Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Springsteen’

What do Lucille Ball and Malcolm X have in common?

They’re both part of Studio 360 American Icons series.  This fall, we’ve traced the impact of The Autobiography of Malcolm X on race relations and glimpsed the dawn of the American sitcom with I Love Lucy.  Last week we visited Monticello – Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia – and in wandering the building and the grounds, confronted some lingering questions about the country and its founding.

Monticello (photo by Geoff Kilmer / Monticello)

Now we’re turning to you for a little “listener support.”  No, it’s not a pledge drive (though we encourage you to support your local station…).

Tell us what we’ve missed. We’ve produced nine new Icons — we want you to decide the tenth.  If your pick is selected, we’ll make a radio story about it — and you could be a guest on an episode of Studio 360.

We put out the call a few weeks ago, and our listeners have already come up with some surprising and impressive ideas. They range wide across America’s cultural landscape: from My Antonia and The Sound and the Fury to Bugs Bunny, from the Airstream Trailer to Apollo 11.  Daniel Leathersich, of Kutztown, Pennsylvania, suggested Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road” because it’s a “quintessential song of the dreams of youth, the wonder of escape, and what people become from their memories.”

We need to hear from you.  Tell us your ideas…and listen for our tenth American Icon!

– Michael Guerriero

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Last week, WNYC’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space was packed for Studio 360 Live – a night of stories and music about growing up.

Josh Ritter charmed us with songs from his new album So Runs the World Away.  Martha Plimpton performed a beautifully stripped-down version of the Springsteen classic “Thunder Road.”  And the very funny Junot Diaz talked about growing up while writing his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: “If you’re asking people to read your book and be transformed by it… basically the book is asking for you to become the person you need to be to write the damn thing.  It’s asking you to be transformed in the process.”

We’re broadcasting the radio cut of the show this weekend.  Of course, some amazing moments had to be left on the cutting room floor… like Josh Ritter’s beautiful, understated take on “Moon River.”

You can see all the videos here.

– Jenny Lawton

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The Muppets have a proud tradition of taking the hit songs and making them their own: muppet-izing them, shall we say.  The Sesame Street gang had a string of successes with “Letter B” (ala the Beatles’s “Let Her Be”), “Born to Add” (ala the Boss’s “Born to Run”) and “U Really Got a Hold On Me” featuring Smokey Robinson and a rather clingy Letter U.

Well, they’re at it again.  In honor of the Muppets’ 40th birthday, Disney has released a great video of them covering Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

– Susie Karlowski

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If you don’t know anyone who’s served in the military, Veteran’s Day is a holiday that’s easy to disregard; even if you have the day off, for the most part, business continues as usual. We decided instead to take a moment to look back at some of the stories we’ve aired on Studio 360 that came from soldiers themselves.  Below, a sampling of our favorites.  Listening to these voices could be a nice way to pay tribute, and, maybe, help us get to know some vets a little bit better.


Songwriter Jess Klein and Sgt. Matt Lowy

“The Soldier and the Folksinger”

When we hear about the music listened to by troops in Iraq, it’s usually heavy metal or rap. Marine Sergeant Matt Lowy’s tastes are a bit different: Frank Sinatra, Cat Stevens — and the singer-songwriter Jess Klein. Not long ago, Lowy contacted Klein over the internet, and an unlikely friendship formed.


“Aha Moment: Born to Run”

When our listener Tom Long first heard the song “Born to Run” in the summer of 1976, he realized he was just like a character in a Bruce Springsteen song: living a life of quiet desperation in a dead-end job.  So, Tom tells Kurt, he joined the army.


"Birkholz, 353 Days in Iraq, 205 Days in Afghanistan" by Suzanne Opton


In 2006, billboards appeared along a highway near Syracuse, New York, just over an hour’s drive from Fort Drum Army Base.  Each billboard showed a close-up of a young man’s head on a plain dark surface.  In this story, we hear from Suzanne Opton, the photographer, as well as one of the soldiers she photographed.


“Black 47”

National Guard Captain Padraic Lilly related to Black 47’s music instantly. When bandleader Larry Kirwan started hearing from soldiers like Lilly, their experiences fed a new batch of songs about the Iraq war. But Black 47’s anti-war message doesn’t sit well with all of its fans.


Black Watch

“Black Watch”

Last year, Kurt talked with Gregory Burke about his play, Black Watch.  It’s about a regiment of Scottish soldiers known as Black Watch that was sent to fight in the Iraq War in 2004.  They were deployed to a region known as the “Triangle of Death.”  Burke tells Kurt how he created the play from his interviews with real soldiers.


What did you think of these segments? If you’re a vet, is there a movie, song or book that you strongly connected with during or after your experience in the military? Let us know – leave us a comment.  And thanks for sharing your stories.

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