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Publisher's Summary

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 10 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.

©2016 Marc Myers (P)2016 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Too Many Genre

I was fascinated with the stories of the 60s but lost interest when it went into the music of the 90s.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Buck
  • Stockton, US, Canada
  • 01-09-18

Very sterile view of a naturally exciting topic

The narrators delivery was dull and tepid. The authors method of presenting the actual conversations was uninspired and lacking effort. This book could have been great considering the subject. I liked a few of the selections of artists but I couldn’t feel any creativity from the descriptions of their music production process. I bought this in the airport in an attempt to get away from the science, political and historical books I usually read and I’m sadly disappointed .

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting look at artists' process

the stories of the songs we're very interesting. Many assumptions about the lyrics, the stories behind the songs, the tall tales that make the rounds, are simply not true. It was a fascinating look at the artists' process.

The narration was okay, but left a little to be desired. I wanted a little less Casey Kasem and a little more rock fan enthusiasm. But maybe that's just me.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Why Listen when you can read?

What would have made Anatomy of a Song better?

I was disappointed because I had read many of the columns in the WSJ and found it a challenge to listen to a narrator say: Introducing Quicy Jones and then reading in the safe voice as before. With audio, why couldn't we have the audio of the creators --- also, it would have been great to have a companion audio tracks so that you could hear the song. The chapters all run into each other -- maybe a few bars to introduce the chapter would make it more lively.

What didn’t you like about Jonathan Yen’s performance?

Not a great reader -- and his task was to represent many different people - hard to do.

Any additional comments?

It is really repackaging the WSJ articles - some I missed and the stories are great -- that is why I liked the columns so much --

1 of 4 people found this review helpful