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Popular Music

Linda Eastman marries Paul McCartney.

March 12, 1969

Photographer and animal rights activist Linda Eastman marries Paul McCartney.

Singer-songwriter Regina Spektor is born

February 18, 1980

Regina Spektor gets "lost in the sounds."

Bette Midler owns her own voice

October 31, 1989

US Court of Appeals says Bette Midler's voice is distinctive.

Naomi Weisstein

Naomi Weisstein, while a Harvard graduate student in psychology (Ph.D., 1964), was forbidden entrance to the Lamont Library, which was closed to women, because, she was told “women are a distraction to men.” “You want distraction,” she said, “I'll show you distraction,” and she and friends with signs, a violin, and a clarinet positioned themselves underneath the windows of Lamont Library that evening and serenaded the scholars.

Blame It on the Bossa Nova: Remembering Eydie Gorme

I’ve been listening to Eydie sing today, particularly a standout performance of a song from the 1966 musical Mame.  I dare you to listen to her sing “If He Walked Into My Life” here and not feel the expressive pull, the regret, the heartache as she hits every dramatic emotional nuance of this difficult song.  Not only is she technically right on the money, she nails it with aplomb and finish.  Listen to it, and I guarantee you’ll feel what Steve Lawrence felt about her: “I fell in love with her the moment I saw her and even more the first time I heard her sing.  While my personal loss is unimaginable, the world has lost one of the greatest pop vocalists of all time.” 

The Indomitable Jewish Ballerina Who Inspired a Timeless Love Song

In 1944, at the height of the worst carnage the world has known, a mother in Budapest, Hungary, put her only son, then seven years old, out on the street with a pillow, a last morsel of bread, and the boy’s baptismal certificate. The mother was Jewish, the son Catholic.

Fifty years later the son, Cesare Frustaci—by that time an American citizen with a family of his own—contributed a video-taped oral history to Yale University and then sent the tape to author Germaine Shames. It told the story of his mother, ballerina Margit Wolf, who was banished from the stage by Mussolini only to inspire a timeless love song and then fade from history without a trace.

Lauren Interviews Lauren

Singer-songwriter-humorist Lauren Mayer reflects on Hanukkah, Christmas, family, growing up a Jew in Orange County and how all this informs her own, artistic process. May you enjoy this in depth interview conducted by… herself.

What inspired you to write “Latkes, Shmatkes”?

Two years ago NPR did a program on Christmas music, and their expert was talking about how secular songs, like “Frosty The Snowman,” became classics, and then he said, “Some songs should never become classics, like this one”— and used an old recording of mine as an example. It was a novelty song I’d written and recorded years ago, “The Fruitcake That Ate New Jersey,” and when I wrote in to ask how they found it, they ended up interviewing me. I joked that now I was part of the great tradition of Jewish songwriters who create Christmas music, and I really should do a Chanukah album. Once I said it, I realized it could be a fun idea.

Helen Reddy’s "I Am Woman" tops the charts

December 9, 1972

“I Am Woman” was the only song Reddy would ever write, but it was enough for millions of listeners.

Sophie Tucker: “You’re Gonna Miss Me, Honey”

One hundred and one years ago today, Sophie Tucker sang those words from “Some of These Days” onto a four minute cylinder recording device. It became her signature song, and toward the end of her career she guessed that she had sung it over 45,000 times.

“Dinah Shore Show” debuts on NBC radio

August 6, 1939

A quintessential American girl, Dinah Shore mixed song and talk on the airwaves for over 50 years.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Popular Music." (Viewed on October 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/popular-music>.

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