Ed Ward

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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In 1970, Warner Bros. Records had an unusual philosophy: they'd sign artists and, instead of wanting a hit single immediately, they'd develop them over several albums. This way, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Little Feat, and Randy Newman got big career boosts. They also took a chance on Captain Beefheart, and although neither a hit single nor a hit album resulted, some very interesting music did. Fresh Air rock historian Ed Ward has the story.

50 Years Of The Hollies

Mar 11, 2015

Groups celebrating 50 years of existence aren't too common, which is why the media generally makes a big deal out of it. But one such group had their 50th anniversary in 2014 without many people in the U.S. hearing about it. The Hollies, though, are often overlooked in this country because they weren't virtuosos or showmen, and because the American disdain for pop meant that they didn't have the kind of big hits they had in England. Fresh Air music historian Ed Ward has their story today.

Paramount Records, founded in 1917 by a furniture company in Wisconsin, found itself in a curious position by the mid-1920s: it was the leading blues label in America, and selling lots of records. J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, the first black record executive in America, had used his street smarts to attract a number of artists, and his best-seller was Blind Lemon Jefferson. Then, suddenly, Williams quit in 1927. But Paramount's greatest moments were yet to come.

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