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Anatomy of a Song

Nonfiction: Biography / History
Unabridged   9.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 11/01/2016

Anatomy of a Song

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

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681683140
Digital Download ISBN:9781681683157


Every great song has a story that needs to be told. 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 forty-five transformative hits and oral-history interviews with the artists who created them.

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Product Description

Part artist confessional, part musical analysis, Anatomy of a Song ranges from the Isley Brothers' "Shout" to Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" to R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion." After being discharged from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and revises 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. Mick Jagger, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Jimmy Page, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, and many other leading artists reveal for the first time the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. Covering the history of rock, R&B, country, disco, soul, reggae, and pop, Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners.


"Jonathan Yen energetically takes the listener on a journey into Myers's list of 45 popular songs released between 1952 and 1991 that changed musical history. Yen has a verve and approachability that is reminiscent of Kasey Kasem counting down the hits." —AudioFile

"The book's strength lies in thoughtful, wry reflections from artists including Elvis Costello, Jimmy Cliff, Stevie Wonder, Booker T. Jones, Dr. John, and Debbie Harry. An entertaining record of the soundtrack of the baby boomer era." —Kirkus Reviews

"Myers provides a new introduction to the songs, which were written between 1952 and 1991, setting each in its cultural context, as well as indicating its historical significance. . . . Music fans will enjoy the behind-the-songs stories.”—Publishers Weekly

"Who doesn't like to listen to musicians tell their stories about the genesis of a song? Or to hear them laugh at the deep meaning that listeners often invest in it when for them it was, well, just a song about a breakup? Myers' book has something for everyone."—No Depression

"With its eye-opening, candid interviews and detailed discussion of the songs' instruments, rhythms and lyrics, Anatomy of a Song is a juicy history of the music that got audiences onto the dance floor, out in the streets and cruising down the highway." —Shelf Awareness

"Because of Myers’s skill as an interviewer, their pride and enthusiasm come blasting through. Each story is a pleasure to read and will deepen your listening experience." —New York Times

Author Bio

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, a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's award for Blog of the Year.