Explore top podcasts in Music History

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In the late seventies, Studio 54 was the place to be for musicians and celebrities alike. John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and others all famously hung out at the notorious club where hedonism was part of the venue’s allure. The success of Studio 54 was sudden and massive, resulting in mountains of cash, cocaine, jealousy, revenge, an FBI raid and an ironic ending for one of its owners. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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We begin with a simple question: How did the queen of the boob joke become a feminist icon? Helen Morales, author of “Pilgrimage to Dollywood,” gave us a stern directive – look at the lyrics! So we dive into Dolly’s discography, starting with the early period of what Dolly calls “sad ass songs” to find remarkably prescient words of female pain, slut-shaming, domestic violence, and women being locked away in asylums by cheating husbands. We explore how Dolly took the centuries-old tradition of the Appalachian “murder ballad”—an oral tradition of men singing songs about brutally killing women—and flipped the script, singing from the woman’s point of view. And as her career progresses, the songs expand beyond the pain to tell tales of leaving abuse behind. How can such pro-woman lyrics come from someone who despises the word feminism? Dolly explains.  
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Porter Wagoner led the most successful country music television show of its time, and in 1967 he needed a new “girl singer.” He turned to a 21 year old songwriter named Dolly Parton, who’d just recorded her first hit “Dumb Blonde.” So began a nearly decade-long partnership that, behind the scenes, was as contentious as it was commercially successful. This episode tells the story of the “Porter years,” the period during which Dolly arguably discovers her power - both as a performer and songwriter - and then makes the difficult (and radical for its time) decision to strike out on her own. Through interviews with Dolly, country music star Marty Stuart, Wagonmaster Buck Trent, and Porter’s daughter Deborah Wagoner, we explore how Dolly handled what’s sometimes called the great “hillbilly divorce” with such characteristic grace. 
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We journey into the Dollyverse dimension: "Tennessee Mountain Home."Like all law abiding Tennesseans, Jad grew up with the song on a loop.  He hadn’t planned to talk with Dolly about it, but much to his surprise, he is drawn into a Tennessee Mountain Trance.  The trance opens a portal to many questions about country music, authenticity, nostalgia and belonging.  And to a place called Dollywood. We visit the replica of Dolly’s childhood cabin and find thousands of other pilgrims similarly entranced.  Along the way, we meet Wandee Pryor, who lived in a Dolly dreamworld as a girl.  And also, halfway around the world, Esther Konkara, the self-proclaimed “Kenyan Dolly Parton,” who sings "Tennessee Mountain Home" as an ode to the hills of Nairobi - hills she has not yet left.  The Tennessee Mountain home begins to seem like part of a Disney fairytale.But then, Jad and Shima get a call from Dolly’s nephew and head of security Bryan Seaver, who makes an irresistible offer. 
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In this episode, we go back up the mountain to visit Dolly’s actual Tennessee mountain home.  But, can you ever go home again?  Dolly tells us stories about her first trips out of the holler, and shares with us where she lives now. Back on the mountaintop, standing under the rain by the Little Pigeon River, the trip triggers memories of Jad’s first visit to his father's childhood home, and opens the gateway to dizzying stories of music and migration.
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One of Dolly’s most iconic and successful songs is “Jolene,” a song that, at first listen, is about a romantic rival trying to steal her man: a prime example of the classic “cheating song.”  But some see it as flipping a popular country music trope on its head. This idea takes shape when Nadine Hubbs, a professor at the University of Michigan, writes a fourth verse to “Jolene," which makes us reimagine Dolly's songs in entirely new ways. 
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Dolly Parton and politics have always had an interesting relationship. On the one hand, she wrote 9 to 5, the anthem for working women and the theme song for a movie inspired by a new labor union. On the other hand, she refuses to answer questions about President Trump, or any question on politics period. Her nephew calls this “Dollitics”: Dolly doesn’t take a position because she knows half her fans are on the right, half are on the left. In this moment in history, how should we think of this kind of fiercely apolitical stance?  Is it desirable, or even possible?
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This episode delves into the controversy surrounding Dolly Parton’s Stampede (formerly known as “Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede”)—a dinner theater that presents the Civil War as a friendly competition between neighbors. In the wake of the Charlottesville Riots in 2017, the Dixie Stampede was called out by the press, and then became embroiled in the larger national conversation about Civil War monuments and the white-washing of history. Dolly’s business conglomerate decided to eliminate “Dixie” from the name, which caused further uproar.  Dolly embodies “a quivering mass of irreconcilable contradictions” in a way very few other American figures do… but has America arrived at a place where such contradictions are no longer defensible or tolerable? 
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At the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, we drop in on a history class called “Dolly Parton’s America.” (We borrowed the name for our series!) Taught by Dr. Lynn Sacco, the class is filled with college students who grew up in rural Appalachia, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.  Dr Sacco gives the class an assignment: Write an essay that answers the question “What is Dolly Parton’s America?” Lurking just behind that question are thornier ones about Southern shame and identity and hillbillies and football and...well, Dolly.  Is Dolly helping or hurting us? The class splits down the middle.    Editor’s Note:  We made two corrections to this podcast, originally released on December 3.  In referring to the location of the Battle of Blair Mountain, we changed “Southwestern Virginia” to “West Virginia.” And on the origin of the term redneck, we inserted narration that makes clear that the etymology of the term goes back farther than the Battle of Blair Mountain.  
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On the first episode of Slow Burn’s third season: How a violent robbery severed Tupac’s friendship with Biggie Smalls and sparked a bicoastal beef that consumed the world of hip-hop. In November 1994, while on trial for sexual abuse, Tupac Shakur is shot five times in a New York recording studio. In the aftermath, he starts to suspect that his erstwhile friend Christopher Wallace, better known as Biggie Smalls, might be involved. It was the start of a beef that would consume the world of hip-hop and end with both men dead. Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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As Dolly will tell you, so much of who she is - her creativity, her music, her stance on life - emanates from her faith, but what exactly is that faith? The answer is deeply surprising. In this episode, Dolly tells a story of finding God in an abandoned church filled with X-rated graffiti.  And she speaks of her plans for how she'll be remembered after she’s gone—how her voice will live on for the next 50, 100, 200 years.
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Nipsey Hussle was more than just one of this generation’s most promising voices in hip hop. He was a social activist, a community leader and aspirational entrepreneur. His death was senseless and set off grief stricken testimonials from some of the biggest names in hip hop as well as from some of the biggest names in our culture period. It also set off a riot in the streets of Los Angeles where he came up on and was shot down on. He was taken from us too soon and we’re still searching for answers.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Music performed by:  Justin Hiltner (@hiltnerj, http://justinhiltner.com) Esther Konkara (@esther_konkara) Steph Jenkins (@slhjenkins, http://www.stephaniejenkins.info) Stephanie Coleman (@stephiecoleman) Courtney Hartman (@courthartman, https://www.courtneyhartman.com) Shelley Washington (@shelleyplaysaxy, http://shelleywashington.com) Bora Yoon (@borabot, http://borayoon.com) Caroline Shaw (@caroshawmusic, https://carolineshaw.com) Recordings from National Sawdust were part of the NationalSawdust+ series: Elena Park is the curator of NationalSawdust+ Special thanks to recording engineer Garth MacAleavey, Jeff Tang, Charles Hagaman, and everyone at National Sawdust.  Thanks also to Alex Overington and Jeremy Bloom for mix engineering.
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Ozzy Osbourne, along with bandmates, Black Sabbath invented heavy metal and throughout Ozzy’s post-Sabbath solo career he would invent new, self destructive forms of sabotage. Arrested at an early age for breaking and entering, Ozzy Osbourne refused to conform to societal norms and common decency. He would go on to be arrested numerous times and escape too many near death experiences to recount, including a plane crashing into his tour bus that would ultimately kill a dear friend and bandmate.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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In 1992, Ronald Ray Howard shot and killed Texas state trooper Bill Davidson. His lawyer argued he’d been driven to murder by the music he’d been playing in his car: a dubbed copy of Tupac Shakur’s first album, 2Pacalypse Now.  On the second episode of Slow Burn’s third season: How gangsta rap and law enforcement found themselves at war.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Questions have swirled around the murders of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls ever since their deaths. Who killed them, and why? How come no one was ever charged in either case? Is Tupac still alive and hiding out somewhere? On the final episode of the season, we look at the investigations into the deaths of two rap legends and the competing theories of their cases. We also explore their enormous legacies, and what hip-hop lost when they died. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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In this week's episode: After Tupac’s murder: Revenge killings in Compton, a day of atonement in Harlem, and Biggie Smalls risks everything by going back to Cali. Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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In this episode: Gangsta rap becomes a huge money maker. Civil rights activist C. Delores Tucker and conservative culture warrior Bill Bennett launch a crusade against offensive lyrics. And hip-hop divides black leaders along generational and gender lines. Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Did you or a loved one just graduate and miss out on a commencement and graduation speech? Or do you just love great advice rooted in an undeniably effective rock ’n’ roll ethos? Either way, you need to hear DISGRACELAND’s Jake Brennan dispense career advice to the class of 2020 through the lens of Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters’ legendary tour rider. Want to succeed in you career? Then be more like Dave. This content was originally published Friday May 15 as part of iHeartRadio’s “Commencement: the podcast” series with speeches by others including––but not limited to––Hillary Clinton, John Legend, Bill and Melinda Gates, Smokey Robinson, Ryan Seacrest and more.   Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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(A special bonus episode of Disgraceland during this prolonged period of Covid-19 lockdown to help you pass the time.) John Denver was arguably one of, if not the biggest star of the seventies. His easy listening mainstream folk and his squeaky clean, environmentally friendly image made him a favorite in homes all across America. But was John Denver hiding a dark secret? One born of a mysterious military upbringing? A secret he would do anything to protect? A secret, he took to his early grave but that may soon see the light of day depending on numerous Freedom of Information Act court challenges?  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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In this episode: In the summer of 1996, Tupac Shakur seemed to be on the verge of a decision—about what kind of career he wanted to have, and what kind of life he wanted to live. And then he went to Las Vegas. Slate Plus members get bonus episodes of Slow Burn and ad-free podcast feeds. Sign up now. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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For 11 hours, Monica Lewinsky faced off against federal prosecutors who wanted her to help them take down the president and threatened her with decades in jail. Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn Audible is the world's largest audiobook publisher. For a 30-day trial and a free audiobook, go to audible.com/slowburnLearn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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People called her crazy, and to be fair she must have seemed crazy. But she was onto something. How Martha Mitchell, the celebrity wife of one of Nixon’s closest henchmen, tried to blow the whistle on Watergate—and ended up ruining her life.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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In 1993, Bill and Hillary Clinton moved into the White House on a swell of optimism. In less than a year, the new administration was mired in a sea of scandals: Travelgate, Filegate, Nannygate, and, most consequentially, Whitewater. What went wrong?Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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A special Hit Parade announcement: Like many media organizations at the moment, Slate is getting hit pretty hard by what's going on with the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to continue doing our work, providing you with all our great podcasts, news and reporting, and we simply cannot do that without your support. So we're asking you to sign up for Slate Plus, our membership program. It's just $35 for the first year, and it goes a long way to supporting us in this crucial moment. As part of this effort, we're going to be making Full Hit Parade episodes available to Slate Plus members only. To listen to the episode in full, and episodes in future months, you'll need to become a Slate Plus member. This is the best way to support our show and our work, and we hope you will pitch in if you can. Your membership will also give access to everything on Slate.com, you'll get ad-free versions of this and other shows, and you'll get bonus segments and bonus episodes of other Slate podcasts. Plus, once you become a member, you can sign up to do trivia with Chris Molanphy on Hit Parade—“The Bridge” episodes. Please sign up today at slate.com/hitparadeplus. We thank you for your support. On this preview episode: Outkast is inarguably one of the most important acts in hip hop and pop music history, but their impressive chart runs, and the brand of Atlanta hip hop they championed, was far from inevitable. This is the story of Outkast and how they established Atlanta as a major center of hip hop culture in the United States while racking up some of the most unexpected hits in the history of popular music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Joe Exotic, the gun toting, mullet wearing, polyamorous subject of the hit Netflix series, Tiger King was more than just a murder-minded conman. He could sing! You saw those videos. We did too. As a singer, Joe’s voice belied the tortured Everyman experience of some of the best country music crooners, hinting at deep trauma resulting from unspeakable loss, assault and violence. Most of which was for the most part, left on the cutting room floor of the popular Netflix series and is on display in this special Covid-19 bonus content episode of Disgraceland. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Run DMC is directly responsible for elevating hip hop to previously unimagined heights. They took rap music into an entirely different direction and helped mainstream the genre. They were beloved as musicians, innovators and people. None more than their DJ, Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, which makes understanding his senseless murder near impossible. Who killed Jam Master Jay and why? And why are there literally zero suspects when there were numerous eyewitnesses? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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In this intensely divided moment, one of the few things everyone still seems to agree on is Dolly Parton—but why? That simple question leads to a deeply personal, historical, and musical rethinking of one of America’s great icons. Join us for a 9-part journey into the Dollyverse. Hosted by Jad Abumrad, creator of Radiolab and More Perfect.
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When Bill Clinton went to Washington, rumors and accusations from his Arkansas past went with him. But even his most dedicated political enemies couldn't predict where their efforts would lead.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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What happened between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? Why did it happen? And what are we supposed to do about the fact that the whims and impulses of individual men can—and constantly do—alter the course of history? In the fourth episode of our series on Clinton’s impeachment, Leon Neyfakh details Clinton and Lewinsky’s reckless affair. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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In this second bonus music episode, we play two live songs we recorded, sung by bluegrass musicians Nora Brown and Amythyst Kiah.  You can find Nora on facebook @norabrownbanjo, instagram @little.nb, and her music at jalopyrecords.org and on Spotify. Amythyst is on facebook, instagram, and twitter at @amythystkiah, and her music can be found at amythystkiah.com.
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In 1973, the Senate Watergate hearings gripped the nation. But the first congressional hearings on the scandal took place a year earlier—and featured an angry Texan shouting at four empty chairs.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Some of the most withering criticism of Clinton came from a coalition of conservative activists whose political views were bound up with their faith. The influence of the Christian right within the Republican Party had been growing steadily since the Reagan years. When the Lewinsky story broke, the movement’s leaders pounced on it with righteous vigor.In the sixth episode of our series on Clinton’s impeachment, Leon Neyfakh charts the religious right’s campaign against the president and how it failed.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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How a folksy segregationist senator, a team of young investigators, and a few whistleblowers staged the hearings that made Watergate must-see TV.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Aside from Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the most pivotal player in the Clinton impeachment saga may have been Linda Tripp—an ordinary person who made extraordinary choices that precipitated the entire crisis. In perhaps the deepest and most intimate interview she’s ever given, Tripp talks to Leon Neyfakh about what she did, and why. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Little Richard is the originator. Without him it’s hard to imagine the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Elton John or even Led Zeppelin. He blazed a trail through popular culture that previous to him did not exist. His music was completely original for the time, the essence of rock ‘n’ roll, filled with impassioned energy, fueled at times by large quantities of drugs and always brimming with sex. The sex, the drugs, and the party for Little Richard, it was as endless as the manic energy that drove his music and it all nearly derailed him––several times––landing him behind bars and on the wrong side of the gun.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Few hard rock bands lived the life portrayed in their songs as authentically as Guns N’ Roses. Singer, Axl Rose was driven by deep seeded demons that drove the creation of his band’s legendary debut album, Appetite For Destruction as well as his legendary bad behavior. His band was hardly any different. Nearly dysfunctional from drug use and excess, their record label feared they would all die before their first album was even released. Listen to part 1 of Guns N’ Roses saga in Disgraceland complete with highly entertaining cameos by David Bowie, Joe Perry, Mick Jagger and others. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Today it’s conventional wisdom that all feminists hypocritically turned their backs on Monica Lewinsky. In fact, the scandal provoked an intense debate within the feminist movement about sex, power, and consent. For some, it was obvious that Clinton had victimized Lewinsky and needed to be thrown overboard. For others, it was just as obvious that the scandal was part of a political war in which Clinton was the good guy. In the seventh episode of our series on Clinton’s impeachment, Leon Neyfakh excavates the arguments and ideas that divided liberals—and feminists in particular—at the height of the scandal. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Woodward and Bernstein, Walter Cronkite, and a host of other journalists tried to make people care about Watergate in the run-up to the 1972 election. They totally failed. Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Jay Z’s career defies easy categorization. His artistry and business sense is as influenced by his past career as a drug dealer as they are anything else. Jay Z has reached unprecedented heights as an entertainer and an entrepreneur, and it almost never happened. All because of a stabbing. A stabbing that was influenced by that same street hustle that created “Jay Z”. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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Post Appetite For Destruction, Guns N’ Roses defined the word “dysfunction”. As the band prepared for their follow up release, singer Axl Rose was losing a very public battle with the press while heroin and alcohol threatened to completely derail the band. Axl’s “recovered memories” continued to fuel his erratic behavior and thus he continued to drive his band closer and closer to the edge. It all came to a head in St. Louis at the infamous “Riverport Riot”. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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At a bar in Queens, and in the Senate offices, Nixon's supporters stood with him long after it was clear his hands were dirty. How did they rationalize their position? And what, finally, made them waver? Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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27 Club Season 1 featuring twelve episodes on Jimi Hendrix is now available for you to binge in the 27 Club feed. Episode 12 launched last week and detailed the many conspiracies behind Jimi’s death. If you haven’t yet heard the season finale, it is available for you here. If you’re ready to binge the entire series from the beginning you can search “27 Club” in your podcast app to access all 27 Club episodes in the 27 Club feed, all hosted and produced by Disgraceland’s Jake Brennan. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
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What had to happen for the Watergate scandals to end Richard Nixon’s career? And was his downfall inevitable? In the final episode of Slow Burn’s first season, Leon Neyfakh assesses the president’s desperate final campaign to save himself—and the people and institutions that finally brought him down.Slate Plus members get a bonus episode every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Juanita Broaddrick told Ken Starr’s team of prosecutors that Bill Clinton had raped her in 1978. Her story wasn’t included in the Starr Report—but members of congress found out about it anyway, and had to decide how it would affect their vote on impeachment. In the final episode of our series on Clinton’s impeachment, Leon Neyfakh talks to Broaddrick, and to Lisa Myers, the NBC News reporter whose interview with Broaddrick became a cause célèbre during the impeachment trial. What does it mean that Broaddrick’s story has never really become a part of Bill Clinton’s?--Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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In its first two seasons, Slow Burn looked back at two of the biggest stories of the late 20th century—the Watergate scandal and the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Season three of the show tackles another: the murders of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. The story takes place at a moment when hip-hop was taking over pop culture, and the world’s two most famous rappers were a former theater kid from the Bay Area and a one-time crack dealer from Brooklyn. In just a few years, they changed music forever. They went from friends to enemies. And they ended up victims of a deadly rivalry between two rap scenes.    How is it that two of the most famous performers in the world were murdered within a year of each other—and their killings were never solved? Find out in Slow Burn season three: Biggie and Tupac. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Why were so many Americans ready to believe conspiracy theories after Watergate? How did those beliefs help trigger Nixon‘s downfall? And given what we know about Watergate—what separates a conspiracy theory from just a theory? Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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What did Richard Nixon do when he felt the walls closing in? How did the country respond? And what did it feel like when people finally got to hear those tapes? Slate Plus members get a bonus episode of Slow Burn every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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