The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs
By Greil Marcus
(Yale University Press, Hardcover, 9780300187373, 307pp.)
Publication Date: September 2014
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"Transmission" by Joy Division. "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta James and then Beyonce. "To Know Him Is to Love Him," first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus's hands these and other songs tell the story of the music, which is, at bottom, the story of the desire for freedom in all its unruly and liberating glory. Slipping the constraints of chronology, Marcus braids together past and present, holding up to the light the ways that these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This book, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism--and its most gifted and incisive practitioner--is destined to become an enduring classic.
What makes an essential rock song? Music journalist Greil Marcus argues that it's not the stature of the performer, but the degree to which a song tells the story of rock 'n' roll itself. More at NPR.org
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