Monday, March 30, 2015: Thirty four years ago today, John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside of a Washington hotel wounding Ronald Reagan and three others. The president lost half of his blood and came closer to dying than most realize. In Rawhide Down, Del Quentin Wilber lays out the minute-by-minute account of the assassination attempt. “Rawhide” was Reagan’s Secret Service code name. Then, if you listened to music in the 1960s and 1970s … you heard the Wrecking Crew. That was one nickname for the uncredited studio musicians who performed on one hit record after another, for everyone from the Beach Boys to the Byrds to Simon & Garfunkel to the Mamas & the Papas. Kent Hartman tells the story of these largely unnamed session musicians in his book The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll’s Best-Kept Secret.
Tuesday, March 31, 2015: In 2011, author and SiriusXM Symphony Hall host Martin Goldsmith traveled through Europe to piece together the tragic tale of his grandfather and uncle, Alex and Helmut Goldschmidt. Passengers on the doomed MS St. Louis, the father and son made it back to France only to be shipped to Auschwitz. Goldsmith weaves their path into his contemporary journey in his book Alex’s Wake: A Voyage of Betrayal and a Journey of Remembrance. It comes out in paperback today.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015: Gil Scott-Heron’s memoir The Last Holiday is a testament to the extraordinary life of the activist, musician and poet. Scott-Heron is commonly known for his 1970’s hit “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” His publisher, editor, and long-time friend, Jamie Byng tells Bob about the book and shares the legacy of Gil Scott-Heron. Today would have been his 66th birthday but Scott-Heron died in 2011.
Thursday, April 2, 2015: Carl Kasell delivered NPR newscasts for more than 30 years. For nearly 25 of those years, Bob and Carl worked together on NPR’s Morning Edition. We’ll hear them swap stories and revisit highlights from Carl’s long radio career – which included 16 years as the official judge and scorekeeper for the NPR quiz program Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me. Today is Carl’s 81st birthday and he still has an office at NPR, where his title is “public radio ambassador.”
Friday, April 3, 2015: 47 years ago this weekend, Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis, Tennessee helping to bring national attention to the struggles of a group of sanitation workers on strike for better wages and working conditions. He led marches and gave speeches – and was shot and killed on April 4, 1968. To mark the anniversary, Bob talks with three people who worked with King in Memphis. Maxine Smith led the city’s chapter of the NAACP from 1962 until 1996. Frank McRae was a local white minister who supported the sanitation workers marching for their rights and dignity. Benjamin Hooks was a friend of King’s and went on to serve as executive director of the NAACP.