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He served the Beatles’ music with unfaltering skill and imagination.

Kris-Kristofferson

Takin’ ev’ry wrong direction on his lonely way back home.

coot grant

She thrived in any musical context: jazz, blues, hokum, pop.

cliff ukulele

As big as Bing, but he died in obscurity.

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Music as volatile as bare wires, as raw as a flayed body.

johnny ace

He gave an embryonic rock‘n’roll its supernatural cred.

Prince

The exegesis has just begin.

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He asks us to do some deep thinking about music and creativity.

jolson thumb

Freed by burnt cork, he became a phenomenon.

Shepp-ForLosers-HiLo

He aimed to liberate America aesthetically and socially.

davidbyrnesmoke1

For a guy with no sense of humor, he sure is funny.

evans thumb

Arranging and rearranging was his witchcraft.

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“Santa Claus Is A Black Man.”

Illustration by Joe Alterio

Everything that ever was, and is now, and ever will be.

Glen Campbell

A reach for beauty to the exclusion of the world itself.

RonnyElliott-MeaningToWrite

An avuncular yet urgent singer-songwriter.

tiny-tim

He gave himself to Tiny Tim, and Tiny gave himself to us.

jimmy cliff

An outlaw hero who found mainstream fame.

RufusThomasTheFunkie

Stax, and soul, wouldn’t have been the same without him.

creager

The unquiet, wandering spirit of the freshly possible.

charley pride-6

He returned Southern Soul to its Country roots.

NatKingCole-PianoStyle

1956 was an annus mirabilis for Nat King Cole.

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His career recapitulated the mystery of the blues in miniature.

Villa-Lobos-Cigar

Brazilian masterpieces small and humongous.