#TBT: Composer, Songwriter Cole Porter

Cole Porter

You might love Cole Porter without even realizing it. The composer and songwriter's theater legacy includes musicals Anything Goes and Kiss Me, Kate and songs "In the Still of the Night, "I Get a Kick out of You" and "It's De-Lovely"—and that's just a taste of his work. He's also known for covers by powerhouses like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. […]

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#TBT: Miles Davis: 90th Birth Anniversary of the Cool

Miles Davis

Even if you don't think you like jazz, I bet you've heard of Miles Davis. As one of the most important musicians of all time, jazz or otherwise, his music and influence can be seen everywhere. For example, Davis' Kind of Blue can be heard in movies like Pleasantville and television shows like The Wire. […]

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#TBT: Singer, Actress, Icon: Cher at 70

The First Time book cover

Cher may be the ultimate entertainer. She's such a force that it's hard to say what she's best known for: singer, TV personality, movie star, fashion icon, maybe even Twitter user! So, what do you think of when you think of her? Do you hear her singing "I Got You Babe" with Sonny, or maybe […]

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#TBT: Charlie Parker’s First Recording


For today's Throwback Thursday, let's remember jazz musician Charlie Parker (1920-1955), who first recorded 75 years ago on April 30, 1941. Charlie Parker was a legendary Grammy-winning jazz alto and tenor saxophonist who, with Dizzy Gillespie, created the musical style called bop or bebop. Celebrate the musical talent of Charlie Parker with these library materials. Archives Charles Walton Papers are an […]

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Guns N’ Roses Reunion Coming to Chicago

Appetite for Destruction cover

Even if you couldn’t stomach the hefty fees for the upcoming Guns N’ Roses show July 1 at Soldier Field, you can still experience the life and times of "the most dangerous band in the world." The gritty group came from nothing, living and practicing in a storage space, forced to eat onions out of a […]

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#TBT: Lady Gaga Is Born

Source: qthomasbower, Flickr

For this Throwback Thursday, I'd like to look at the stratospheric rise of Stefani Germanotta, better known as Lady Gaga, who turns 30 on Monday, March 28. In less than a decade since her first album, The Fame, Lady Gaga has made an indelible mark on pop music, even drawing comparisons to Madonna. There has […]

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#TBT: 50th Anniversary of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds

Source: jeanfrancoishayeur, Flickr

I was a Beach Boys fan from a young age, but it took me a while to appreciate Pet Sounds. Once I connected to the album, however, it became one of my all-time favorites. Although it was met with a lukewarm reception from American critics and audiences, it’s considered one of the most important, influential and, […]

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The Black National Anthem and the Multitalented Men Who Wrote It

J. Rosamond Johnson (l) with his brother James Weldon Johnson 
Source: ASCAP, Wikipedia

James Weldon Johnson is often called the Renaissance Man of the Harlem Renaissance—with good reason. The author of the novel The Autobiography of An Ex-Colored Man, he was also a respected poet, newspaper columnist, diplomat and the first black leader of the NAACP. But he is perhaps best known for writing the lyrics to the stirring […]

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#TBT: The Day the Music Died

Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain

For Throwback Thursday, we’re going back to February 3, 1959, “The Day the Music Died,” when Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, along with their pilot, were killed in a plane crash in Iowa. After the musicians endured numerous colds, flus and freezing bus rides while on tour, Buddy Holly decided […]

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Quiz: Super Bowl Turns 50

Super Bowl 50, February 7, 2016 sign with San Francisco in the background

The AFL/NFL World Championship Game, also now known as Super Bowl I, was held January 15, 1967 in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. As they played that game, they probably had no idea the Super Bowl would become the event it is today. The stage for this year’s […]

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