Legendary music producer, arranger, composer and media mogul Quincy Jones was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on May 18. In 2001, Fresh Air spoke with him about his career and working with the likes of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra and Michael Jackson.
This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 5, 2001.
Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Marc Almond, Marianne Faithfull, Shane MacGowan and others appear on a new two-disc compilation of pirate ballads and sea songs called Son of Rogues Gallery. Here, Terry Gross talks with Hal Willner, the project's producer, about some of the stories behind the project.
Spaghetti Westerns, Philadelphia soul, opera and the Wu-Tang Clan all come together in the music of Adrian Younge. He has produced and composed two new albums — one with William Hart, the lead singer of The Delfonics, and another with rapper Ghostface Killah.
After writing "We Will Rock You" and touring around the world as the lead guitarist in Queen, Brian May made an unusual career choice: He got his Ph.D. in astrophysics. May explains how Queen developed its distinctive sound and explains his fascination with stereoscopic photographs taken in the 1850s.
In the decade leading up to his death in 2003, Johnny Cash worked with producer Rick Rubin on a series of albums they called American Recordings. This week, in honor of Cash's birthday, Rubin's label released Ain't No Grave, the sixth disc of songs produced in their collaboration.
This interview was originally broadcast on November 25, 2005
Forty years after siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter signed with A&M Records, Richard Carpenter is releasing a 40th-anniversary compilation CD, Carpenters: 40/40. The two-disc set includes 40 tracks with hits including "Top of the World" and "We've Only Just Begun."
Memphis soul label Stax records is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year; a series of tribute concerts are being held, and PBS airs the documentary Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story next week. We feature interviews with musicians who were a big part of the Stax sound.
First up: Guitarist, songwriter and producer Steve Cropper, best known for playing with Booker T & the MGs. He co-wrote "Soul Man" and "(Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay." This interview first aired on Sept. 18, 1990.
Fresh Air went national in 1987, and we're celebrating that 20th anniversary by revisiting some classic broadcasts. In this segment: novelist and blues record producer Sam Charters. In the 1950s, Charters traveled the South, making field recordings of neglected and previously unknown musicians and singers. He's a Grammy Award winner, and his latest books are last year's New Orleans: Playing a Jazz Chorus and Walking a Blues Road: A Selection of Blues Writing, 1956-2004, published in 2004. Rebroadcast from July 3, 1987.