Today, 5 October, we celebrate James Bond Day, and this year has been a great one for 007. In January, both song and score for Skyfall won Grammys, and 18 September marked the 50th anniversary of the general release of the film Goldfinger in UK cinemas. Shirley Bassey’s extraordinary rendition of the title song played a key role in its success.
By Gordon R. Thompson
In the opening months of 1964, The Beatles turned the American popular music world on its head, racking up hits and opening the door for other British musicians. Lennon and McCartney demonstrated that—in the footsteps of Americans like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry—British performers could be successful songwriters too.
By Gordon R. Thompson
Fifty years ago, a wave of British performers began showing up on The Ed Sullivan Show following the dramatic and game-changing appearances by The Beatles.
By Caitie-Jane Cook
Tomorrow sees the start of the British Society of Criminology annual conference, this year held at the University of Liverpool. The three-day conference (10th-12th July, preceded by a postgraduate conference on the 9th) will see academics from across the globe come together to discuss an expansive range of topics, from prisons and policing to hate crime and community justice, and I, for one, cannot wait to attend.
We asked our composers a series of questions based around their musical likes and dislikes, influences, challenges, and various other things on the theme of music and their careers. Each month we will bring you answers from an OUP composer, giving you an insight into their music and personalities.
April is Jazz Appreciation Month, honoring an original American art form. Across the United States and the world, jazz lovers are introducing people to the history and heritage of jazz as well as extraordinary contemporary acts. To celebrate, here are eight songs from renowned jazz singer and trumpeter Louis Armstrong’s catalog, along with some lesser-known facts about the artist.
By Thomas Jundt
On this day forty-four years ago, some 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and lecture halls for an event billed as a national environmental teach-in—Earth Day.
Picture the scene. You’re sitting in a box at the Royal Albert Hall, or the Vienna Musikverein. You have purchased tickets to hear Beethoven’s Ninth symphony performed by an internationally renowned orchestra, and they are playing it in a way that sounds wonderful. But what makes this such a powerful performance?
By Alyn Shipton
Singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson worked in the computer department of a California bank throughout the early 1960s. For much of that time, he managed the night shift, clocking on in the early evening and finishing around 1 a.m. Then, instead of going to sleep, he wrote songs all night. Being a man of considerable energy, he spent the daytime hawking his songs around publishers.
By Tim Kasser
For the last decade or so, I’ve been trying to avoid these mistakes as I’ve attempted to understand John Lennon’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” There are three standard explanations given for the meaning of the song, but each has its problems.
As of 1 January 2014, 27 years have passed since the first edition of the Grove Dictionary of American Music was published. In those 27 years, The Beatles sold 2 billion albums, Michael Jackson died, and Simon Cowell had the excellent foresight to create One Direction.
Compiled by Taylor Coe
After reflecting on music that they were thankful for a few weeks ago, we have now asked Oxford University Press staffers to share music that reminds them of the New Year.
The recent death of renowned British composer Sir John Tavener (1944-2013) precipitated mourning and reflection on an international scale. By the time of his death, the visionary composer had received numerous honors, including the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, the 2005 Ivor Novello Classical Music Award, and a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.
We’re told many stories about the 1960s, typically clichéd tales of excess and revolution. But there’s more to the popular music of the 1960s. There are many ways in which rock music has shaped our ideas of individual freedom and collective belonging. Rock became a way for participants in American culture and counterculture to think about what it meant to be an American citizen, a world citizen, a citizen-consumer, or a citizen-soldier.
By Ken Crossland
The story of Rosemary’s Clooney’s rise, fall, and rise again to the summit of American music is a story unparalleled in American showbiz history. From her emergence at the archetypal girl-next-door in the Fifties, through to her late life renaissance as an interpreter par excellence of jazz and popular song, Clooney’s 57-year career scaled all the heights.
To be frank, there has never been much love for the viola (or violists). As an erstwhile violist I would get two types of reactions about my instrument of choice: from non-musicians, “what’s a viola?” and from musicians… well just Google “viola jokes” and it will return some real doozies.