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Marc Myers entertains on both a large and small scale, selecting 45 time-tested songs to illustrate the trajectory of American music through R&B, rock, and pop, beginning with the 1950s “jump blues” and ending in 1991 at the doorstep of grunge rock. For each song, he interviews those involved, creating an intimate portrait of the piece. With so much to discover, this is a treasure trove of American music or, as Myers prefers to think of it, an oral history jukebox. —Melinda
Every great song has a fascinating backstory. In Anatomy of a Song
, based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal
column, writer and music historian Marc Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five transformative songs woven from interviews with the artists who created them.
Bringing readers inside the making of a hit, Anatomy of a Song
includes the Isley Brothers' memorable song Shout, Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, Janis Joplin's Mercedes Benz, and R.E.M's Losing My Religion. After receiving his discharge from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and reworks Beethoven's Fifth Symphony to come up with Proud Mary. Joni Mitchell remembers living in a cave on Crete with the mean old daddy who inspired her 1971 hit Carey. Elvis Costello talks about writing (The Angels Wanna War My) Red Shoes in ten minutes on the train to Liverpool. And Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, the Clash, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper, and many other leading artists reveal the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. Anatomy of a Song
is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners.