Soul and Hip Hop
Actor, comedian and musician Hugh Laurie presents this new series in which he examines the ways in which the blues has influenced all the types of popular music that we listen to today.
Each week he'll be playing a song with his acclaimed Copper Bottom Band and using that as a starting point from which to explore the permutations and permeations of the music that he loves.
This week, Hugh plays and sings "Stagger Lee", explaining its roots in a real 19th century murder. That starts a complicated trail of gossip, political scandal, and folk lore which leads through the music of James Brown, Lloyd Price, The Clash, Ma Rainey, Louis Armstrong, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Kanye West to show how the spirit of Stagger Lee still influences the soul and hip hop that we listen to today.
A performance film accompanying the series can be seen on the BBC's Red Button service.
Hugh Laurie is an English actor, comedian, writer, musician and director. He first became known as one half of the Fry and Laurie double act, along with his friend and comedy partner Stephen Fry, whom he joined in the cast of A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster from 1985 to 1999.
From 2004 to 2012, he played Dr. Gregory House, the protagonist of House, for which he received two Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actors Guild awards, and six Emmy nominations. He has been listed in the 2011 Guinness Book of World Records as the highest paid actor ever in a television drama, earning £250,000 ($409,000) per episode in House, and for being the most watched leading man on television.
Acting aside, he is an accomplished pianist, leading the Copper Bottom Band in a smorgasbord of traditional jazz and blues which has so far resulted in two critically acclaimed albums and a series of sell-out world tours.
This is his first series for Radio 2.