Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth Published in celebration of Holiday’s centenary, the first biography to focus on the singer’s extraordinary musical talent When Billie Holiday stepped into Columbia’s studios in November 1933, it marked the beginning of what is arguably the most remarkable and influential career in the twentieth-century popular music. Her voice weathered countless shifts in public taste, and new reincarnations of her continue to arrive, most recently in the form of singers like Amy Winehouse and Adele. […]
In 1968, the New Yorker hired Ellen Willis as its first popular music critic. Her column, Rock, Etc., ran for seven years and established Willis as a leader in cultural commentary and a pioneer in the nascent and otherwise male-dominated field of rock criticism. As a writer for a magazine with a circulation of nearly half a million, Willis was also the country’s most widely read rock critic. With a voice at once sharp, thoughtful, and ecstatic, she covered a wide range […]
An addictively readable, encyclopedic history of pop music in chapters as short and adrenaline-fueled as the best pop songs themselves. A monumental work of musical history and a book as fun to argue with as to quote from, Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is divided into sixty-five brief, chronological chapters about individual songs, bands, musical scenes, and styles from Bill Haley & the Comets’s “Rock Around the Clock” (1954) to Beyoncé’s first megahit, “Crazy in Love” (2003). Bob Stanley—music critic, pop fan, and musician—recounts […]
Below the level of the musical note lies the realm of microsound, of sound particles lasting less than one-tenth of a second. Recent technological advances allow us to probe and manipulate these pinpoints of sound, dissolving the traditional building blocks of music — notes and their intervals — into a more fluid and supple medium. The sensations of point, pulse (series of points), line (tone), and surface (texture) emerge as particle density increases. Sounds coalesce, evaporate, and mutate into […]
Experiencing Nirvana is a photo journal, grunge rock micro-history, and an inside look into a crucial eight-day period in the touring life of Nirvana. In this brief period, the young band goes from breaking up in Rome to winning over the influential British music press at Sub Pop’s LameFest U.K. showcase in London, setting the stage for their imminent popularity. On November 27, 1989, at the end of a grueling six-week European tour to promote Bleach, the band was exhausted and Cobain […]
Known as the father of American Primitive Guitar, many consider John Fahey to be a foundational figure in American folk music. As both musician and musicologist, Fahey made a fundamental contribution to our understanding and appreciation of such music genres as Delta blues, Appalachian bluegrass and New Orleans jazz. In Search of Blind Joe Death combines interviews, performances and archival footage with animation in a kinetic, musically charged tribute to a tremendously influential composer, guitarist, author and provocateur. Interviewees include […]
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the most unfathomable composers in the history of music. How can such sublime work have been produced by a man who (when we can discern his personality at all) seems so ordinary, so opaque—and occasionally so intemperate? John Eliot Gardiner grew up passing one of the only two authentic portraits of Bach every morning and evening on the stairs of his parents’ house, where it hung for safety during World War II. He […]
This book examines four major works (The St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach, A German Requiem by Johannes Brahms, the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Luke by Krzysztof Penderecki, and Mass: A Cry for Peace by Leonard Bernstein). The Author concentrates on the text composition of these works and analyzes the words as expressions of theology and faith.
The Eighth Edition of A History of Western Music is a vivid, accessible, and richly contextual view of music in Western culture. Building on his monumental revision of the Seventh Edition, Peter Burkholder has refined an inspired narrative for a new generation of students, placing people at the center of the story. The narrative of A History of Western Music naturally focuses on the musical works, styles, genres, and ideas that have proven most influential, enduring, and significant—but it also encompasses a wide […]
A bold, engaging exploration of opera’s fundamental nature and enduring appeal, from the sixteenth century to the present. A History of Opera, the first new, full-length, single-volume history of opera for more than a generation, provokes in-depth discussions of many works by the greatest opera composers, from Monteverdi, Handel, and Mozart to Verdi and Wagner, to Strauss, Puccini, Berg, and Britten. There are lively discussions of opera’s social, political, and literary backgrounds, its economic cicumstances, and the almost continual polemics […]
A major celebration of the life and music of Bob Marley and the latest highly collectible, signed, limited edition from Genesis Publications. Featuring the remarkable photographs of Kate Simon and specially-commissioned text from 24 contributors including ex-Wailers Junior Marvin, Family Man Barrett, and Neville Garrick plus Chris Blackwell. Introduction by Patti Smith. A limited edition of 2,000 copies only.
“Jones has learned—and this has been very rare in jazz criticism—to write about music as an artist.”—Nat Hentoffks Black Music is a book about the brilliant young jazz musicians of the early 1960s: John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, and others. It is composed of essays, reviews, interviews, liner notes, musical analyses, and personal impressions from 1959–1967. Also includes Amiri Baraka’s reflections in a 2009 interview with Calvin Reid of Publishers Weekly. This […]
A definitive biography of Manu Chao, the Che Guevara of world music. A decade ago, Manu Chao’s band, Mano Negra, toured Columbia by train, negotiating with government troops and rebels – an episode described at the time as ‘less like a rock’n’roll tour – more like Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow’. That’s Manu in a nutshell. He does everything differently. He is a multi-million selling artist who prefers sleeping on friends’ floors to five-star hotels, an anti–globalisation activist who hangs out […]
As admired for his writing as for his work in art, photography and architecture, Dan Graham was one of the first contemporary artists to embrace Punk, Postpunk and No Wave, becoming a figurehead for those movements, and an early supporter of (and friend to) Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth among many others. Rock/Music Writings collects 13 of Graham’s most influential writings, on bands ranging from The Kinks to Bow Wow Wow, first published in art journals such as Real Life, Open Letter and ZG between 1968 […]
This “oral autobiography” of Jimmy Page, the intensely private mastermind behind Led Zeppelin—one of the most enduring bands in rock history—is the most complete and revelatory portrait of the legendary guitarist ever published. More than 30 years after disbanding in 1980, Led Zeppelin continues to be celebrated for its artistic achievements, broad musical influence, and commercial success. The band’s notorious exploits have been chronicled in bestselling books; yet none of the individual members of the band has penned a memoir […]