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Jon Bream

Reporter | Pop Music
phone: 612-673-1719
Since he began covering popular music for the Star Tribune in 1974, Jon Bream has attended more than 7,000 concerts and interviewed the King of Pop, the Queen of Soul and Prince as well as Bob Dylan, U2, three Beatles, four Rolling Stones and all of Maroon 5. He has performed with Alice Cooper, jogged with Willie Nelson and received Taylor Swift's calls from three different cell numbers. He has written books on Prince, Led Zeppelin, Neil Diamond and Bob Dylan. But Jon has yet to satisfy a request of many Star Tribune readers: that he take a music-appreciation class.
Recent content from Jon Bream
Prince's albums: A complete critical guide to all 37 official releases

Prince's albums: A complete critical guide to all 37 official releases

Here’s a look at the legacy left by one of pop music’s most prolific recording artists. The following list of 37 albums is as complete…
Obituary: Prince was a once-in-a-generation artist

Obituary: Prince was a once-in-a-generation artist

Though he was a puzzle at times, the rocker was a true Minnesotan who revolutionized music more than once in a nearly 40-year career.
Sheila E: Saying goodbye to Prince was 'the hardest thing'

Sheila E: Saying goodbye to Prince was 'the hardest thing'

They were close friends for nearly 40 years. He wrote hit songs for her, she played in his band and the two were for a time romantically linked.
Until end, an enigma: Flashes of frailty in Prince's last months

Until end, an enigma: Flashes of frailty in Prince's last months

In the months before his death Thursday at 57, Prince was active, onstage and off.
How Prince and critic Jon Bream learned to see eye to eye

How Prince and critic Jon Bream learned to see eye to eye

I knew him for six years before he looked me in the eye. Yes, Prince was very shy. Until he got onstage. Or until you…
Banjo god Bela Fleck, piano giant Chick Corea continue 'musical conversation'

Banjo god Bela Fleck, piano giant Chick Corea continue 'musical conversation'

Banjo man Bela Fleck and jazz pianist Chick Corea team up at the Guthrie.
Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins' solo journey lands at the Dakota

Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins' solo journey lands at the Dakota

Finally, after the release of his fifth solo album, Los Angeles singer-songwriter Sean Watkins is undertaking his first extensive tour under his own name.
Blondie, k.d. lang, Jayhawks, Grace Potter lead Minnesota Zoo summer concert series

Blondie, k.d. lang, Jayhawks, Grace Potter lead Minnesota Zoo summer concert series

Blondie, k.d. lang, the Jayhawks, Grace Potter, Home Free and kids’ music favorite Laurie Berkner are among the first-timers announced for the 24th annual Minnesota…
Merle Haggard: A music critic remembers 'jazz guitar player' who 'loved to play country'

Merle Haggard: A music critic remembers 'jazz guitar player' who 'loved to play country'

Our pop music critic reflects on the late legend through interviews spanning four decades.
Barry Manilow delivers a hankie-worthy farewell to Twin Cities

Barry Manilow delivers a hankie-worthy farewell to Twin Cities

Review: The Xcel show was heavy on nostalgia and medleys – just what the Fanilows wanted.
1986 interview: 'It never has been fun' being Merle Haggard

1986 interview: 'It never has been fun' being Merle Haggard

Sitting in his tour bus, he was in a mellow mood. "I'd like it to say: `He was the greatest jazz guitar player in the world that loved to play country."'
2011 interview: Merle Haggard was the Zen master of country music

2011 interview: Merle Haggard was the Zen master of country music

"There is no in-between," he told the Star Tribune, explaining why he continued to tour into his 70s.
Lucinda Williams rides poetic 'Highway 20' to the Dakota

Lucinda Williams rides poetic 'Highway 20' to the Dakota

REVIEW: Once the queen of Americana got warmed up, the melancholy and the lyrical flowed freely.
Manilow brings One Last Time tour to St. Paul – and this time he means it

Manilow brings One Last Time tour to St. Paul – and this time he means it

Barry Manilow talks about Bob Dylan, Judy Garland and his final concert appearance in the Twin Cities.
The 5 best 'American Idol' stars

The 5 best 'American Idol' stars

Looking back, these are the "Idol" alums who can truly deliver in concert.
Don Henley to kick off State Fair grandstand series on Aug. 25

Don Henley to kick off State Fair grandstand series on Aug. 25

Don Henley is going on with his solo career. He will perform Aug. 25 at the Minnesota State Fair to promote his 2015 solo country album, "Cass County."
After 66 years in NE Minneapolis, Nye's polkas off into the sunset

After 66 years in NE Minneapolis, Nye's polkas off into the sunset

The closing-night crowd ordered pierogi and vodka and snapped souvenir photos.
Hits of yesteryear as Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago play Xcel

Hits of yesteryear as Earth, Wind & Fire and Chicago play Xcel

REVIEW: With fellow Windy City veterans Chicago, the group had the Xcel Center on its feet.
Lucinda Williams will revisit 'Highway 20' at Dakota

Lucinda Williams will revisit 'Highway 20' at Dakota

Lucinda Williams chronicles her Southern life on stellar new double album.
Meet the Minn. pianist everyone's heard but no one knows

Meet the Minn. pianist everyone's heard but no one knows

For 23 years, pianist Richard Dworsky has been Garrison Keillor's "indispensa­ble guy" on "A Prairie Home Companion." But most Minnesotans don't even know his name.
Piano pop star Charlie Puth is a top concert pick of the week

Piano pop star Charlie Puth is a top concert pick of the week

Also mark your calendars for Zakir Hussain, Laurie Anderson and the Mavericks.
McCartney adds second Target Center concert for May 5; ticket sales start today

McCartney adds second Target Center concert for May 5; ticket sales start today

Maybe readers are amazed that the demand for a second concert was so high since tickets don't go on sale until Monday — or 10 a.m. Thursday for American Express cardholders.
Top music pick: Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Dakota

Top music pick: Dee Dee Bridgewater at the Dakota

Jazz vocal adventurer Dee Dee Bridgewater teamed up with trumpet tour de force Irvin Mayfield and others last year on “Dee Dee’s Feather,” a marvelous…
Chris Hawkey leads double life as KFAN host, country music star

Chris Hawkey leads double life as KFAN host, country music star

Chris Hawkey's day job on KFAN's top-rated "Power Trip" morning show has brought him minor celebrity in the Twin Cities area. But after dark, the radio man becomes Chris Hawkey, the aspiring country star. Can he do it all?
Fans in for a different ride as Springsteen navigates 'The River' in St. Paul

Fans in for a different ride as Springsteen navigates 'The River' in St. Paul

Why is Bruce Springsteen performing a two-disc album from 1980 in concert, including a stop Monday in St. Paul?
Late St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus wins his first Grammy

Late St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus wins his first Grammy

St. Paul composer Stephen Paulus finished editing his new piece, “Prayers and Remembrances.” Then six weeks later, he had a massive stroke and died in…
What's a Grammy worth? Minnesota winners sound off on music's biggest award

What's a Grammy worth? Minnesota winners sound off on music's biggest award

For Minnesota winners, the award can bring prestige and exposure – or nothing at all.
AC/DC, and more songs that wouldn't make it on Cupid's playlist

AC/DC, and more songs that wouldn't make it on Cupid's playlist

Unless you're an AC/DC fan, here are some sexist tunes to avoid on Valentine's Day.
Paul Simon boosts star power on 'Prairie Home Companion'

Paul Simon boosts star power on 'Prairie Home Companion'

Host-in-waiting Chris Thile has a hoot and coaxes out an encore.
Best in the business take fresh approaches

Best in the business take fresh approaches

Springsteen and Prince in concert: Two all-time greats give fans something new.
Obituary: Jazz man Morris Wilson was a 'fierce musician, uncompromising player'

Obituary: Jazz man Morris Wilson was a 'fierce musician, uncompromising player'

Morris Wilson was a jazz musician who could play R&B. But the saxophonist wasn’t one to compromise — with either his music or his life.…
Prince gets personal in his first-ever solo show

Prince gets personal in his first-ever solo show

REVIEW: On Thursday night, Prince finally made his debut as a live one-man band with a sizable Afro at Paisley Park in Chanhassen. It was the most revealing, intimate and personal show he's ever given.
Nicholas David is Feelin' good about his Dakota debut

Nicholas David is Feelin' good about his Dakota debut

The former "Voice" star is expressing a new mantra as he makes his debut at the Dakota Jazz Club.
Obituary: Percy Hughes, 93, excelled at playing jazz and teaching tennis

Obituary: Percy Hughes, 93, excelled at playing jazz and teaching tennis

Whether he was conducting the session with his saxophone or a tennis racquet, Percy Hughes was a gentle, knowledgeable leader. Saxophonist Dave Karr recalls when…
Gift guide: Rock out with books and CD boxed sets for music fans

Gift guide: Rock out with books and CD boxed sets for music fans

Skip the iTunes gift cards and Adele CD. For the music lover on your holiday list, consider a more substantial present such as a book or CD boxed set.
Which Top 40 stars earned awards at Jingle Ball?

Which Top 40 stars earned awards at Jingle Ball?

Review: Shawn Mendes, the Jonas brothers and Charlie Puth had KDWB-loving teen girls swooning.
The Grammys: A pile of nominations doesn't always turn into a big win

The Grammys: A pile of nominations doesn't always turn into a big win

Analysis: The Compton rapper picked up the most nominations, but will he win big?
Twin Cities jazz trio Rio Nido will swing once more at the Dakota

Twin Cities jazz trio Rio Nido will swing once more at the Dakota

Popular Twin Cities retro jazz trio Rio Nido returns to the scene after a three-decade absence.
Cocaine found on tour bus where rock star Scott Weiland died

Cocaine found on tour bus where rock star Scott Weiland died

Rock star Scott Weiland was found dead Thursday night in his tour bus in Bloomington, and a small amount of cocaine was nearby, authorities said.
Minneapolis musician Renee Austin happy to sing the blues again

Minneapolis musician Renee Austin happy to sing the blues again

Thyroid surgery cost blues-soul singer Renee Austin her voice in 2005 — but it's back, and so is she, with a gig at the Dakota.
John Mayer's passion helps enliven newest incarnation of the Dead

John Mayer's passion helps enliven newest incarnation of the Dead

Review: Young pop star not only fit well but brought electricity.
Talking turkey with Twin Cities guitar hero Leo Kottke

Talking turkey with Twin Cities guitar hero Leo Kottke

The Twin Cities guitarist's annual Thanksgiving time concert has moved to Black Friday at the Fitzgerald.
John Mayer rises with Dead & Company

John Mayer rises with Dead & Company

John Mayer revives his Grateful Dead spinoff band – jamming its way to Target Center.
Review: Janet Jackson show at Target Center hits its groove in the second half

Review: Janet Jackson show at Target Center hits its groove in the second half

Review: Singing felt secondary in dance-packed jam that hit its groove in the second half.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis share 'Unbreakable' bond with Janet Jackson

Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis share 'Unbreakable' bond with Janet Jackson

Grammy-winning producer/songwriters Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis reunited with Target Center-bound Janet Jackson to record her chart-topping new album.
Ringo Starr keeps up good vibes at State Theatre

Ringo Starr keeps up good vibes at State Theatre

Ringo Starr always was the least Beatle. Not only was he the last to join the band (hence John, Paul, George and Ringo) but he…

Prince throws Lynx a celebratory bash

Prince hatched the idea on Wednesday afternoon: If the Lynx won the WNBA title, he’d host an after-party for them at Paisley Park. The Lynx…
Owl City goes from one-hit wonder to Mr. Everywhere

Owl City goes from one-hit wonder to Mr. Everywhere

Owl City's Adam Young of Owatonna has gone from one-hit wonder to appearing on movie soundtracks, TV commercials and a McCartney tribute album.
Madonna more playful than provocative in Xcel show

Madonna more playful than provocative in Xcel show

Review: The pop diva had plenty of spice but was easier to like than in her 2012 Xcel tour stop.
Madonna's 10 most outrageous moments

Madonna's 10 most outrageous moments

She might be tame compared with today's sex-obsessed stars, but let's not forget Madge once set the standard for pop controversy.
Top moments from Nashville's Americana Music Festival

Top moments from Nashville's Americana Music Festival

Highlights at the annual Nashville festival ranged from Glen Hansard doing Springsteen to a bluegrass band doing "Tommy."
Dylan's 'Highway 61': Revisiting a 50-year-old masterpiece in Jon Bream's new book

Dylan's 'Highway 61': Revisiting a 50-year-old masterpiece in Jon Bream's new book

Editor’s note: Star Tribune critic Jon Bream enlisted more than 50 musicians, writers and professors to dissect Bob Dylan’s albums in the new book “Dylan:…
Slick Taylor Swift sizzles and struts with a new persona

Slick Taylor Swift sizzles and struts with a new persona

Review: In the first of three weekend shows at the Xcel Energy Center, a snootier new Swift appeared.
Twin Cities' top fall concerts blend old (Madonna) and new (Lianne La Havas)

Twin Cities' top fall concerts blend old (Madonna) and new (Lianne La Havas)

What's big in Twin Cities pop-music concerts this fall? Look for veteran artists like the Who and Madonna in October and newer artists such as Beach House and Lianne La Havas in the coming weeks.
Is Taylor Swift the new Michael Jackson?

Is Taylor Swift the new Michael Jackson?

We measure the impact of America's top pop phenom, who comes to the Twin Cities this weekend for a three-night stand.
Review: Prince's new album is hit and miss

Review: Prince's new album is hit and miss

On "HitNRun," the Purple One delivers a hodgepodge of R&B, EDM and some guitar heroics.
With a new album and arena tour, is Janet Jackson back in control?

With a new album and arena tour, is Janet Jackson back in control?

The singer reunited with her Minneapolis-rooted producers and is returning to the arena circuit witha tour that hits Target Center Nov. 1.
Haggard, Kristofferson rule the fair's grandstand

Haggard, Kristofferson rule the fair's grandstand

Review: The two country giants, ages 78 and 79, dominated with oldies but goodies.
Review: D'Angelo burns brightly at First Avenue

Review: D'Angelo burns brightly at First Avenue

Review: After tentative start, the eccentric soul man ignited for a blazing two-hour finale.
High Spirits shake up St. Louis Park's 50-year reunion

High Spirits shake up St. Louis Park's 50-year reunion

St. Louis Park High's 50-year reunion last weekend had a special twist: a performance by a bunch of sixty-something musicians who haven't played together since a one-off reunion in 1997.
Garrison Keillor takes a State Fair curtain call

Garrison Keillor takes a State Fair curtain call

He dropped hints that this show could be last at fair.

Patti LaBelle reigns soulfully at State Fair

There was fun, fashion and frenzy in the 71-year-old's show, but the guiding light was passion.
Music critic Jon Bream lists his faves from 40 years of concerts, interviews

Music critic Jon Bream lists his faves from 40 years of concerts, interviews

The longest running full-time music critic at a daily U.S. newspaper gives his take on the best of the best during four decades of coverage.
Country star Alan Jackson takes it easy at State Fair

Country star Alan Jackson takes it easy at State Fair

The fair features country acts three straight nights for first time since 1996.
Keith Urban shines at State Fair

Keith Urban shines at State Fair

Review: The country superstar found his bearings and entertained another sold-out grandstand crowd.
Kelsea Ballerini and Brandy Clark are bringing female voices back to country radio

Kelsea Ballerini and Brandy Clark are bringing female voices back to country radio

Radio's dance card is overcrowded with boot-scootin' men, but two of Nashville's rising stars boast new moves.
Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl reinvents the rocking chair

Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl reinvents the rocking chair

Review: After breaking his leg, the Foo Fighters frontman rocked hard in his custom-made throne at Xcel Energy Center.
Four fab memories: Revisit the Beatles' Met Stadium concert 50 years later

Four fab memories: Revisit the Beatles' Met Stadium concert 50 years later

Relive Beatlemania through the eyes of four people who were at the Mop Tops' Met Stadium concert 50 years ago Friday.
Idina Menzel really lets go at Northrop Auditorium

Idina Menzel really lets go at Northrop Auditorium

Review: From girlish to grand, the big-voiced belter delivered a 1-2 knockout punch.
First Avenue ceiling collapses during band's show, injuring 3

First Avenue ceiling collapses during band's show, injuring 3

Theory of a Deadman had just finished the fourth song at the legendary downtown Minneapolis club when a 30-by-30-foot section of ceiling fell. Three people went to Hennepin County Medical Center and were in satisfactory condition
Kelly Clarkson steers her own course in St. Paul concert

Kelly Clarkson steers her own course in St. Paul concert

Review: The "American Idol" idol was strong and confident in her own songs and covers.
Review: Woody Allen plays the role of clarinetist with entertaining New Orleans Jazz Band

Review: Woody Allen plays the role of clarinetist with entertaining New Orleans Jazz Band

The filmmaker brought his New Orleans jazz band for an entertaining concert at the State Theatre.
For folk star Brandi Carlile, Minnesota might as well be a second home

For folk star Brandi Carlile, Minnesota might as well be a second home

The singer-songwriter credits her Up North uncle for her love of music and Minnesota.
Shania Twain at Target Center doesn't impress much

Shania Twain at Target Center doesn't impress much

Review: It all felt so familiar at the sold-out Target Center concert.
Review: At Starkey gala, Katy Perry's short set fizzles

Review: At Starkey gala, Katy Perry's short set fizzles

The "Firework" singer, the foundation's biggest headliner yet, brought big buzz, but she didn't ignite the crowd Sunday night in St. Paul.
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