Hit Parade

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The Bridge: Ropin’ the Charts

Chris Molanphy talks to Billboard’s Melinda Newman, frequent Garth Brooks interviewer, about the country king’s career.

Episode Notes

In this mini-episode of Hit Parade, host Chris Molanphy is joined by Melinda Newman, West Coast and Nashville Executive Editor at Billboard Magazine. They talk about the most recent episode of Hit Parade on the history of country music crossover to the pop charts, and the career and legacy of Garth Brooks. Melinda shares the story of how she met Brooks—she barely knew who he was that first night, and she went on to become his most frequent interviewer. She tells Chris about Garth’s skillful bridging of the mainstream to country music, and how he made the mainstream come to country—as well as his vision for pop-and-B alter ego Chris Gaines and his reasons for avoiding music streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube.

Next, Chris quizzes a Slate Plus listener with some music trivia, gives her a chance to turn the tables on him, and previews next month’s full-length episode. Slate Plus members can sign up for a chance to be our trivia contestant on a future episode here.

Podcast production by Asha Saluja.

About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.