Why Does Today’s Music Sound Different?

There are few working DJs remaining who really know their stuff. Bob Berry is one of them. We’ve had many conversations about the minutiae of what makes a hit record. Mix Magazine’s Classic Tracks articles give tantalizing studio backstories that are great reads. Bob shared Greg Milner’s NYT opinion piece: “They Really Don’t Make Music Like They Used To” with us this weekend. If you thought the stuff that is coming out today sounds different, you’re right. Audio compression has become such a thing that, Milner posits (and we agree) that it’s overused. Perhaps it’s the proliferation of smart devices, smart speakers and low quality headphones that are behind it all. But give us Bones Howe’s production ears, the original Blood, Sweat & Tears LP or Crosby, Stills & Nash’s first album any day.

Quick Takes:

10 songs you didn’t allow the Carole King wrote.

55 years ago tonight, The Beatles played DC.

Click to Enlarge Image

An ad from 50 years ago, promoting Sears credenza stereo consoles and the “Roberts” line of reel to reel recorders. The 778X could dub your Stereo 8 Track tapes, too. Just $399.00!

70 years ago Sunday, Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman” opened at Broadway’s Morosco Theater with Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman.

From the Time Flies files: Whitney Houston died 9 years ago today. Shirley Temple Black passed away on this date, 7 years ago.

Today in History: 

1950, Senator Joseph McCarthy claims to have list of 205 communist government employees.

1959, The Lincoln Memorial design on the U.S. penny goes into circulation. It replaces the “sheaves of wheat” design.

1961, The Miracles’ ‘Shop Around‘ became Motown Records’ first million-selling single. It was also the label’s first No.1 hit on Billboard’s R&B singles chart. In the following ten years, The Miracles would have six more million sellers.

1964, The Beatles returned to New York City by train from Washington, D.C. for two performances at Carnegie Hall. There was such a demand for tickets that some extra seating was arranged surrounding the stage. Tickets ranged from $1.65 to $5.50.

by Lewis Morley,photograph,1965

1965, Pye Records announced that they’d signed ‘the British Bob Dylan’, when they added Donovan to the label. The Scottish singer-songwriter produced a series of hit albums and singles between 1965 and 1970 and became a friend of leading pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones and The Beatles. He influenced John Lennon when he taught him a finger-picking guitar style in 1968.

1967, 15 police officers raided Redlands the West Sussex home of The Rolling Stone Keith Richards during a weekend party. The police who were armed with a warrant issued under the dangerous drugs act took away various substances for forensic tests. George and Pattie Harrison had been at the house, but it was said that the police waited for them to leave before they raided the house in order not to bust the holder of an MBE.

1970, John Lennon performed ‘Instant Karma!’ on BBC TV’s Top Of The Pops, becoming the first Beatle to have appeared on the show since 1966. Lennon wrote, recorded, and mixed his new single, all in one day. It ranks as one of the fastest-released songs in pop music history. Lennon later stated, “I wrote it for breakfast, recorded it for lunch, and we’re putting it out for dinner.”

1973, The 1st US POWs in North Vietnam are released; 116 of 456 flown to Philippines.

1977, The Police recorded their first single, ‘Fall Out’ for £150 ($255) at Pathway Studios, London, England.

1989, Aretha Franklin lost a court case against Broadway producer Ashton Springer, who sued for $1 million (£0.58 million) when Aretha failed to turn up for rehearsals for the stage show Sing Mahalia Sing, blaming her fear of flying on the non appearance.

2000, American singer, songwriter, musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins died aged 70 after emergency surgery for an aneurysm. A Golden Gloves boxing champion at 16, he was married nine times, fathered over 30 children, spent two years in jail and was temporary blinded by one of his flaming props on stage in 1976. He recorded ‘I Put A Spell On You’ in 1956, (which was covered by many acts including The Animals, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Nina Simone).


Happy Birthday To: Eva Gabor, 1919 (d. 1995); Leslie Nielsen, 1926 (d. 2010); Tina Louise, 1934; Gene Vincent, 1935 (d. 1971); Burt Reynolds,, 1936 (d. 2018) Gerry Goffin, 1939 (d. 2014); Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett, 1940 (d. 2007); Sergio Mendes, 1941; Sheryl Crow, 1962; Brandy, 1979.

Much More Music:

52 years ago today, The Beach Boys20/20‘ first came into view. “Do It Again” was the hit on the LP, notable for the out takes and alternate mixes it contains. Brian Wilson was in a psychiatric hospital and not involved in its production. (Video)


1972, Al Green went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Let’s Stay Together’, his only US chart topper. It was ranked the 60th greatest song of all time by Rolling Stone magazine on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Tina Turner had a hit with the song in 1984. (Video)


Today in 1978 “Jesus Christ Superstar” closes at Longacre Theater NYC after 96 performances.  The Film version came out in 1973. Here’s Murray Head’s eponymous rendition of the titular tune. (Video)


We celebrated Carole King’s birthday yesterday. Here’s something from her cannon that was playing on our radios this week in 1971.