26 episodes

Documenting Popular Music offers original radio features (mini documentaries) that take an in-depth look at the artists and music from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Through new interviews with singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, disc jockeys, authors, etc., we provide an inside look into the unforgettable music from that era. Additionally, we present reviews of new albums from artist connected to the 70’s and 80’s. The shows are produced at The O-and-F Studios (www.OandFStudios.com).

Documenting Popular Music Robert Neil

    • Music

Documenting Popular Music offers original radio features (mini documentaries) that take an in-depth look at the artists and music from the 1970’s and 1980’s. Through new interviews with singers, songwriters, musicians, producers, disc jockeys, authors, etc., we provide an inside look into the unforgettable music from that era. Additionally, we present reviews of new albums from artist connected to the 70’s and 80’s. The shows are produced at The O-and-F Studios (www.OandFStudios.com).

    Album Review, Interview and Profile: A Look at British Superstar Cliff Richard and His New Album ‘Rise Up’ with an Interview with Two of the Album’s Producers

    Album Review, Interview and Profile: A Look at British Superstar Cliff Richard and His New Album ‘Rise Up’ with an Interview with Two of the Album’s Producers

    British superstar Cliff Richard has released his first album of new material in 14 years, and the man who launched his career in the late 1950s as England’s answer to Elvis Presley, still sounds fresh and energetic.
     
    The album features songs written by some of Richard’s long-time associates, including Terry Britten (“Devil Woman,” “What’s Love Got to Do with It”), Christopher Neville Eaton ("Lost in a Lonely World,” “Saviour’s Day”) and Chris Neil (“All I Need Is A Miracle”).  Additionally, long-time friend Olivia Newton-John sings a duet with Richard, who, at 78-years-old, has apparently found the vocal Fountain of Youth. 
     
    The album also features four of Richard’s past hits that have been given new arrangements with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Producers Juliette Pochin and James Morgan were charged with classically enhancing songs such as “Devil Woman” and “Miss You Nights,” and the husband and wife team speak to journalist Robert Neil about the process (as well as the nervousness of presenting the songs to Richard). 
     
    This episode also offers a brief profile of Richard for the American audience, where he was never able to achieve the same level of stardom as he did in the UK, where he is one of the best-selling artists of all time.
     
    Notable Quotes about Sir Cliff Richard, who was knighted in 1995:
     
    Bob Geldof
    “It’s never been said, but without Cliff and (his backing group) The Shadows, there’s no English pop business. As George Harrison said: ‘No Shadows, no Beatles.’”
     
    John Lennon
    “The first English record that was anywhere near anywhere was “Move It” by Cliff Richard. Before, there’d been nothing.”
     
    Sting
    “Cliff Richard is, in my opinion, one of Britain’s finest singers technically and emotionally. I’ve been a fan since “Living Doll.” Long may he sing.”
     
    Queen’s Freddie Mercury
    “A tremendous influence on my early days as a performer.”

    • 30 min
    An Alternate Christmas Playlist: A Look at Underplayed Songs and Their Histories

    An Alternate Christmas Playlist: A Look at Underplayed Songs and Their Histories

    One of the true joys of Christmas is music, which brings out the emotions of the season; however, many radio stations and streaming services only play a small selection of songs. As a result, many wonderful tunes go unheard.
    This episode of Documenting Popular Music takes a look at 10 songs that are either unknown or underplayed in the United States at this time of year. The selections include songs from well-known American artists such as Bob Dylan, Kenny Loggins, John Denver, Herb Alpert and Simon & Garfunkel as well as legendary performers from other countries – Gordon Lightfoot (Canada), Cliff Richard (England), Dreams Come True (Japan) and Tatsuro Yamashita (Japan).
    Music journalist Robert Neil narrates the presentation with background information about the songs.

    • 25 min
    Album Review and Interview: A Jazz/Superhero Mashup from One of the Music Industry’s Most In-Demand Musicians

    Album Review and Interview: A Jazz/Superhero Mashup from One of the Music Industry’s Most In-Demand Musicians

    If you’ve ever thought your favorite superhero theme songs would sound great as original jazz tunes, then pianist extraordinaire Randy Waldman has the new album you’ll need to add to your collection.  Waldman is one of the music industry’s most successful and popular session players, and he’s been featured on songs and album from numerous top-selling artists such as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Olivia Newton-John, Kenny Rogers, Barry Manilow and many, many others.
    Waldman has taken his love for jazz and combined it with his love for comic book heroes, and the result is the new album ‘Superheroes,’ which features jazz arrangements of 11 classic superhero theme songs.  In an interview with journalist Robert Neil, Waldman says the idea for the album came from a conversation he had with Adman West (Batman) a number of years ago.
    The collection of songs, which Waldman worked on as an arranger for several years, includes the themes from Superman, Batman, The Incredible Hulk and the Six Million Dollar Man.  Waldman also reveals his playful nature with a fast-pace, fun rendition of Super Chicken.
    Waldman is joined on the album by Carlitos del Puerto on bass and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, who make up the stellar rhythm section.  Additionally, an “A” list of jazz musicians making guest appearances on the album includes George Benson, Wynton Marsalis, Chick Corea, Steve Gadd and the vocal group Take 6.
    The fun, drama and sentimentality of the songs on the album – along with the top-notch musicians – not only make this one of the most satisfying jazz albums of the year, but also a new prize for superhero fans to add to their collections.
    You can learn more about Randy Waldman (including the long list of artists with whom he’s worked) by visiting his website www.JazzPilot.com.

    • 26 min
    Album Review: Paul Simon’s ‘In the Blue Light’

    Album Review: Paul Simon’s ‘In the Blue Light’

    The songwriter who could easily be considered America’s unofficial poet laureate has a new album in which he revisits past composition with new recordings and new interpretations. Paul Simon has been writing the soundtrack to multiple generations’ lives since the 1960s, when he and childhood friend Art Garfunkel took folk-rock music to new heights of popularity.
    Simon’s subsequent solo career allowed him to continue growing as a writer, musician and performer who produced some of the most critically acclaimed albums and songs from the 1970s and 1980s.
    For his new album, entitled In the Blue Light, Simon has chosen 10 songs from his past that he felt needed to be update with new arrangements, harmonic structures, lyrics and various other alterations.  The songs featured on the album are not from his large collection of Top 40 hits, but are instead album tracks that have filled out his unique ability to cleverly tell stories that have made him one of the most important songwriters of the past 50 years. 
    In a special approach to reviewing In the Blue Light, journalist Robert Neil looks at a handful of the new recordings and compares them to the original versions of the songs.  Ultimately, Neil concludes that “fans who appreciate Simon’s inherent ability to write songs with rhythms, phrasings and melodies that can’t be found elsewhere, will find that In the Blue Light fits nicely alongside his best albums.”

    • 19 min
    Things You Didn’t Know about Debby Boone, Part II – An Interview and Music-History Lesson,

    Things You Didn’t Know about Debby Boone, Part II – An Interview and Music-History Lesson,

    (This is Part II of the episode and runs about 20 minutes. Part I, which also runs about 20 minutes, is also available.  The documentary is also available uncut in a 37 minute edition.  Please check the menu for all episodes of ‘Documenting Popular Music,’ or visit http://documentingpopularmusic.libsyn.com or iTunes.)
     
    In the 1970s, the most popular song of the entire decade was Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life,” which spend 10 weeks at the top of Billboard’s singles chart in 1977. While the overwhelming success of the song overshadows other aspects of Boone’s career, the eternally optimistic singer has had a varied and successful career in multiple musical genres.
    In a new interview with journalist Robert Neil, Boone talks about the unusual circumstances that created the opportunity to record “You Light Up My Life,” and the odd path that followed. In her typically good-natured way, Boone jokes about how ‘green’ she was at that time and how her desire to sing in a variety of styles ultimately left her with a ‘branding’ problem.
    She also talks about members of her famous family, and the conversation goes well beyond her legendary father Pat Boone. Debby is also related to two other iconic and hugely important musical performers:  country singer Red Foley and singer/actress Rosemary Clooney. 
    Foley, considered one of the most important figures in the history of country music, was Boone’s maternal grandfather, and Clooney, who recorded some of the most popular pop songs of the early 1950s, was Boone’s mother-in-law.
    In a free-flowing, casual interview, Boone talks about her famous relations, and Neil also speaks with John Rumble, senior historian at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, who offers some insights into Foley’s career.

    • 20 min
    Things You Didn’t Know about Debby Boone, Part I – An Interview and Music-History Lesson

    Things You Didn’t Know about Debby Boone, Part I – An Interview and Music-History Lesson

    (This is Part I of the episode and runs about 20 minutes. Part II, which also runs about 20 minutes, is also available.  The documentary is also available uncut in a 37 minute edition.  Please check the menu for all episodes of ‘Documenting Popular Music,’ or visit http://documentingpopularmusic.libsyn.com or iTunes.)
    In the 1970s, the most popular song of the decade was Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life,” which spend 10 weeks at the top of Billboard’s singles chart in 1977. While the overwhelming success of the song overshadows other aspects of Boone’s career, the eternally optimistic singer has had a varied and successful career in multiple musical genres.
    In a new interview with journalist Robert Neil, Boone talks about the unusual circumstances that created the opportunity to record “You Light Up My Life,” and the odd path that followed. In her typically good-natured way, Boone jokes about how ‘green’ she was at that time and how her desire to sing in a variety of styles ultimately left her with a ‘branding’ problem.
    She also talks about members of her famous family, and the conversation goes well beyond her legendary father Pat Boone. Debby is also related to two other iconic and hugely important musical performers:  country singer Red Foley and singer/actress Rosemary Clooney.
    Foley, considered one of the most important figures in the history of country music, was Boone’s maternal grandfather, and Clooney, who recorded some of the most popular pop songs of the early 1950s, was Boone’s mother-in-law.
    In a free-flowing, casual interview, Boone talks about her famous relations, and Neil also speaks with John Rumble, senior historian at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, who offers some insights into Foley’s career.

    • 20 min

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