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

Don't just read the title!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The title isn't accurate. This isn't really a "history of rock". It's more of an impressionistic word painting of rock. The writer is trying really hard to be unique and interesting in both the selections and the way they're described. If that's what you're expecting, cool. For me, I couldn't finish it. Read the description, decide whether that's what you're into, and then go from there.

Would you be willing to try another book from Greil Marcus? Why or why not?

Probably not...I'm interested in the subject, but not THIS interested.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Rollins is good for the subject matter and this writing, but not overall. He. Speaks. Too. Slowly.

Was The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs worth the listening time?

Not for me. For someone who was really into the subject and a conaisseur of the genre, sure. I simply found it obscure and pretentious.

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- Nyghtewynd

Fresh treatment of Rock history!

Original and thought-provoking history of this music genre that has surrounded my life for decades. I learned some new things and look at others from a new perspective.

My only wish is that these books could include the actual songs!

I recommend this book to all Rock 'n' Roll fans.
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- Raymond

Book Details

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