Suzanne Vega, mother of the mp3

As a huge fan of Suzanne Vega and her classic 1980’s song, Tom’s Diner, I was surprised to find out that there was a lot that I didn’t know about the song — like the fact that the inventor of the mp3 standard (Karl-Heinz Brandenberg) used the song to help tune the compression standard, and even invited Suzanne to Germany to the Fraunhofer Institute for a press conference about it, or that the diner in the song is the same one you see in the closing credits of Seinfeld and is actually called Tom’s Restaurant.

All that and more is the subject of a blog post by the singer as part of an ongoing series on songwriting at the New York Times. Among other things, I also didn’t know that she had given her permission to the remix artists known as DNA, who came out with the mashup of a Soul II Soul beat and her vocals and had a top 10 hit with it, or that she put together an album of 11 remixed versions of the song herself. For all of that and more, told in inimitable Suzanne Vega fashion, read the whole blog post.

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