WXPN all 80s A-Z: The Playlist

Have you been looking for a curated Spotify playlist of 200 hours of eighties tunes in alphabetical order? Then consider your search over! As we did with the first A-Z, where we played every song in our massive music library, and last year’s all 70s A-Z, this year we dug through our library once again to bring you the hits, the misses, the deep tracks, and the one hit wonders of the eighties! From November 28 to December 9, 2018, the 80s #XPNAtoZ listeners were presented with over 3,000 songs that were released over the decade – and boy did it stir up a conversationContinue reading →


Radiohead, Stevie Nicks, Janet Jackson and more will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Radiohead | photo by Natalie Piserchio |

The votes have been tallied and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019 runs the gamut from British rock to American R&B.

The seven artists that will be inducted are The Cure, Def Leppard, Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, Radiohead, Roxy Music, and The Zombies. They will be honored at the 34th annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Friday, March 29, 2019, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Tickets will be available to the public in the new year, and the event will be broadcast live on HBO. Continue reading →


Remembering Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks with WXPN’s Dan Reed

Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks onstage at The Trocadero in 2010 | photo by Eric Schuman

Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks died on Thursday December 6th of a heart attack.  He was 63 years old.  As the chief songwriter and singer of The Buzzcocks, Shelley crafted perfect punk love songs, summed up the British condition, and expressed the overall dissatisfaction of the original punk era as well as anybody.

His nasally, exceedingly British-accented vocals took a minute to get accustomed to, but became rather quaint and familiar with repeated listens.  There was absolutely no doubt that Shelley had a great gift for pop hooks, and the juxtaposition of the speed and volume of the band’s attack combined with unforgettable melodies set up the later “punk pop” explosion about 15 years or so before Green Day or The Offspring utilized many of the same elements to sell millions of records.  Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day has always acknowledged Shelly’s influence.  “Buzzcocks pretty much invented a style that would influence multiple generations of lonesome hearts and weirdos,” he wrote on Instagram. “Never shy about writing beautiful melodies into loud fast punk. You are the harmony in my head.”  Continue reading →


Listen to The Lumineers cover Willie Nelson’s holiday song “Pretty Paper”

The Lumineers | photo by Danny Clinch | courtesy of the artist

Folkish favorites The Lumineers have joined in the holiday spirit with a cover of a Christmas classic: Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper.” The Denver trio released the recording as a fundraiser for the Brown Paper Bag Movement, a New York City-based grassroots organization that provides food and clothing to the city’s homeless population. Continue reading →


XPN’s Gotta Hear Song of the Week: “Back On The Chain Gang” by Morrissey

Morrissey | Photo by Joe Del Tufo |

Morrissey’s cover of “Back On The Chain Gang,” originally on Pretenders’ 1984 album, Learning To Crawl, is a bonus song that he released for the deluxe edition of his recent album, Low In High School. Pretenders once covered Morrissey’s “Everyday Is Like Sunday” on their 1994 Last of The Independents release. Continue reading →


R.I.P. Pete Shelley of The Buzzcocks; watch video of the punk icons’ final Philadelphia concert from 2016

Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks onstage at The Trocadero in 2010 | photo by Eric Schuman

Pete Shelley, singer-guitarist of influential Northern England punk four-piece Buzzcocks, has passed away today at his home in Estonia; he was 63 years old.

As the band Tweeted earlier this afternoon, “Pete’s music has inspired generations of musicians over a career that spanned five decades and with his band and as a solo artist, he was held in the highest regard by the music industry and by his fans around the world.”

Shelley formed Buzzcocks with fellow singer-guitarist Howard Devoto, and debuted in 1976 opening for Sex Pistols’ legendary Lesser Free Trade Hall concert. Devoto left the band to form Magazine the following year, making Shelley the frontman through the band’s run of 70s albums, Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978), Love Bites (1978), and A Different Kind of Tension (1979). After taking most of the 80s off, the band reunited in the 90s, releasing records every few years and touring regularly. Continue reading →


Here’s what you’re saying about the 80s #XPNAtoZ

Even in detention, Ally Sheedy’s Allison Reynolds knew that Prince was going to be a hit in the #XPNAToZ | still from video

The 80s edition of the #XPNAToZ special has been in full 24/7 swing for the past week, and the conversation on social media and in the real world is booming. People love it, people can’t stand it, people are generally into it but didn’t like that we played that one song, people don’t understand the Springsteenian excess. Here’s a roundup of some of The Key’s favorite Tweets from the #XPNAToZ hashtag. Join the conversation over that-a-ways, and keep listening; we’ve still got a lot of 80s A to Z to go! Continue reading →


Phoebe Bridgers shares melancholic “Christmas Song” cover featuring Jackson Browne

Phoebe Bridgers | photo by Michelle Montgomery for WXPN |

Last year, Phoebe Bridgers shared a harrowing cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” Continuing the tradition, the singer has released a cover of “Christmas Song” by Omaha country act McCarthy Trenching. The cover features backing vocals by folk icon Jackson Browne, who Bridgers met after playing the song live for the first time at a show in L.A. Continue reading →