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A Day In Our Lives

A decade following Sept. 11, 2001, the power of music continues to help us remember and heal

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Sept. 11, 2001.

Not since the '60s has a series of events left Americans so rattled. The cunning, audacity and ferocity of the attacks on Sept. 11 shattered America's collective psyche like few events before it.

Now, on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Americans are turning to music to commemorate that fateful day in 2001, just as they did in the tragedy's immediate aftermath. Among the tributes planned is a TV documentary chronicling Sir Paul McCartney's experiences in New York immediately after the attacks. Premiering Sept. 10 on Showtime, The Love We Make features footage of McCartney organizing and rehearsing for the Concert For New York City, along with clips of McCartney talking with New Yorkers on the city streets.

According to directors Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan, the film documents the involvement of some of the world's most popular entertainers, including David Bowie, Mick Jagger and Pete Townshend, among others.

"Many of the performers in this film are Brits and love America," says Kaplan. "They feel a kinship with New York City as the cultural and emotional capital of the world. The concert was a coming together of friends and colleagues to raise the spirits and raise money for those who are in greatest need."

"The mood backstage was very positive," recalls Maysles. "Everybody knew they were doing the right thing."

McCartney's documentary is just one of many music-related Sept. 11 commemorative events.

On Sept. 10 opera star soprano Renée Fleming will perform a free concert with the Lyric Opera in Millennium Park in Chicago. The New York Philharmonic is conducting a special memorial concert at Avery Fisher Hall that will be broadcast live on radio and projected on a screen in Lincoln Center's plaza. The concert will actually take place Sept. 10, and will be rebroadcast on PBS the following evening.

On Sept. 11 the Beach Boys will join the Colorado Symphony to perform a free commemorative concert at Denver's Civic Center Park, while country star Alan Jackson, R&B icon Patti LaBelle and mezzo soprano Denyce Graves will co-headline A Concert For Hope at the Washington National Cathedral in the nation's capital.

The Kennedy Center and The New Republic magazine are hosting a private "evening of remembrance and reflection" for relatives of Sept. 11 victims, first responders and members of the military. The event, titled 9/11: 10 Years Later, will feature jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, Graves, folk/country singer Emmylou Harris, and the National Symphony Orchestra.

"As it has done after other tragedies and challenges in our nation, 10 years later music continues to play an important role in the healing process, post 9/11," says Jay S. Winuk, vice president and co-founder of MyGoodDeed, a nonprofit organization that leads the Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance observance. "I surely rely on music as a great source of strength for my own loss on 9/11."

From the start, music has played a major role in commemorating and dealing with Sept. 11. In 2001 Jackson topped the country singles chart with his compassionate GRAMMY-winning ballad "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." Bruce Springsteen captured three GRAMMYs in 2003 for his rousing Sept. 11-inspired album, 2002's The Rising, while Neil Young recorded "Let's Roll," a hard-rocking tribute to the passengers of United Airlines' ill-fated Flight 93.

If the attacks were partly intended to discourage world trade and globalization, they failed. In the immediate wake of the tragedy, condolences for the United States poured in from other nations sympathetic to America's core values of freedom and democracy. America: A Tribute To Heroes, a benefit concert/telethon on Sept. 21, 2001, featured a plethora of international superstars, including those from Britain (U2, Sting), Canada (Celine Dion) and Australia (Natalie Imbruglia).

Then there was one of the grandest neighborly gestures of all — an Englishman, namely McCartney, organizing the all-star Concert For New York City. Featuring fellow Brit-rockers the Who, Bowie, Clapton, Jagger and bandmate Keith Richards, along with American superstars such as Melissa Etheridge, Jay-Z and Bon Jovi, the concert found McCartney once again proving that music, humanity and positive action can go a long way in times of trouble.

Maysles has a gift for being present during some of rock's most historic moments. He co-directed Gimme Shelter, the acclaimed 1970 documentary chronicling the Rolling Stones' controversial Altamont concert in 1969. Maysles' creative partnership with McCartney dates back to 1964, when the director filmed the acclaimed historical documentary The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit.

The decades-long friendship came full circle in October 2001, when McCartney phoned Maysles to ask him to chronicle the Concert For New York City.

"Paul said, 'Let's start filming the way we did it [in] '64, in black and white using 16 mm film,'" says Maysles.

The 2001 footage sat unedited for nearly a decade. "Last year, Paul sent Albert a beautiful handwritten note," Kaplan recalls. "It said, 'Have you looked at the footage we shot in 2001? Do you think there's a film there? If so, do you think we should finish it?'"

Maysles believes The Love We Make underscores the unique and immediate power of music to help heal during periods of crisis.

"In a way, only music can satisfy that desire to express the kind of love that is seen and heard in this film," says Maysles. "That concert and this film are permeated with love."

(Bruce Britt is an award-winning journalist and essayist whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Billboard and other publications. He lives in Los Angeles.)

Beatles Let it Be
The Beatles during the 'Let it Be' sessions in 1969

Photo: Ethan A. Russell / © Apple Corps Ltd

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5 Lesser Known Facts About The Beatles' 'Let It Be' Era: Watch The Restored 1970 Film

More than five decades after its 1970 release, Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 'Let it Be' film is restored and re-released on Disney+. With a little help from the director himself, here are some less-trodden tidbits from this much-debated film and its album era.

GRAMMYs/May 8, 2024 - 05:34 pm

What is about the Beatles' Let it Be sessions that continues to bedevil diehards?

Even after their aperture was tremendously widened with Get Back — Peter Jackson's three-part, almost eight hour, 2021 doc — something's always been missing. Because it was meant as a corrective to a film that, well, most of us haven't seen in a long time — if at all.

That's Let it Be, the original 1970 documentary on those contested, pivotal, hot-and-cold sessions, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Much of the calcified lore around the Beatles' last stand comes not from the film itself, but what we think is in the film.

Let it Be does contain a couple of emotionally charged moments between maturing Beatles. The most famous one: George Harrison getting snippy with Paul McCartney over a guitar part, which might just be the most blown-out-of-proportion squabble in rock history.

But superfans smelled blood in the water: the film had to be a locus for the Beatles' untimely demise. To which the film's director, Michael Lindsay-Hogg, might say: did we see the same movie?

"Looking back from history's vantage point, it seems like everybody drank the bad batch of Kool-Aid," he tells GRAMMY.com. Lindsay-Hogg had just appeared at an NYC screening, and seemed as surprised by it as the fans: "Because the opinion that was first formed about the movie, you could not form on the actual movie we saw the other night."

He's correct. If you saw Get Back, Lindsay-Hogg is the babyfaced, cigar-puffing auteur seen throughout; today, at 84, his original vision has been reclaimed. On May 8, Disney+ unveiled a restored and refreshed version of the Let it Be film — a historical counterweight to Get Back. Temperamentally, though, it's right on the same wavelength, which is bound to surprise some Fabs disciples.

With the benefit of Peter Jackson's sound-polishing magic and Giles Martin's inspired remixes of performances, Let it Be offers a quieter, more muted, more atmospheric take on these sessions. (Think fewer goofy antics, and more tight, lingering shots of four of rock's most evocative faces.)

As you absorb the long-on-ice Let it Be, here are some lesser-known facts about this film, and the era of the Beatles it captures — with a little help from Lindsay-Hogg himself.

The Beatles Were Happy With The Let It Be Film

After Lindsay-Hogg showed the Beatles the final rough cut, he says they all went out to a jovial meal and drinks: "Nice food, collegial, pleasant, witty conversation, nice wine."

Afterward, they went downstairs to a discotheque for nightcaps. "Paul said he thought Let it Be was good. We'd all done a good job," Lindsay-Hogg remembers. "And Ringo and [wife] Maureen were jiving to the music until two in the morning."

"They had a really, really good time," he adds. "And you can see like [in the film], on their faces, their interactions — it was like it always was."

About "That" Fight: Neither Paul Nor George Made A Big Deal

At this point, Beatles fanatics can recite this Harrison-in-a-snit quote to McCartney: "I'll play, you know, whatever you want me to play, or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play. Whatever it is that will please you… I'll do it." (Yes, that's widely viewed among fans as a tremendous deal.)

If this was such a fissure, why did McCartney and Harrison allow it in the film? After all, they had say in the final cut, like the other Beatles.

"Nothing was going to be in the picture that they didn't want," Lindsay-Hogg asserts. "They never commented on that. They took that exchange as like many other exchanges they'd had over the years… but, of course, since they'd broken up a month before [the film's release], everyone was looking for little bits of sharp metal on the sand to think why they'd broken up."

About Ringo's "Not A Lot Of Joy" Comment…

Recently, Ringo Starr opined that there was "not a lot of joy" in the Let it Be film; Lindsay-Hogg says Starr framed it to him as "no joy."

Of course, that's Starr's prerogative. But it's not quite borne out by what we see — especially that merry scene where he and Harrison work out an early draft of Abbey Road's "Octopus's Garden."

"And Ringo's a combination of so pleased to be working on the song, pleased to be working with his friend, glad for the input," Lindsay-Hogg says. "He's a wonderful guy. I mean, he can think what he wants and I will always have greater affection for him.

"Let's see if he changes his mind by the time he's 100," he added mirthfully.

Lindsay-Hogg Thought It'd Never Be Released Again

"I went through many years of thinking, It's not going to come out," Lindsay-Hogg says. In this regard, he characterizes 25 or 30 years of his life as "solitary confinement," although he was "pushing for it, and educating for it."

"Then, suddenly, the sun comes out" — which may be thanks to Peter Jackson, and renewed interest via Get Back. "And someone opens the cell door, and Let it Be walks out."

Nobody Asked Him What The Sessions Were Like

All four Beatles, and many of their associates, have spoken their piece on Let it Be sessions — and journalists, authors, documentarians, and fans all have their own slant on them.

But what was this time like from Lindsay-Hogg's perspective? Incredibly, nobody ever thought to check. "You asked the one question which no one has asked," he says. "No one."

So, give us the vibe check. Were the Let it Be sessions ever remotely as tense as they've been described, since man landed on the moon? And to that, Lindsay-Hogg's response is a chuckle, and a resounding, "No, no, no."

The Beatles' Final Song: Giles Martin On The Second Life Of "Now And Then" & How The Fab Four Are "Still Breaking New Ground"

Neil Young performing in 2023
Neil Young performing in 2023

Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

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Inside Neil Young & Crazy Horse's 'F##IN' UP': Where All 9 Songs Came From

Two-time GRAMMY winner and 28-time nominee Neil Young is back with 'F##IN' UP,' another album of re-recorded oldies, this time with Crazy Horse. But if that sounds like old hat, this is Young — and the script is flipped yet again.

GRAMMYs/Apr 25, 2024 - 09:33 pm

Neil Young has never stopped writing songs, but for almost a decade, he's been stringing together old songs like paper lanterns, and observing how their hues harmonize.

2016's Earth, where live performances of ecologically themed songs were interspersed with animal and nature sounds, was certainly one of his most bizarre. 2018's Paradox, a soundtrack to said experimental film with wife/collaborator Darryl Hannah, took a similarly off-kilter tack.

He's played it straight for others. Homegrown and Chrome Dreams were recorded in the ‘70s, then shelved, and stripped for parts. Both were finally released in their original forms over the past few years; while most of the songs were familiar, it was fascinating envisioning an alternate Neil timeline where they were properly released.

Last year's Before and After — likely recorded live on a recent West Coast solo tour — was less a collection of oldies than a spyglass into his consciousness: this is how Young thinks of these decades-old songs at 78.

Now, we have F##IN' UP, recorded at a secret show in Toronto with the current version of Crazy Horse. (That's decades-long auxiliary Horseman Nils Lofgren, or recent one Micah Nelson on second guitar, with bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina from the original lineup.)

Every song's been christened an informal new title, drawn from the lyrics; the effect is of turning over a mossy rock to reveal its smooth, untouched inverse.

It's named after a fan favorite from 1990's Ragged Glory; in fact, all of its songs stem from that back-to-the-garage reset album. Of course, that's how they relate; they're drawn from a single source. But Young being Young, it's not that simple: some of these nine songs have had a long, strange journey to F##IN' UP.

Before you see Neil and the Horse on tour across the U.S., here's the breakdown.

"City Life" ("Country Home")

The Horse bolts out of the gate with "Country Home," from Ragged Glory; in 2002's Shakey, Young biographer Jimmy McDonough characterized it as "a tribute to the [Broken Arrow] ranch that is surely one of Young's most euphoric songs."

As McDonough points out, it dates back to the '70s, around the Zuma period. With spring sprung, another go-round of this wooly, bucolic rocker feels right on time.

"Feels Like a Railroad (River Of Pride)" ("White Line")

Like "Country Home," "White Line" also dates back to the mid-'70s — but we've gotten to hear the original version, as released on 2020's (via-1974-and-'75) Homegrown.

The original was an aching acoustic duet with the Band's Robbie Robertson; when the Horse kicks it in the ass, it's just as powerful. (As for Homegrown, it was shelved in favor of the funereal classic Tonight's the Night.)

"Heart Of Steel" ("F##in' Up")

As with almost every Horse jam out there, the title track to F##IN' UP defies analysis. Think of a reverse car wash: the uglier and grungier the Horse renders this song, the more beautiful it is.

"Broken Circle" ("Over and Over")

Title-wise, it’s excusable if you mix this one up with "Round and Round," a round-robin deep cut from the first Neil and the Horse album, 1969's Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. Rather, this is yet another sturdy, loping rocker from Ragged Glory.

"Valley of Hearts" ("Love to Burn")

As McDonough points out in Shakey, "Love to Burn" has an acrid, accusatory edge that might slot it next to "Stupid Girl" in the pantheon of Neil's Mad At An Ex jams: "Where you takin' my kid / Why'd you ruin my life?"

But the chorus salves the burn: "You better take your chance on love / You got to let your guard down."

"She Moves Me" ("Farmer John")

The only non-Young original on F##IN' UP speaks to his lifelong inspiration from Black R&B music — a flavor OG guitarist Danny Whitten brought to the Horse, and has persisted in their sound decades after his tragic death.

Don "Sugarcane" Harris and Dewey Terry wrote "Farmer John" for their duo Don and Dewey; it dates back to Young's pre-Buffalo Springfield surf-band the Squires.

"Not much of a tune, but we made it happen," Bill Edmundson, who drummed with the band for a time, said in Shakey. "We kept that song goin' for 10 minutes. People just never wanted it to end." Sound familiar?

"Walkin' in My Place (Road of Tears)" ("Mansion on the Hill")

"Mansion on the Hill" was one of two singles from Ragged Glory; "Over and Over" was the other.

While it's mostly just another Ragged Glory rocker with tossed-off, goofy lyrics, Young clearly felt something potent stirring within its DNA; back in the early '90s, he stripped it down for acoustic guitar on the Harvest Moon tour.

"To Follow One's Own Dream" ("Days That Used To Be")

Briefly called "Letter to Bob," "Days That Used to Be" is Dylanesque in every way — from its circular, folkloric melody to its shimmering, multidimensional lyrics.

"But possessions and concession are not often what they seem/ They drag you down and load you down in disguise of security" could be yanked straight from Blonde on Blonde.

For more of Young's thoughts on Bob Dylan, consult "Twisted Road," from his 2012 masterpiece with the Horse, Psychedelic Pill. "Poetry rolling off his tongue/ Like Hank Williams chewing bubble gum," he sings, sounding like a still-awestruck fan rather than a peer.

"A Chance On Love" ("Love and Only Love")

Possibly the most resonant song on Ragged Glory — and, by extension, F##IN' UP — "Love and Only Love" is like the final boss of the album, where Young battles hate and division with Old Black as his battleaxe.

(Also see: Psychedelic Pill's "Walk Like a Giant," where Young violently squares up with the '60s dream.)

The 15-minute workout (which feels like Ramones brevity in Horse Time) It's a fitting end to F##IN' UP. There will be more Young soon. A lot more, his team promises. But although his output is a firehose, take it under advisement to savor every last drop.

Inside Neil Young's Before and After: Where All 13 Songs Came From

Taylor Swift performs with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 GRAMMYs
Taylor Swift performs with Stevie Nicks at the 2010 GRAMMYs

Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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11 Artists Who Influenced Taylor Swift: Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks, Tim McGraw & More

From Paul McCartney to Paramore, Emily Dickinson and even "Game of Thrones," read on for some of the major influences Taylor Swift has referenced throughout her GRAMMY-winning career.

GRAMMYs/Apr 22, 2024 - 11:24 pm

As expected, much buzz followed the release of Taylor Swift's 11th studio album, The Tortured Poets Department, on April 19. Fans and critics alike have devoured the sprawling double album’s 31 tracks, unpacking her reflections from "a fleeting and fatalistic moment in time" in search of Easter eggs, their new favorite lyrics and references to famous faces (both within the pop supernova’s closely guarded orbit and the historical record). 

Shoutouts abound in The Tortured Poets Department: Charlie Puth gets his much-deserved (and Taylor-approved) flowers on the title track, while 1920s screen siren Clara Bow, the ancient Greek prophetess Cassandra and Peter Pan each get a song titled after them. Post Malone and  Florence + the Machine’s Florence Welch each tap in for memorable duets. Relationships old (Joe Alwyn), new (Travis Kelce) and somewhere in between (1975’s Matty Healy) are alluded to without naming names, as is, possibly, the singer’s reputation-era feud with Kim Kardashian. 

Swift casts a wide net on The Tortured Poets Department, encompassing popular music, literature, mythology and beyond, but it's far from the first time the 14-time GRAMMY winner has worn her influences on her sleeve. While you digest TTPD, consider these 10 figures who have influenced the poet of the hour — from Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith to Emily Dickinson, William Wordsworth, Arya Stark and more.

Stevie Nicks

If Taylor Swift is the chairman of The Tortured Poets Department, Stevie Nicks may as well be considered its poet laureate emeritus. The mystical Fleetwood Mac frontwoman earns an important mention on side A closer "Clara Bow," in which Swift ties an invisible string from herself to a pre-Rumours Nicks ("In ‘75, the hair and lips/ Crowd goes wild at her fingertips"), and all the way back to the 1920s It Girl of the song’s title.

For her part, Nicks seems to approve of her place in Swift’s cultural lineage, considering she penned the poem found inside physical copies of The Tortured Poets Department. "He was in love with her/ Or at least she thought so," the Priestess of Rock and Roll wrote in part, before signing off, "For T — and me…"

Swift’s relationship with Nicks dates back to the 2010 GRAMMYs, when the pair performed a medley of "Rhiannon" and "You Belong With Me" before the then-country upstart took home her first Album Of The Year win for 2009’s Fearless. More recently, the "Edge of Seventeen" singer publicly credited Swift’s Midnights cut "You’re On Your Own, Kid" for helping her through the 2022 death of Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie.

Patti Smith

Swift may see herself as more "modern idiot" than modern-day Patti Smith, but that didn’t stop the superstar from name-dropping the icon synonymous with the Hotel Chelsea and punk scene of ‘70s New York on a key track on The Tortured Poets Department. Swift rather self-deprecatingly compares herself to the celebrated Just Kids memoirist (and 2023 Songwriters Hall of Fame nominee) on the double album’s synth-drenched title track, and it’s easy to see how Smith’s lifelong fusion of rock and poetry influenced the younger singer’s dactylic approach to her new album. 

Smith seemed to appreciate the shout-out on "The Tortured Poets Department" as well. "This is saying I was moved to be mentioned in the company of the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Thank you Taylor," she wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of herself reading Thomas’ 1940 poetry collection Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog.

Emily Dickinson

When it comes to iconic poets, Swift has also taken a page or two over her career from Emily Dickinson. While the great 19th century poet hasn’t come up explicitly in Swift’s work, she did reference her poetic forebear (and actual sixth cousin, three times removed!) in her speech while accepting the award for Songwriter-Artist of the Decade at the 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards.

"I’ve never talked about this publicly before, because, well, it’s dorky. But I also have, in my mind, secretly, established genre categories for lyrics I write. Three of them, to be exact. They are affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics," Swift told the audience before going on to explain, "If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s great-grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that’s me writing in the Quill genre," she went on to explain.

Even before this glimpse into Swift’s writing process, Easter eggs had been laid pointing to her familial connection to Dickinson. For example, she announced her ninth album evermore on December 10, 2020, which would have been the late poet’s 190th birthday. Another clue that has Swifties convinced? Dickinson’s use of the word "forevermore" in her 1858 poem "One Sister Have I in Our House," which Swift also cleverly breaks apart in Evermore’s Bon Iver-assisted title track ("And I couldn’t be sure/ I had a feeling so peculiar/ That this pain would be for/ Evermore").

The Lake Poets

Swift first put her growing affinity for poetry on display during her folklore era with "the lakes." On the elegiac bonus track, the singer draws a parallel with the Lake Poets of the 19th century, wishing she could escape to "the lakes where all the poets went to die" with her beloved muse in tow. In between fantasizing about "those Windermere peaks" and pining for "auroras and sad prose," she even manages to land a not-so-subtle jab at nemesis Scooter Braun ("I’ve come too far to watch some name-dropping sleaze/ Tell me what are my words worth") that doubles as clever wordplay on the last name of Lake Poet School members William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

Swift revealed more about why she connected to the Lake Poets in her 2020 Disney+ documentary folklore: the long pond studio sessions. "There was a poet district, these artists that moved there. And they were kind of heckled for it and made fun of for it as being these eccentrics and these kind of odd artists who decided that they just wanted to live there," she explained to her trusted producer Jack Antonoff. "So ‘the lakes,’ it kind of is the overarching theme of the whole album: of trying to escape, having something you wanna protect, trying to protect your own sanity and saying, ‘Look, they did this hundreds of years ago. I’m not the first person who’s felt this way.’"

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney and Swift have publicly praised one another’s work for years, leading to the 2020 Rolling Stone cover they posed for together for the special Musicians on Musicians issue. The younger singer even counts Sir Paul’s daughter Stella McCartney as a close friend and collaborator (Stella designed a capsule collection for Swift’s 2019 studio set Lover and earned a shout-out of her own on album cut "London Boy").

However, Swift took her relationship with the Beatles founder and his family a step further when it was rumored she based Midnights deep cut "Sweet Nothing" on McCartney’s decades-long romance with late wife Linda. While the speculation has never been outright confirmed, it appears Swift’s lyrics in the lilting love song ("On the way home, I wrote a poem/ You say, ‘What a mind’/ This happens all the time") were partially inspired by a strikingly similar quote McCartney once gave about his relationship with Linda, who passed away in 1998. To add to the mystique, the Midnights singer even reportedly liked a tweet from 2022 espousing the theory.  

The admiration between the duo seems to go both ways as well, with the former Beatle admitting in a 2018 BBC profile that the track "Who Cares" from his album Egypt Station was inspired by Swift’s close relationship with her fans.

The Chicks

From her days as a country music ingénue to her ascendance as the reigning mastermind of pop, Swift has credited the Chicks as a seminal influence in her songwriting and career trajectory. (Need examples? Look anywhere from early singles like "Picture to Burn" and "Should’ve Said No" to Evermore’s Haim-assisted murder ballad "no body, no crime" and her own Lover-era collab with the band, "Soon You’ll Get Better.") 

In a 2020 Billboard cover story tied to the Chicks’ eighth album Gaslighter, Swift acknowledged just how much impact the trio made on her growing up. "Early in my life, these three women showed me that female artists can play their own instruments while also putting on a flamboyant spectacle of a live show," she said at the time. "They taught me that creativity, eccentricity, unapologetic boldness and kitsch can all go together authentically. Most importantly, they showed an entire generation of girls that female rage can be a bonding experience between us all the very second we first heard Natalie Maines bellow ‘that Earl had to DIE.’"

"Game of Thrones"

When reputation dropped in 2017, Swift was on a self-imposed media blackout, which meant no cover stories or dishy sit-down interviews on late-night TV during the album’s roll-out. Instead, the singer let reputation speak for itself, and fans were largely left to draw their own conclusions about their queen’s wildly anticipated comeback album. Two years later, though, Swift revealed the dark, vengeful, romantic body of work was largely inspired by "Game of Thrones."

"These songs were half based on what I was going through, but seeing them through a 'Game of Thrones' filter," she told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. "My entire outlook on storytelling has been shaped by ["GoT"] — the ability to foreshadow stories, to meticulously craft cryptic story lines. So, I found ways to get more cryptic with information and still be able to share messages with the fans. I aspire to be one one-millionth of the kind of hint dropper the makers of 'Game of Thrones' have been."

Joni Mitchell

Swift has long made her admiration of Joni Mitchell known, dating back to her 2012 album Red, which took a cue from the folk pioneer’s landmark 1971 LP Blue for its chromatic title. In an interview around the time of Red’s release, the country-pop titan gushed over Blue’s impact on her, telling Rhapsody, "[Mitchell] wrote it about her deepest pains and most haunting demons. Songs like ‘River,’ which is just about her regrets and doubts of herself — I think this album is my favorite because it explores somebody’s soul so deeply."

Back in 2015, TIME declared the "Blank Space" singer a "disciple of Mitchell in ways both obvious and subtle" — from her reflective songwriting to the complete ownership over her creative process, and nearly 10 years later, Swift was still showing her appreciation for Mitchell after the latter’s triumphant and emotional appearance on the GRAMMY stage to perform "Both Sides Now" on the very same night Taylor took home her historic fourth GRAMMY for Album Of The Year for Midnights.

Fall Out Boy & Paramore

When releasing the re-recording of her third album Speak Now in 2023, Swift cited two unexpectedly emo acts as inspirations to her early songwriting: Fall Out Boy and Paramore

"Since Speak Now was all about my songwriting, I decided to go to the artists who I feel influenced me most powerfully as a lyricist at that time and ask them to sing on the album," she wrote in an Instagram post revealing the back cover and complete tracklist for Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), which included Fall Out Boy collaboration "Electric Touch" and "Castles Crumbling" featuring Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams.

Tim McGraw

For one of Swift’s original career inspirations, we have to go all the way back to the very first single she ever released. "Tim McGraw" was not only as the lead single off the 16-year-old self-titled 2006 debut album, but it also paid reverent homage to one of the greatest living legends in the history of country music. 

In retrospect, it was an incredibly gutsy risk for a then-unknown Swift to come raring out of the gate with a song named after a country superstar. But the gamble clearly paid off in spades, considering that now, when an entire generation of music fans hear "Tim McGraw," they think of Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift's 'The Tortured Poets Department' Is A Post-Mortem Autopsy In Song: 5 Takeaways From Her New Album

Photo of Noah Kahan (L) and Olivia Rodrigo (R) perform during the GUTS World Tour in New York City
Noah Kahan (L) and Olivia Rodrigo (R) perform during the GUTS World Tour in New York City

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation

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10 Record Store Day 2024 Releases We're Excited About: The Beatles, Notorious B.I.G. & More

In honor of Record Store Day 2024, which falls on April 20, learn about 10 limited, exclusive drops to watch out for when browsing your local participating record store.

GRAMMYs/Apr 18, 2024 - 02:20 pm

From vinyl records by the 1975 and U2, to album reissues and previously unreleased music, record stores around the world are stocking limited and exclusive releases for Record Store Day 2024

The first Record Store Day kicked off in 2008 and every year since, the event supporting independently owned record stores has grown exponentially. On Record Store Day 2024, which falls on April 20, there will be more than 300 special releases available from artists as diverse as  the Beatles and Buena Vista Social Club. 

In honor of Record Store Day 2024 on April 20, here are 10 limited and exclusive drops to watch out for when browsing your local participating record store. 

David Bowie — Waiting in the Sky (Before The Starman Came To Earth

British glam rocker David Bowie was a starman and an icon. Throughout his career, he won five GRAMMY Awards and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. 

On RSD 2024, Bowie's estate is dialing it back to his Ziggy Stardust days to make Waiting in the Sky (Before The Starman Came To Earth) available for the first time. The record features recordings of Bowie's sessions at Trident Studios in 1971, and many songs from those sessions would be polished for his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

The tracklisting for Waiting in the Sky differs from Ziggy Stardust and features four songs that didn’t make the final album.

Talking Heads — Live at WCOZ 77

New York City-based outfit Talking Heads defined the sound of new wave in the late '70s and into the next decade. For their massive influence, the group received two GRAMMY nominations and was later honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.

While promoting their debut album Talking Heads: 77, the quartet recorded a live performance for the New Albany, Pennsylvania radio station WCOZ in 1977. The Live at WCOZ 77 LP will include 14 songs from that performance at Northern Studios, including seven that will be released for the first time. Among the previously unheard cuts are "Love Goes To A Building On Fire" and "Uh-Oh, Love Comes To Town." During that session, Talking Heads also performed songs like "Psycho Killer" and "Pulled Up."

The Doors — Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, September 20, 1968

The Doors were at the forefront of the psychedelic rock movement of the 1960s and early '70s. One of Jim Morrison's most epic performances with the band will be available on vinyl for the first time. 

Live at Konserthuset, Stockholm, September 20, 1968 includes recordings from a radio broadcast that was never commercially released. The 3-LP release includes performances of songs from the Doors’ first three albums, including 1967’s self-titled and Strange Days. In addition to performing their classics like "Light My Fire" and "You're Lost Little Girl," the Doors and Morrison also covered "Mack the Knife" and Barret Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)" live during this session. 

Dwight Yoakam — The Beginning And Then Some: The Albums of the '80s

Over the course of his 40-year career, country music icon Dwight Yoakam has received 18 GRAMMY nominations and won two golden gramophones for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1994 and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2000.

On Record Store Day 2024, Yoakam will celebrate the first chapter of his legacy with a new box set: The Beginning And Then Some: The Albums of the '80s. His debut album Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. and 1987’s Hillbilly Deluxe will be included in the collection alongside exclusive disc full of rarities and demos. The 4-LP set includes his classics like "Honky Tonk Man," "Little Ways," and "Streets of Bakersfield." The box set will also be available to purchase on CD.  

The Beatles — The Beatles Limited Edition RSD3 Turntable

Beatlemania swept across the U.S. following the Beatles’ first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964, setting the stage for the British Invasion. With The Beatles Limited Edition RSD3 Turntable, the band will celebrate their iconic run of appearances on Sullivan’s TV program throughout that year.

The box set will include a Beatles-styled turntable and four 3-inch records. Among those records are the hits "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Till There Was You," "She Loves You," and "I Saw Her Standing There," which the Beatles performed on Sullivan's TV across several appearances. 

Among 23 GRAMMY nominations, the Beatles won seven golden gramophones. In 2014, the Recording Academy honored them with the Lifetime Achievement Award.   

Olivia Rodrigo and Noah Kahan — From The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge LP

Olivia Rodrigo and Noah Kahan are two of the biggest pop stars in the world right now — Rodrigo hitting the stage with No Doubt at Coachella and near the end of her global GUTS Tour; Kahan fresh off a Best New Artist nomination at the 2024 GRAMMYs. Now, they're teaming up for the split single From The BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge LP, a release culled from each artist's "BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge" sessions. 

The special vinyl release will include Rodrigo's live cover of Kahan's breakout hit "Stick Season." The single also includes Kahan’s cover of Rodrigo’s song "Lacy" from her second album, GUTS. This month, they performed the song live together on Rodrigo’s Guts World Tour stop in Madison Square Garden.  

Buena Vista Social Club — Buena Vista Social Club

Influential Cuban group Buena Vista Social Club popularized genres and sounds from their country, including son cubano, bolero, guajira, and danzón. Buena Vista Social Club's landmark self-titled LP won the GRAMMY for Best Tropical Latin Album in 1998.

The following year, a documentary was released that captured two of the band's live performances in New York City and Amsterdam. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the documentary, the Buena Vista Social Club album will be released on a limited edition gold vinyl with remastered audio and bonus tracks.

Buena Vista Social Club is one of the 10 recordings to be newly inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame as part of the 2024 inductee class.

Danny Ocean — 54+1

Venezuelan reggaeton star Danny Ocean broke through on a global level in 2016 with his self-produced debut single "Me Rehúso," a heartbreaking track inspired by Ocean fleeing Venezuela due to the country's economic instability and the lover he had left behind. 

With "Me Rehúso," Ocean became the first solo Latin artist to surpass one billion streams on Spotify, on the platform with a single song. "Me Rehúso" was included on his 2019 debut album 54+1, which will be released on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day.

Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters — Skanking With The Upsetter

Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry pioneered dub music in the 1960s and '70s. Perry received five GRAMMY nominations in his lifetime, including winning Best Reggae Album in 2003 for Jamaican E.T.

To celebrate the legacy of Perry's earliest dub recordings, a limited edition run of his 2004 album Skanking With The Upsetter will be released on Record Store Day. His joint LP with his house band the Upsetters will be pressed on transparent yellow vinyl. Among the rare dub tracks on the album are "Bucky Skank," "Seven & Three Quarters (Skank)," and "IPA Skank." 

Read more: Lee "Scratch" Perry Documentary Director Sets The Record Straight On The Reggae Icon's Legacy — Including A Big Misconception About Bob Marley

Notorious B.I.G. — Ready To Die: The Instrumentals

The Notorious B.I.G. helped define the sound of East Coast rap in the '90s. Though he was tragically murdered in 1997, his legacy continues to live on through his two albums. 

During his lifetime, the Notorious B.I.G. dropped his 1994 debut album Ready to Die, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest hip-hop releases of all-time. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the album (originally released in September '94), his estate will release Ready To Die: The Instrumentals. The limited edition vinyl will include select cuts from the LP like his hits "Big Poppa," "One More Chance/Stay With Me," and "Juicy." The album helped him garner his first GRAMMY nomination in 1996 for Best Rap Solo Performance. The Notorious B.I.G. received an additional three nominations after his death in 1998. 

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