Musical History

The 92-second clip that shows the Fab Four playing their song “Paperback Writer.”

Lost Footage of One of the Beatles' Last Live Performances Found in Attic

A man filmed the missing 1966 'Top of the Pops' appearance from his TV set

152 Nassau

The Site of Country Music's First Recorded Hit Is Set to Be Demolished

152 Nassau Street in Atlanta was home to the first country music recording hit made before the genre even had a name

In 1904, Joseph Kekuku, inventor of the Hawaiian steel guitar, left Hawaii to perform on the American West Coast. Newspaper critics called him the “world’s greatest guitar soloist.”

How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed American Music

The season finale of Sidedoor tells the story of an indigenous Hawaiian instrument with a familiar sound and unexpected influences

Installation view of "Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll"

From Buddy Holly to Lady Gaga, the Met's New 'Play It Loud' Exhibit Features the Instruments of Rock and Roll Greats

The show includes more than 130 guitars, drum kits and keyboards, as well as vintage costumes, posters and concert footage

Seventy-Five Years Ago, the Television Musical Made Its Debut

"RENT: Live" meet "The Boys from Boise"

Good luck getting this out of your head.

Before the 'Baby Shark' Song Made the Hot 100, 'Silly Symphonies' Were All the Rage

The “musical novelty” series of shorts achieved critical and popular success, too

These new songs will not be performed by a children's Christmas choir.

The Titles of These AI-Generated Christmas Carols Are Pure Cinnamon Hollybells

🎶 We wish you a Merry Jinglelog 🎶

View of the Silent Night Chapel

A Brief History of 'Silent Night'

The classic Christmas tune was first composed as a poem, and it was set to music for the first time in the winter of 1818

Record companies released stereo demonstration albums that showcased how sound could move from left to right, creating a sense of movement.

How Savvy Advertising Helped Make Stereo Technology Mainstream

Stereo demonstrations and colorful ads sold customers on the two-channel sound technology when it was introduced 60 years ago

The great James Chambers aka Jimmy Cliff performing in 2012.

Reggae Officially Declared Global Cultural Treasure

The music, which emerged from Jamaica in the 1960s, was added to Unesco's global Intangible Cultural Heritage list

Dear Evan Hansen comes to the Smithsonian

'Dear Evan Hansen' Recognized as Part of America's Cultural Heritage

Artifacts from the Broadway musical come to the collections of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

The Telharmonium is considered to be the first electromechanical musical instrument.

The World's First Synthesizer Was a 200-Ton Behemoth

Thaddeus Cahill's Telharmonium may not have been a huge success, but it was an important achievement in music history

For Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Ángeles, their dual mission of being a respected musical group and advocating for social equality for the LGBTQ community has won the hearts and minds of many.

How the First LGBTQ Mariachi Became an Outlet for Advocacy

LA musicians Carlos Samaniego and Natalia Melendez do traditional Mexican music their way

Freddie Mercury performing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in August, 1980.

How Close Does 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Come to Showing the Real Freddie Mercury?

While the movie has been critiqued for flattening the legacy of Queen, see the band come to life in historic photos

This year marks the 333rd anniversary of J.S. Bach's birth

Are Classical Music Performances Speeding Up?

For Johann Sebastian Bach's 333rd birthday, a team looked at recordings of the composer's work over the last 50 years

Leonard Bernstein, Carnegie Hall, New York City by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1960 goes on view at the National Portrait Gallery on Bernstein's 100th birthday, August 25, 2018.

The Moment That Defines Famed American Composer Leonard Bernstein

The National Portrait Gallery showcases a celebrated conductor as portrayed by the master French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson

At the National Portrait Gallery's inaugural American Portrait Gala, Franklin was honored in 2015 with a Portrait of the Nation Prize.

Museum Curators Reflect on the Legacy of the Queen of Soul

Aretha Franklin dies at 76; her memory lives on at the Smithsonian in artwork, photographs and other ephemera

Alan Smith-Allison poses with his collection

A New Exhibition Is Here to Spice Up Your Life

Do you really, really, really wanna see it?

July 1983 illustration of David Bowie for TIME magazine

David Bowie’s First Studio Recording Discovered in a Bread Basket

The demo failed to impress recording executives in the early 1960s

Recordings are available via Soundcloud and the Google Arts & Culture platform

How to Hear the Met’s Historic Instruments' Singular Sounds

New audio recordings by the museum feature roughly 40 instruments, from Ming dynasty lute to the world’s oldest surviving piano

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