Soul and gospel singer Fontella Bass, whose 1965 hit "Rescue Me" endures as one of the most recognizable soul records of the '60s, died last week on the day after Christmas. She was 72 years old. Despite the success of "Rescue Me," it was the number one R&B single for four weeks, it took years of litigation before Bass could claim her share of songwriting credit and royalties. In 1993, she sued American Express for using the song in a commercial and received what she said was a significant settlement.
Robert Siegel talks to Dr. Hugh Foley, founding member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, about Patti Page. Page was the top-selling female singer of the 1950s. She died at the age of 85 on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif.
Albinas Prizgintas discusses his musical influences and career.
The 2013 Big Easy classical arts awards will be handed out next week. A highlight of the event will be the Lifetime Achievement Award presentation to Albinas Prizgintas, musical director at Trinity Church. He’s renowned for his classic training at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. But he has a surprising range — and techniques.
We'll listen back to a 1989 interview with actor Harry Carey Jr., who died Dec. 27. Carey co-starred with John Wayne in the classic Westerns She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers and 3 Godfathers. He talked to Fresh Air about filming epic cavalry-versus-Indian scenes — and his most challenging stunts.
In 2012, the nation mourned the deaths of some extremely influential individuals — from singer Whitney Houston to astronaut Neil Armstrong, writer Maurice Sendak and TV personality Dick Clark.
Each year, Talk of the Nation reaches out to colleagues at NPR for help remembering some of the remarkable men and woman who did not make the front page when they died, but whose lives still made a significant impact.
In June, Scott Walker — the Wisconsin governor who banned collective bargaining for public employee unions — survived a recall election.
And, despite huge protests in Michigan, the union stronghold became the 24th right-to-work state, banning unions from requiring workers to sign up. That came just 10 months after Indiana passed a similar law.
C. Louis Kincannon, the former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, died of cancer Dec. 15 at age 72. Kincannon brought ethnic and linguistic diversity to his agency. We remember him with Tom Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's acting director.