• The iPod's 4,000-Pound Grandfather These days, music lovers are spoiled. With one small handheld device, you can flick your thumb and hear anything you want—from Jay-Z or Lady Gaga to a postwar blues rag or a Bach concerto. Some of us remember when you had to get up and turn over the vinyl record to hear the "B side" of an album, or when you'd put foil on your antenna to pick up the best radio station from a sea of static. Yet we w…
  • Scopitone: '60s Music Videos You've Never Seen Before MTV, and long before we could stream music videos on our cell phones, mid-1960s American hepcats gathered around 500-pound, 7-foot-high contraptions to watch 16-millimeter Technicolor films of B-list pop stars gyrating to their latest hits. The contraption in question was usually a Scopitone, one of several audio-visual jukeboxes found primarily in bars. Their reign, if you can even call it…
  • Why People Flip Over Vintage Pinball Machines I didn’t really get into to pinball machine collecting until maybe 15 years ago, but when I was a freshman in college, video games were really big. I went to Purdue University. They had a huge arcade there. I always said that Space Invaders and Pac-Man took so much of my money—money that I really didn’t have—that it would have been cheaper to just buy one of those machines. So one day I went to…
  • Secrets of the Blue Note Vault: Rediscovering Monk, Blakey, and Hancock When I was a jazz DJ in Philadelphia, Blue Note was always my favorite label. Naturally I had a lot of jazz-musician friends, and many of them told me that they’d played in a lot of Blue Note sessions that were never released. I started to keep a list of these sessions in a little notebook, and in 1973 I started banging on the door of Blue Note to find someone to show it to. My inquiries fell o…
  • Stephen M. H. Braitman on the British Invasion, from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols I was a Hollywood kid. My father was a TV and radio editor in the San Fernando Valley, and he allowed me to do my first writing to review concerts and shows for the newspaper. But as a younger kid, I really hated rock ’n’ roll music and pop music, and I disliked the Beatles and all that. I have a younger sister who was a total Beatlemaniac. She started getting into the ’60s scene, but I was more…
  • Your Turntable Is Not Dead: Inside Jack White’s Vinyl Record Empire When the White Stripes got signed, Jack White created Third Man Records as an insurance policy. With the White Stripes and, later on, Whirlwind Heat and the Raconteurs, the bands only licensed their music to record companies—the labels didn’t really own it. So in case things went sour, Third Man was a way for Jack and the bands to be able to maintain ownership of their masters and their records. …