You may not have heard of Stanley Milgram, but chances are you will be aware of his psychology experiment from 1961. In it, he arranged for a dour scientist in a grey lab-coat to instruct certain people ("teachers") to administer increasingly severe electric shocks to an affable stranger in an adjacent room if he gave the wrong answers to questions in a test.
At a hotel in London, one half of the most popular duo in rock history is apologising for keeping me waiting. No worries, I tell him. I don't have anything else on, apart from an interview for the JC later in the day with comedian Jackie Mason. "Isn't he fabulous?" Art Garfunkel says with a smile, taking a seat in the bar. "I'm wild about that guy.
Jackie Mason, the legendary Jewish comedian, might be 83 years old, but he's still much in demand. Three years after undertaking his Farewell Tour on these shores, he is about to embark on a week-long residency at London's Adelphi Theatre, under the quaint title of Ready To Rumble, with brand new material and a familiar agenda: to prick our pretensions and expose our hypocrisies.
Mark Ronson is showing me the Woody Allen poster that takes pride of place at the entrance to his recording studio in King's Cross, London. The studio is named after Zelig, the 1983 Allen mockumentary about the fictional character who changes identity according to his environment and appears at key moments in history.
It is one of the quintessential Jewish roles of musical theatre — Tevye, in Fiddler On The Roof — and, this summer, for a season at the Grange Park Opera in Hampshire, the part of the impoverished milkman in pre-revolutionary Russia is being played by Bryn Terfel, the world-renowned opera singer, who is a) manifestly Welsh and b) not remotely Jewish.
Santa Baby. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire). Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Some of the best-known Christmas songs were written by Jews. White Christmas - the biggest-selling single of all time- was penned by a Jew, Irving Berlin, with sales estimated at over 50 million.
The biggest band you've never heard of? Try Paris-based Lilly Wood and the Prick. This summer, the remix by German electronic music DJ Robin Schulz of their single, Prayer In C, reached number one in 35 countries, including the UK. Meanwhile, the video on YouTube has garnered upwards of 48 million views. You would imagine Lilly Wood's singer, Israeli-born Nili Hadida, might be ecstatic.
Lynsey De Paul, who died last week of a brain haemorrhage, aged 64, was a household name in the 1970s. But the petite performer with the blond hair and beauty spot was a reluctant star who was happier composing behind the scenes.
She was born Lynsey Monckton Rubin in 1950 and grew up in Cricklewood, north London, before the family moved to Canon's Park.
At the time of writing, Barbra Streisand's latest album - her 34th LP release - is due to hit the top of the American charts. If it does, it will make her the first artist to have had a number one in each of the past six decades. As the title suggests, Partners is a duets album, the sort of thing that all the music legends - notably Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett - have done.
Back in the days when Jessie Ware was a young web reporter for the JC, she helped to compile a gig guide. "I used to do the listings for Jewish people appearing at Brixton Academy and now I'm playing there," says the acclaimed soul singer and songwriter, amazed by the transition. "It's fabulous." Has her change in fortunes exceeded her wildest expectations? "Absolutely."
In her description, Jess Glynne has experienced a "whirlwind" of a year. Twelve months ago, she was still working as part of the brand management team for a company dealing in the importing and exporting of alcohol. Then, last August, she handed in her notice, signed to the prestigious Atlantic label and began releasing records.
In 2011, American Chasidic reggae-rapper Matisyahu (aka Matthew Paul Miller) shaved off his beard and announced that he was "reclaiming" himself. "At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity… to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth," he told fans via his website.
Lana Del Rey's previous album, 2012's Born To Die, sold seven million copies and made her one of the biggest new stars on the planet, albeit one of the most mysterious. She seemed almost too good to be true, like a '50s B-movie starlet who had stepped straight off the screen into a recording career. There were, as a result, questions raised about the authenticity of the artist born Lizzy Grant.
There are two Howard Bernsteins who are regularly in the news. One - a Sir no less - is chief executive of Manchester City Council. Perhaps to distinguish himself from his civic namesake, the other operates as Howie B and is famous for producing U2, Björk, Tricky, Massive Attack, Goldie and Soul II Soul, and for remixing everyone from Annie Lennox to Steve Reich and Simply Red.
Amy Winehouse's producer Mark Ronson hasn't exactly been quiet since last interviewed by the JC in 2007. He released a solo album called Record Collection in 2010 and has produced, among others, Adele, Bruno Mars, Duran Duran, Beyonce's sister Solange, Kaiser Chiefs, rap legends Nas and Ghostface Killah, and Paul McCartney.
When Madonna wore a Kylie Min-ogue T-shirt to the MTV European Music Awards in 2000, it was assumed she was being magnanimous and ironic. But the fact is that, in this country at least, Kylie is as big a deal these days.
London Grammar’s melancholy chill-out pop, with its blend of wan melody and gently pattering trip hop rhythms, has been one of the musical triumphs of the past year. The trio, who met at Nottingham University in 2009, saw their 2013 debut album If You Wait reach number two in the UK and go top 20 around the world.
As founder of the Rough Trade record store, distribution company and label, Geoff Travis has done as much as anyone to promote indie music as an alternative to mainstream, major record company product.