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A Real Golden Oldie

On Oct. 25, an audience at the GE Theatre in Schenectady, NY, heard a voice from close to the big bang of audio recording.

The man recites Mary Had a Little Lamb and Old Mother Hubbard, laughs and plays a cornet. The Atlantic says that the event was the first time the recording – which was made in St. Louis — has been heard in public since the device was built by Thomas Edison in 1878. The story has audio, which is discernible, but barely so.

Thomas Edison

This isn’t the oldest recording, however. “Phonautograms” from France – which never were intended to be played back – are older.

In 1996, They Might Be Giants recorded I Can Hear You and three other  songs at the Edison Historic Site in West Orange.


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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.