Al Kooper

Columnist, The Morton Report

Covering New Music for Old People

Al Kooper

Al Kooper began his career in 1958 at age 14 playing guitar in the Royal Teens – a band who hit #1 with the novelty “Short Shorts.” From there Kooper moved to songwriting and his songs were covered by Gary Lewis ("This Diamond Ring"), Gene Pitney ("I Must Be Seeing Things"), Freddie Cannon, Lulu, Nancy Sinatra, and scads more. In 1965 he played the catchy organ part on Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” and continued his sound on the albums Highway 61 Revisited and Blond on Blonde, helping Dylan cement his new sound in place.

After that, The Stones, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, and many others got Al to play on their recordings. After short stints in The Blues Project and Blood Sweat & Tears, Kooper, alongside Mike Bloomfield and Steve Stills, played on and produced the original jam album Super Session.

Before long Al was producing Nils Lofgren, The Tubes, Dylan, and soon discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd, producing their first three albums including the hits "Free Bird," "Sweet Home Alabama," "Saturday Night Special," and "Gimme 3 Steps."

He scored famed director Hal Ashby’s first film The Landlord and Michael Mann’s famed TV series Crime Story. His best-selling autobiography Backstage Passes & Backstabbing Bastards is in its third printing and selling better than ever. He is currently working on a new album and is happy to join the staff of The Morton Report in an effort to help his fellow listeners stay in tune!

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Articles From Al Kooper
Friday Apr 18, 2014 00:00 AM ET
This week's column has a few repeat visitors, some standout oldies, something new, and an appearance by Al.
Friday Apr 11, 2014 00:00 AM ET
Week's end brings another fabulous mixed grab-bag of tunes from Al, destined to make your day better.
Friday Apr 4, 2014 00:00 AM ET
Al's back with part five of a multi-part series of rare stereo mixes. It's definitely time to take out your headphones so you can thoroughly enjoy these sonic splendors.
Friday Mar 28, 2014 00:00 AM ET
This week we time travel back to the '50s to take a look at (and give a listen to) some of Al's more obscure musical influences from the world of rock/rockabilly.
Friday Mar 21, 2014 00:00 AM ET
Spring is officially here, and there's some new music to listen to. What could be better than that?
Friday Mar 14, 2014 00:00 AM ET
It's Friday and we're here to make this cold mid-March a bit more bearable by bringing you another very listenable bunch of tunes hand-picked by Al Kooper.
Friday Mar 7, 2014 00:00 AM ET
This week Al introduces us to some contemporary artists who pay stylistic homage to the '60s and '70s. It's like old music by new people.
Friday Feb 28, 2014 00:00 AM ET
We're wrapping up February with a playlist that includes, among other fine tracks, four interesting covers and some old school soul. Grab the headphones.
Friday Feb 21, 2014 00:00 AM ET
We're back with another excellent selection of music this week from an outstanding collection of artists young and old.
Friday Feb 14, 2014 00:00 AM ET
No matter how you're spending Valentine's Day, Al's annual love-themed playlist is a good accompaniment.
Friday Feb 7, 2014 00:00 AM ET
Al had a birthday this week, but that didn't keep him from putting together another kick-ass column for your listening pleasure. Have a slice of cake and enjoy some music.
Friday Jan 31, 2014 00:00 AM ET
You probably need a little something to lift you out of the winter doldrums right about now. We've got just the thing...
Friday Jan 24, 2014 00:00 AM ET
This week's column marks the passing of Phil Everly and pays tribute to the incomparable influence and artistry of the Everly Brothers with a fabulous 16-track playlist.
Friday Jan 17, 2014 00:00 AM ET
There are some repeat guests gracing this week's column along with some new faces, and it's all good listening.
Friday Jan 10, 2014 00:00 AM ET
To celebrate the 80th birthday of the Hammond Organ Company, Hammond USA has established the Hammond Hall of Fame. The freshman class includes 26 genre-spanning honorees. This week's column brings you ten of them.
Friday Dec 27, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This past year, New Music for Old People brought you over 400 songs. Amidst the old, the new, the undiscovered, and the rediscovered, these are the 25 that listeners liked the best. It's a great way to ring out the old and ring in the new. Happy New Year!
Friday Dec 20, 2013 00:00 AM ET
As is his yearly custom, Al selects a superb group of Christmas tunes that are a little off the beaten path for most listeners. We suggest putting the wrapping paper down for a few and grabbing some eggnog along with those headphones.
Friday Dec 13, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Take a break from those holiday errands with this week's great selection of tunes. Grab your headphones and relax. It'll be worth your while.
Friday Dec 6, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week, Al picks some Beatles covers you might not have come across until now, and needless to say, it's a well-curated playlist. Enjoy!
Friday Nov 29, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Too much turkey? Too much family togetherness? Too much football? We've got just the thing to cure your Thanksgiving Day blues.
Friday Nov 22, 2013 00:00 AM ET
If you're making a list of things you're thankful for this week, make sure you put good music somewhere near the top. Speaking of which, here's some now...
Friday Nov 8, 2013 00:00 AM ET
It's that time again. This week's playlist includes some old tunes worth revisiting from Ketty Lester and Timi Yuro and some new tunes worth discovering, including a track from Leslie West's newest album — and other good things, too.
Friday Oct 25, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Another week brings another great (and truly eclectic) playlist, featuring Gary Numan, Maps & Atlases, Keb' Mo', Jamie O'Neal and much more (including an offering from the columnist himself).
Friday Oct 18, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Seasick Steve leads the charge this week. Perhaps you'll meet some artists you haven't encountered before after that, and Snarky Puppy wraps it all up with a return appearance. It's Friday, and that means it's time for new music.
Friday Oct 11, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week, Al Kooper talks about the song selection process for Blood, Sweat & Tears' first album, Child Is Father to the Man. If you've ever heard this album, you'll want to read (and listen to) this column. If you haven't ever heard this album, that's a mistake you should take steps to rectify.
Friday Oct 4, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Featuring femmes Patty Griffin, Imogen Heap, Timi Yuro, The Bulgarian Women's Ensemble and other loquacious ladies we love.
Friday Sep 27, 2013 00:00 AM ET
There is so much good music in here this week it's hard to know where to start (but we recommend beginning at the beginning with Mavis Staples and working your way through to the end).
Friday Sep 20, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week's playlist features some very good guitar-playing among the aural treats. Grab your headphones and find a comfy place to sit.
Friday Sep 13, 2013 00:00 AM ET
We have a heavy infusion of doo wop this week as Al continues exploring his musical foundations in part eight of an ongoing series.
Friday Sep 6, 2013 00:00 AM ET
It's the end of the week, which can only mean good news for your ears. There is, as usual, much to be discovered and savored in this week's playlist.
Friday Aug 30, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Another skillful blend of the newer and the not-so-new for your listening enlightenment, and also some repeat visitors in this week's playlist.
Friday Aug 23, 2013 00:00 AM ET
There's something here to suit nearly every taste this week, from Queens of the Stone Age to KT Tunstall, with some blues and bluegrass in the middle. Give a listen.
Friday Aug 16, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week's column is like a very hip musical atlas, so take your last summer vacation while sitting in a chair at work or home and ALL bags are free, natch, and all music is first class.
Friday Aug 9, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week's eclectic collection consists of songs that will grow on you, given the chance, so we vote for giving them a chance.
Friday Aug 2, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week's playlist starts with alternative rockers Hoobastank and makes its way to the late blues legend Bobby Bland, with plenty of good stuff in the middle. Come in and check it out.
Friday Jul 26, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Sixties blues from Billy Boy Arnold and an obscure Minnie Riperton track bracket a great selection of songs this week.
Friday Jul 19, 2013 00:00 AM ET
It's Friday! Daft Punk gets the party started, Field Music and Randall Bramblett make return visits, and Nils Lofgren stops by. And there's lots more, so grab the headphones.
Friday Jul 12, 2013 00:00 AM ET
A great mix of the old and the new (and the in-between) in this week's playlist.
Friday Jul 5, 2013 00:00 AM ET
We're back with some great tunes to accompany you on this long holiday weekend. Good food, good friends, good music...
Friday Jun 21, 2013 00:00 AM ET
We're back with a fourth collection of rare stereo mixes. Grab the headphones and settle in for some very nice listening...
Friday Jun 14, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Eclectic is a good way to describe this week's selection of great tracks, which range from Jack Nitzsche to The National.
Friday May 24, 2013 00:00 AM ET
What good is a long weekend without some great music? No good at all, which is why we're here to make sure you have some.
Friday May 17, 2013 00:00 AM ET
The wait is over — after a two-week absence, Al is back with an eclectic mix of tunes that's sure to please. There's something here for everyone, so grab the headphones and enjoy.
Friday May 3, 2013 00:00 AM ET
No new music this week (or next) because Al is hard at work on a big project, but you can use the time to catch up on past columns you might have missed (and because we think that's such a good idea, we'll even show you how to get there from here).
Friday Apr 26, 2013 00:00 AM ET
A couple of repeat visitors show up, and there's lots of tasty new music in this week's column.
Friday Apr 19, 2013 00:00 AM ET
We've got new music from new bands, new music from old bands, and a whole lotta stuff in between. Come listen!
Friday Apr 12, 2013 00:00 AM ET
This week's column is another skillful blending of the old and the new, so settle in for some good music. Happy Friday.
Friday Apr 5, 2013 00:00 AM ET
We start out with a trio of nods to the psychedelic '60s and end up someplace unexpected. And there's more, so grab your headphones. It's Friday.
Monday Apr 1, 2013 35:00 AM ET
We're a little late this week, so instead of wrapping your week up, how 'bout we get it off to a good start? There's plenty here, including an offering for the adventurous. You don't have to be an April Fool to love it.
Friday Mar 22, 2013 00:00 AM ET
Some wide-ranging choices have made their way into this week's new music. Kick back and enjoy — from prog rock darling Steven Wilson to veteran blueswoman Bonnie Raitt, it's all good listening.

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