Music

Ory in November 1945, during his comeback after working as a janitor.

Kid Ory Finally Gets the Encore He Deserves

The childhood home of the musician who put New Orleans jazz on the map will soon open to the public

Smithsonian Associates Streaming presents "Mr. President: An Evening with Martin Sheen" on January 19.

Smithsonian Voices

An Evening With Martin Sheen and 24 Other Smithsonian Programs Streaming in January

Kick off the New Year with Smithsonian Associates' virtual multi-part courses, studio arts classes and study tours

The anthem has become part of a conversation about Australia's relationship with its Indigenous citizens.

Australia Changes National Anthem Lyrics to Recognize Its Long Indigenous History

"Advance Australia Fair" no longer calls a nation with a 65,000-year history "young and free"

Ma Rainey poses with her band for a studio group shot c. 1924-25.

'The Great Gatsby,' Songs by Ma Rainey and Other Classic Works Are Now in the Public Domain

Canonical books, songs and films became free to use in 2021

“He is setting a fine example for the youth of the country,” said a public health official after the King of Rock 'n' Roll received a vaccine on the set of “The Ed Sullivan Show” in October 1956.

Covid-19

How Elvis Helped America Eliminate Polio

The rock star's much-publicized vaccination inspired reluctant U.S. teens to get inoculated

A portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven by August Klober, circa 1818

How Young America Came to Love Beethoven

On the 250th anniversary of the famous composer’s birth, the story of how his music first took hold across the Atlantic

Notre-Dame's Grand Organ, as seen before the April 2019 fire

Inside the Monumental Effort to Restore Notre-Dame's Grand Organ

Workers spent four months painstakingly dismantling the musical instrument, which is only set to sound again in 2024

Our favorite books this year are ones with messages that help kids understand the world around them.

The Ten Best Children's Books of 2020

These top titles deliver history lessons, wordplay and a musical romp through the animal kingdom

Russian physicist and engineer Lev Sergeyevich Termen—who later came to be widely known as Léon Theremin—invented his namesake instrument around 1920. Here, he's pictured in 1928.

Art Meets Science

The Soviet Spy Who Invented the First Major Electronic Instrument

Created by a Russian engineer, the theremin has delighted and confounded audiences since 1920

Amateur photographer Paul Goresh (left) is shown here with former Beatle John Lennon. Goresh, who describes himself as a life-long fan of Lennon, took the last photo of the rock star when he was alive.

What Happened on John Lennon's Last Day

The former Beatle had a packed schedule as he finalized a new song and posed for some final photographs that would become iconic

Grounded travelers, be thankful for these travel books released in 2020.

Holiday Gift Guide

The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2020

In a year of travel restrictions, these titles helped us channel our wanderlust

A recently concluded auction featured a trove of artifacts collected by Bob Dylan's close friend Tony Glover.

Long-Hidden Trove of Bob Dylan Letters, Handwritten Lyrics Heads to Auction

The archives of harmonica player and close Dylan friend Tony Glover act as a "time capsule" of 20th-century music, says RR Auction

Jimi Hendrix, 24, in his breakout set at Monterey in 1967.

The Exotic Vest That Introduced America to Jimi Hendrix

The fashionable garment conjures the guitarist's dazzling performance at the Monterey County Fairgrounds

The online market is flooded with coveted books, toys and antiques.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Avid Collectors Find Joy in Their Prized Possessions

At home with their collectibles, many people are expanding, shrinking or reorganizing their treasure troves

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen performs at a September 2015 concert in Chula Vista, California.

Eddie Van Halen on How Necessity Drives Innovation

The rock star, who died on October 6 at age 65, said that perfection is boring and mistakes are the "most exciting element of music"

Ella Fitzgerald performs in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1961.

Cool Finds

Listen to a Lost Ella Fitzgerald Recording

In 1962, the singer returned to Berlin to reprise a famous 1960 concert. The tapes were forgotten—until now

This 2016 image shows one of the instruments included in Amnon Weinstein's Violins of Hope collection, which features pre-World War II violins once owned by Jewish musicians and music lovers.

Pandemic Temporarily Silences Violins That Survived the Holocaust

Organizers found ways to make the instruments' voices heard after the cancellation of planned concerts in California

These frames may have been the first pair of iconic round glasses worn by John Lennon.

Fifty Years After the Beatles Broke Up, Trove of Memorabilia Goes on Auction

Sotheby's sale includes records, posters and a high school detention sheet decrying John Lennon's "continuous silly behaviour in class"

In different time periods and contexts, Elin Lisslass (left) and author Jennie Tiderman-Österberg perform kulning.

Why Sweden’s Ancient Tradition of Calling Home the Herds Is Women’s Work

The spellbinding refrains of the kulning call reflect a tradition that offered women freedom and independence

Badger Clark in 1954.

Saddle Up With Badger Clark, America's Forgotten Cowboy Poet

The unsung writer, known to many as "Anonymous," led a life of indelible verse

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