Friday, April 26, 2013

RIP Country Legend George Jones

Country superstar died April 26 at the age of 81. As noted in his Country Music Hall of Fame biography:
Like Hank Williams before him, Jones emerged-quite unintentionally-as an archetype of an era that most likely will never come around again. He was a singer who earned his stature the hard way: by living his songs. His humble origins, his painful divorces, his legendary drinking and drugging, and his myriad financial, legal, and emotional problems over the years merely confirmed his sincerity and enhanced his mystique, earning him a cachet that, in country music circles, approached canonization.
Berklee alumnus Brian Mansfield wrote the obituary for USA Today:

George Jones, country superstar, dies

The library has a large selection of materials by Jones.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Archives Update: New Website!

The Berklee College Archives webpage has a new look! Check it out here:

In addition to a treasure trove of digitized collections -- including photographs, scores, and recordings -- updates include:
More finding aids and other content will be added as we continue processing materials. Archival holdings do not circulate but may be viewed on site by appointment Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening hours available upon request. If you're interested in scheduling a visit or simply learning more about our collections, please be sure to email or call 617-747-8001. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Sweet Caroline" and the Red Sox

In the wake of the Yankees paying tribute to the Red Sox and Neil Diamond's unannounced performance at Saturday's Sox game, MSN News explains how "Sweet Caroline" became a Red Sox song:

'Sweet Caroline': Why is it a Boston Red Sox song?

Want to play or perform it? We have scores with the song:
Lead sheets on reserve:
And CDs by Diamond himself and others:

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Musical Impact of Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher may have shared a polarizing political ideology with Ronald Reagan, but Thatcher's influence made a much bigger impact on the world of music than her American counterpart and continues to do so even in death.

NPR offers an analysis of the divergent sentiments she fostered:
The Thatcher Era's Effect On British Music

Slicing Up Eyeballs offers a more thorough catalog of songs she inspired:
‘Margaret on the Guillotine’: Revisiting the classic anti-Thatcher songs of the ’80s

Her death generated an effort to celebrate her passing in song:
Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead: Inside The UK’s Bizarre Campaign To Make The Anti-Thatcher Song No. 1

However, despite the success of the "Ding Dong!" campaign, it didn't fully achieve the desired outcome:
BBC defends Baroness Thatcher Ding Dong song decision

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Playlist for Fenway Opening Day

The Red Sox have their home opener at Fenway on Monday. In honor of the start of baseball season, radio show Sound Opinions devoted an episode to musical grand slams, four great albums in a row by a single artist. You can listen to the podcast for their discussion or hit up our collection to listen to the albums in their entirety and decide for yourself if they measure up.

Hosts Greg Kot and Jim DeRogatis acknowledged both that they were skipping the more obvious choices and also that even great artists break up strings of great albums with the occasional dud. What are your suggestions for this list?

Stevie Wonder

  • Call the Doctor (1996) (CD 15498)
  • Dig Me Out (1997)
  • The Hot Rock (1999)
  • All Hands on the Bad One (2000) (CD 18883)

Kanye West

Hüsker Dü

Led Zeppelin

  • Modern Life is Rubbish (1993) (CD 26384)
  • Parklife (1994)
  • The Great Escape (1995)
  • Blur (1997)

XTC (Seven in a row!)
  • Go 2 (1978)
  • Drums and Wires (1979) (CD 5025)
  • Black Sea (1980)
  • English Settlement (1982) (CD 18257)
  • Mummer (1983)
  • The Big Express (1984)
  • Skylarking (1986) (CD 131)

The Velvet Underground
  • The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967) (CD 241)
  • White Light/White Heat (1968) (CD 19166)
  • The Velvet Underground (1969) (CD 1097)
  • Loaded (1970) (CD 11410)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Visualizing the AC/DC Rule

NPR's Chris Molanphy put the new Justin Timberlake album The 20/20 Experience into context with what he calls the AC/DC Rule. He describes this as follow-up albums with big first-week sales that are more a reflection on their slow-building and more highly-regarded predecessors. He named the rule after AC/DC's Back in Black and For Those About to Rock We Salute You. The former album is considered their ultimate work and has continued to sell steadily for decades, while the latter exploded upon release based on the reputation of Back in Black but hasn't fared as well critically or commercial.

Justin Timberlake And The AC/DC Rule

Molanphy gives plenty more examples of the AC/DC rule. If you'd like to visualize their chart trajectories, use our newest database Academic Charts Online, available under E-Resources: Search Articles & More: Search by Database. Watch the Product Tour video, and you'll learn how to generate a graph showing the relative sales chart positions of multiple releases.

Monday, April 1, 2013

RIP Producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone, a Grammy-winning producer and Berklee trustee, died on March 30 at the age of 79. Ramone was known for putting artists at ease in the studio, letting artists' own sound come through rather than leaving his fingerprints all over their work, and for his mastery of studio technology. NPR offers a tribute:

Phil Ramone, A Record Producer Who Made Simplicity Sound Sublime, Dies

The library's collection of CDs he worked on shows the wide range of his career.