Joe Levy

Joe Levy appears in the following:

Gary Clark Jr. Plays Live; The Legacy Of Stax Records; That Was A Hit?!? On Candyman

Friday, October 03, 2014

Bluesman Gary Clark Jr. plays solo in the Soundcheck studio. Looking back at the the legacy of Stax Records. That Was A Hit?!? explores the success of a 1990 song by Candyman.


How To Be Smarter About... Van Morrison's 'Astral Weeks'

Friday, August 15, 2014

Let's face it: as much as we all know and love about music, everyone has at least some blind spots. In our new series, "How To Be Smarter About…" Billboard's Joe Levy delves into the ...

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How To Be Smarter About... Van Morrison's 'Astral Weeks'; The Revivalists Play Live

Friday, August 15, 2014

In this episode: When Soundcheck asked listeners to tell us what they wish they were smarter about, one response begged to explain why Van Morrison -- and in particular, his 1968 album Astral Weeks – is so beloved and has such an enduring legacy. Billboard’s Joe Levy gives a thorough explanation.

And: New Orleans is known for jazz, zydeco, hip-hop... and now, thanks to The Revivalists, a kind of Southern-flavored, funk-infused indie-rock. The septet makes music that has echoes of Dr. John, maybe a little Sly and the Family Stone, and perhaps a smidge of Kings of Leon. Hear the band perform live in the Soundcheck studio.


That Was A Hit?!?: Candyman, 'Knockin' Boots'

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The latest installment in our That Was A Hit!?! series about improbable chart hits looks at Candyman's 1990 song "Knockin' Boots."

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The Soundcheck Guide To The Kinks

Monday, February 24, 2014

Before Ray Davies of The Kinks is inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame this year, we examine the often-overlooked British band in our Soundcheck Guide to The Kinks. 

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A Soundcheck Guide To The Kinks; Lost In The Trees Plugs In; Pandora Picks Your Politics

Monday, February 24, 2014

In this episode: With former Kinks frontman Ray Davies will be inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame this year, explore the British rock band’s must-hear tracks, deep cuts and, well, better-left-unheard songs with Billboard editor Joe Levy in our official Soundcheck Guide to The Kinks.

Then: The North Carolina band Lost In The Trees has gained a reputation for acoustic folk that packs an emotional punch. But on its new album, Past Life, the band is plugged in and maybe even hitting the dance floor.

And: The makers Pandora think they know you well enough to sell you shoes, diapers -- and political candidates. Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin explains how Pandora can tell whether you vote blue or red, and how the online music streaming service plans to make money off both colors.

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Modern Madonna: A Look At The Pop Icon Post-2000

Friday, September 20, 2013

Soundcheck wraps up Madonna Week with a look at a more modern side of Madonna's career with Billboard editor Joe Levy.


Uncovering Unpublished Lyrics By Bob Dylan

Friday, May 24, 2013

An unpublished lyric sheet from Bob Dylan is up for auction this summer. We hear about the song, hear some interpretations recorded by fans, and dive into some well known Dylan covers.

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iTunes At Ten: Apple's Impact On The Music Industry A Decade In

Monday, May 20, 2013

The iTunes store was a game changer ten years ago, when it first emerged. Billboard editor Joe Levy discusses the online music and media store's impact on the music industry a decade in.


Record Store Day Smackdown; Guitarist William Tyler; New Releases

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In this episode: Since 2008, the third Saturday of April has been unofficially designated "Record Store Day." It’s become an international celebration of music and independent record stores -- and, a holiday worthy of a Smackdown debate. Perhaps we’ll issue a limited edition 7” vinyl of the audio recording of Joe Levy of Billboard and Ben Greenman of the New Yorker duking it out in our studio to mark the occasion.

Plus: Guitarist William Tyler joins us in the studio to play songs off of his third LP, Impossible Truth

And: It’s been a good season for new releases. eMusic editor-in-chief J. Edward Keyes shares some new music that's been catching his ears.

Soundcheck Smackdown: Record Store Day Edition

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Every third Saturday in April since 2008, faithful fans of vinyl have lined up at the doors of their local independent record shops to buy limited edition releases in honor of Record ...

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Misunderstanding Lyrics Is Just More Fun

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Greil Marcus once pointed out that lyrics are something that are felt before they’re understood. But Billboard editor Joe Levy reflects on why misunderstanding lyrics is sometimes mor...
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Share Your Favorite Misheard Lyrics

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

If you have a favorite misheard lyric -- or mondegreen -- Soundcheck wants to know!

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Musical Mondegreens: The Best Thing You’ve Misheard; Local Natives In The Studio

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

As soon as you put words to music, there’s a good chance someone is going to misunderstand them. Misheard lyrics, or mondegreens, are funny -- but they also tell us something about ho...

The Not So Slight Return Of Jimi Hendrix

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The number one album on the Billboard chart this week is from the 36 year old country star Luke Bryan. The number two album is from a musician who hasn’t recorded a new song for more than 36 years -- Jimi Hendrix. His new, posthumous album is called “People, Hell And Angels.” Billboard editor and Soundcheck regular Joe Levy joins us to discuss. You can read more on the album from Joe Levy here.


Jimi Hendrix Took It All Too Far. But Boy, Could He Play Guitar

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Billboard editor Joe Levy on the just-released album from the late guitarist and icon. Hear more from Joe Levy here.

If you looked at the charts this week and saw that Jimi Hendrix’s newest, People, Hell & Angels debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard album tally and that David Bowie’s latest was on its way to claiming the No. 1 spot on the UK charts, you’d be forgiven for wondering if we’d all tripped, fallen into the Way Back Machine, and landed in 1972.
That’s the year that Bowie immortalized a Hendrix-like figure on The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, capturing all the lost potential and mythic power of rock’s greatest improviser on songs like “Rock & Roll Suicide.” Two years earlier, on September 18, 1970, Hendrix had become the first of the rock stars to die for our sins (beating Janis Joplin by a mere 16 days), though like many of the departed starmen and women, he’s never really left us.

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Billboard Names Its Top Money Makers Of 2012, And We Put You To The Test

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Last week, Billboard magazine published its yearly roundup of the industry’s top earners in their “Music’s Top 40 Money Makers” list. We tapped Billboard editor Joe Levy to serve as o...


Musical Money Makers; Keith Sweat’s Relationship Advice; The Milk Carton Kids

Thursday, February 28, 2013

In This Episode: Billboard magazine recently published its list of top earning artists from the past year – and some of the numbers might surprise you. We put listeners’ music and money knowledge to the test, with a quiz about tour dollars, album sales and high-rollers. Plus, you can play along at home. 

Plus: R&B veteran Keith Sweat has been recording steamy slow jams for more than 20 years. He joins us to dole out relationship advice taken from his new (song-title-referencing) book, Make It Last Forever: The Dos and Don’ts.

And: The country-tinged minimalist duo The Milk Carton Kids play live. 

That Was A Hit?!?: Bloodrock, 'D.O.A.'

Friday, February 15, 2013

Today, Soundcheck is debuting a new, occasional series called That Was A Hit?!?, in which we examine the baffling success of pop hits that probably should never have been pop hits. In our inaugural installment, Billboard magazine's Joe Levy delves into a few songs that strangely found themselves near the top of the charts, including Bloodrock's 1971 hit "D.O.A." 

Levy was also on Soundcheck, talking about a few unlikely, improbably musical hits.

"Laying here looking at the ceiling," goes the first line of "D.O.A." by Bloodrock, which could be a pretty promising start for a Top 40 single from 1971, especially since just a few seconds later the singer is telling us about something warm flowing down his fingers. Hey, maybe little explicit, but it is the ‘70s, the decade where soft-rock come ons that started with stuff about climbing on rainbows progressed quickly to blunt propositions like, "If you’re wondering where this song is leading, I’d like to make it with you."

Thing is, the second line isn't about a warm wind blowing the stars around or pina colada fueled walks in the rain. It’s about a hospital attendant pulling a sheet across the singer's chest. That warm stuff causing the sticky fingers? Human blood!



"D.O.A." is definitely deserves a nomination for the strangest hit of all time: 4:35 of plodding chiller-theater rock sung from the POV of a guy who’s been in plane crash. "I try to move my arm and there’s no feeling, and when I look I see there’s nothing there." His girlfriend is dead next to him. The chorus? "I remember! We were flying along, and hit something in the air." Bloodrock were distressingly literal, so along with ambulance sirens you get details like "the sheets are red and moist where I’m lying" and the climatic line, "God in Heaven, teach me how to die." It’s actually kind of simple: First you stop breathing...

It’s hard to imagine something this gruesome on the radio, let alone on enough radios across the nation to climb the chart. Thing is, it was a No. 36 hit for six-shaggy haired dudes from Ft. Worth, Texas, one of whom was a would-be pilot who’d actually seen a friend die in a small plane crash and written “D.O.A.” in response.

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That Was A Hit?!? (The Journey Begins)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Billboard editor Joe Levy joins us to kick off a series about surprising pop hits. 

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