February 1, 2016
EP. 107 — Mind-Blowing Secrets Behind Your Favorite Music
The history of the music industry is littered with weird and possibly apocryphal stories of how people were discovered and how songs came to be. Sam Phillips, the man credited with discovering Elvis, tells the story of a shy 18-year-old Presley coming into his studio and Phillips having the gut instinct to shout something like, “say, this kid’s gonna be a star!” It’s a fine story, except Phillips wasn’t even there the day Elvis first went into Sun Records. It was his assistant Marion Keisker who heard Elvis first and thought to pass him along to her boss. We like to think of our artists as chess pieces in a heroes journey. It fits the story in our minds to have Elvis be discovered by Obi-Wan Kenobi and for them to have the determination to know ‘Hound Dog’ would be a big hit. But ‘Hound Dog’ was first recorded 4 years earlier by Big Mama Thornton. The history of the music industry is a surprisingly messy thing. Keith Richards comes up with the main riff to ‘Satisfaction’ and forgets how to play it the next day. What sounds like divine inspiration to us might very well be an accident. On this week’s podcast Jack sits down with Hrishikesh Hirway, the brilliant mind behind the podcast ‘Song Exploder’, to talk about his process and what he learns breaking down popular songs instrument-by-instrument. Later he talks with Peter Matthew Bauer of The Walkmen to talk gear culture, how demos are made, and Michael Jackson’s magical $20,000 mixing board.
January 26, 2020
Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.
January 19, 2020
How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!
January 12, 2020
Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.