The first Led Zeppelin song I ever loved was "D'yer Mak'er," one of the cheesiest tunes the band ever recorded. To make things worse, I used to pronounce the title "Die-er Make-er" instead of "Jamaica." Obviously, I wasn't a Led Zeppelin fanatic. I grew up a metalhead in Queens, New York, in the
It all began with Billi Bi. The creamy, mussel-studded concoction "may well be the most elegant and delicious soup ever created," according to 1950s food guru Craig Claiborne, and one taste of it in a friend's kitchen is what sent me to a bookstore some fifteen years ago in search of a copy of The
Rap music now has something no one might have predicted when it emerged in the South Bronx in the mid-1970s, often relying on lampposts for power: a history. As had been the case with the blues and jazz that helped birth it, hip-hop is a music of the ever present. Thinking of its mix tapes as material
As the theater critic John Lahr once wrote, "Only when [Noel] Coward is frivolous does he become in any sense profound." There's proof of this throughout Barry Day's new book, The Noel Coward Reader, a selection of Coward's plays, lyrics, poetry, short stories, radio broadcasts, and excerpts from
Gustav Mahler's move to center stage over the past half century or so has been a remarkable case of artistic—well, revival is too weak a word. How did this happen? Or, as the title of Norman Lebrecht's new book would have it, Why Mahler?