FT Arts

How Lou Reed got prostitution, transvestism, oral sex and drugs past the BBC commisariat with a group of white English ‘coloured girls’. Credits: RCA/Legacy, Spectralite, Sony BMG Music Entertainment


Peter Aspden deconstructs the creation of Bob Dylan’s legendary song over the course of a single day in the studio. Credit: Columbia/Legacy


David Cheal investigates the roots of an explosive song often cited as the first ever rock ‘n’ roll record. Credits: Charly Records, Gralin Music, Famous Flames Recording Company, Proper Box.


Jan Dalley tells the story of the aria that united opera and football fans alike in a strange example of the power of posh music. Credits: ZYX Music, Naxos, Monument, Arista.


Michael Jackson’s first foray into rock helped dismantle barriers of genre — and race — in the early 1980s music business. Maria Crawford tells the story. Credits: Epic, Mercury Records.


From the origin of the “grapevine” itself, through Motown and Marvin Gaye to The Slits’ punk reinvention, Hilary Kirby charts the evolution of a classic. Credits: Motown Record Company, Motown Records, Island Def Jam Records.


Going back to the roots of Lamont Dozier’s 1977 hit, David Cheal uncovers TV inspiration, Woodstockian vibes and a question mark over the authorship of that famous guitar lick. Credits: Warner Music TV, Rhino/Elektra, Marathon Media International, Orlando Julius Afro House of High Life.


First recorded in 1934 by Lead Belly the ‘Homicidal Harmoniser’, David Cheal follows the waltzing lament of ‘Goodnight, Irene’ through interpretations by the Weavers, Ry Cooder and Bryan Ferry. Credits: Hallmark, H&H Music, Rhino/Warner Bros, Virgin Germany.


David Cheal follows Modest Mussorgsky’s dramatic 19th-century composition from orchestral standard to Disney classic and floor-filling disco anthem. Credits: Disney Records, Masterworks Jazz, Bee Gees/Reprise.


A Motown classic and Beatles favourite that went on to become perhaps the first postmodern pop song: David Cheal on the many lives of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’. Credits: Motown Records Inc., EMI, Simitar.