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Music

In this July 12, 2014 photo, Motown legend Smokey Robinson poses for a photo, in Los Angeles. Robinson's his latest album, “Smokey & Friends,” comes out Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. The collection of Robinson tunes pairs the Motown veteran with Elton John, Mary J. Blige, James Taylor, CeeLo Green, Miguel, and Steven Tyler. (Photo by Katy Winn/Invision/AP)

Smokey and Friends

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Los Angeles — After five decades in show business, the man who shaped Motown with instantly recognizable hits like My Girl and Tears of a Clown said he can’t stop writing. Smokey Robinson said he scribbles down lyrics on a pad or leaves a fragment of a tune on his own voice mail whenever inspiration hits. “I write on the …

At MTV Video Music Awards, Expect Surprise Performances

Sunday, August 24, 2014

With a legacy that includes Madonna tongue-kissing Britney Spears, Beyonce announcing her pregnancy and Howard Stern’s bare behind, the MTV Video Music Awards has never had trouble generating buzz. But this year’s ceremony, which will be shown Sunday night at 9, has a special challenge: How do you compete with Miley Cyrus’ twerking …

Who Should Win — And Will Win — Top Awards

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The MTV Video Music Awards have always been less about the awards and more about the performances. (What got more attention last year? Justin Timberlake’s Mirrors winning video of the year or Miley Cyrus’ twerking? Case closed.) However, this year’s nominations do try to make the fan-voted categories more of a fair fight, …

Behind the Scenes at Opera North

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When Opera North opens its annual season on Saturday at the Lebanon Opera House with a production of Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical My Fair Lady , followed in the next two weeks by Verdi’s La Traviata and …

‘Weird Al’ Talks About His Weirdly Successful Week in Music

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Los Angeles — Attention pop stars: If “Weird Al” Yankovic shows up at your concert or has tracked down your personal email address, you’re likely his next parody conquest. Such was the case for artists like Pharrell and …

Despite Hits, No Radio Love Yet for Stars of Country Rap

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nashville, Tenn. — When Jason Brown came to Nashville to start his career as the country artist Colt Ford, he couldn’t find songwriters who would write for his singing style. No surprise. Ford was bringing an unlikely mix …

Pop Music Streaming More Than Selling

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Los Angeles — One brutal truth emerges from Nielsen SoundScan’s report on trends in the music industry for the first half of 2014: Today’s consumers are far more interested in seeing and hearing pop music than buying it. Album sales dropped nearly 15 percent compared with the same …

‘Thrones’ Leads Emmy Nominees

Friday, July 11, 2014

Los Angeles — The sprawling and bloodthirsty saga Game of Thrones, defying the Emmy Awards’ grudging respect for such fantasy fare, emerged as the leader in the nominations announced Thursday with 19 bids, including best drama series. Other …

An Appreciation: Bobby Womack, Soul Legend and Guitarist

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The connections are endlessly surprising, those that Bobby Womack forged during a 60-year career that transcended genre, border and race. The singer, songwriter, guitarist and longtime Los Angeles resident, who died June 27 at age 70, was the …

Vinyl Is Big, and One Firm Is All Over It

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Los Angeles — Thousands of old-style cardboard sleeves for Jack White’s album Lazaretto sit in tightly packed checkerboard rows at Stoughton Printing plant in the City of Industry, 12.3-inch squares waiting to be stuffed with 12-inch circles. Jack …

Why Gordon Lightfoot Changed Lyric to His Signature Song

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gordon Lightfoot exercised some lyrical license when he wrote The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but the Canadian balladeer paid painstaking attention to the facts when he wrote the line that would haunt him for decades. New evidence, …

Jennifer Lopez: ‘I Don’t Get Credit for Being Great at One Thing’

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Los Angeles — In the course of one recent week, Jennifer Lopez was honored with a Billboard Icon Award, her single First Love became the most-added song on pop radio, she played to a sold-out crowd in Anaheim, …

Lucinda Williams to Balance Old Favorites and New Songs

Thursday, June 19, 2014

For the Lebanon Opera House stop on her tour next week, Lucinda Williams promises to season the set list with songs that won her Grammys and a huge audience in the 1990s. “How much you play of your …