The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs

  • by Greil Marcus
  • Narrated by Henry Rollins
  • 7 hrs and 0 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Unlike all previous versions of rock 'n' roll history, this book omits almost every iconic performer and ignores the storied events and turning points everyone knows. Instead, in a daring stroke, Greil Marcus selects 10 songs recorded between 1956 and 2008 and then proceeds to dramatize how each embodies rock 'n' roll as a thing in itself in the story it tells, inhabits, and acts out - a new language, something new under the sun.
"Transmission" by Joy Division. "All I Could Do Was Cry" by Etta James and then Beyoncé. "To Know Him Is to Love Him", first by the Teddy Bears and almost half a century later by Amy Winehouse. In Marcus' 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 these striking songs fall through time and circumstance, gaining momentum and meaning, astonishing us by upending our presumptions and prejudices. This audiobook, by a founder of contemporary rock criticism - and its most gifted and incisive practitioner - is destined to become an enduring classic.


What the Critics Say

"Reading Marcus's words with the intensity and focus of a performance artist, Rollins describes how songs such as 'Crying, Waiting, Hoping' by Buddy Holly, 'Sweet Home Chicago' by Robert Johnson, and 'Money Changes Everything' sung by Cyndi Lauper changed music and changed lives." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An ecstatic, inspiring read

Seemingly random choices by the writer have a beautifully inevitable and comprehensive quality that references nature's infinite organizing power. Rollins' unhurried, reverential performance is spot on, and I always felt I was in good hands on this journey. Marcus made me want to write my own history. Thanks to both the reader and the author for the love you poured into this project.
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Amazing,dense,and not what your thinking

This isn't your average top 10 song that define some or any category. This is deeper and it's read by Henry Rollins which is perfect for the book. Also there is some bonus content that I didn't expect and loved every second of it.
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- J. Fraas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-27-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios