Bob Boilen

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.

Significant listener interest in the music being played on All Things Considered, along with his and NPR's vast music collections, gave Boilen the idea to start All Songs Considered. "It was obvious to me that listeners of NPR were also lovers of music, but what also became obvious by 1999 was that the web was going to be the place to discover new music and that we wanted to be the premiere site for music discovery." The show launched in 2000, with Boilen as its host.

Before coming to NPR, Boilen found many ways to share his passion for music. From 1982 to 1986 he worked for Baltimore's Impossible Theater, where he held many posts, including composer, technician, and recording engineer. Boilen became part of music history in 1983 with the Impossible Theater production Whiz Bang, a History of Sound. In it, Boilen became one of the first composers to use audio sampling — in this case, sounds from nature and the industrial revolution. He was interviewed about Whiz Bang by Susan Stamberg on All Things Considered.

In 1985, the Washington City Paper voted Boilen 'Performance Artist of the Year.' An electronic musician, he received a grant from the Washington D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities to work on electronic music and performance.

After Impossible Theater, Boilen worked as a producer for a television station in Washington, D.C. He produced several projects, including a music video show. In 1997, he started producing an online show called Science Live for the Discovery Channel. He also put out two albums with his psychedelic band, Tiny Desk Unit, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Boilen still composes and performs music and posts it for free on his website BobBoilen.info. He performs contradance music and has a podcast of contradance music that he produces with his son Julian.

Longtime NPR fans may remember another contribution Boilen made to NPR. He composed the original theme music for NPR's Talk of the Nation.

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All Songs Considered
1:04 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Question Of The Week: Who Controls The Music In Your House?

Dad's playing his music again and no one is happy.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:58 am

Got a question you'd like the All Songs gang to consider? Leave it in the comments below or drop us an email: allsongs@npr.org.

Is music part of your Thanksgiving holiday? Will you be battling dad for control of the family speakers? Or is it a war between the siblings?

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All Songs Considered
3:17 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

My Arena Rock Boycott Is Over

In Flight: Pete Townshend of The Who during a concert in 1975.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 15, 2012 8:21 am

I've seen thousands of concerts over the years but none of them, since 1978, have been in an arena. I never had that eureka moment, I just stopped going. That means for 34 years, I've passed on major, monster acts. No McCartney, no Springsteen, no U2 and no Led Zeppelin (that one hurts the most).

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All Songs Considered
2:48 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Hear The Rolling Stones' Brand New 'One More Shot'

DAVID J. PHILLIP AP/Press Association Images

From the opening chugging guitar sound, this song could only be The Rolling Stones. For the first time in seven years, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood got together to record two new songs, and you can hear "One More Shot," which was recorded in Paris with Don Was producing, right here.

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All Songs Considered
3:34 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

First Watch: People Get Ready, 'Windy Cindy'

People Get Ready.
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:11 pm

I saw forty shows during the CMJ Music Marathon this year, and the one by the Brooklyn-based band People Get Ready was by far the most creative. Part of what I love about the band is the way its members think outside the box ... way outside the box. For brevity, I'll describe People Get Ready, led by guitarist, dancer and choreographer Steven Reker, as an indie-rock-performing-art-dance troupe. This is magical musical theater.

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All Songs Considered
4:10 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Watch The Creepy New Video By Mercury Prize Winners Alt-J

Alt-J flying in Delta formation
Jory Cordy Big Hassle Media

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:03 am

Alt-J is a quirky band that, over the past few months, has found its way to the top of my listening pile and is now my favorite album of the year. I'm not alone. Yesterday Alt-J's album, An Awesome Wave, won the Mercury Prize. This choice prize for bands in Great Britain is selected by music journalists and other music business folks and often goes to underdogs. This year is no exception.

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All Songs Considered
10:20 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Song Premiere: Pere Ubu, 'Free White'

Pere Ubu
Courtesy of the Artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 6:32 pm

Pere Ubu made some of the darkest and most creative music of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Thirty five years after its release, The Modern Dance would easily make my top 10 of all time. We hear the word "industrial" bandied about to describe music — The Modern Dance exemplified that genre.

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All Songs Considered
11:12 am
Thu November 1, 2012

First Watch: Walk Off The Earth, 'Red Hands'

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:28 pm

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a confetti cannon. But even more so, I love it when visuals draw me into a song. It doesn't happen often, but this video for the song "Red Hands" by Walk Off The Earth had me scratching my head wondering how it was done while it kept me smiling at the same time.

It's not the first time this band has made me smile. Earlier this year this Canadian band gathered round a single acoustic guitar and recorded themselves playing a cover version of Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" that has now been watched 138 million times.

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All Songs Considered
4:30 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Dear Dad: I'm Sorry I Blew Out Your Nice Stereo Speakers

I think we can all agree that he deserves at least a little bit of the blame: Keith Emerson of Emerson, Lake & Palmer on stage with his Moog synthesizer.
Ed Perlstein Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 11:36 am

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All Songs Considered
12:58 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

CMJ 2012: Discoveries Day Four

Performers in People Get Ready's Specific Ocean at New York Live Arts.
Ian Douglas Courtesy of the artist

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All Songs Considered
1:43 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Bob Boilen's CMJ Discoveries: Day Three

Little Green Cars play at the Union Square Ballroom during CMJ 2012 in New York City.
Bob Boilen NPR

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 pm

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