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.
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Why Listen when you can read?
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.
Not a great reader -- and his task was to represent many different people - hard to do.
It is really repackaging the WSJ articles - some I missed and the stories are great -- that is why I liked the columns so much --