Music: Changing the Recipe

For those whose idea of an oldie is pre-rock 'n' roll, there is still hope. A record called Love Is Blue has become a hit without any of the ingredients that pop musicians have considered necessary for the past few years: the juggernaut beat, the vocalisthenic performance, and the strain of novelty.

Love Is Blue is concocted according to an entirely different recipe. Its rocking rhythm cradles a plaintive, folklike melody swathed in lush strings and horns. It is an all-instrumental number, the first to become a bestseller since 1963. And it is practically gimmick-free, which may account for its unusual staying...

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