Talk:Music of the United States

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Featured article Music of the United States is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on August 4, 2006.

older entries[edit]

to whom it may concern, I don't particularly like how this article has turned out organization-wise, so feel free to tinker to your heart's content. It could probably also be much more detailed on subjects like pre-20th century music (Jump Jim Crow has an article), hymns and gospel (much more on gospel) and the origins of country. Tuf-Kat

I think this article has turned out nicely. Much thanks to everyone who has helped. Unfortunately, it is nearing the point of needing to be trimmed. Soon enough, I will be adding information on more Tex-Mex and and other genres that are not well-represented currently. This will certainly bring it over the top to where it needs to be trimmed. I'm not sure entirely how to do this. One method would be to cut out information on marginal musical forms, but this would not be neutral, I think. An article on the Music of the United States should include information of Hawaiian, Cajun and Tejano music, as well as the blues, punk rock, etc. Perhaps popular music of the United States, folk music of the United States, classical music of the United States and religious music of the United States would be a logical division, but I am very willing to discuss other options. Tuf-Kat 08:10, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Moving some material to articles on particular generas is one reasonable possibility; another is moving some material to other articles by time period. -- Infrogmation 17:33, 30 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I have finished my additions, but don't have the time or energy to do any removing right now, since no solution leaps out at me aside from combing through sentence-by-sentence and moving deletable facts to other articles. I might do it tomorrow, but if someone else feels inspired to try and tighten this, that would be swell. Tuf-Kat

I was bold and moved everything up till the 1940s to American roots music, but it's still too long. Tuf-Kat 06:27, Dec 1, 2003 (UTC)

I didn't like the result and turned it into a History of the United States-styled series, with some formatting troubles because I'm retarded with tables. I'm also very tired, and will have to look over everything again tomorrow. Tuf-Kat 08:30, Dec 22, 2003 (UTC)

I'm going to upload sound samples soon, including public domain recordings from the Library of Congress and clips from various songs out of my personal collection. Of course this will reflect my own biases as to what samples are more informative and give the completest picture of American music. I think I will make a long list and seek input about what to cull from it, if anybody is interested (otherwise I'll just do it myself). Any thoughts of how many are appropriate or how/where they should be placed? Placing more than a handful on any one page might make it awfully hard to load the page for people with slow connections, so I may just place them all at Samples of music from the United States or something. Tuf-Kat 06:57, Jan 30, 2004 (UTC)

See User:TUF-KAT/Samples of music from the United States

Can anyone figure out how to make the USculture box appear beneath the TOC? Tuf-Kat 21:06, Mar 18, 2004 (UTC)

This text used to be on U.S. culture where I think it bogs down the page:

Notable figures in U.S. music American music has a long and diverse history and has been an important influence on popular music worldwide. Some of the U.S.A.'s more famous and important musicians and singers include Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Chuck Berry, Mariah Carey, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Kurt Cobain, Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Duke Ellington, Eminem, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Benny Goodman, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holliday, Buddy Holly, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, B. B. King, Carole King, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Madonna, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Stevie Nicks, Charlie Parker, Elvis Presley, Diana Ross, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, and Hank Williams.

American classical composers include: Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Charles Ives

If it's of any use to you, please incorporate it.

The recent changes to the box format totally wrecked it on my browser. The box takes up the entire page and pushes the table of contents off the monitor, while the seriesbox are strew about strangely and there is a screenful of unused white space before the article begins. I'm using Mozilla on a Mac. Tuf-Kat 06:31, May 2, 2004 (UTC)

On Internet Explorer on WindowsXP, the first table was too wide for the page (by the width of the WikiPedia browsing bar on the left), so i added the Width=100% tag to correct it. If the current setup is really intolerable for Mozilla, then it would be perhaps better to change it back - or better, to try to find a setup that works both for IE and Mozilla... Marcika 06:49, May 2, 2004 (UTC)
I tried to set the width to 40% or 50% instead - then you can get the three tables next to each other instead of having the big box on top. Was it intended to be that way originally? Marcika 07:14, May 2, 2004 (UTC)
The new version appears the same as it did a week ago (all three boxes in a row), which is indeed the intended format. So I guess it's a keeper. Tuf-Kat


I have re-removed the cleanup tag. Please see User talk: -- cleanup is ordinarily only used for egregious POV, incoherence and other major problems. The template you're looking for is disputed, I think. Tuf-Kat 19:07, Dec 19, 2004 (UTC)


I am planning on drastically changing this article. The chronological subarticles will be moved to a musical history of the United States series, and this article will give a broad overview of the various styles of American music. I don't really have a concrete idea of the structure I want, and thus would welcome suggestions if anyone has any. Tuf-Kat 17:05, Feb 27, 2005 (UTC)


  1. Fix refs, some which may be out of order. Find an easy way to cite the same work multiple times
  2. Images?
  3. End of 1st para under "characteristics", intros a quote, then explains why it is no longer true -- quote is still useful in its context, but may be more trouble than its worth
  4. Consider Western swing, close harmony, maybe other styles not already mentioned; including popular polka (esp. Lawrence Welk)
  5. Simplify TOC
  6. Expand lead

I really like the underlined chevron's in the notes. They make it very easy to verify the sources are referenced and not further reading. Wow! Hyacinth 04:29, 9 Jun 2005 (UTC)

As noted in an edit summary, I nicked the format from tooth enamel. I definitely agree it's the best citation style I've seen on Wiki yet. Tuf-Kat 23:37, Jun 9, 2005 (UTC)

Is Metalica an American band? If I recall, they are from the UK. A song of theirs is under the Rock music section. - 19:09, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Metallica is an American band. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:08, 5 December 2007 (UTC)


How does the article need to be cleaned up? Hyacinth 08:59, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Someone put a lot of love into this article. It's heavily referenced and it covers its topics in great depth. I like this piece enough that I've nominated it for a United States cleanup project. Some help could make it a featured article.
Now here's why the cleanup tag is appropriate: it's badly in need of completion and editing. It's nearly twice the recommended length yet it fails to discuss major genres such as blues and jazz. Overall subject organization is lacking. If I had the expertise I'd contribute more myself, but frankly I don't and it's been half a year since this article saw a major addition. I respect the work that's gone into this so far. I'd like to see the article reach its full potential. Durova 10:32, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

Size issue[edit]

The article is intimidatingly long, but doesn't seem to have a lot of extraneous fluff. Is there a reason to not reformat the article into Wikipedia:Summary style? Jkelly 18:28, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

It is in summary style, except in not using Template:Details, because I've never liked it. I use Template:Main instead. Or is there something else you're looking for. Tuf-Kat 19:08, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I should perhaps have written "...not aggresively reformat into...". My feeling is that some of the "summaries" here are better than the actual articles that they are purporting to summarize. Let me poke around a little and I'll see if I can come up with something more concrete. Jkelly 02:59, 1 February 2006 (UTC)

Main article[edit]

Several of the sections have a {{Main article}} like Jazz that go to a page outside of having a sole concentration on the US. I'm not too sure about this, but would it be better to use something like {{see}}? AndyZ 23:17, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Good/featured article[edit]

Excellent improvements! If only this were under 50k I'd give it good article status right now. It's near feature quality. Someone just has to cut it down by 30%. It's painful to edit away good writing, but this article has become so impressive that it really deserves commuity recognition. Regards, Durova 03:51, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

More than 12kb is the references, images and sound samples (59k with the text of the references retained), which I really don't think is unreasonable for an article of this scope. I hope to nominate it for FAC after this CotW and, I think, if anything is going to be a problem it's finding references and fixing up the last couple sections -- "industry", "education" and "holidays". Articles longer than this get featured fairly often; some trimming would probably be a good idea. Tuf-Kat 06:49, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
Are you sure the image files count toward the article size? My main effort at Wikipedia has been bringing Joan of Arc from cleanup status to FA. It's an FAC now with 70 footnotes and 15 images at 49kb total. Durova 23:16, 3 March 2006 (UTC)
I don't think images count for the total size of the image file, but I'm pretty sure it has an impact. Most of the 12kb is the sound samples, I think (I'm not sure what the impact is, exactly, but the page size warning jumped in size every time I added more samples). The references are probably a big part of it too. Tuf-Kat 06:13, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Adding the good article box. You've earned it. Cheers, Durova 08:27, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Patriotic music[edit]

I think this section should be moved to American patriotic music or something along those lines. Making patriotic music a top-level subheading seems out-of-place -- they're not particularly influential in and of themselves, and I think those that are relevant should be tied into their historical and social contexts. I'm doing some copyediting and stuff now, but I'm going to boldly move that section, put a link to it and see if there's anything else to merge in. Tuf-Kat 05:58, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

Electronic music[edit]

why is there no mention of any type of electronic music? Is there any drives to include such content? --larsinio (poke)(prod) 22:13, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

What sort of thing would you like to add? Tuf-Kat 23:10, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Well Detroit is one of the biggest centers of electronic music in the world. House music is very prevalent in clubs across the country, and it was in fact invented in the US. There s the Ultra music festivals that occur every year in Miami. Theres lots of stuff, and its the only major genre of music that is not mentioned in this article.
I understand all that. I'm asking how much of what information you want to add, and where within the article. Tuf-Kat 22:23, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

US article on featured candidate[edit]

Just to let you guys know, the United States article is on featured article candidates list, so you can cast your vote there- or not.--Ryz05 19:46, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

You're out of date, this article's candidacy ended some time ago. It is now a featured article. Tuf-Kat 22:23, 4 May 2006 (UTC)


I hate to say it since length was an issue during the FAC period, but I will be expanding the article soon. This is not something I deliberately left to after the FAC period - I just acquired a source that will help write:

  • A section on how music intersects with geography, social class, race, gender and ethnicity
  • A section on music and government, politics and law
  • A section on the academics of music -- history of folk song collection, historiography, musicological study
  • Some changes to the music education section that will improve it and may necessitate a small amount of content.

The government and academics sections will be separate top-level headings, and the identity section (the first one listed above) would be a subsection of Characteristics. I think I will also be able to create subarticles on music education in the United States and music and identity in the United States. (anybody have a better section/subarticle title for "identity"?) Any comments? Tuf-Kat 05:55, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

RIAA Logo Filename[edit]

A new RIAA logo with a more descriptive filename needs to be uploaded. "Logo 2.gif" which is supposed to show the RIAA logo currently shows Creekview High School, and many people who upload generic logos will likely overwrite that in the future. --Doctorcherokee 17:37, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


Can someone tell me what is wrong with adding a link to the article on Sacred Harp, and why doing so constitutes "spam"? Would it be wrong to link to the article on jazz, or gospel, or blues? No this has already been done. Amity150 01:10, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Thank you so much for your timely answer, Caldaer. Sorry to have jumped to a conclusion.

Amity150 01:25, 4 August 2006 (UTC)


Not all Africans who arrived in the United States prior to the end of American slavery were slaves. The Dutch let many free Africans settle in New Netherland, and they remained where they were on the land they owned after the British invaded and conquered New Netherland. There are many African Americans today who still live in that area (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) who date their family arrival to that period, and thus can claim to have always been free in America. Likewise, Africans who arrived after slavery ended were not slaves. SSG Cornelius Seon (Retired) 01:22, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

True, but the origin of African American music (and, somewhat debateably, most American music) is the music of African slaves. Free Africans left a historically negligible mark on music, AFAIK, and their mark is certainly overshadowed by the music of African slaves. Tuf-Kat 01:47, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Not all spirituals reflected Christian beliefs. Many secret messages were couched in the language of the church to appear non-threatening and benign. Much more info in "Music in Christian Worship", chapter 6, The Sorrow Songs.

Film music[edit]

It occurs to me that the section on 20th-century classical music should probably include some mention of film scores; I think it's a significant component of American symphonic music, particularly in the last 50 years. MisfitToys 02:42, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

State Songs[edit]

This article says there are 49 state songs (box on right) , but the state songs article says there are 48, not sure which is true, so couldn't change, someone please fix. Jimaginator 17:20, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

House and techno... and disco?[edit]

This is a good article, but it has omitted a few (imho) key genres -

  • DISCO - This was, in a very real sense, the beginning of the global dance music movement as we see it today. An urban form of music that evolved from soul, motown, gospel, african influences, and many other styles, it was developed in part by DJs in New York throwing dance parties, and in part by musicians from Philly (and elsewhere) finding new ways of driving rhythm forward. An extremely significant contribution to American music, it still thrives in parts of the world and directly evolved into "garage" and "house."
  • HOUSE - Originating in Chicago, born of drum machines and the remnants of disco that would not die, this music is possibly one of the biggest, most popular styles in the world. It spread first to other parts of the states, where it developed regional flavors, and then to the rest of the world... there are few semi-developed countries where you can go and not hear some variant of this music played somewhere, often synhetized with local styles.
  • TECHNO - Detroit's futuristic, more "modernist" take on dance music, developed out of Kraftwerk and Parliament influences, among others. See the techno page for more details, but take note - this is a US-developed genre and is nearly as popular as "house" worldwide.

I understand that if this article were to give proper dues to every single style of music that came out of the US in the last century, it would obviously be way too long... but still, these are extremely, extremely influential styles, not only in the developement of music in the US but all over the world. And yet, hardly a nod...? -- 17:24, 4 August 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. why is techno and house missing? -- 01:24, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

There's no business, like show business[edit]

Shouldn't an article on Music of the United States have a section on the Broadway musical? Rick Norwood 12:39, 5 August 2006 (UTC)

American technology/industry and music[edit]

I was very surprised that in contemporary/modern music sections no mention was made of the innovations in instrument making and amplification that has so effected music making in America and subsequentley the rest of the world. The (solid body) electric guitar was invented in the USA (and I would suggest that the five most familiar guitar makers are American - Gibson, Fender, Rickenbacker, Gretch and Martin) which then fed the amplification industry (Marshall). Dr Robert Moog created the first useable synthesizer. Not only are these innovations American, but the new styles they helped create as musicians explored the potential of these instruments are fundementally American. Not only was Rock and Roll the joining of African blues, European folk styles and secular Gospel music but it was also the new electric guitar sound and recording/pressing processes that allowed it to quickly gain popularity.

I am not, however, the person to write it; being a Brit and really only interested in the popular/alternative music of the last fifty years (and much of that of an Anglo orientated nature). I felt that the thoughts of an "outsider" might be useful.LessHeard vanU 21:58, 5 August 2006 (UTC)


I wouldn't say Justin Timberlake has been given to us by R&B. You must remember that his foundation was in NSYNC - a pop group. NOT R&B. Mariah and Usher are ok to state. I changed Justin to Beyonce since she seems to be a better suit for what the article is trying to convey (R&B artists whose work has crossed with that of pop) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:04, 7 December 2006 (UTC).

Underground Music Genres[edit]

Underground music genres, such as EBM, Darkwave and Horrorcore, should be written about in some detail.


There is some grafiti on this page. Please fix it.

It is located in the end of the first section.

The Cajun and Creole traditions in Louisiana music, the folk and popular styles of Hawaiian music, and the bluegrass and old time music of the Southeastern states are a few examples of complete stupidity and should totally be ignored.

PLease excuse me if this message does not conform to Wikipedia guidelines, this is my first time writing or reporting anything on the site and I am not familiar with the rules. 07:01, 26 April 2007 (UTC)Josh


We Americans are certainly a very musical people. I guess it must sometimes seems as if we do nothing but get together and sing all day. The blues, gospel, and jazz music that we have given to the world is so beautiful. I love it. Singing is like a drug.

Good Job[edit]

I jsut want to say thanks to everyone for making this such a fantastic article. And good choices on the samples. I really can't compliment this page enough. Keep up the good work.Scott Free 21:21, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Music links broken[edit]

A lot of the music links in this article (using the multi-listen item template) have been broken. Can someone look into fixing this? Raul654 05:17, 6 September 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:DownbytheRiverside.ogg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 07:52, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:BreakonThrough.ogg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 03:55, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

great aticle, however....[edit]

I think you need to add in a section of Pop music from the 60's,70's,80's,90's and the present day, especially when you consider the most popular (pun intended) music in America and most of the world is pop.Wannabe Wiki (talk) 06:12, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Image copyright problem with Image:ComeAsYouAre.ogg[edit]

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Kansas City Jazz left out of "map" graphic?[edit]

C'mon, someone fix this... (K.C. Jazz even has its own article - Kansas_City_Jazz)


The article is great, but the only thing is not from the article itself, it is from the redirecting. I was looking for an article in general American music (as a continent) but there is none. So the actual redirection should be to a disambiguation of american music. The first article that could be described is this one, but you should consider the fact that there is another american music as well.

Javaplana (talk) 15:36, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

United States second largest music market after Japan?[edit]

Does anyone actually believe this is factual? The japanese music market is moribund, to be the top album in Japan you only need to have about 50-70k sales. This needs to be rectified. YvelinesFrance (talk) 22:41, 13 October 2012 (UTC)

Well it was factual for a year or two, but now according to the latest data the US is back at number 1. I've fixed it. Nonoah59 (talk) 19:37, 8 September 2013 (UTC)

Why is Eric Clapton highlighted in this article? He's British.[edit]

Like innumerable musicians, Clapton was influenced by American music and in turn had influence on American musicians. He's not American, himself. He should be removed. Narwagner (talk) 17:42, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

He plays rock music, which according to this article is an American music genre. Dan56 (talk) 22:23, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
I see that mentioned at the end of the Blues and Gospel section, but to highlight Clapton with a photo and paragraph about him is misleading. Narwagner (talk) 20:51, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Need Rewriting[edit]

This article needs some serious rewriting. First off, it begins with, and concentrates almost exclusively on various popular music genres. The token section on "classical music" dismisses American classical music as primarily drawing on European roots. That is partially true, but the same could in fact be said of most American popular music as well: the harmonic basis for 90% of all jazz, rock, blues, etc. is European common practice harmony. Either the section on classical music needs to be fleshed out -- and moved to proper historical location at the beginning of the article -- or else all the other European-influenced music needs to be eliminated as well.

The latter course will leave you basically with some Afro-American percussion music and Native American music. And, BTW, although "Native Americans" may have been "the earliest inhabitants of the land that is today known as the United States," it was not the United States then, so calling their music "music of the United States" is problematic, at best.

I see no mention of the genre of experimental music, which originated in the US, and was developed by Ives, Cage, Feldman, Browne, Reich, Riley, and a host of others. See Michael Nyman's "Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond", in which he makes a clear distinction between American Experimental and European Avant Garde.

The section on ragtime is so completely off-base it should be discarded if it isn't re-written. The suggestion is made that "ragtime" and "tin pan alley" are synonymous; they are most emphatically not. Ragtime is NOT a "style of music based around the piano, using syncopated rhythms and chromaticisms." The earliest ragtime developed and was played on banjos and guitars. While the syncopated rhythms are characteristic of the style, "chromaticisms" are characteristic only of certain ragtime composers. A great deal of ragtime ("folk rags") contains little if any chromaticism. Ragtime is NOT "primarily a form of dance music." It was used for dance, but by the time composers were putting in the "chromaticism" it had become primarily instrumental music.

Ragtime had nothing to do with "walking bass", which was a feature of jazz stylings that came much later. The ragtime bass was an oom-pah bass-note/chord styling in 2 or 4 which had more in common with the polka and the march than with jazz.

Nor was ragtime generally composed in "sonata form". Sonata form is A B A, or exposition, development, recapitulation. Ragtime form was more similar to European dance suites: AA BB CC, or in the later "classic" rag form, "AA BB A CC DD".

Blues was a part of American popular mucic -- Black American popular music -- several decades before Bessie Smith was a gleam in her daddy's eye.

I don't even have time to go into the problems with the Jazz section.

The whole article reads like something written as a final project by someone who just completed a college elective course in "American Pop Music 101".

Oy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:23, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

R&B and soul[edit]

Maria Careys Image added[edit]

In the article section the article reads.The use of melisma, a gospel tradition adapted by vocalists Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey would become a cornerstone of contemporary R&B singers beginning in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.[1] Hip hop came to influence contemporary R&B later in the 1980s, first through new jack swing and then in a related series of subgenres called hip hop soul and neo soul. Hip hop soul and neo soul developed later, in the 1990s. Typified by the work of Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly, the former is a mixture of contemporary R&B with hip hop beats, while the images and themes of gangsta rap may be present. The latter is a more experimental, edgier, and generally less mainstream combination of 1960s and 1970s-style soul vocals with some hip hop influence, and has earned some mainstream recognition through the work of D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Alicia Keys, and Lauryn Hill.[2] D'Angelo's critically acclaimed album Voodoo (2000) has been recognized by music writers as a masterpiece and the cornerstone of the neo soul genre.[3][4][5]

Maria Careys name comes first in the section and in the article it is stated on the same section vocalists Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey would become a cornerstone of contemporary R&B singers beginning in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.[1] Alicia Keys is only mention in the end of the article and the source only mentions multiple awards as any singer has. Will Maria Carey specifically stated a singularity in her source, it being one of the most top sellers. This is way the image of Maria next to her name was added as the article seems to place it.2602:304:CFF8:5A30:F468:E0DD:655:A367 (talk) 05:14, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

I've reverted your edits back to the status quo. Please refrain from removing any content until a clear consensus is established. And, please familiarize yourself with WP:3RR. -- ChamithN (talk) 09:17, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

More then 24-hours have elapse and no one has commented on the status quo at issue. Furthermore no edit was done after ChamithN pointed out WP:3RR, three reverts on a single page—whether involving the same or different material—within a 24-hour period. An edit or a series of consecutive edits that undoes other editors' actions—whether in whole or in part—counts as a revert. Lastly taking that no comment was made to try and reach agreement, discussed the validity in the first place of Alicia Keys photo being in the article section as her name only appears ones and in a collection of other names at that and why would Alicia be place before Maria Careys who the article talked about. Will change section to reflect the privies edit. 2602:304:CFF8:5A30:2955:AA6A:E72C:A524 (talk) 01:07, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference The_New_Blue_Music was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ R&B – Neo-Soul: What Is Neo-Soul?. Retrieved on 2008-12-08.
  3. ^ Davis, Chris. "Leader of the Pack". The Memphis Flyer. Retrieved 2014-08-24. 
  4. ^ Warp + Weft: D'Angelo:: Voodoo: Reveille Magazine Archived April 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Lonnae O'Neal Parker; 700+ words. "Neo-Soul's Familiar Face; With 'Voodoo,' D'Angelo Aims to Reclaim His Place in a Movement He Got Rolling". Retrieved 2014-08-24.