the five largest churches in the city of Hamburg. This "musical CEO" of the baroque created an incredible amount of music during his tenure there--including music imitating frogs and bell towers. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1972 Billboard magazine ran a cover story about a "new sound" emerging from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The "Muscle Shoals" sound--largely the result of a rhythm section later known as "The Swampers"--would have an incredible influence on the sound of popular music from that moment forward. Learn more on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1987, Tiffany released her self-titled debut album featuring her hit cover of "I Think We're Alone Now." How do malls, intergenerational listening, and Billy Idol fit into the story? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."
Today in 1973, Nasir Jones--better known as Nas--was born in Brooklyn, New York. Learn about his early career and dynamic collaborations with his father and others that bridge the intergenerational gaps.
On this episode of Critical Karaoke we are talking about movie music--the songs and compositions that shape the dramatic action on screen in obvious and subtle ways. How does film forever imprint a specific reading or interpretation on the music itself? Can we ever escape those associations?
In addition to a special "fictional band name pop quiz" focused on bands that exist only on the screen, we consider the following music in the following films:
"Power of Love" from Back to the Future (1985)
"Stuck in the Middle with You" from Reservoir Dogs (1992)
"I Got You (I Feel Good)" from The Nutty Professor (1996) and Grumpy Old Men (1993)
"A Change is Gonna Come" from and Malcolm X (1992) and Ali (2001)
Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto from Brief Encounter (1945) and Seven Year Itch (1955)
Today in 1935, the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt was born. Matthew Mugmon explores his early compositional output—which fell afoul of the Soviet authorities— and his later move towards simplicity using a special self-designed compositional system. Find out more on today’s “A Day in the Life.”
Today in 1990 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air premiered on NBC. It starred a young Will Smith, but was based on the life story of Benny Medina. Find out how two came together and the role of the IRS in the proceedings on today's "A Day in the Life."
The Kennedy Center's concert hall opened in Washington, D.C. on this day in 1971. It featured a multifaceted performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. What music was heard that evening and who was in attendance? Find out on today's "A Day in the Life."