Ongoing History of New Music

The Ongoing History of New Music, episode 826: Real stories behind famous songs

Streaming is a very cool way to access tens of millions of songs with just a few pokes on your phone. The idea of being able to listen to virtually any song from any era of human history with such ease (and cheapness!) that it’s something akin to magic.

But there is a downside. Streaming doesn’t provide any context to what we’re hearing. A continuous stream of music tells us nothing about the artist or the song. It’s just music, standing alone with nothing to anchor it.

It was different in the old days. If you bought an album, that was an investment, dammit. You paid money for the thing which created a fiscal bond–a fiduciary relationship–between you and the artist. That meant you were more likely to stick with an album and get deeper into the artist and the songs. Otherwise, you had this nagging feeling you had wasted your money.

Context means so much to the enjoyment of music, which is probably why you’re interested in shows/podcasts like The Ongoing History of New Music. You want more than the notes that make up a song.

And yeah, sometimes a song is just a song; you know it’s got a good beat, you can dance to it and maybe sing along. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that.

But some songs are very, very deep, actually forming some part of a historical record. They tell the stories of real people, real events and the things that came after.

That’s where we’re going with this episode. All the songs are based on fact, on history, and on actual events. You may actually be shocked by the truth about tracks you’ve been digging all your life.

This isn’t anything you’re gonna get from a stream. Trust me.\

Songs included on this show:

The Clash, White Riot

Boomtown Rats, I Don’t Like Mondays

U2, Sunday Bloody Sunday

REM, What’s the Frequency Kenneth

Pearl Jam, Jeremy

Nirvana, Polly

Tragically Hip, Wheat Kings

Filter, Hey Man, Nice Shot

Sublime, April 29, 1992 (Miami)

Eric Wilhite has this handy playlist for us.

Don’t forget that you can get the podcast version of this podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:

We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37438 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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