The "Jazz Fest" -- as the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is known to participants -- does indeed celebrate the music the Crescent City birthed. However, it also provides plenty of evidence for its contributions to rock and roll, R&B, blues, funk, swamp pop, hip-hop, and more, and there are always lots of non-jazz headliners. Want to see the fest from an oldies fan's point of view, arranged so that you don't miss a note? Check out this handy day-by-day, minute-by-minute guide to the first week of the 2014 Jazz Fest, designed to give you the best possible oldies experience.
Because it's that time of year again... "Taxman" was not only a rare political statement by the Beatles, it also brought George's songwriting front and center, once and for all. But all is not it appears to be; from the intro to the famous solo, the Fab Four were starting to play some sonic tricks on their audience. Read a detailed breakdown of "Taxman" in my Beatles fact sheet.
1958 was arguably the high water mark for both '50s R&B and the first wave of rock and roll, the moment where rhythm and blues was able to have its pop crossover success without becoming diluted -- but it was also the year that served as a dividing line between R&B's past (blues and swing, mostly) and its future (dances, girl groups, and the onslaught of soul). Read all about the greatest rhythm and blues hits of 1958 right here.
Richard Carpenter may have removed the "The" from the Carpenters' name in order to make them seem more hip, but it would be hard to imagine a less hip group in the Nixon era than the one that gave us "Top Of The World," "We've Only Just Begun" and "Close To You." Yet it was that very calm and reassuring nature -- especially filtered through the peerless vocals of "lead sister" Karen -- that endured them to legions of fans. Read more about their unlikely trip to stardom in my Carpenters profile.
They were one of London's best Mod bands before they mutated into straight rock and psych-pop, eventually settling on the kind of mix that could conceivably cement their status as godfathers of Britpop. The Small Faces even made a classic concept album that was just obscure enough to be rediscovered by future generations. Yet the only song most Americans know by the group is "Itchycoo Park" -- and yet, after 40 long years, there's a big push on to finally get them their recognition. Read all about the music and career of the Small Faces in my latest profile.
A special series to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of US Beatlemania: the history of the Beatles in timeline form, showing how the most famous band of all time got their fame and then grew beyond it.
1963 was when Beatlemania truly began, where the band's combination of youth, charm, wit, first-class songwriting and road-tested musicianship all combined with Brian Epstein's drive and the UK's need to have rock heroes of their own. And within the year, the buzz would grow so loud it would do the unthinkable -- cross the Atlantic. Learn all about the Beatles' breakthrough year of 1963 right here.
Rhythm and blues arguably reached its first crest of crossover popularity in 1957, creating a crossroads where Chicago blues, soul-blues, country-soul, doo-wop, and New Orleans soul met. But it wasn't just crossing over -- as those hyphenates suggest, R&B was mutating all on its own, learning from pop, country, and even Latin music. Read all about the greatest rhythm and blues hits of 1957 right here.
They were unfairly maligned by many of their hipper-than-thou peers in the Sixties, but The Association did play their own instruments (live, anyway), and write, and dabble in harder and weirder sounds from time to time. If you love "Windy" or "Along Comes Mary" or "Cherish," you're still only getting part of the story. Read my profile of the Association here.
Too sassy for a male-dominated art form, too country for rockabilly, and too sexy for the radio, Wanda Jackson may still have been the original Queen of Rock. And even though she didn't get the mass adoration she deserved in rock and roll, country and western, or even gospel, entire generations have since come to admire her as an anomaly, an authentic roots artist, and a survivor. Read all about the life and career of the "Fujiyama Mama" here in this profile.