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Behind the Music

The surprising back-stories and secret saviors of song.

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The Lost Prince of Yacht Rock

In 1978 he was music’s next big thing. Then his album bombed, he began a long slide into obscurity, and a bizarre fraud sent him to prison. Will Dane Donohue finally get his...

Conscripted Into The Emperor’s Private Orchestra

What does a crew of talented musicians do when forced to serve at the pleasure of a notoriously cruel dictator? They play like their lives depend on it.

The High Notes and Hard Knocks of My Traveling Karaoke Family

My parents owned a karaoke business, and we were all on stage together night after night, with Dad belting “YMCA” and Mom coo-ing like Marilyn Monroe. When disaster struck,...

The Unsung Black Musician Who Changed Country Music

From the moment DeFord Bailey stepped onto a stage in Nashville, country music would never be the same. It was decades after his death before he finally got his due.

Confessions of the Only Woman on a Rock Star Tour Bus

One roadie’s guide to surviving nomadic life in the hardest-partying business on earth.

Meet Ladybeard, the Crown Prince of Japan’s Strangest Music Scene

Richard Magarey has facial hair, pigtails, a closetful of schoolgirl outfits and an endless supply of energy. In Tokyo, he became the world’s unlikeliest death metal superstar.

These Fearless Females Are Drumming Their Way Into Music’s Biggest Boys’ Club

How an international contest is inspiring everyone from little girls to grandmas to pick up drumsticks — and may be saving the musical instrument industry in the process.

His Biggest Hit Sold More Copies Than Any of the Beatles’. So Why Haven’t You Heard of Him?

In a life bookended by tragedy, Prince Nico Mbarga poured joy into music, including the most popular song in African history. But his own story has never been told — until now.

How Ray Charles Convinced Me to Be His Stand-In

I met the music legend as a journalist, and before I knew it, we'd grown close – close enough that when reporters interviewed him, I answered the questions.