Phil Harrell

In the 1970s, there were few singer-songwriters more beloved than Cat Stevens. A lot has changed since his landmark album Tea for the Tillerman. For one, he's a grandfather. For two, he's not even Cat Stevens anymore: He's gone by Yusuf Islam, or simply Yusuf, since his conversion to the Muslim faith later that decade.

On July 4, 1970, the countdown started. Originally hosted by Casey Kasem, American Top 40 played "the best selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico," as he stated on the first program broadcast 50 years ago as of tomorrow.

On any given week, American Top 40 could feature a ballad, next to a country song, next to a funk song, next to a rock song. The show became a national obsession but 50 years ago, it was considered a risky idea.

Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

On paper, Wajatta is a musical pairing that shouldn't work. The duo is composed of Reggie Watts, a fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants improviser, and John Tejada, a meticulous electronic composer. Despite seeming like a bit of an odd couple, Don't Let Get You Down, their second collaboration, was just released today.

This week, Morning Edition begins a series called One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs. Each segment focuses on a musician or band whose career in the United States is defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalog has much more to offer.

It was the elephant in the room. Over 20 years after parodying NPR hosts in her recurring sketch, "The Delicious Dish," former Saturday Night Live cast member Ana Gasteyer sat down for an interview with NPR host Noel King.

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Nadia Tehran's debut album, Dozakh: All Lovers Hell, opens with a haunting excerpt from an interview with her father. Tehran's father recounts his last day fighting in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when he drove an ammunition-filled car that exploded after it was attacked. "Death comes when it comes," Tehran's father recalls saying to rally his troops for that ill-fated expedition. "One should not be afraid of death."

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This story is part of American Anthem, a yearlong series on songs that rouse, unite, celebrate and call to action.

Every generation has a handful of songs that invoke memories of sweltering days at the beach, barbecue or backyard and the warm nights that follow. Since it's that time of the year again, we're asking: What are the songs of the summer for 2018?

Pioneering rockers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Little Richard brought the fire of a Pentecostal preacher to their pianos. That same spirit is alive and well in the work of Low Cut Connie, whose fifth album Dirty Pictures (Part 2) comes out May 18.

"Here is musical sterility at its pinnacle. A band that has absolutely no soul, no feeling in the music," critic Lester Bangs declared in 1975. The target of his derision? The British progressive-rock group Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Bangs disdained the band's objective, as he saw it, "to play pre-set solos as fast as you possibly can, [at] breakneck speed, and do it for about five hours."