Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop

Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop

by Marc Myers

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Overview

Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop by Marc Myers

Every great song has a fascinating backstory. In Anatomy of a Song , based on the ongoing Wall Street Journal column, writer and music historian Marc Myers brings to life five decades of music through oral histories of forty-five transformative songs woven from interviews with the artists who created them.

Bringing readers inside the making of a hit, Anatomy of a Song includes the Isley Brothers' memorable song "Shout," Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz," and R.E.M's "Losing My Religion." After receiving his discharge from the army in 1968, John Fogerty does a handstand and reworks 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 War My) Red Shoes" in ten minutes on the train to Liverpool. And Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Rod Stewart, the Clash, Jimmy Cliff, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder, Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper, and many other leading artists reveal the emotions, inspirations, and techniques behind their influential works. Anatomy of a Song is a love letter to the songs that have defined generations of listeners.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802125590
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 11/01/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 467,424
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Marc Myers is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, where he writes about rock, soul, and jazz, as well as the arts. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Why Jazz Happened, and posts daily at JazzWax.com, winner of the 2015 Jazz Journalists Association’s award for Jazz Blog of the Year.

Read an Excerpt

Keith Richards on “Street Fighting Man”

"Early on, when I had played the tape of my melody for Mick, his lyrics were about brutal adults. We recorded them and called the song, 'Did Everyone Pay Their Dues?' But we weren’t that crazy about the results, and the lyrics underwent several rewrites once we saw what was going on in the streets in London and Paris in 1968. While we were in the studio, Mick had been at a huge demonstration against the Vietnam War in London’s Grosvenor Square in March. And we were both in Paris in May during the violent protests by students demanding reforms. The French cops were pretty nasty about it.

As we traveled around, Mick and I would look at each other and realize something big was happening in two major capitals of the world and that our generation was bursting at the seams. Mick knew that 'Dues' needed a lyric overhaul that better matched what was going on. I came up with the line 'What can a poor boy do' and threw it out to Mick. He completed the thought with '’Cept to sing for a rock ’n’ roll band.' He wrote the rest of the new lyrics in the studio. That’s often how we worked. One of us would have a piece of a lyric that sounded interesting, then hand it off to the other to get things going."

Joni Mitchell on "Carey"

"I had my dulcimer with me from the States. I used it to write “Carey” over a period of weeks in different locations in and around Matala as a birthday present for Cary. My lyric, “Oh Carey get out your cane” referred to a cane Cary carried with him all the time. He was a bit of a scene-stealer, and the cane was a theatrical prop for him."

Stevie Wonder on “Love’s in Need of Love Today”

"It’s about creating a marriage of all the instruments and vocals, bringing them together to make a statement . . . Whether it’s the Beatles, Sly Stone, Prince or Ed Sheeran, you start with an idea or vision and bring what you hear in your mind to reality. When I’m doing this, I become all the different musicians and approach the song from each musician’s understanding."

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 Lawdy Miss Clawdy Lloyd Price Lloyd Price Dave Bartholomew Art Rupe 9

2 K.C. Loving Little Willie Littlefield Mike Stoller Billy Davis Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis 17

3 Shout The Isley Brothers Ronald Isley 23

4 Please Mr. Postman The Marvelettes Katherine "Kat" Anderson Schaffner 29

5 Runaround Sue Dion Dimucci Dion DiMucci 35

6 Chapel of Love The Dixie Cups Jeff Barry Darlene Love Mike Stoller Barbara Hawkins Rosa Hawkins Artie Butler 41

7 You Really Got Me The Kinks Ray Davies Dave Davies Shel Talmy 49

8 You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' The Righteous Brothers Barry Mann Cynthia Weil Bill Medley 55

9 My Girl The Temptations Smokey Robinson 61

10 Reach Out I'll Be There The Four Tops Lamont Dozier Abduf "Duke" Fakir Paul Riser 67

11 Darling Be Home Soon John Sebastian John Sebastian 73

12 Light My Fire The Doors Ray Manzarek Robby Krieger John Densmore 81

13 Groovin' The Young Rascals Felix Cavaliere Chris Huston Gene Cornish 87

14 White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane Grace Slick 93

15 Different Drum The Stone Poneys Michael Nesmith Linda Ronstadt Bobby Kimmel Don Randi 101

16 (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay Otis Redding Steve Cropper Booker T. Jones Wayne Jackson Ben Cauley 107

17 Fist City Loretta Lynn Loretta Lynn 113

18 Street Fighting Man The Rolling Stones Keith Richards 121

19 Stand By Your Man Tammy Wynette Billy Sherrill Hargus "Pig" Robbins Jerry Kennedy 127

20 Magic Carpet Ride Steppenwolf John Kay Michael Monarch 133

21 Proud Mary Creedence Clearwater Revival John Fogerty Sonny Charles Tamiko Jones Perry Botkin Jr. Brent Maher 143

22 Oh Happy Day The Edwin Hawkins Singers Edwin Hawkins Dorothy Morrison 149

23 Suspicious Minds Elvis Presley Mark James Chips Moman 155

24 Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page George Chkiantz Eddie Kramer 161

25 Mercedes Benz Jan is Joplin John Byrne Cooke Bob Neuwirth Michael McClure Clark Pierson Brad Campbell 169

26 Moonlight Mile The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger 177

27 Maggie May Rod Stewart Rod Stewart 185

28 Carey Joni Mitchell Joni Mitchell Gary Raditz 191

29 Respect Yourself The Staple Singers Al Bell Mavis Staples 203

30 The Harder They Come Jimmy Cliff Jimmy Cliff Jackie Jackson Hux Brown 211

31 Midnight Train to Georgia Gladys Knight and the Pips Jim Weatherly Cissy Houston Tony Camillo Gladys Knight 217

32 Ramblin'Man The Allman Brothers Dickey Betts Chuck Leavell Les Dudek 223

33 Rock the Boat The Hues Corporation Wally Holmes John Florez Joe Sample H. Ann Kelley 229

34 Walk This Way Aerosmith Joe Perry Steven Tyler 237

35 Love's in Need of Love Today Stevie Wonder Stevie Wonder 245

36 Deacon Blues Steely Dan Donald Fagen Walter Becker Larry Carlton Tom Scott Pete Christlieb 251

37 (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes Elvis Costello Elvis Costello 259

38 Heart of Glass Blondie Chris Stein Debbie Harry Michael Chapman 265

39 Another Brick in the Wall Pink Floyd Roger Waters 273

40 London Calling The Clash Mick Jones Paul Simonon Topper Headon 281

41 Brother John/Iko Iko The Neville Brothers Cyril Neville Aaron Neville Art Neville Charles Neville Barbara Hawkins Mac Rebennack 287

42 Big City Merle Haggard Merle Haggard 295

43 Time After Time Cyndi Lauper Rob Hyman Cyndi Lauper 301

44 Nick of Time Bonnie Raitt Bonnie Raitt 309

45 Losing My Religion R.E.M. Peter Buck Mike Mills Michael Stipe Bill Berry 317

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