Between the Liner Notes

Music
history
documentary
narrative

Announcement

Sun Jul 30 2017 (00:35)

An update about the show

A special announcement about the show

21: Stone

Mon May 22 2017 (50:27)

Meet Joe Stone

Joe Stone is the youngest son of the founder of TK Records, Henry Stone, and wanted to follow in his father's footsteps. Henry, however, refused to allow any of his children to work in the music industry. Listen as Joe chronicles how he convinced his father to take a chance on him.

20: Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Mon May 01 2017 (38:16)

The story of how a simple Tin Pan Alley ditty embedded itself in baseball tradition

If you attend a baseball game today, during the seventh inning stretch you’re likely to hear the entire stadium sing, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” We’ve grown so accustomed to singing the song during ballgames that it feels like the ritual has been around forever, but if it wasn’t for a device called the magic lantern, first-wave feminism, and a sportscaster named Harry Caray, our familiar custom wouldn’t exist. This is the story of how a simple Tin Pan Alley ditty embedded itself in baseball ...

19: Discophobia (Disco Part 2)

Wed Mar 22 2017 (28:44)

How disco became a four-letter-word

1978 set the record for most album sales with disco surpassing rock & roll for the first time ever. Industry insiders predicted the following year would continue to break sales records, but an economic downturn and a fierce anti-disco backlash proved their predictions false. This is the story of how disco became a four-letter-word.

How disco became the best selling music genre in the world

In 1970, two deejays discovered they had the ability to take the dance floor on a journey by playing records back-to-back, continuously throughout the night. Soon clubs all over the world adopted this style of deejaying, and a new culture and music genre called "disco" emerged. Eight years later, in 1978, disco was the best selling music genre in the world. This is the story of how it got there.

The Story of the Choir of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church

The Colored American Opera Company was born at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church — the first all-black church in the nation’s capitol — where an Italian priest invited a white Spanish American veteran of the U.S. Marine Band, and teacher of march legend John Philip Sousa, to teach a French style of opéra bouffe to an African American choir. In doing so, in 1873, just a decade after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, together, they created the first American opera company — bla ...

16: The Fake Zombie Invasion

Mon Dec 19 2016 (20:18)

By 1969 the Zombies had disbanded, so why was there a band called the Zombies touring around America?

When “Time of the Season” became a hit song in 1969, the Zombies had already disbanded. Yet for some reason, there was a band touring around America calling itself the Zombies. Listen as Daniel Ralston, author of the article “The True Story Of The Fake Zombies,” talks about unearthing this forgotten piece of music history.

The story of boy band impresario, Lou Pearlman

This is the story of boy band impresario and convicted Ponzi schemer, Lou Pearlman. Listen as Pearlman biographer, Tyler Gray and talent manager Jeanne Tanzy-Williams discuss an individual who was larger than life.

14: Give 'em the Hook

Tue Oct 11 2016 (31:10)

The history of vaudeville

Vaudeville was once America's most popular form of entertainment. Audiences flocked to the theaters to watch an array of performances ranging from standard singers and comedians, to shadow puppets and a man who eats weird stuff. A few savvy businessmen recognized vaudeville's popularity early on, and ruthlessly built vast networks of theaters. They transformed popular entertainment, for the first time, into big business.

13: The Execution of Joe Hill

Sat Sep 03 2016 (43:58)

The story of the labor organizer and songwriter

In 1915, Joe Hill, a Swedish-American labor activist, was unjustly convicted and executed by the State of Utah, but not before leaving behind a body of work that would inform the next generation of American folk music. In this episode, we talk with William Adler author of the Joe Hill Biography titled, "The Man Who Never Died," and Clayton Simms, a criminal defense attorney working to get Joe Hill exonerated more than a century later.

12: 3,000 Beatniks Riot in Village

Mon Jul 25 2016 (38:00)

The story of the 1961 Beatnik Riots

Every Sunday since the end of World War II, musicians journeyed to Washington Square Park to sing folk-songs. Until one Sunday—after the City of New York denied the musicians a singing permit—they decided to protest instead. What resulted was a violent confrontation with authority.

11: The District

Mon Jun 20 2016 (40:42)

The story of how Jazz began in New Orleans

The story of how Jazz began in New Orleans

10: Jingle Brains

Mon May 09 2016 (36:02)

Everything you wanted to know about ad jingles but were afraid to ask.

Jingles are traditionally defined as short songs about a product that are written for TV or radio, but—with songs like Poo-Pourri’s “Imagine Where You Can Go” being released on the internet—does the traditional definition need to be expanded? Listen as Tim Taylor, author of “The Sounds of Capitalism” and Helen Zaltzman, the host of The Allusionist, take us through the century long history of ad music, and examine what jingles sound like in the internet age.

09: Castrati

Mon Apr 04 2016 (30:40)

The History of Castrati

It's hard to believe, but only a few centuries ago, young boys were castrated for the sole purpose of preserving their high-pitched singing voices. These boys—commonly referred to as Castrati—started out singing the high parts in church choirs, but, with the surging popularity of opera, soon amassed fame reminiscent of our modern pop stars. Listen as Between the Liner notes talks with Castrati expert Martha Feldman and Switched on Pop's Charlie Harding about this unique piece of Europe's musical ...

08: God Bless Tiny Tim

Mon Feb 29 2016 (44:19)

Ten years before hippies grew their hair long and twenty years before rock stars like David Bowie began wearing makeup, Tiny Tim did both. His unique appearance complimented his high-pitched falsetto singing and small ukulele. Like a performer out of s...

Ten years before hippies grew their hair long and twenty years before rock stars like David Bowie began wearing makeup, Tiny Tim did both. His unique appearance complimented his high-pitched falsetto singing and small ukulele. Like a performer out of step with time, Tiny’s repertoire featured songs from an era of music most people had forgotten. The audience didn’t know what to think; some people thought Tiny was one red rubber nose away from being a clown, others saw a sincere musician channeli ...

07: Extinguish Lights

Mon Feb 01 2016 (43:38)

Taps is the only piece of music that is required to be performed at a United States military funeral.

Taps is a 24 note bugle call that was composed during the American Civil War. It is the only piece of music that is required to be performed at a United States military funeral. Oddly, when it was written it was never intended to be played at funerals. It was supposed to tell soldiers when to go to sleep.

06: That’s How Cuba Sang

Mon Jan 04 2016 (46:08)

Ramón Sabat once owned Panart Records, the largest indie label in Cuba, until Castro took it away.

Ramón Sabat once owned Panart Records, the largest indie label in Cuba. Legendary Cuban vocalists like Celia Cruz and Olga Guillot made their first recordings with Panart. Nat King Cole recorded his first Spanish album in Panart Studios. Success, however, did not come easy to Panart. Ramón Sabat had to overcome the dirty tactics of a rival American-owned record label and surmount the prohibitive poverty that barred many Cubans from owning a record collection. The only force strong enough to stop ...

05: Who Owns Happy Birthday?

Tue Dec 01 2015 (36:36)

We don't actually know who wrote "Happy Birthday" and now there is a huge court battle about it.

Jennifer Nelson is a documentary film maker who wanted to make a movie about the song “Happy Birthday to You.” When she inquired about using the song in her film the owners of the song forced her to pay for it, and she did. However, while Jennifer Nelson was doing research for her film she uncovered some evidence that could prove that the people she paid may not actually own the song, and never did. 

Imagine if all your favorite songs were no longer on the radio.

Imagine if all your favorite songs were banned from the radio. Well, that actually happened during the Great Radio Boycott of 1941. The United State’s most famous songwriters collectively decided to pull their catalogues from the public airwaves. This was their response to the radio stations refusing to pay a fair price for the music they broadcast. The boycott lasted for only ten months, but the consequences were far reaching, especially for one entertainer named Sharkey. Sharkey was forced to ...

03: I Want My MTV

Sun Oct 04 2015 (53:09)

The Story of MTV

In 1981, no one believed people would watch a cable channel that aired music videos 24 hours a day. This is the story about how MTV proved them all wrong.

02: The Tuning Wars

Tue Sep 01 2015 (35:30)

A Brief History of Equal Temperament

Back in the day, every A-list philosopher and scientist argued over the best method for tuning a musical instrument. The battles they fought were some of the fiercest intellectual scuffles the western world has ever seen. In 2003, Stuart Isacoff published a book about those scuffles. The book focused on the history of one particular tuning system called Equal Temperament and how it emerged from the tuning-wars more popular than ever. In a weird twist of historical irony, when Stuart Isacoff publ ...

Jack Mullin discovered a secret Nazi invention that changed recorded history.

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States Military assigned a tech savvy GI named Jack Mullin the mission of investigating secret inventions left behind by the Nazis. Mullin’s journeys around Germany led him to a makeshift radio studio that had a device called the Magnetophon, the first reel-to-reel tape recorder that realistically recorded sound. After overcoming numerous obstacles, Jack Mullin managed to ship two machines back home to San Francisco. When he was released from military ...