Music history iPhone apps that will school you well

Jul 23, 2010
Music

It isn’t always enough to be a fan of just music. Often when we love a band’s songs, we want to know everything about the people who make them. Where were they when they wrote their hits? Who were they writing about, thinking about or dating at the time? Where were they working before they […]

It isn’t always enough to be a fan of just music. Often when we love a band’s songs, we want to know everything about the people who make them. Where were they when they wrote their hits? Who were they writing about, thinking about or dating at the time? Where were they working before they got big? Indulge in a list of music apps that will help quench your music knowledge thirst.

This Day is Music

Find out which musicians share your birthday, what was number one on the day you were born, and who did what on the day you’re checking out the This Day In Music app ($2.99). On July 21, 1967, possibly as I write this, the Jimi Hendrix Experience played the first of three nights at the Café a Go Go in the basement of 152 Bleecker St. in New York City. This app also has an awesome quiz with an endless series of trivia questions, perfect for the music nerd in you.

History of the Beatles

The 99-cent History of the Beatles app is a thorough look into the world of this band. The app is divided into chronological chapters about the band’s lives, starting with an introduction, ending with their musical style; sandwiched in between is their UK popularity, the British invasion, and the events leading up to their final tour. In the “Abbey Road, Let it Be, and breakup” chapter, I learned the band’s final live performance was eventually filmed on the rooftop of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London on January 30, 1969.

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History of Elvis Presley

The 99-cent History of Elvis Presley app is similar to the Beatles app (Scott W. Hotaling is behind both). It starts with an introduction, leaves you with Elvis’ legacy, and in the middle offers chapters sectioned off by years—1969-73 and 1973-77—his early life, breakthrough, and comeback. In the chapter about his final year and death, I read about his last performance at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977; according to many in his entourage, it was the best show he had given in a long time.

Johan Sebastian Bach

The Johan Sebastian Bach app (99 cents) is a real treat, if for no other reason than it was great to listen to such a large variety of Bach’s lovely compositions. As Bach is such a huge influence on music history, it was interesting reading his biography and taking the quiz, which tests your knowledge of his compositions. I have no idea how I got as many right as I did, but I was thrilled to play!

Rock and Roll Study Guide

The Rock and Roll Study Guide ($1.99) is structured around Wikipedia pages, which is not exactly what I was expecting, though it doesn’t change the validity of the information this app provides. The app first opens up to an article on rock and roll, and from there, you can get more specific. Read about early rock and roll records, British r&r, rock’s cultural impact, and so on. I found the index to be particularly helpful, as here you could really zero in on your search. You can look up Big Mama Thorton, Doo Wop, Glam Rock, Rockabilly, and much more.

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