Anatomy of A Song

Anatomy of A Song

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

Book - 2016
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Believing that every great song has a fascinating backstory, 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.From "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" by Lloyd Price to "Losing my religion" by R.E.M., leading artists reveal the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. The result is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations.
Publisher: New York :, Grove Press,, 2016
Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802125590
Characteristics: xii, 323 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


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Oct 02, 2018

What a FUN Read / Listen!

Anatomy of a Song is an Oral History Jukebox worthy of anyone who enjoys the ‘oldie but goodies’ and cares to revisit the days when one made a weekly pilgrimage to the record store.

Marc Myers is the ‘custodian’ of an artist’s legacy and offers tidbits and finite details one might otherwise bypass. He has selected 45 songs for this book which he considers worthy of a generation, or about 25 years.

The way we listen to music and how the final product is offered to the masses has changed over the years, too. By 1952, 45’s and LP’s had replaced the 78 records until it was discovered that ‘Tapes’ improved fidelity.

The explanations of why and how a song was written featuring interviews of the time and bonus photographs make the music even more endearing. Example: When I read ‘K. C. Loving’ was the original title for what I knew as ‘Kansas City,’ and that a man by the name of ‘Little Willie Littlefield,’ wrote it, I had to ask ‘ALEXIA’ to play it for me. Hum … the sound was different and so were the lyrics from the ‘Fats Domino’s’ version I remembered. Wilbert Harrison tweaked the music to a shuffle in 1959 and brought 'Kansas City' to the top of the charts. Many other performers created their own spin to the song over the years, but 12th and Vine remains a destination for tourists who continue to have their photo taken by the street sign and little park when visiting the ‘City of Fountains’ that I call home.

Some personal favorites in the book include: ‘My Girl’ by the Temptations, ‘White Rabbit’ by Jefferson Airplane, ‘Maggie May’ by Rod Stewart, and ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ by Pink Floyd.
If your musical library doesn’t have all 45 songs listed in ‘Anatomy of a Song,’ ALEXIA is a big help.

A bit of ‘Historical Nostalgia’ I would have missed had it not been for the 2018 Adult Summer Reading Program ‘Rock and Read.’

Jul 17, 2017

A good book for lovers of pop music and its history. The one complaint I have is that its selection seems to be as much based on who would agree to be interviewed as their importance to the genres they represent. There's no Bowie, Beatles or even McCartney or Lennon solo material -- a history of pop songs hardly seems complete without them. Still I admit I learned a lot.

this meaty big bouncy book ranges from cindy lauper to elvis Costello to the allman brothers to rem to blondie to stevie wonder to Otis redding to led zep to Lloyd price to jimmy cliff to roger waters to grace slick......don't forget bonnie raitt. all telling the creation of one of their songs, or albums. and it's pithy, too, which is nice, for a change. there is no bowie here, but there are the stones, there is no Dylan here, but there is steely dan, telling of the creation of Deacon Blues..there's a lot of extrapolation to the career arc, also, like a good novel, film, or play. the clash, dion, the isleys, the kinks(yes, it's you really got me). some artists, like the doors, recall only the specific song, as in light my fire, but mr. Costello covers the beginnings of his music career. this is fantastic material, and yet not too musically technical. what a book!! p.s. there's a lot of Motown, too.

KateHillier May 10, 2017

I made reading this an experience. By that I mean I listened to each song as I read the chapter it. It proved for some really fun listening and reading in the evenings. There are some fun insights here and they're in a very readable and accessible format with the short chapters. I sort of wished for a bit more depth to it but I still enjoyed myself over all.


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