The Riddle of Robert Johnso...

Robert Johnson
Here at Insomnia, we love the strange crossroads of hardscrabble blues and high weirdness that come together in the life of legendary singer/songwriter/guitarist Robert Johnson. The story of the blues pioneer finds the gifted musician rejected by his family, living the reckless, itinerant life of a musician, drinking…

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Dylan & Bloomfield

Dylan and Bloomfield
In 1965 Bob Dylan released Bringing it all Back Home — the record’s first side featuring the folk music hero playing with an electric band. In July of that same year, Dylan played the Newport Folk Festival and made history when he took to the hallowed stage with the fully amplified Paul Butterfield Blues…

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Purple Rain at 30

Prince
Purple Rain — the record and the film — came out thirty years ago this month and Prince recently reunited with Apollonia to celebrate the date. Prince was a musical prodigy who transformed himself from “the new Stevie Wonder” into a genre blurring phenom who had as much impact on the culture…

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Blondie 4(0) Ever

Blondie
40 years ago Chris met Debbie — the pair fell in love and made musical history. If you need more clues than that to know that I’m telling the origin story of the band Blondie than this post is especially for you. Here’s the Wiki‘s take on Blondie: The band was a pioneer in the early American…

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Beatle VS Beetles

George Harrison
A tree near the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles has been destroyed, much to the consternation of rock fans around the world. Why do music nerds care about a tree? Spin has the story… A tree planted to honor of the memory of the Beatles songwriter George Harrison has been killed by actual beetles. As the Los…

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Petey Greene is Talking

Petey Greene
Petey Greene was a pioneer of shock radio and television who became the voice of his black community in Washington, DC from the 1960′s — the 1980′s. He achieved international fame for his hilarious, outspoken, outrageous rants and interviews and for his tireless activism for civil rights, poverty…

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Stanley Kubrick on the Moon

Danny
Yesterday we marked the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing and today we’re reminded of the first human footprints on the lunar surface. What may have been a “small step for man” may have been an epic studio production for cinematic sorcerer Stanley Kubrick. According to researcher Jay…

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George Carlin’s Bad f...

s Bad for Ya
It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years since George Carlin won a posthumous Grammy for the album version of his last HBO Comedy Special, It’s Bad for Ya. I wasn’t able to confirm these facts, but I’m almost positive that George was the first comedian to do an HBO Comedy Special…

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Echoes of Trane

John Coltrane
On this day in 1967 we lost a giant of jazz. John Coltrane is a personal hero of mine. As a saxophonist I’ve always been enthralled by the instrument’s superlative ability to mimic the human voice and one is hard pressed to find any other horn man in jazz who exemplified the saxophone’s potential…

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The Roast of Richard Pryor

RichardPryor
In our ongoing examination of avant garde artists, here is yet another example of what happens when a sharp-edged talent takes a stab at the mainstream. Here’s a hint — it’s a bloodbath. In 1977 Richard Pryor got his own television show on NBC. On paper, the decision made sense — Pryor was…

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