Music

Nile Rodgers, co-founder of the band Chic and a widely hailed producer, songwriter and guitarist, is adding one more feather to his ever-present cap: On Monday, the Songwriters Hall of Fame announced that Rodgers has been named as its new chairman for a three-year term. He follows Philadelphia soul legends Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, who previously served as co-chairs.

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Staying true to his own musical vision has always come first for PJ Morton. So when he expressed his desire to squeeze a 10-piece string section behind the Tiny Desk for his three-song performance, we were more than happy to oblige him.

Morton showed off the soulful Fender Rhodes chops that helped him earn a mentor in Stevie Wonder and membership to Maroon 5, while backed by percussion, bass and the same Matt Jones Orchestra that accompanies him on his soulful solo releases, Gumbo and Gumbo Unplugged.

Dominique Morisseau has her finger on Detroit's pulse. The award-winning playwright has written a trilogy of plays set in her hometown of Detroit, each considering pivotal moments in Motor City history: the 1940s jazz era, the '67 riots and the Great Recession.

The first hint of otherness comes from the voices.

They are five in all, each ragged and weary in his own way, each contributing to "Tears of Rage" on his own timetable, when stirred by some spirit. Sounding less like a polished choir than a wandering militia, they appear displaced, out of time. The voices have no discernable connection to the moment the record arrived in 1968. They might as well be selling elixirs from the back of a horse-drawn rig, moving at the slow, deliberate pace of backroads rural America in the days before [farm-to-table] artisan shallots.

With their signature harmonies, tight choreography and flashy outfits, The Temptations helped define the Motown sound.

Lesser known is what the five young men from Detroit had to sacrifice to get there. A new musical, appropriately titled Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, chronicles the tumultuous journey of the Motown group. Behind their chart-topping hits and smooth melodies, the original group's climb to globetrotting superstardom was fraught with departures, deaths and ego during a turbulent 1960s America.

Yasmin Williams only started playing the guitar after beating all the songs on expert-level on Guitar Hero II. "I figured, well, I beat that game, I can probably play a real guitar now," she says.

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Joe Strummer's barn has been raided.

The enfant raisonnable of U.K. punk's first wave — who with The Clash (like many lumped into it) broke from a retroactively applied punk orthodoxy to explore sounds from any and everywhere — is getting an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink treatment for the many reels of unreleased tape he had archived in his barn.

For over 50 years, Paul Simon has shared his amazing talents with us: first, as a part of Simon & Garfunkel, one of the most important musical duos, and later as a solo artist. Few musicians have had as a critically-acclaimed and beloved career as Simon. He's won 16 Grammys, three of those for album of the year.

In the midst of the country's turbulence in 1968, five musicians later named simply The Band hunkered down in a salmon-colored house in upstate New York to craft Music From Big Pink, an album that brought the rural folk Americana sound to popular music and to the classic album canon.

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