Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
I'm Doug Johnson. On our show this week:
We listen to some music from Deborah Harry …
Answer a question about the iPod …
And tell about a recent report listing common names in America.
Census Study of Names
The English poet and playwright William Shakespeare asked “What’s in a name?” The United States government has an answer. Faith Lapidus explains.
The United States Census Bureau has released a report about family names. The information comes from the study of the American population in two thousand.
The report tells the most common last names of Americans and some information linked to them. It says people recognize others by their names, and that people can tell a lot about a person just from knowing his or her name.
Almost two hundred seventy million people provided information to the Census Bureau in two thousand. The researchers found six million different last names among them. One million or more people have one of seven names. The most common is Smith. More than two million people answer to that name.
The next most common names are Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller and Davis. More than one million people are called each of those names. Two hundred sixty-eight other family names are also fairly common. Each of those names is shared by more than one hundred thousand people.
The study also found that for the first time, two Hispanic names are among the top ten most common names in the country. They are Garcia and Rodriguez. Each name is shared by more than eight hundred thousand people. The report says more than ninety percent of all people with those names are Hispanic.
One newspaper report says it is probably the first time that any non-English sounding name has been listed among the most common. The presence of those names on the list shows that an increasing number of Hispanic people are living in the United States. The number grew by fifty-eight percent in the nineteen nineties to almost thirteen percent of the population.
Other Hispanic names appearing in the top twenty-five most common names are Martinez, Hernandez, Lopez and Gonzalez.
Our listener question this week comes from Burundi. Josephine Uwangabe wants to know about the small iPod device made by the Apple computer company. The iPod is the most popular device made for storing and playing digital music. Because of its size, iPod users can enjoy listening to music while on the go.
In two thousand, Apple realized that digital music players were not selling because they were not well designed. Apple decided to change this. The company worked to develop a device that would have a fast computer connection so songs could go from a computer to the player quickly. The device also had to work well with Apple’s music program called iTunes, which permits users to easily organize thousands of songs. It had to be very easy to use. And it had to be good looking.
An advertising writer on Apple's team came up with the name iPod. He was influenced by the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” He saw the music device as a small “pod” that attached to a main spaceship, or, in this case, a computer. Apple released the first iPod in October, two thousand one.
Since then, Apple has developed several versions of the device. Some iPods are small enough to fit in your hand, while others can play videos, store photographs or connect to the Internet. They come in different colors, prices, and memory storage sizes. In October, Apple announced that it had sold one hundred and twenty million iPods.
Experts say these revolutionary devices are having a big effect on the music industry. Apple has sold over one billion digital songs from its iTunes program. This represents important income for many record companies that have been experiencing reduced album sales. Museums and schools are using iPods to play educational programs for visitors and students.
iPods have changed the way people listen to music. It would be hard to walk down a busy street or college campus in America without seeing several people with iPods and earphone devices. Music lovers can now hold thousands of songs in the palm of their hand.
That was Deborah Harry singing with her band Blondie. The post-punk/new wave group had many hits in the late nineteen seventies and eighties. Shirley Griffith has more about Deborah Harry's new album, "Necessary Evil."
Deborah Harry's has a new solo album after fourteen years of silence. Here is “Two Times Blue” from “Necessary Evil.” The song made it into the top ten of Billboard Magazine’s Hot Dance Club Plays in the United States.
“Necessary Evil” came out last month. Harry started a series of live shows to support the album this month. She began the tour at the Fillmore Theater, in her hometown of New York City. Critics have praised Deborah Harry for staying current in her musical style. “Necessary Evil” is not a re-visiting of Blondie. Harry says she still loves the music of Blondie and many former punk bands. But she says musicians have to keep moving forward. She says being stuck in the past equals death for an artist. Here Deborah Harry sings the romantic song “If I Had You.”
Deborah Harry wrote the songs on “Necessary Evil.” She told one reporter that the album is about love and relationships like most pop songs. Harry herself has been married three times. She said she is in love with love --- sometimes. We leave you with Deborah Harry singing “Naked Eye.”
I'm Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. It was written by Dana Demange, Nancy Steinbach and Caty Weaver, who also was our producer. To read the text of this program and download audio, go to our Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.
Join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC, VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.