Rock and Roll

Meryl Streep's a better actress than singer, but that works to her advantage in the film.

What “Ricki and the Flash” Gets Wrong About the Life of a Musician

The new Meryl Streep vehicle is the latest in a long history of movies about bar singers

Signs welcome visitors to Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden.

When Rock Bands Flocked to Howard Finster’s Remote, Bizarre Artist Compound

Even today you can visit the site where groups such as R.E.M. found a true artistic genius

History in the making: Sam Smith performs with Mary J. Blige, one of his main influences.

Why We Should Teach Music History Backwards

Rock fans do their own investigative work to understand their favorite groups’ influences. So why can’t the rest of us get with the program?

When Breathtaking Rock Billboards Dominated the Sunset Strip

A new exhibition showcases the Sunset Strip's "rock 'n' roll billboards"

Portrait in New York, in Lead Belly’s final days, 1948-49

The Incomparable Legacy of Lead Belly

This week a new Smithsonian Folkways compilation and a Smithsonian Channel show highlight the seminal blues man of the century

What is the Most Important Innovation in the History of Rock 'n' Roll?

Musicians, historians and critics tell us what they consider to be the greatest game changers for the industry

The world's six known punked out snail species, which have mohawk-like spikes, acidic-dyed psychedelic colors and hardcore shells that are falling apart.

New Deep-Sea Snails Are Nature’s Own Punk Rockers

The spikes on one hardcore species inspired scientists to name it after Joe Strummer of the Clash, who was also an ardent environmentalist

Ridley's film focuses on Hendrix in the years before he became famous, 1966-1967.

The Oscar-Winning Writer John Ridley, Talks About His New Jimi Hendrix Movie

The writer and director of <i>Jimi: All Is by My Side</i> speaks about making living history from legend

Debbie Harry on camera or a monitor during the video shoot for “Picture This,” c. 1978. Debbie was constantly asked, “How does it feel to be a sex symbol?” Literally exactly that question, over and over again.

Blondie Guitarist Chris Stein Shares His Secret Photographs of the 1970s and 1980s

Hearken back to the era of punk and new wave music with these snapshots

Craig Robinson, left, as Maceo Parker and Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in "Get on Up", the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, from director Tate Taylor.

The Star and Director of the New James Brown Movie on What it Took to Capture the Larger-Than-Life Musician

Chadwick Boseman and Tate Taylor told us about the making of "Get On Up," in movie theaters next month.

The Beatles step onto the tarmac at JFK Airport on February 7, 1964, arriving for their first performance in the U.S.

When the Beatles Arrived in America, Reporters Ignored the Music and Obsessed Over Hair

They'd go on to change American music forever, but the press focused on the moptops


Music That Rocks the Imagination

The motivation behind Quetzal’s music is stirring dreams – and helping build communities

Carol Kaye and Bill Pitman on guitar at Gold Star; circa 1963.

The Hidden History of a Rock ’n’ Roll Hitmaker

Bassist Carol Kaye blazed her own trail, as the only female studio musician to record some of the greatest songs of the ’60s and ’70s

British musician Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones performs on stage during the band's 'Voodoo Lounge' tour, late 1994.

Five New Books That Will Rock You Like a Hurricane

The '70s music scene is being reexamined in these books by and about the major players of rock 'n' roll

Born in 1940, Levon Helm showed an early gift on the drums. Growing up on a cotton farm, music became his way out of a hard-labor life.

Levon Helm’s Rocking Rambles

The '60s rock great died today. Last July, our writer visited Helm for one of his famous Saturday night music throwdowns

Eddie Van Halen recently donated his custom-made guitar named Frankenstein 2 to the National Museum of American History.

Q and A with Eddie Van Halen

The rock guitarist talks about his custom-made Frankenstein 2 that is now in the collections of the American History museum

After minor chart success, the O'Jays had considered calling it quits before Leon Huff and Kenneth Gamble revived their career with chart-topping hits.

Forty Years of Philadelphia Sound

Songwriters Leon Huff and Kenneth Gamble composed tunes with political messages for chart-toppers like the O’Jays and Billy Paul

Alvino Rey may not be a household name today, but Rey's genre-busting fretwork in electric music's nascent years helped set the stage for modern rock.

Alvino Rey’s Musical Legacy

As the father of the electric guitar and grandfather of two members of Arcade Fire, Rey was a major influence on rock for decades

A throbbing two-block entertainment district is all that is left of old Beale Street, most of which was razed in urban renewal schemes.

The Soul of Memphis

Despite setbacks, the Mississippi River city has held onto its rollicking blues joints, smokin' barbecue and welcoming, can-do spirit

The Beach Boys were arguably the most popular rock group in the country with five separate albums simultaneously on the charts in 1964.

The Rock Concert That Captured an Era

Featuring acts such as the Beach Boys, James Brown and the Rolling Stones, The T.A.M.I. Show defined popular music for a generation

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