Skip to main content


Filter by

Select Topics

Select Air Date


Select Segment Types

Segment Types

987 Segments




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.


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.


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.


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.


Writing Lyrics with Sammy Cahn.

Lyricist Sammy Cahn is one of the last survivors of the Tin Pan Alley tradition. His popular hits include "Bei Mir Bist du Schon," "Come Fly With Me," "Let it Snow," and "Three Coins in a Fountain," among others. Cahn has also worked extensively with Frank Sinatra. He joins the show to discuss his career.


Bobby Short, From Danville to New York.

Pianist and singer Bobby Short is a master of American popular song, singing classics from the likes of Porter, the Gershwins, Berlin, and Sondheim. He has the been playing at Cafe Carlyle in New York since 1968. He reached a new generation when he was in an ad for Revlon's Charlie perfume.


Composer Cy Coleman.

Cy Coleman started his career as a jazz pianist and club owner before moving on to writing pop songs that were recorded by artists such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Coleman then started composing Broadway musicals, including "Sweet Charity." Coleman now produces and owns a music publishing company.


Broadway Choreographer and Director Michael Bennett.

Michael Bennett won a Pulitzer Prize for the musical "A Chorus Line," which he conceived, choreographed, and directed. He, himself, began his career as a Broadway dancer before choreographing musicals such as "Promises, Promises," "Company," and "Follies." Bennett's latest show is "Dreamgirls."


The Woman Behind the Girl Group Sound.

Ellie Greenwich is a songwriter known for her pop songs of the 1960s like "Be My Baby" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy." Greenwich worked with composers Leiber and Stoller, producer Phil Spector, and co-wrote many of her hits with her ex-husband Jeff Barry. During much of the 1970s, Greenwich wrote, produced, and performed commercial jingles before experiencing a career resurgence in the 1980s. A revue of her songs "Leader of Pack," premiered in New York and will go on a national tour.


Concert with Jane Voss and Hoyle Osborne.

Guitarist and signer Jane Voss and singer Hoyle Osborne play for a live audience at Fresh Air's music studio. Their style incorporates the blues, Tin Pan Alley, vaudeville, and originals. Voss and Osborne are also married and today is their tenth anniversary.


Writing Pop Hits for 60s Stars

Ellie Greenwich was one of the few working women songwriters in the 1960s. She wrote several hits for girl groups of that era. She talks about the high points of of her career, before the rise of rock bands that wrote their own songs.


"Papa John" Tells All

John Phillips, who led The Mamas and the Papas, has a new autobiography, which details the tensions, drug use, and affairs that ultimately led to the band's demise.


Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue