Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
7
Free sample

“A winning look at the stories behind 45 pop, punk, folk, soul and country classics” in the words of Mick Jagger, Stevie Wonder, Cyndi Lauper and more (The Washington Post).
 
Every great song has a fascinating backstory. And here, writer and music historian Marc Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five era-defining hits woven from interviews with the artists who created them, including such legendary tunes as the Isley Brothers’ 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 did a handstand—and reworked 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 Wear 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 and “a rich history of both the music industry and the baby boomer era” (Los Angeles Times Book Review).
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About the author

Marc Myers is a regular contributor to The Wall Street Journal, where he writes about rock, soul, and jazz, as well as the arts. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Why Jazz Happened, and posts daily at JazzWax.com, two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association’s award for Blog of the Year.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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Published on
Nov 1, 2016
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9780802189653
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Genres & Styles / Pop Vocal
Music / Genres & Styles / Rock
Music / Instruction & Study / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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They say there are no second acts in American lives, and third acts are almost unheard of. That's part of what makes Brian Wilson's story so astonishing.

As a cofounding member of the Beach Boys in the 1960s, Wilson created some of the most groundbreaking and timeless popular music ever recorded. With intricate harmonies, symphonic structures, and wide-eyed lyrics that explored life's most transcendent joys and deepest sorrows, songs like "In My Room," "God Only Knows," and "Good Vibrations" forever expanded the possibilities of pop songwriting. Derailed in the 1970s by mental illness, drug use, and the shifting fortunes of the band, Wilson came back again and again over the next few decades, surviving and-finally-thriving. Now, for the first time, he weighs in on the sources of his creative inspiration and on his struggles, the exhilarating highs and the debilitating lows.

I Am Brian Wilson reveals as never before the man who fought his way back to stability and creative relevance, who became a mesmerizing live artist, who forced himself to reckon with his own complex legacy, and who finally completed Smile, the legendary unfinished Beach Boys record that had become synonymous with both his genius and its destabilization. Today Brian Wilson is older, calmer, and filled with perspective and forgiveness. Whether he's talking about his childhood, his bandmates, or his own inner demons, Wilson's story, told in his own voice and in his own way, unforgettably illuminates the man behind the music, working through the turbulence and discord to achieve, at last, a new harmony.
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