Music

Elton John performs at the Wiltern Theater on Jan. 13, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

No Sad Songs for Elton John

Sunday, February 14, 2016

In addition to his myriad accomplishments as an artist, Elton John has long maintained a reputation as a tastemaker. He’s been an early champion of emerging pop acts from Swing Out Sister and Eminem in the ’80s and ’90s through current stars Ed Sheeran and the Weeknd, thanks to a voracious appetite for the music industry’s latest releases. Yet when …

Rapper Poised for Historic Grammy Win

Sunday, February 14, 2016

New York — Kendrick Lamar has a chance to become the first rapper to win album of the year since Outkast took the prize in 2004 for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. He could also be the first rapper OF ALL-TIME — said in Kanye voice — to win song of the year. But if …

Cassettes Are Cool Again

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Steve Stepp likes to tell people his company is still around after 45 years thanks to his stupidity and stubbornness. As the owner of family-run National Audio Co., the last business to manufacture audio cassette tapes on a massive scale, the longtime Springfield, Mo., resident weathered nearly two decades of people telling him …

Private Lessons Key for Fifth-Grade Flautist in Claremont

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Claremont — Balmy and damp, the day before Christmas Eve felt more like springtime than late December. But that afternoon, a band of wandering musicians brought some sounds of the season to Claremont. Walking through the downtown, instruments …

Ambitious Jazz Hits High Note in 2015

Sunday, January 3, 2016

As year-end top-10 lists continue to roll in, the one album you’ll find near the top of each is Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. It’s an ambitious, audacious album, to say the least, one that strives to …

Motorhead’s Lemmy Was a Pioneer

Thursday, December 31, 2015

A voice like shrapnel and a bass tone to match. A steady diet of rock ’n’ roll and rebellion, fueled by, until not so long ago, a bottle of Jack Daniels per day and sexual escapades too numerous to count. Plus: muttonchops. Lemmy Kilmister, singer and bass player …

Motorhead’s Lemmy Dies

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The metal community shook late Monday with news that singer, bassist and songwriter Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister from the influential British metal band Motorhead had died. He was 70. Motorhead later released a statement about Lemmy on Facebook: “There is no easy way to say this ... our mighty, …

Heirs to N.H. Poet Sue ‘Big Bang Theory’ Over ‘Soft Kitty’ Song

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New York — The heirs to a New Hampshire teacher who wrote a poem about a “soft kitty” eight decades ago said in a lawsuit Monday that TV’s The Big Bang Theory is violating their copyrights. Edith Newlin’s daughters sued CBS and other media-related companies over the copyright …

Finding Strength in Classical Music

Saturday, December 26, 2015

In times of tragedy, classical music is automatically summoned for comfort. Giving succor after a terrorist attack, as Barber’s Adagio for Strings did in a Paris memorial to victims of last month’s terrorist attack, is unquestionably noble employment. Providing essential time and space for reflection is music’s matchless …

Unusual Sounds by Tom Jones

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Los Angeles — In his just-published autobiography, Over the Top and Back , singer Tom Jones recounts with unbridled honesty and a wicked sense of humor many of the remarkable highlights of his 50-plus-year career. But sitting in …

A Legend in the Afterlife

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Washington — The saddest part of the mostly heartwarming story of singer Eva Cassidy is that she had to die to get the renown she deserved. Cassidy, an eclectic cover artist who grew up in Bowie, Md., has …

‘The River’ Flows With More Material

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bruce Springsteen’s 1980 release, The River, was a double album twice as long as anything he’d released previously, and the recording sessions leading up to it were just as epic. The Ties That Bind: The River Collection (Columbia), …

Famed Conductor Kurt Masur Dies

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Berlin — Kurt Masur was a conductor who knew how to use his authority. He used it to tame orchestras — notably the unruly New York Philharmonic, which he led for 11 years — and to historic effect …