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Singer-Songwriter Peter Allen

Allen grew up in Australia, where he had limited exposure to English and American popular music. After moving to New York, he found success writing songs for other pop stars and with his theatrical concerts.


Adding Whimsy to Rock and Roll

In contrast to the serious and rebellious attitudes adopted by many contemporary rock acts, Jonathan Richman writes and performs straightforward and often childlike songs with his band, the Modern Lovers.


Appreciating "An American Classic"

New York Times music critic John Rockwell wrote a book about Frank Sinatra's life in music and movies. He and Fresh Air host Terry Gross listen back to some of the singer's early recordings.


Lyricist Sammy Cahn

The songwriter has written dozens of hits, including several for Frank Sinatra. A veteran of the Yiddish theater, he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his early career and demonstrates his approach to writing lyrics.


Husband and Wife Soul Musicians Document "Love Wars."

Husband and wife Cecil Womack and Linda Womack are songwriters who have decided to step into the limelight with their album "Love Wars." The child of a gospel singer, Cecil Womack sung with his brothers, including Bobby, as The Valentinos. Linda and Cecil met in the studio. Their album was noted by many critics in 1983.


Secret Harmonies: Soul, Rock, and Rockabilly.

On this edition of Secret Harmonies, Ken Tucker looks at "City Slicker" by soul musician J. Blackfoot, "Doppelganger" by rock group Kid Creole and the Coconuts, fronted by August Darnell, and "Forget About the Danger Think of the Fun" by rockabilly group The Leroi Brothers. (PARTIAL REVIEW)


Folk Musician Michael Cooney

The singer and guitar player muses on the origins and definitions of folks music, his approach to writing children's songs, and the rigors of having been a traveling musician for over two decades.


The Best Rock Songs from Sesame Street

Christopher Cerf's educational songs for children are featured on the television show Sesame Street. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about how he chooses his subject material and the popular songs he pays tribute to. An album of Sesame Street music, titled Born to Add, features many songs he wrote and performed.


Peter Tork on Being The Odd-Monkee Out.

Peter Tork was the guitarist and keyboardist of The Monkees, and band put together for a 1960s television program of the same name. Tork currently performs solo as well as part of his band the Peter Tork Project. Tork joins the show to discuss being a Monkee and his career since the band's demise.


"Hearing Secret Harmonies": Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever.

On this edition of "Hearing Secret Harmonies," rock critic Ken Tucker will review the television special "Motown: Yesterday, Today, Forever," and share some of the music "you didn't hear on the special," including songs by Jackie Wilson and Smokey Robinson. (PARTIAL REVIEW)


Bob Neloms' Life As Motown's House Pianist.

Jazz pianist Bob Neloms joins the show to discuss his early career as the house pianist for Motown Records. Neloms worked with artists such as The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Mary Wells. He can be heard on such Motown hits as "Dancing in the Streets," "You've Really Got A Hold On Me," "Baby Love," and "Heat Wave." (INTERVIEW BY DANNY MILLER)


Filmaker Susan Seidelman on her Movie "Smithereens."

Susan Seidelman is the producer and director of the film "Smithereens," which will open at the TLA this week. The movie follows a young women who, despite her lack of musical talent, dreams of becoming a New Wave star. The film co-stars punk musician Richard Hell. "Smithereens" was the first independent film entered into competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Seidelman is from Abington, and will be at the TLA opening.


Opera Star, Roberta Peters.

Coloratura soprano Roberta Peters made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1950, and has sung there every seasons since. Peters has performed in China and the U.S.S.R. Peters joins the show to discuss her life, career, and the current state of opera.


John Rockwell and "All American Music."

John Rockwell is the music critic for The New York Times. He believes critics should take (almost) all genres of music equally, and was one the first critics to cover "vernacular music." Rockwell has written the book "All American Music." Rockwell discusses his taste in music (including his beginnings in classical music), journalism, and shares records with Fresh Air.


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