How Prince Introduced Us to the “Minneapolis Sound”

From Polka to Punk-Funk, the Twin Cities Assimilated New Genres From Their Migrant Roots

The pop music genius Prince Rogers Nelson, better known to most of us as Prince, made his national television debut on American Bandstand in 1980. Performing “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” his first big hit in the United States, he gave the country its first taste of the Minneapolis Sound, an infectious blend of rock, R&B, funk, and New Wave that would become a significant force in American pop music during the 1980s, ’90s, and early 2000s. An astounded Dick Clark, struggling to interview the shy singer and guitarist …

More In: pop music

Does Blink-182 Know Something California’s Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

While Politicians Keep Trumpeting the State’s Success, This Summer’s Songs and Films Sound Skeptical

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182.

This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political …

Cleveland Rocks, Even in the Dead of Winter

The City’s Unpretentious Music Scene Thrives Year Round, Under Bridges, on Porches, and Outside of the Country’s Most Famous Music Hall

In the middle of February, when the temperatures dip below freezing, Clevelanders are frequently found huddled together for warmth in one place: outside—yes, outside—under the crisp night sky, watching local …

Have We Turned the Last Page in America’s Songbook?

Tracing the Great Songwriting Tradition, From Cole Porter to Joni Mitchell

The Great American Songbook isn’t really a book. Rather, it’s a notional collection of several hundred pop songs. The precise identity of the songs varies according to who is doing …

Morrissey’s Ranchera-esque Sound

The Manchester Singer’s Intense Emotions Win Over a New Generation of Fans in East L.A.

My lifelong devotion to punk rock started with my first backyard gig in Boyle Heights at age 12, which eventually led to me playing guitar in the band Bad Influence …

The Fab Four Were Funny

It Was the Beatles’ Wit That Set Them Apart and Won Over America 50 Years Ago

This year brings an unavoidable wave of Beatles tributes, with TV specials, media coverage, a new CD boxed set, and celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the band’s arrival in …